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Although audio technology is making great strides, there is one thing that for us audiophiles never changes: the high standard of sound quality we seek in equipment. What we want is sound crisp, clean and, most importantly, as faithful as possible to the original source.
The criteria of stereo sound quality are now a few decades old, as evidenced by the fact that the market is dominated by single speakers. However, as audiophiles, we believe that two speakers are definitely better than one.
But finding a pair of speakers that meets all the quality requirements is easier said than done. For this reason we looked around a bit in search of the best stereo speakers offered by various audio equipment manufacturers and we have tested a wide variety of products, d to compact speakers to be placed on shelves to imposing columns with integrated subwoofer .
The list, however, could be updated in the near future based on new market offers, therefore stay tuned to always discover the latest news.
The test process
We tested each set of speakers by comparing it with a comparable power level when playing the same song. The tracks chosen for the test cover a wide range of artists and musical genres, from John Mayer to Tom Petty, from TesseracT to John Williams and Hans Zimmer. Each song was selected to test the dynamic specifications of each pair of speakers, highlighting the way each set reacts to one genre of music rather than another , based on design and functions.
Obviously not all speakers are produced in the same way and with the same functionality. The Definitive Technology BP9080x columns, to name just one example, are designed to cover a wider frequency range than Edifier bookshelf speakers which have a 4-inch woofer. We have compiled ours Ranking keeping in mind, therefore, the technical characteristics and the price of each case.
It goes without saying that compare a bookshelf speaker to a high-performance column it is like comparing wool with silk, but at least we have tried to define the dividing line between wool and silk.
What, then, are the best stereo speakers?
Definitive Technology BP9080x – See price or buy
It is said that money is not everything in life. In the world of audio, however, the price makes the difference. The Definitive Technology BP9080x is a luxury item that is truly worth itss exorbitant price , designed for the most demanding audiophiles . If you belong to this category, it is only fair that you know how stunning this product is.
The BP9080x speakers produce a clear and articulate sound across the range. The passive construction is supported by an active subwoofer, which gives you the ability to control the subwoofer volume separately for each column and therefore to be able to adapt it to any room with standing waves.
Regardless of the sound or song, the mids are clear and accurate, never giving the feeling of an overloaded or unnatural sound, and harmonize perfectly with the high tones , which do not resound shrill even when the volume makes the window panes tremble. Without fear of exaggerating, we can say that the clarity of the entire frequency range, from minimum to maximum, is unmatched .
At the top of the columns are two “height channel” speakers that make this set the perfect centerpiece of a home theater Dolby Atmos or DTS: X .
Without neglecting aesthetics, all this sonic grandeur is enclosed in a casing of first-rate material but with a sober design.
Bottom line, if you have a lot of cash to spend, we highly recommend purchasing the speakers Definitive Technology BP8090x .
Klipsch Forte III – See price or buy
Since 1985, Klipsch floor loudspeakers have represented excellence in the home entertainment sector . Confirming the manufacturer’s success, the Forte III speakers sound fabulous.
Klipsch’s attention to detail makes these speakers a particularly refined product, especially in the mid-high range with a sound that is clear and articulate . Their design also makes them a magnificent one piece of furniture that fits into virtually any living room. But they are also very heavy, which can be good or bad depending on your point of view. What is certain is that, once you have decided where to place them in your living room, no one will take them out of there.
These speakers are designed specifically for bass, with a 12 “subwoofer and a robust 15” passive radiator on the back which helps to dissipate the low frequencies. To get the most out of these columns, the best thing to do is to connect two separate amplifiers or a powerful amplifier with multiple outputs. This type of setup would allow you to control the power sent to the high and low channels and get the ideal balance .
The downside of the Klipsch Forte III is that, while still more expensive than the Definitive technology BP9080x, they don’t have powered subwoofers or high precision speakers. We can say that part of the surcharge is due to the Klipsch brand , but the quality of this system cannot hold its own against the number one on our list.
Klipsch RP-150M – See price or buy
If your budget is not enough to cover the expense of a colossal system like the Definitive Technology BP9080x, the Klipsch RP-150M bookshelf speakers are a valid alternative, being surprisingly cheap but with a clarity in the mid and high range worthy of competing with the top two on the list.
These lightweight passive speakers are designed to do what Klipsch does best – deliver a natural and clean sound replica , without making it too “colorful”. While the 5 ”woofers don’t have much bass performance, barely approaching 48Hz, the RP-150Ms are incredibly good in the mid and high range.
The mids are particularly clear, obtaining a delicate articulation of the sound that in other less performing systems would turn into a loss of quality. The highs never ring out shrill and have a natural air which appears to be the signature on all Klipsch products.
Overall, if you are looking for a pair of durable speakers for occasional listening, or to put together a home entertainment system, these Klipsch speakers are great as they are, especially. in relation to the price .
KEF LS50 wireless – See price or buy
If you are just starting to take the music listening experience seriously, it is normal that you are looking around for a stereo system. But when you realize that to have the implant of your dreams you have to start invest time and money When buying a preamp, amplifier and DAC, the matter can get quite daunting, especially for a newbie.
What if we told you there is a set of crates ready for use , and that you just have to plug in and turn them on to start listening to music? Fortunately, this plant exists and is produced by KEF.
After using the KEF LS50 Wireless for some time, we can say that we were pleasantly surprised by the product that the KEF technicians were able to devise. The speakers offer one crazy sound quality , with absolute fluidity, accuracy and balance. Plus, the system is incredibly simple to install and use with any audio source.
While not quite cheap, the KEF LS50 Wireless is a great deal when we think it represents a complete package for get a rich audio experience instantly and intense.
Q Acoustics Concept 20 – See price or buy
If you are an audiophile who plans to buy one compact bookshelf speaker but without sacrificing sound quality , you should take a look at the Q Acoustics Concept 20 speakers.
These low-profile bookshelf speakers ensure a rich sound in both the low-mid and high-end ranges. Even with a crank-amp the sound it is not distorted and stays clean, never squeaky. Of course, like any other cabinet of this size, there is little to say about the low end other than that it is acceptable.
It is also necessary to specify that the Concept 20 speakers are passive, therefore need an external amplifier , which can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on the personal opinion of each. For audiophiles this could be a great excuse to invest more money in buying a hi-fi amplifier in order to get the best possible sound from a product that is already valid on its own. For newbies, on the other hand, it is not convenient to worry about amplification for a product that, basically, should be compact and discreet.
After testing these speakers with every possible musical genre, it is evident that the Concept 20 they are up to any challenge and are the obvious choice for anyone looking for bookshelf speakers that fill the room with clean, crisp hi-fi sound.
Polk Sigature S60 – See price or buy
Polk Audio’s skill lies in creating quality speakers that can compete with major brands but at a greatly reduced cost . We certainly cannot say that this system can compare with the prestige of the Definitive Technology BP9080x, but in its range it remains an excellent product.
The passive speakers of the Polk Signature Series are designed to offer a full and engaging sound , and in most of our tests they hit the mark. The mid-range, which is usually the most turbid, is crystal clear and articulate regardless of the type of music they are playing.
The high range is lively, and can occasionally touch a shrill level when the volume is at its maximum, but not too unpleasant and pungent. As for the bass, the package advertises a unique mechanism that makes the bass frequencies smoother. Still, to get gods really punchy bass , you need to increase the volume a little. Generally speaking the sound quality is excellent, but frequencies can be improved with the use of an external equalizer.
If you are looking for an affordable alternative to the Definitive Technology BP9080x, the Polk Signature S60 speakers are a viable option, able to outshine almost any other ordinary home entertainment system on the market. Even if they don’t have the extraordinary yield in the bass and treble typical of first-rate systems, we have no doubts that even the most critical ear will be satisfied with the sound produced by these speakers.
Q Acoustics BT3 – See price or buy
These compact and stylish speakers are the ones with the best integrated digital technology on our list, featuring Bluetooth compatibility, remote control, 3.5mm input, digital optical input and active speakers.
As for the sound, it is surprisingly full. Q Acoustics primarily designed them as bookshelf speakers , but they are also great as a soundbar alternative, and the reason is very clear.
The BT3 speakers cover virtually the entire frequency range evenly, with the exception of the sub-bass. The low products are full and dense , without excessive signal distortion. The high range is also extraordinary manipulable , although a bit more shrill than that of the more expensive Concept 20 and Klipsch RP-150M.
These speakers have a number of technological integrations making them the ideal replacement for a traditional soundbar or a simple bookshelf speaker. With Bluetooth integration and remote control, the BT3s will be perfect in a corner of the living room, so you can have your favorite songs play around the house whenever you want.
Edifier R1280T – See price or buy
The Edifier R1280T speakers are very popular on Amazon, and there is a good reason. These compact speakers designed to fit on a desk or shelf, they produce impressive sonic force at the unbelievable price of just under 100 euros .
Its standout features include an active design, great midrange response and surprisingly deep bass. Due to the small size of the woofers and the design of the tweeters, obviously cannot compete with power low range and treble clarity of other products we tested. However, for their price, they have a great frequency response and a clean sound.
Their strong point is in the value for money , which makes them suitable for you if you are looking for cheap speakers that do their job well.
KEF LSX Wireless System – See price or buy
KEF has been at the forefront of audio innovation since 1961, and with the LSX Wireless has proven to be able to achieve sound perfection even with the most compact device .
The separation between the different frequencies is great, and the overall sound rendition is a lot well balanced , without any frequency dominating the others in an obvious way.
Despite their small size, the sub-bass yield is extraordinary , but you can still connect them to an external subwoofer if you’re not completely satisfied.
But the most amazing aspect of these speakers is the rendering of the analog sound: the vocals, the piano and the acoustic guitars receive a warm tone without sacrificing sound clarity in any way obtained during the distortion correction and reduction process.
Roku TV Wireless Speakers
The Roku TV wireless speakers are the most suitable to install in the bedroom thanks to the clarity of sound and adjustment functions which allow you to comfortably hear full, clear sound without disturbing neighbors or waking children.
But while they’re great speakers, they only work with Roku TVs made by TCL, Insignia, Hisense, Sharp, and a few others. They do not work with Roku streaming devices like Roku Ultra, which is why they are only sold on Roku.com.
Beyond its limited functionality, the defect of these speakers lies in the weak bass rendition, due to the lack of a subwoofer . If you are a fan of cinema-style audio quality the best thing to do is connect them to a soundbar or subwoofer (even a ridiculously cheap one like the Vizio SB3621); if you are satisfied with a sound that is good but not necessarily great, these are the ideal solution.
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