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Editor’s Choice Best Floorstanding Speaker Under $2000

So many to choose from! Lets us boil it down.
How to Choose a Floorstanding Speaker that fits you.


Updated 7/11/2011

What things do I need to consider when buying floorstanding speakers?
There are basically four things you should take into consideration when shopping for floorstanding speakers.
Space - How big is the room you plan to put these in? Floorstanding speakers can be impressive but in a small room sometimes they are too much. Audio quality suffers without a lot of room treatment. If you have a smaller sized room, something less than 8-10ft wide and 10-15ft long you may want to consider bookshelf speakers and a sub set up. Imaging can sometimes be better and room reflections can be mitigated by seating distance from 2-way near field bookshelf speakers. Speaking of sitting distance, with floorstanding speakers, you’ll want at least 8-10ft of distance between you and the speaker so that the sound from the tweeter and woofers has enough space to fully meld into one before it enters your ears. Of course, every speaker is a bit different, but this is a good rule of thumb distance for 3-way or more speakers.  Sound image and quality can suffer if it hasn’t fully formed into one by the time it gets to you. With 2-way floorstanding speakers such as the Salk Songtowers, distance can be closer.  You’ll also want to make sure your the speakers aren’t stuff into corners. Rather 2-3ft from them so bass doesn’t become BOOMing and overwhelming. But finding your best sweet spot is your own challenge.  If you have the ability, and a dedicated rectangle listing room, try this Golden Triangle approach.  It is what I use.
Music Style - What kind of music you listen to can be greatly enhanced or detracted from by your speaker choice. Lucky most speakers under $2000 tend to sounds good across a large variety of music, but some have more bump, thump, or detail than others. Some are laid back, good for jazz or acoustic, while others that thump are better for rock, pop, and rap. Just looking at the speaker specs wont tell you how the speaker sounds, so you’ll want to research, read reviews, pro and user reviews, to get an idea of how the speaker will sound. If you can, it is always best to audition the speaker in person with power and input devices similar to your home set up.
Associated Equipment - You’ll want to make sure that your amp and input sources characteristics match your speaker characteristics for a desired result. For instance, if your amp is known to be bright, and you get speakers that are also known to be bright, the combo of the two can be over bearing and make listening unpleasant. If your pre-amp or tuner has high and low controls you can adjust for this. If they don’t, than it is a major part of pairing your equipment. Don’t forget to mitigate the associated equipment known as your listening room.  Make sure to at least put sound dampening material at the points of 1st reflection and behind you if you can.  Here is a good reference article on first reflections points from PSAudio.  It is easy and can make a world of difference for soundstage.
Home Theater or Stereo Only - If you plan to build up a home theater system at some point it is good to consider if the speakers you are purchasing have associated surrounds, center, and sub speakers paired with the floorstanding. In a surround sound system having matching sounding speakers is very important.
Experts may all agree on the advantages or shortcomings of any product they review but, at AudioReview.com, we believe that the average consumer can best summarize all the details a product has to offer… So read what users have to says!

Magneplanar 1.7 ~ $1,995
magneplanar-1.7
AudioREVIEW Editor’s Note – At the time of this article the Magnepa 1.6 would have made the list, but they have been supplanted by the 1.7.  Based off the reactions at CES ’10 these are added to this list in place of the 1.6.
The Absolute Sound – Jonathan Valin – that the new model is, indeed, all that Magnepan claims it is, setting a new standard in coherence for a quasi-ribbon Maggie, reproducing more detail top-to-bottom, improving low-level resolution and large-scale dynamics, and simply sounding more realistic than the already-quite-realistic-sounding 1.6
Stereophile – Brain Damkroger - The 1.7s sounded truly spectacular and at just $2000/pair, destined to be another winner for Magnepan.

Monitor Audio RX6 ~ $1200
monitor-audio-rx6
WhatHiFi – They’re an energetic, energising listen, with the sort of subtlety and manoeuvrability to lay bare all the fine details without losing sight of the overall picture, and remain composed even at antisocial volumes.
AudioReview Editor’s Note - The RX6 is the next generation in Monitor Audio’s Silver line.  The RS6 won over many consumers and reviewers alike, and the RX6, though only professionally reviewed at this time by WhatHiFi in England, is giving the Rx6 a better score.  For being just over a grand, these speakers are going to be awesome.

Dali Lektor 8 ~ $1800
dali-lektor-8
Audioholics – The excellent off axis response makes placement a breeze. The real strength of these speakers is the soundstage. Wider than your room (or so it seems), the DALI Lekors wrap the music around you even in a two channel setup. For the price, the DALI‘s definitely represent a top tier offering.
Techradar - Lots of loudspeaker for the money, with a big yet solidly built enclosure, Two 200mm bass drivers give loads of bass output, Mid-to-treble balance looks well judged

Salk Songtower ~ $1695
salksound-songtower
SonicFlare – Sean Fowler – Though they are not perfect, the SongTower’s combination of great (American made) build quality, first rate performance, versatility and over-all value all add up to an exceptional performer that is very easy and safe recommendation. Great stuff!
Audioholics – Tom Andry – The imaging is very good, the bass very deep and linear, and the detail is amazing. Female vocals sometimes come off as too forward, the soundstage is not as wide as I’d have hoped, and the speakers themselves are pretty large. Overall, though, the Salks are a very, very good speaker in a very, very pretty package.
AudioCirle -Nuance writes -The ribbon tweeter adds that last 10-15% and gives one an idea of what the word “transparency” really means.  I am now able to sit in my listening room, fire up some tunes and hear music fill the room rather than speakers trying to produce music, if that makes any sense.



Bowers & Wilkins ~ $1400
BestCovery.com: The sound of the 683’s is more refined than its predecessors in the 600 series. Their neutrality is great with minimal coloration and the midrange does very well with male and female vocals. The high frequency response is clean and extended and the soundstage is open and deep with good placement.
Thomas J. Norton – ultimateavmag.com – For me this sequence sums up what the B&Ws are about, and how they can send a chill up your spine whether the source is big or small effects, crisp dialog, or music ranging from gentle strings to soaring brass and vocal choirs.
6 Reviews 4.29 of 5 – PDN writes: I know some say that B&W loudspeakers lend themselves more to classical symphony music than good old rock N roll. That they’re not in your face speakers. To that I say hogwash. I don’t buy it. I listen to it all and they sound great regardless of the music genre. You should hear the drum slam on “Honky Cat” in the Elton John “Honky Chateau” SACD. WOW


More Floorstanding speakers on AudioREVIEW.

Yes, unfortunately, an Editorial list won’t, and probably couldn’t include everyone’s personal favorite speaker.  So, if you think we left a great sub $2000 speaker out, comment. Let us and others know why you think it should be included.  Help those in our community who are searching for speakers.  Be detailed if you can about sound, music style, and room set up.  It is great appreciated.

 

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Original Resource is Audioreview http://www.audioreview.com/reviews/editors-choice-best-floorstanding-speaker-under-2000

Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $1000 – Editor’s Choice

So many to choose from! Lets us boil it down.

How to Choose a Bookshelf Speaker that fits you:

What things do you need to consider when buying bookshelf speakers?
There are basically four things you should take into consideration when shopping for bookshelf speakers.
Space – How big is the room you plan to put these in? Bookshelf speakers can be impressive but in a large room sometimes they are just not going to be able to move enough air to get the job done. If you have a smaller sized room, something less than 8-10ft wide and 10-15ft long you may want to consider bookshelf speakers and a sub set up. Imaging can sometimes be better and room reflections can be mitigated by seating distance from bookshelf speakers. The great thing about most bookshelf speakers, being smaller and just two-way, you can sit very close to them and you hear the music as one. Instead of hearing the tweeter and the woofer working separately.
Music Style – What kind of music you listen to can be greatly enhanced or detracted from by your speaker choice. Lucky most speakers under $1000 tend to sounds good across a large variety of music, but some have more bump, thump, or detail than others. Some are laid back, good for jazz or acoustic, while others that thump are better for rock, pop, and rap. Just looking at the speaker specs wont tell you how the speaker sounds, so you’ll want to research, read reviews, pro and user reviews, to get an idea of how the speaker will sound. If you can, it is always best to audition the speaker in person with power and input devices similar to your home set up.
Associated Equipment – You’ll want to make sure that your amp and input sources characteristics match your speaker characteristics for a desired result. For instance, if your amp is known to be bright, and you get speakers that are also known to be bright, the combo of the two can be over bearing and make listening unpleasant. If your pre-amp or tuner has high and low controls you can adjust for this. If they don’t, than it is a major part of pairing your equipment.
Home Theater or Stereo Only – If you plan to build up a home theater system at some point it is good to consider if the speakers you are purchasing have associated surrounds, center, and sub speakers paired with the bookshelf. In a surround sound system having matching sounding speakers is very important.
Experts may all agree on the advantages or shortcomings of any product they review but, at AudioReview.com, we believe that the average consumer can best summarize all the details a product has to offer… So read what users have to says!
Updated 7/5/2011



Bowers & Wilkins 685 ~ $600
WhatHiFi – After all, they were What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision Award-winners in 2007 and 2008, and to date we haven’t reviewed another speaker capable of worrying these entry-level marvels.
AudioReview - 8 Reviews 4.88 of 5 writes – Base is much tighter and punchy than the old 602′s. Massive base for such a small speaker! Clarity is mind blowing, especially with Jazz recordings.
AVGuide.com – Wayne Garcia - Let’s get straight to the point: B&W’s 685 is a terrific little loudspeaker. It has impressive tonal balance, tremendous rhythmic authority, conjures a nice, open soundstage, has impressive if not super-extended bass response, a singing treble, plays loudly without strain

Audio Note AX-2 & AX-2S ~ $600-1000
AX-2S – positive-feedback.com – Gary Beard – In my opinion, the best word to describe the sound of the Audio Note AX-2 Signatures is “balance.” From top to bottom, these little speakers never give any reason to single out a specific area for comment, and that is a very good thing.
AX-2 – AudioReview – RGA – For small speakers, the Piano was highly realistic and fuller bodied than speakers at this price have any right to be. Few speakers I have heard under $1k manage the piano anywhere near as well and that alone along with exceptional female vocals deserve some serious attention.

Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1 ~ $850
AudioReview’s Adam LaBarge – “…Overall the Sierra-1 monitors do a lot of things right. They especially move air well at high volumes. They seem to have met all the goals David was trying to accomplish in a reference speaker below a thousand dollars….” – Read Full Review
AudioReview - 4 Reviews 5.00 of 5 - KevinR writes – Usually, speakers that cost considerably less than my Paradigms don’t fare well in comparison. The Sierra-1 was the exception. The mid-range was open and detailed. The bass was exceptional for a bookshelf. The soundstage was wide and deep. Tony Levin’s bass on “Liquid Tension Experiment” came through with exceptional detail. Vocals were neutral, with no sibilance.

Tekton Model OB4.5 ~ $550
enjoythemusic.com – enjoythemusic.com Best of 2009 – With a full-range driver on an open baffle it gives you superb focus, transparency, timing and phase coherence. Place them out into the room on solid stands and it delivers a wide, deep soundscape with excellent definition.
AudioReview - Poultrygeist – The Tekton Model OB4.5 for $550 is in a class by itself.

www.tektondesign.com

Axiom Audio M3v3 ~ $348
pcdistrict.com - The M3 is Axiom’s most versatile and compact stereo and home theater speaker. Winner of the SoundStage! Reviewer\’s Choice Award and GoodSound! Product of the Year, the M3 delivers powerful bass, outstanding treble, and award-winning musical sound for under $400…
AudioReview’s – Adam LaBarge – When I checked the price again I was blown away to find out they were $348, especially when considering their performance. The M3v3 do most of what a great speaker should. They present a large and open image, linear reproduction of sound, offer a good amount of detail, and be as transparent as the speaker can be. Read Full Review
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Paradigm Audio Mini Monitor ~ $339
GreenbergAudio Magazine – I’ve heard highly-regarded $2,000 two-way 6-inchers that could not keep up with the Mini Monitor.
AudioReview - 171 Reviews 4.57 of 5 – Nick Ade – writes – Crossover setting is beautifully low at 2 khz. The tweeter can perform well, and can be heard well off axis, where frequency response does not drop off nearly as rapidly as with other bookshelf models. Build quality is superb for a sub $400/pair speaker, I like the dark cherry veneer. I listen to my music with no eq/bass enhancement, etc, and these speakers are perfect for the discerning stereo enthusiast.

Sony SS-B3000 ~ $100
AudioReview’s Editorial Review – Given the price constraints it is hard to find an over all fault with the SS-B3000 speakers. But the highs can be a bit straining at times and if matched with some ‘hot’ components… Read Full Review
AudioReview - 2 Reviews 4.67 of 5 – D Smith – writes – Everything is quite clear, and they have good volume. I’ve never managed to get the volume on my receiver past about 60%, because it simply hurts too much. Bass is extraordinary for the size of the speaker (about knee height), but vocals still remain clear.
Featured Merchants
Buy It Here
Vanns

If you think we left out a great bookshelf speaker that is sub $1000, let us and others know why you think it should be included. Use the comment box below.  There are obviously a lot of great speakers out there that fit a lot of taste.  So help those on the hunt and let them know what you think is best. 
Best Bookshelf Speakers Under $1000 – Editor’s Choice Gallery
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Original Resource is Audioreview http://www.audioreview.com/reviews/editor%E2%80%99s-choice-best-bookshelf-speakers-under-1000

Best Outdoor Speakers

Summers upon us and you might want to enjoy your music outside. But not sure what to get, what to be looking for?  We’ve selected the best outdoor speakers, both wireless and wired. Weather you are looking for something to take to the beach, blend into your garden, able to handle extreme weather, or just plain of sounds great, we’ve got it.


 

iHome iW1 – $299

“Perfect iPhone Match,
No wires, no hassle, portable goodness.”

The iHome iW1 speaker offers quality sound easy with iPhone/iPad compatibility and is extremely portable.

Get multiple iW1s for each room in your house and use Airplay to stream music to every room.

While the sound from the iW1 can get lost in bigger rooms, it sounds wonderful in kitchens, studies, bathrooms.  Pushed to play at higher volumes and it doesn’t distort.  The iW1′s rich bass will pump out jams at your next BBQ and won’t sound tinny or thin.  Great for background music but can’t replace your main system.

Specifications:

  • Airplay & WIFi
  • Battery powered for cordless portability
  • Control from you iPhone/iPad
  • Bongiovi DSP for enhanced audio
  • 5-6hrs of battery life

 

Yamaha NS-AW570 – $150

“Affordable Outdoor Speakers
That can handle real weather.”

One of the best and least expensive patio or eave mounted outdoor speaker on the market.

The unique dual tweeter design of the NS-AW570 allows for a wide distribution of frequencies and helps enlarge the ‘sweet spot’. The 6.5-inch woofer pumps out a fair amount of mid-bass but if you are looking for some real thump while outside you might want to check out the larger Klipsch AW-650.

While these are ‘all weather’ speakers one should mount them with a slight downward tilt to reduce the amount of water that can creep inside.

Specifications:

  • Power Rating 40-120W
  • Impedance 6 ohms
  • Frequency Response 60Hz-30kHz
  • Sensitivity 87 dB
  • Tweeter 1″ (25mm)PEI Dome Tweeter
  • Woofer 6.5″ (16.5cm) x 2
  • All Weather Design

 

Acoustic Research AW 825 – $450

“Wireless garden speakers,
solid sounding, great bass, looks great!”

Free your self of wires. Sounds like a dream. But with the 150ft range of the AW825 speakers, that work inside, outside, in the rain and wind, you’ll be able to live that reality. The base unit does have to be plugged into a wall outlet and a source via the 1/8th adapter, so your MacBook, your iPod, iPad, iPhone, laptop, or stereo, but the actual speakers run on AA batteries and can be moved anywhere.

Each speaker is sold separately, but you can add as many as you like. Users with 4 have experienced no issues. Each speaker can be set to mono, left channel, right channel. You can place them through out your home, garden, or pool area.

The speakers themselves run at 5W and are a two way design. A 2-inch tweeter and 3-inch woofer. With a 40Hz-15kHz frequencies range.

Specifications:

  • Innovative circuit design
  • Provide TWO sets of switchable audio inputs
  • Besides the normal audio output in the back panel
  • Compact design (mini-size & light weight)
  • All audiophile-graded parts and components

 

Polk Audio Atrium 5 – $299

“Blizzards, salt, baking heat,
Quality sound that can handle the extremes.”

The Polk Audio Atrium 5 is by far one of the most rugged outdoor speakers on the market that still manages to sound like a quality speaker. Though the audio quality is only just above average, even on the newer Atrium 5, it is far from being subpar. Typically folks tend to knock it for laking the ability to produce extreme highs and deep lows. Given its size there will be natural inabilities to produce significant dump in the low end, but mounting the Atrium 5 close to a wall or under and eave can help. The mid-range of the Atrium 5 offers the classic Polk sound and the speakers high sensitivity allows for loud and dynamic playing without pops and crackle.

Though if you don’t live in a place where the weather can be very extreme, there are outdoor speakers that offer better sonics but don’t offer the same year of year reliability of the Atrium 5. If you are willing to spend a bit more money the Atrium 6 and 8SDI offer larger woofers that can get the party started.

Specifications:

  • Overall Frequency Response: 60Hz-25kHz
  • Mid/Woofer: 1 – 5″ Diameter Dynamic Balance Mineral Filled Polymer Cone with rubber surround
  • Tweeter: 1 – 3/4″ Diameter Anodized Aluminum Dome Tweeter with Neodymium motor structure
  • Nominal Impedance: 8Ohms
  • Recommended Amplifier Power: 10-100 w/channel
  • Efficiency: 90dB

 

Jawbone JamBox – $200

“Throw it in your beach bag,
Take it to your office. Ultimate in Portable.”

The Jawbone JameBox isn’t one of the best rated wireless speakers on Amazon and the Apple Store for no reason. This little guy is extremely portable, sounds very good, and is stupid simple to use.

The cherry part is that it actually sounds good too! No matter if you are on the go or just hate messy speakers wires at your desk.

The JamBox is very office friendly – hold a conference call on your iPhone or add music to your presentations. Fits in your purse or laptop bag no problems.

The only real knock of the Jambox is the bass output. Lets face it, at that size, there isn’t much. Which is why Jawbone made the BigJambox. With a better feature set and more BASS!

Specifications:

  • Wireless portable speaker connects to any Bluetooth device
  • Stream music, movies, games, phone, and conference calls
  • Built-in Microphone
  • Frequency Response: 60 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Up to 10 hours of power from internal rechargeable battery
  • Very good BlueTooth extension

 

 

Bose 251 Environmental – $358

“Bose inside, Bose on the Outside.
Big sound from easy to hide speakers.”

The Bose 251 speakers are the perfect outdoor speakers for Bose lovers. For those that haven’t heard Bose speakers before, these 251 offer crystal clear highs, deep bass, and a very wide sound stage.

Some users on AudioReview have had their 251 for 14 years and they still sounds great. Bose stands by its product testing in extreme environments. With the 5 year warranty, you can feel safe that if the weather around you home is that extreme, your speakers are covered.

Specifications:

  • Extremely wide sound field for larger outdoor areas
  • Outside speaker cabinet designed to reproduce low frequencies with minimal audio distortion
  • Tested to withstand snow, rain, salt and extreme temperatures
  • Five-year limited warranty from Bose

 

Klipsch AW-650 – $550

“Audiophile?
You’ll want these.”

Yes the AW-650 are a bit pricer than your average outdoor speaker, but if you are into high quality audio than these are what you need. A significant step up from almost all over outdoor speakers, the AW-650 offer clear highs, significant bass, and a rich and full mid-range that makes your outside system sound as good as your main system. The audiophile’s outdoor speaker. Now, some might note that the AW-650 are rated to put out between 70-20k Hz. And 70Hz isn’t that low. The fact is bass isn’t always about the end point, but how the speaker gets there. Since the AW-650 is such a well tuned speaker, offering loads of detail, it fills in the lower mid-range so well one can’t help but be fooled into thinking these go lower than they really do.

The AW-650 is a bit larger than some folks might like, and thus hiding them away might take bit more creativity on your part, but it is well worth it.

Specifications:

  • Enclosure Bass Reflex
  • Tweeter Type Dome
  • Woofer Size 6-1/2
  • ower Range (watts) 10-85
  • Sensitivity 95 dB
  • Impedance (ohms) 8
  • Frequency Response 70-20k Hz

 

Klipsch AWR-650-SM – $299

“Most likely,
the best sounding rock speakers on the market.”

There are ample companies making OK sounding rock speakers, but if you really want speakers that will fade into the back ground without fading the musical vibes, you’ll want to check out the AWR-650-SM. In three different shade, granite, sandstone, lava rock, you should find these easy to blend into your garden.

Some have said the bass from the AWR-650-SM could be a little better, but with some positioning near a wall you won’t typically have any issue. There are outdoor subs you could pair with the AWR-650-SM. But just like the AW-650, the AWR-650-SM offers exceptional detail and sonic performance, which makes them a must have for any outdoor garden music system.

Specifications:

  • Rock bass reflex (ported) design
  • frequency response 66-20,000 Hz (±3dB)
  • True two-way design
  • Dual voice coil polymer woofer
  • Dual polymer dome tweeters
  • Durable UV-resistant enclosure

 


Tips for Getting Better Sound from Your Outdoor Speakers:

  • For wireless speakers that do not use Wifi, Bluetooth or Airplay, make sure the speaker frequency is different than your wireless phone and baby monitors.
  • Line of sight between the transmitter and speaker helps but isn’t 100% necessary.
  • For better bass performance place speakers near a wall or corner or between the eaves and walls.
  • Speakers near the ground will also have better base performance, but highs could suffer if the speakers aren’t tilting up.
  • Remember, just because a speaker says it is all weather doesn’t really mean it is.  If you live where you get all four seasons, do your speakers a favor and cover them during winter and heavy rains.  You’ll find they last much longer.
  • Use electrical tape to cover any exposed copper from the speaker wire.

Typically at this point we’d say, “This is by no means a definitive list”, but unfortunately, the reality is there really aren’t a lot of ‘decent’ sounding outdoor speakers on the market.  But if by chance we have left something off, please help others out and comment below with which outdoor speakers you like.

Editor’s note: some of the speakers require batteries while others can be left plugged into outside outlets.
Best Outdoor Speakers Gallery
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Original Resource is Audioreview http://www.audioreview.com/reviews/best-outdoor-speakers

Editor’s Choice Best Floorstanding Speakers Under $1000

So many to choose from! Lets us boil it down.

How to Choose a Floorstanding Speaker that fits you:

Updated 7/8/2011
What things do I need to consider when buying floorstanding speakers?
There are basically four things you should take into consideration when shopping for floorstanding speakers.
Space – How big is the room you plan to put these in? Floorstanding speakers can be impressive but in a small room sometimes they are too much. Audio quality suffers without a lot of room treatment. If you have a smaller sized room, something less than 8-10ft wide and 10-15ft long you may want to consider bookshelf speakers and a sub set up. Imaging can sometimes be better and room reflections can be mitigated by seating distance from 2-way near field bookshelf speakers. Speaking of sitting distance, with floorstanding speakers, you’ll want at least 8-10ft of distance between you and the speaker so that the sound from the tweeter and woofers has enough space to fully meld into one before it enters your ears. Of course, every speaker is a bit different, but this is a good rule of thumb distance for 3-way or more speakers.  Sound image and quality can suffer if it hasn’t fully formed into one by the time it gets to you. With 2-way floorstanding speakers such as the Salk Songtowers, distance can be closer.  You’ll also want to make sure your the speakers aren’t stuff into corners. Rather 2-3ft from them so bass doesn’t become BOOMing and overwhelming. But finding your best sweet spot is your own challenge.  If you have the ability, and a dedicated rectangle listing room, try this Golden Triangle approach.  It is what I use.
Music Style – What kind of music you listen to can be greatly enhanced or detracted from by your speaker choice. Lucky most speakers under $1000 tend to sounds good across a large variety of music, but some have more bump, thump, or detail than others. Some are laid back, good for jazz or acoustic, while others that thump are better for rock, pop, and rap. Just looking at the speaker specs wont tell you how the speaker sounds, so you’ll want to research, read reviews, pro and user reviews, to get an idea of how the speaker will sound. If you can, it is always best to audition the speaker in person with power and input devices similar to your home set up.
Associated Equipment – You’ll want to make sure that your amp and input sources characteristics match your speaker characteristics for a desired result. For instance, if your amp is known to be bright, and you get speakers that are also known to be bright, the combo of the two can be over bearing and make listening unpleasant. If your pre-amp or tuner has high and low controls you can adjust for this. If they don’t, than it is a major part of pairing your equipment. Don’t forget to mitigate the associated equipment known as your listening room.  Make sure to at least put sound dampening material at the points of 1st reflection and behind you if you can.  Here is a good reference article on first reflections points from PSAudio.  It is easy and can make a world of difference for soundstage.
Home Theater or Stereo Only – If you plan to build up a home theater system at some point it is good to consider if the speakers you are purchasing have associated surrounds, center, and sub speakers paired with the floorstanding. In a surround sound system having matching sounding speakers is very important.
Experts may all agree on the advantages or shortcomings of any product they review but, at AudioReview.com, we believe that the average consumer can best summarize all the details a product has to offer… So read what users have to says!

Follow this link if you are Interested in Best Speakers Under $2,000


Axiom M60 v3 ~ $1040
Brent Butterworth, Sound + Vision, February/March 2011 – The Axiom Audio M60 v3 gave me the reliable engineering excellence I expect from the Canadian school. It also gave me something I didn’t anticipate: that extra dose of audio excitement I often hear in more exotic designs.
Mike L., LA (customer comment) writes – I literally began to cry; I mean it! I have never heard sound that incredibly crystal clear, powerful, balanced, overwhelming. I was carried away to another place by the beauty spilling out of these awesome speakers.
Featured Merchants
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Axiom Audio

Wharfedale Diamond 9.6 ~ $800
AudioEnz – Michael Wong – The Diamonds are the kind of product expected from a long time manufacturer dedicated to making music accessible. With it’s canny balance of abilities the Diamonds do a very good job of disappearing and do not get between the listener and the music. With no major flaws, they are a steal, solid proof that the art of building good value stereo equipment survives.
AudioReview - 8 Reviews 4.88 of 5 – sburken writes – all four drivers blend together for a warm sound that can be played to exceptionally loud levels without being fatigueing. however, these speakers do not shine when played with very harsh material (IE metal), they shine beautifully when tasked with rock through classical though

Energy Loudspeakers C-500 ~ $400
Canada HIFI – Through my test, I discovered that the Energy C-Series are a set of very musical speakers with a sweet tooth for the home theatre. With their modest size, they can be easily accommodated into a smaller room, although their sound can effortlessly fill an average sized listening space.
AudioReview - 5 Reviews 5.00 of 5 mastermind717 writes – For the price these are the best speakers I have ever heard. Highs, lows and midrange are tight and accurate. The sound stage is full and pleasant to listen to for hours no matter what your taste in music. I am running the C-500′s without a sub though I’m certain a mid size velodyne would compliment these nicely, especially for movies.

Magnepan Magneplanar MMG ~ $600
Goodsound.com – They’re so good that they’ll make you look like an audio wunderkind and make your system sing as never before. They do need to be driven by a good, strong receiver or amp — no 25W weaklings need apply — and they’ll expose weaknesses upstream from them (if you have a cheap, tinny-sounding CD player, for instance). They’ll also expose the intricate layers of beauty that might be hidden by your current speakers, so if you’re tempted to give ‘em a try, you can have these Maggies in your home for a 60-day, money-back trial.
AudioReview - 283 Reviews 4.72 of 5 stuartson writes – First off, The MMGs are amazing! Not simply “amazing for the money”, but flat out amazing. The soundstage is open and expansive, the tonal reproduction is exceptional, the speed and detail are mind-boggling at times. They truly have the ability to reproduce certain types of music with a scary accuracy and realism.
AudioReview - DPS writes -I have had a pair of MMG’s for about six months and will most likely quit searching for the elusive audio nirvana I’ve been chasing since the mid 70′s. The simple fact is these speakers provide a window into my music tastes that cannot be duplicated by any other available speaker any where near this price.
Magneplanar
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$299
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$599
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$325 pair
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Magnepan

Paradigm Reference Monitor 7 ~ $800
hometheaterreview.com – Soundstaging and imaging are both superb with the Monitor 7s. The Monitor 7s’ soundstage is as deep as it is wide and very nicely detailed and natural in its presentation. In terms of imaging, especially center focus, the Monitor 7s react much more like mini monitors than floor-standing loudspeakers.
AudioReview - 98 Reviews 4.55 of 5 Spock1234 writes – This is especially obvious when listening to Jazz and Blues recordings which contain male voices and acoustic guitar segments. The bass extension is low enough to ‘feel’ the music, but it never sounds ‘boomy’. The single best thing about these speakers is that they are ‘Neutral’. If you are used to listening to other speakers that make the music sound ‘shrill’ or ‘boomy’, the Monitor 7s may sound a little ‘flat’ initially. But after you listen to them for a day or two, you will appreciate of the neutrality the Monitors.
reviews.digitaltrends.com writes - The highs are sweet, the mids are richly detailed, and the bass is tight and accurate. Our only complaint is that the midrange could be a little richer on some vocal recordings. Additionally, the finish on these speakers left little to be desired in terms of a luxury finish – but now knowing their true price, we feel this is almost an uncalled for assessment.

Polk Audio TSi500 ~ $800
Bestcovery.com – Polk’s TSi500 floorstanding speakers are well designed with excellent build quality and finish for the money. The sound quality and especially the bass are very good. Music is lively with clean detail and highs. These speakers have a whopping four 6.5” drivers that deliver strong bass. The frequency range is rated at 28Hz-25kHz. They work well for both home theater and music listening.
AudioReview - 2 Reviews 5.00 of 5 pvsat writes – the best performance in the upper entry segment. I moved from a set of polk R300s to these and yes they make a huge difference in the sound. I feel the room shake during explosion and low bass sequences. They image very well..the image size increased about 2-3 times from the r300s when listening in 2 channel.

Fluance ES-1 ~ $400
Amazon.com reviewer Richard Hebbourn – Although I’ve heard quite a few good things about the ES1 speakers, I was still surprised by the amount of bass that comes through them. The highs are even better – each note is crisp and defined, and the sound fills my entire house.
AudioReview - 9 Reviews 4.11 of 5 writes – My lucky day! Awesome speakers when coupled with a sub for frequencies below 70Hz. I power them with a 120 watt per channel HK Stereo (yes I said stereo) reciever and run them through a 15 band equalizer just to tweak them ever so slightly. Add a 12 inch 150 watt sub and CD’s, Movies, and Concert DVD’s rock! Don’t let the fact they won’t cost ya an arm and a leg fool you, these may be the best deal in HiFi to be had in a long time!
AudioReview - writes – First few weeks, these speakers were breaking in. They sounded distinctly harsh. After the break-in period, however, they REALLY smoothed out. I would highly recommend them as excellent value. They look good (my wife likes them) and they sound very good.
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Klipsch RF-52 ~ $660
AVguide.com – Few affordable systems offer a more compelling blend of detail, finesse, and dynamic clout plus an almost magically vibrant quality that brings music and movies alive. Bravo, Klipsch.
AudioReview - 1 Reviews 5.00 of 5 - boorat writes – Amazing, crisp sound! Will wake the neighbors with no distortion. Crystal clear highs and smooth, tight punchy bass. I can hear every instrument on it’s own. My sound dream come true! Highly recommend these!! Not too big, not too small. My receiver is the DENON AVR 5700 (140 watts per channel).
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Cerwin Vega CLS-215 ~ $1000
sbobbby2679 – AudioReview – … I know, Cerwin Vega has a name that some “audiophiles” sneer at a bit, calling them things like “frat house speakers”. I’d urge you to google “CLS-215″ and read some of the reviews that several audio writers have given them, people who are used to reviewing some very high-end stereo equipment. I haven’t found a bad review yet…
RG – AudioReview And they sound quite good to boot. If I was in the market for $1000 pair of speakers these would be a consideration – even for female vocals, classical, and jazz. Not perfect but nothing is and I like them better than than most for this money.


More Floorstanding speakers on AudioREVIEW.

Yes, unfortunately, an Editorial list won’t, and probably couldn’t include everyone’s personal favorite speaker.  So, if you think we left a great sub $1000 speaker out, comment. Let us and others know why you think it should be included.  Help those in our community who are searching for speakers.  Be detailed if you can about sound, music style, and room set up.  It is great appreciated.

Follow this link if you are Interested in Best Speakers Under $2,000

Editor’s Choice Best Floorstanding Speakers Under $1000 Gallery
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Original Resource is Audioreview http://www.audioreview.com/reviews/editors-choice-best-floor-standing-speakers-under-1000

Audio How To: What To Buy? – How To Set It Up?

One of the biggest and arguably best problems right in home audio is that there are too many great manufacturers out there. It is mind boggling to know where to start.  Or even worse, what to buy now, that you can build around over time.

Here is a list of products that the AudioReview Editor’s feel are worth your time and careful consideration.  A list of great products from great manufacturers.

We will be adding more products over time, so make sure to check back.  If you think something should be on the list that isn’t, write it in the comments below.  Heck, write out what you think would be a perfect starting system.  Lets help the newbies out.

And just having the equipment isn’t enough, you must set it up correctly to get the most out of your gear.  Use our expanding how to guide to get the most from your system

Last Updated: 02.08.2011


How To Guides

- Non-Audiophile Guide to Getting Great Sound

- Suggested Books to Read

- Audio Vocabulary

- Determine Your Needs

- Guide to Finding and Buying Used Audio Gear

- more articles to come

Analog & Digital

- articles to come

Your Listening Room

- articles to come


Suggested Components

floorstander

bookshelf

amplifier

headphones

Floorstanding Speakers Bookshelf Speakers Integrated Amplifiers Headphones

cables

turnable

cartridges

ipod

Cables Turntables Cartridges iPod Audio

Monitor Audio RX6 ~ $1200
MonitorAudioRX6
Floorstanding Speakers 

Monitor Audio RX6 are the latest model in an outstanding line of floorstanding speakers. Their predecessor, the RS6, had extremely favorable reviews in Stereophile, WhatHi-Fi and from AudioREVIEW users. The RX6 has a 5 of 5 from WhatHi-Fi and made the AudioREVIEW forums drool when the images were released. They are on my list of most recommended speakers for about $1000.

Specifications

  • System Format: 2 1/2 Way
  • Frequency Response: 38Hz – 35kHz
  • Sensitivity ([email protected]): 90dB
  • Nominal Impedance: 6 Ohms
  • Recommended Amplifier Requirements (RMS): 40-125W
  • Bass Alignment: Dual Chamber, Bass reflex with differential tuning.
  • Drive Unit Complement: 1 x 6″ RST® Bass driver.
  • 1 x 6″ RST® Bass/Mid driver.
  • 1 x 1″ (25mm) C-CAM® gold dome tweeter
Other Recommend Floorstanding Speakers – Wharfedale Diamond 9.6, Paradigm Reference Monitor 7, Axiom Millennia M60 Ti, B&W 683, Magnepan Magneplanar MMG

Also see our Editor’s Best Floorstanding Speakers under $1000 Guide


Magnepan Magneplanar 1.7 ~ $2000
Magnepan1.7
Floorstanding Speakers 

Magneplanar 1.7 are the latest model in an outstanding line of floorstanding speakers. Their predecessor, the 1.6, had extremely favorable reviews. The 1.7 have done even better. With reviews now in from around the audio media world, these speakers are being paired with equipment 5 to 10 times their price. If you like the Maggie sound, of openness, cohesiveness, and detail, these maybe the last speakers you’ll ever buy.

Specifications

Description 3-Way, Full-Range, Quasi-Ribbon
Freq. Resp. 40-24 kHz
Rec Power Read Frequently Asked Questions
Sensitivity 86dB/500Hz /2.83v
Impedance 4 Ohm
Dimensions 19 x 65 x 2
Other Recommend Floorstanding Speakers from Magnepan – Magnepan Magneplanar MMG ~ $600

Also see our Editor’s Best Floorstanding Speakers under $1000 Guide


Zu Audio Omen ~ $1500
ZuAudioOmen
Floorstanding Speakers 

Zu Omen’s are loud, fun, and rocking. Plus they have devilishly good looks. Zu Audio is all about putting the fun back into HiFi at an affordable price. At Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2010 Zu all over the place. Paired with a lot of different equipment their sound was bold and had a live’esk sound that reminded me of guitar amps.

Technical features

  • Efficiency: 98 dB 1W/1m
  • Impedance: 12 Ohm
  • Height: 36″ tall + footers
  • Footprint: 12″ square
  • Tube and solid-state friendly!
  • Cabinet: MDF with real maple skin
  • Manufactured in Ogden, Utah, USA
Other Recommend Zu Audio Speakers -Soul Superfly
Also see our Editor’s Best Floorstanding Speakers under $1000 Guide

Salk Sound Song Tower w/Ribbon Tweeter~ $2700
SalkSongTower
Floorstanding Speakers 

Jim Salk has received a huge amount of positive fan fair for his great sounding and sometimes extremely well finished speakers. The Song Tower with the upgraded ribbon tweeter is certainly well worth its value. Plus when you order from Salk Sound you can work with Jim and his team to get just the settings you want. A bit laid back, or a bit more forward sound.The Song Towers offer an extremely transparent high end and a clear and detailed mid range. They produce sufficient bass to please, but can be paired with a sub if you are really looking for thump. They might even make the spouse happy if you get a sweet looking custom finish.

Technical features

  • Design – MTM 2-way Mass-loaded Quarter Wave Tube Transmission Line
  • Drivers – custom RAAL with the ribbon tweeter upgrade, (2) Seas ER15RLY midwoofers
  • Response – OW2 – 42Hz – 20KHz (+/- 3db)
  • RAAL – 42Hz – 60KHz (+/- 3db)
  • Sensitivity – (dB/2.83v/1M) 88db
  • Impedance 4 ohms minimum 6 ohms nominal
Other Recommend Salk Sound Speakers – SoundScape 12
Also see our Editor’s Best Floorstanding Speakers under $2000 Guide

Original Resource is Audioreview http://www.audioreview.com/reviews/audioreview-editors-best-choice-holiday-shopping-guide

Best Budget Audio Gear Buyers Guide

One can go far on a small budget. But just stopping into a big box and picking up the cheapest thing won’t get you there. If you are on a budget but want good sound and don’t know where to start, here’s a guide. These components have many recommendations from a variety of places; user forums, electronic and audio magazines, and our own ears here at AudioReview.com.

Below is a list of budget components that has caught our attention over the year.

This is by no means a definitive list.   If you have some of your own you’d like to suggest use the comment area below.

Klipsch RF-52 ~ $660
AVguide.com – Few affordable systems offer a more compelling blend of detail, finesse, and dynamic clout plus an almost magically vibrant quality that brings music and movies alive. Bravo, Klipsch.
AudioReview - 1 Reviews 5.00 of 5 - boorat writes – Amazing, crisp sound! Will wake the neighbors with no distortion. Crystal clear highs and smooth, tight punchy bass. I can hear every instrument on it’s own. My sound dream come true! Highly recommend these!! Not too big, not too small. My receiver is the DENON AVR 5700 (140 watts per channel).
Axiom Audio M3v3 ~ $348
pcdistrict.com - The M3 is Axiom’s most versatile and compact stereo and home theater speaker. Winner of the SoundStage! Reviewer\’s Choice Award and GoodSound! Product of the Year, the M3 delivers powerful bass, outstanding treble, and award-winning musical sound for under $400…
AudioReview’s – Adam LaBarge – When I checked the price again I was blown away to find out they were $348, especially when considering their performance. The M3v3 do most of what a great speaker should. They present a large and open image, linear reproduction of sound, offer a good amount of detail, and be as transparent as the speaker can be. Read Full Review
Onkyo M-282 ~ $200

Amplifier

Onkyo is a big name in the audio industry.  Having been around for ages and always making quality gear at an affordable price.  The M-282 is no exception.  A 100W solid state amplifier that does have a pre-amp (knob in back). This can easily drive your home stereo system and sound good.

Other Recommend Amplifiers – Van Alstine Insight 240,  NAD C275BEE, ROTEL RB-1562

Specifications

  • Dynamic Headroom 1.7 dB
  • Frequency Response 20Hz-20KHz
  • Number of Channels 2
  • Signal to Noise Ratio >100 dB
  • THD 0.018% @ 8 Ohms and 0.02% @ 4 Ohms
  • Watts Per Channel 4ohms 200
  • Watts Per Channel 8ohms 125

TEAC AG-790A ~ $150

Receiver

Listen to your favorite radio stations on the AG-790A AM/FM stereo receiver from TEAC. Its discrete output circuit configuration provides 100x100W RMS output power at 8 ohms. Its quartz PLL-synthesized tuning system delivers quality sound through your stereo system. You’ll also be able to take advantage of the built-in speaker terminals (four pairs) to connect your speakers to your stereo system.

Other Recommend Receivers – Sherwood RX-4105, Sony STR-DN1000, Yamaha RX-497, Denon DRA-697CI, Cambridge Audio Azur 540R

Specifications

  • Channels 2
  • Type of Receiver Stereo
  • Radio Station Programmable Memories (Presets) 30
  • Manufacturer’s Warranty – Hardware 1 Year
  • Watts per channel 100

Read reviews on the AG-790A here


Audioengine 2 – $199

Computer Speakers

Mid-range vocals and soft silky highs are what these are all about. I’ve just finished demo’ing them at the 2011 California Audio Show and I was blow away by the clarity and presents of the vocal mid-range.  Pair with a sub for better bass performance. Vocal’s pop off these so they will surely make great speakers for movies. Plus they fit in a small bag and are easily portable. Take them with you on your next vacation or biz trip and actually get good sound in your hotel room.

The long list of reviews from a variety of sources speaks for itself.  These are great little desktop speakers.

Other Recommended Computer Speaker Systems.

Specifications

  • Type:2.0 powered (active) multimedia desktop speaker system
  • Inputs:Dual 1/8″ stereo mini-jack and RCA jacks
  • Amplifier Type:Dual Class AB monolithic
  • Drivers:2.75″ Kevlar woofers, 20mm silk dome tweeters
  • Power Output:60W peak power total (15W RMS / 30W peak per channel), AES
Sennheiser HD 555 ~ $130
Headphone

Sennheiser HD 555 made it onto our Editor’s Choice Best Headphone Guide for good reason.  They are constantly sought after by audiophiles on a budget.  Their open constuction and cicumaural fit (around the ears) makes them comfortable, big sounding, and doesn’t cause listening fautigue.  The HD 555 are good straight into a source but really shine with a headphone amp. Sennheiser, a headphone company with one of the best reputations, has made one of the best budget hi-fi headphones out there.

Specifications:



Acoustic Research AW 845 ~ $450

Wireless Speakers

Free your self of wires. Sounds like a dream. But with the 150ft range of the AW825 speakers, that work inside, outside, in the rain and wind, you’ll be able to live that reality. The base unit does have to be plugged into a wall outlet and a source via the 1/8th adapter, so your MacBook, your iPod, iPad, iPhone, laptop, or stereo, but the actual speakers run on AA batteries and can be moved anywhere.

Each speaker is sold separately, but you can add as many as you like. Users with 4 have experienced no issues. Each speaker can be set to mono, left channel, right channel. You can place them through out your home, garden, or pool area.

The speakers themselves run at 5W and are a two way design. A 2-inch tweeter and 3-inch woofer. With a 40Hz-15kHz frequencies range

Specifications:

  • Innovative circuit design
  • Provide TWO sets of switchable audio inputs
  • Besides the normal audio output in the back panel
  • Compact design (mini-size & light weight)
  • All audiophile-graded parts and components

Pro-Ject Debut III ~ $379

Turntable

Nothing says I love you to an audiophile like a gift of vinyl. The Pro-Ject Debut III is one of the top selling budget turntables because it has one focus, accurate audio playback.  There are no bells and whistles, no cheap USB connections, nothing you don’t need.  Also the nice thing about it, if you want to take your turntable to the next level there are plenty of aftermarket upgrades for the Pro-Ject tables that can turn a $400 table to the next several levels.

Other Recommended Turntables- Rega P2, Rega P1, Music Hall MMF2.2, Denon DP-300, Thorens TD158

Accessories

Phono Amps – Bellari VP130, Pro-Ject Phono Box USB.Thorens MM 001,  Rega Fono,

Cartridges – Shure M97xE, Stanton 681 Mk III,  Audio-Technica AT440ML,  Denon DL 110

Specifications

  • Tonearm bearing comprises inverted hardened stainless-steel points and sapphire thrust-pads
  • Steel platter with felt mat
  • Low-tolerance chrome-plated stainless-steel axle runs on a polished ball bearing in a brass bearing housing
  • Motor decoupled to reduce vibration
  • Supplied with Ortofon OM 5E cartridge fitted
  • Pro-Ject 8.6 tonearm
  • Nominal speeds 33 / 45
  • Available in matt black, glossy black, glossy white, silver, red, yellow, blue and green

Emotiva ERC-1 ~ $399

CD Player

The ERC-1 CD player is designed to be an audiophile player. Separate, shielded power supplies for the CD carriage, display, and digital and analog sections ensure noiseless operation. Using Analog Devices 1955 DAC, with 384k oversampling, and 1V rms (7V peak for extended dynamics), the ERC-1 will be your guide to rediscovering your CD collection and your love for music. Even the look of the ERC-1 will turn heads, with a sleek faceplate that features a halo-lit slot load mechanism.

Other Recommended CD Players – Cambridge Audio 340C, NAD C51BEE, Marantz CD5003, Denon DCM-370

Specifications

  • Digital Output Filter: 24-Bit, 384 times oversampling (Analog Devices 1955)
  • Sampling Frequency: 44.1 kHz
  • Analog output filter frequency: 80 kHz (-3dB)
  • Amplitude output linearity: 0.2dB
  • Phase linearity: 30°
  • Power consumption: < 25W
  • Output connection types: digital coaxial, digital optical toslink, unbalanced RCA, balanced XLR
  • Weight: 17.5 lbs. (unboxed)

Read reviews of the ERC-1 here

Original Resource is Audioreview http://www.audioreview.com/reviews/best-budget-audio-gear-buyers-guide-speakers-headphones-computer-speakers-turntables-amplifier

Best Earphones

Editor’s Choice Best Earphones

Shure SE535 Isolating Earphones – $499.00

Specs:

  • Sound Isolating Design
  • Speaker Type: Hi-Definition MicroSpeaker
  • Included Premium Fit Kit (with additional 9” extension cable)
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Engadget Says: …it’s not hype and these aren’t expensive just for the sake of being expensive: you will, against all odds, get what you pay for with these things. If you already own the E500 or SE530, … — you’re not getting any improvement in sound quality with the SE535, and the main improvements center around robustness of the cable,

CNET Says: The Shure SE535 headphones offer exceptional clarity; deep, tight bass; rich, enveloping sound; and great noise isolation.

iphoneheadphonesreview.com Says: The Shure SE535 are my top recommendation if you are looking for the best sound quality. Their clarity and definition, coupled with great comfort, are unmatched by any pair of universal-fit in ear headphones.

Read More Reviews

Shure E3c – Sound Isolating Earphones – $69

Specs:

  • Speaker Type: Dynamic MicroDriver
  • Sensitivity (at 1kHz): 105dB SPL/mW
  • Impedance (at 1kHz): 16
  • Cable Length: E2c: 1.57m (62 inches) E2c (in black): 1.45m (56 inches)
  • Net Weight: 30g (1 oz)
  • Input Connector: 3.5 mm (1/8″) gold-plated stereo plug
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    4.48 out of 5 – 25 Reviews

    Evan S Said: I am am a drummer in a band and needed good headphones/ earphones for studio work and concerts. I have found that the E2c’s are very good for concerts because they block out alot of noise and you can’t really see that I’m wearing them. Low end bass is very good, but it is a little boomy.

    Colin Said: The bass was very rich when I listened to Rap and Treble also brought out sounds I have never heard before in my music. I also watch a part of Saving Private Ryan on my Zune. I was at the end about 30 seconds before the planes came in for an attack I could hear the low rumble! I was amazed!

    editor_reviews_banner3.jpg

    PC-Mag Says: These light, durable, and accurate ear-canal headphones provide lots of value but are slightly uncomfortable; a significant portion remains outside the ear. They’re a good choice for those who won’t be adding an amp to their rig.

    Read More Reviews

    Editors Note: These headphones have been discontinued but you can still find the quiet easily at online stores. Along with the price drop, $60 at Amazon.com, makes them well worth this list. These are a pair you should snatch up quick!


    Shure SE310 Isolating Earphones – $299

    Specs:

  • Peaker Type: Hi-Definition MicroSpeaker + Tuned BassPort
  • Sensitivity (1mW): 111 dB SPL/mW
  • Impedance (1kHz): 28
  • Frequency Range: 22Hz – 19kHz
  • Cable Length/with Extension: 18 in. / 45cm (54 in. / 136cm)
  • Color: Available in Black and White
  • editor_reviews_banner3.jpg
    4.15 out of 5 – 13 Reviews

    Headphone Room Says: We just can’t get past the fact that the SE310 is pretty much the perfect balance of everything we’ve hoped for in a mid-priced ear canal headphone for the past 15 years. Believe us, your iPod is lonely for a pair of SE310s.

    CNet Says: If you’re looking for a premium listening experience, check out the Shure SE310 Sound Isolating Earphones. They sound fantastic and will probably outlast your MP3 player.

    Digital Trends Says: The Shure SE310s are the best single-driver canalphones we have auditioned to date. While they lack a unique signature and sound slightly flat, overall performance was excellent. The design showcases the maturity of Shure’s place in the market, and the new ear sleeves are the most comfortable we have used.

    Read More Reviews


    Sound Magic PL30 – $30

    editor_reviews_banner3.jpg
    Sound Magic PL30 are hard to beat, especially at this price point. In fact I think they sound better than a pair of Grado SR60s at less than half the price. Sure the stage isn’t huge, but balance, clarity and dynamics are very good. They come with a huge variety of fitting options and each ear has a bass adjustment knob. After a few hours of burn in the frequencies are very well balanced and clear. They isolate well. Very little cord feedback and frankly they just sound good.

    • 9mm Neodymium Magnet Drivers
    • Impedance: 12 ohm
    • Sensitivity: 100+/-3dB/mW at 1kHz
    • Frequency Response: 20Hz to 22kHz
    • Connector: 3.5mm stereo plug

    Original Resource is Audioreview http://www.audioreview.com/reviews/best-earphones

    Erzetich Audio released a Bacillus series Headphone Amplifiers

    Slovenia, September 5, 2012

    Office, lack of space, portability, little kids sleeping in the next room: these are the factors that make the use of audio speakers hard or even impossible for music lovers. An obvious solution to this problem are headphones. Like speakers, headphones need a good and powerful amplifier, too, to get most out of them. Sound cards and players mainly do have an incorporated headphone amplifier, but usually they don’t deliver enough power.

    Headphone amplifiers have been around for some time now and you can find them in all kinds of shapes and price ranges. They are also an essential item in an audiophile’s equipment.

    Erzetich Audio released a Bacillus series of two amplifiers. Both models are hand made and tested one by one.

    ”With our initial range of headphone amplifiers, we thought about two categories of users: sound professionals and home users. Bacillus is a portable hard aluminium cased amplifier that will help sound engineers and musicians drive their headset properly, whether this is in a studio or on the go, while Bacillus Tilia targets more at good-sound lovers, who wish not only a hi-end headphone amplifier but also an aesthetic piece of art, a hand made object on their table. With their outstanding linearity, ranging from 5 Hz to 500 kHz, and constant power, these amplifiers won’t leave any audiophile indifferent,” says Blaž Erzetič, the man behind Erzetich Audio.

    As a homage to the Slovenian heritage, the Tilia line (currently consisting of an amplifier and a headphones stand) is made of linden wood, hand crafted, artificially aged and painted with eight coats of varnish. Not two of them have the same pattern, making every unit unique.

    Bacillus twins are expecting the birth of their (evil) brother Perfidus in late autumn.

    For more information visit www.erzetich-audio.com.

    About Erzetich Audio
    Erzetich Audio is focused on personal audio, specifically on headphone amplifiers and accessories. The company is located in the west of Slovenia, in the woods of Trnovo, not really far away from the border with Italy. Erzetich Audio products keep a clean and fine industrial design, as well as a simple use and positioning. They strive to keep the units as compact as possible by incorporating the power supply directly into chasis, having no need for annoying external power supplies.

    Original Resource is Audioreview http://www.audioreview.com/reviews/erzetich-audio-released-a-bacillus-series-headphone-amplifiers

    KEF X300A Powered Speaker

    New KEF X300A Powered Speaker Offers High-Resolution Sound from any Smartphone, Tablet or Computer

    New powered loudspeaker series delivers unequalled sound performance from devices such as iPod®, iPhone® iPad®, Android® and Kindle Fire® via distortion-free USB input 

    Marlboro, N.J. – September 5, 2012 - KEF, the renowned manufacturer of innovative, reference-quality loudspeakers, enters into an entirely new product category with the launch of the X300A digital hi-fi desktop speaker system. The X300A is a premium loudspeaker system that was developed to offer the highest sound reproduction possible from the listener’s computer and all of today’s popular smartphones and tablets, including Apple® iPod®, iPhone® iPad®, Android® and Kindle Fire® devices, via distortion-free USB input.

    “Innovation has been the guiding force behind KEF’s success for over five decades,” said Alec Chanin, president of KEF America. “The X300A continues that tradition. The X300A addresses the challenges of reproducing today’s modern music formats, and delivers them in the highest possible quality. Additionally, this new loudspeaker represents all of the characteristics that make KEF products legendary: superior engineering, premium sound performance and stylish aesthetic design.”

    Unlike typical powered computer speaker designs, each X300A speaker utilizes two Class AB audiophile-grade amplifiers – one dedicated for HF and one for LF/MF – complete with a toroidal transformer, which significantly reduces the normal “hum” heard while playing most powered speakers. The X300A was designed to mirror the performance of the best in professional studio monitors with an impressive output of 150W of power per channel at 1kHz.

    To get the very best from the twin class AB amplifiers, the X300A features KEF’s patented Uni-Q driver array, adapted from KEF’s flagship Blade speaker. KEF’s Uni-Q array places the tweeter in the acoustic center of the woofer. This allows both the woofer and tweeter to act as a single, focused source of sound that is dispersed widely and evenly throughout a room or setting—a feature not found on any other loudspeaker brand.

    The 5.25” driver array is neatly housed within a die-cast aluminum chassis to help prevent resonances and creates a more accurate sound. With other innovations such as the Z-flex surround for a smooth transition between cone and cabinet, and large neodymium magnets with copper caps to reduce inductance and distortion, the Uni-Q driver array provides a wide, clean and detailed sound field, whatever source your music is coming from.

    The X300A’s USB connection provides lossless, high-resolution sound from any computer, smartphone or tablet courtesy of a 96kHz/24-bit digital input featuring an integrated audiophile-quality digital/analog converter (DAC). This assures that when a listener connects to the X300A, they will bypass the source’s internal DAC resulting in accurate, high resolution playback from whatever source is connected, whether it’s a phone, tablet or computer.

    In addition to the USB connection for smartphones, tablets and computers, the X300A offers wireless playback via  an optional Bluetooth® receiver (dongle) or can be used with Apple Airport Express®. A backup 3.5mm analogue connection is included with the X300A to offer an even greater level of functionality with the use of alternative hi-fi components. The speaker’s adjustable EQ modes compliment a “Desk”, “Stand” and “Desk/Wall” mode allowing the speaker to be optimized specifically for any application. To maximize sound performance, the listener simply selects the “Desk” or “Stand” mode by a switch on the rear panel of the master speaker, or chooses the “Desk/Wall” by inserting the included foam plugs to the rear mounted reflex port on each speaker.

    The X300A comes in a brushed gun metal finish and will be available Fall 2012 with a price of $799.99/pair. For more information on KEF, please visit http://www.kef.com.

    About KEF

    KEF’s ethos has always been based on the continuing quest to find new and better ways of reproducing sound. Since the company’s establishment in Maidstone, Kent in 1961 by Raymond Cooke O.B.E., KEF has maintained a flair for unusual and controversial speaker engineering, design and material use. KEF has always driven innovation in sound with examples including its iconic ‘egg’, Muon and Blade speakers. KEF is part of Gold Peak Group and its products are available in more than 60 countries. In 2011 KEF celebrated its 50th anniversary and is still committed to building on its strong heritage. www.kef.com

    Original Resource is Audioreview http://www.audioreview.com/reviews/kef-x300a-powered-speaker