The 2014 SoundStage! Network Buying Guide features summaries of all stereo and home-theater products reviewed in the calendar year across all of our publications. The Buying Guide is subdivided by product and price, with each article including pricing details, a review summary, a full-review link, and product-award indicators.
All prices are in US dollars.
Price: $3999 (Perfect Bass Kit, add $100)
Kevin said: The BalancedForce 212 is in a class with the best subs available to the home-audio enthusiast. The BF212 is one for the short list -- it’s required listening for anyone who’s dead serious about the low end. Highly recommended.
The gist: Very capable subwoofer in every important parameter.
Price: $995 per pair
Ian said: If you’re looking for a pair of high-resolution loudspeakers for a desktop, credenza, or wall unit in the den, the Audience ClairAudient One offers great sound and excellent build quality, and it unassumingly vanishes into its surroundings.
The gist: Add one more computer-oriented mini to the crowded field.
Price: $2790-$4167.60 per pair
Oliver said: Axiom deserves a gold medal -- or, better still, a Reviewers’ Choice award -- for how much sonic goodness they’ve packed into the wonderful M100. That they’re able to do so for a starting price of only $2790/pair is wondrous indeed. The Axiom M100 stands as one of the best-balanced reasonably priced speakers I’ve heard.
The gist: Driver-packed large floorstander that costs less than you’d think.
Price: $1150 per pair
Doug said: All told, B&W offers high value with the 684 S2 -- the reason shoppers have long gravitated toward the company’s various 600 series. But I recommend that prospective buyers first listen to this new model with familiar music, to determine if it’s the right speaker for them.
The gist: Pretty good, just not great like you would hope.
Price: $2695 per pair
Philip said: While the Mini T’s appearance is so-so, its sound is anything but. The Mini Ts’ unerring neutrality, great soundstaging, and ability to play ridiculously loudly without breaking up and distorting will tick all the right boxes for many music lovers, and will likely attract new customers to the brand.
The gist: Plays loud and clean -- the perfect rock speaker.
Price: $549 per pair
Doug said: I highly recommend Cambridge Audio’s Aero 2. For its combination of high performance and value, it’s a frontrunner for one of our Product of the Year awards, to be announced at the end of this year.
The gist: Innovative driver design delivers in this perky little speaker.
Price: $399 per pair
Vince said: I have no hesitation in recommending the Inclines to anyone who wants a high-quality computer speaker system, or as the main system for a small bedroom or apartment. You won’t be disappointed.
The gist: Bipolar sound for your desktop.
Price: $4999.90 per pair
Roger said: Definitive Technology’s Mythos ST-L SuperTower elevates “lifestyle” speaker design to a new level of performance with its high resolution, clear and neutral midrange, and incredible dynamics. A true high-end design in every respect, it should hold its own against any speaker near its price, and even against some that cost considerably more.
The gist: What a looker, with great sound to match.