Price: $968-$1474 per pair, depending on finish
Philip said: A speaker like Axiom’s M5HP is proof that you can get incredible sound, superb engineering, and fantastic build quality at a reasonable price.
The gist: Re-evaluate what you think great speakers cost.
Price: $2500 per pair
Hans said: No, the smallest tower model in B&W’s new 700 Series is a beautiful, well-built loudspeaker that sounded sensational with the right material, and never failed to keep me engaged, whether as reviewer or as listener. It’s not for everyone, but I suspect that for certain listeners it will be enduringly satisfying.
The gist: Not flat, but good-sounding speaker if you like what it offers.
Edgar said: In fact, Definitive Technology’s engineering chops have produced somewhat of a rare freak: a truly affordable, high performing, beautifully finished, constructed and styled speaker that possesses the indisputable inherent cachet a sizable speaker-producing concern can provide.
The gist: Edgar was super impressed with the sound, especially for the price.
Price: $2999 per pair
Doug said: I had a bit of a rough start with the Special Forty, but it wound up being one of the most transparent-sounding two-way speakers I’ve ever heard.
The gist: If anyone can make a great stand-mounted two-way, it’s Dynaudio.
Brent said: When and if Microsoft decides to get serious about making Cortana a digital assistant for the home, the Invoke could be a compelling product.
The gist: Sound was good, but needs better software to truly compete.
Price: KEF Q150 Loudspeakers ($550 per pair); KEF Kube12b Subwoofer ($700 each)
Kevin said: Music is meant for stereo, and the Q150s and Kube12b delivered music in heaping bucketsful of stereo sound.
The gist: Affordable-yet-refined sub/sat system for the music lover.
Price: $1499.98 per pair
Hans said: It’s one of the most neutral transducers I’ve ever heard, and for the money offers staggeringly transparent sound. I fed it a steady diet of male and female singer-songwriters, and was always satisfied with the authenticity of what I heard. It’s not exactly a looker, but it’s well engineered, and sounds far more expensive than its price suggests.
The gist: What Hans would buy with 1500 bucks in his pocket for speakers.
Price: $1599 per pair
Al said: It conveys music in a detailed manner, with pinpoint imaging and surprisingly powerful bass for its size.
The gist: Great sub-$2k speaker choice for rock music.