2021 Top Picks of the Year Speakers

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Speakers

Top Pick of the Year:

Polk Audio Reserve Surround System
(June/July) Read Review

A follow-up to Polk Audio's 2019 cost-no-object Legend series, the new Reserve series incorporates the same advanced drivers developed for those flagship speakers, along with some new technologies to optimize performance in a less swanky cabinet design. In his review of a full Reserve series Atmos system, S&V editor Al Griffin, who had previously reviewed the Legend series flagship towers, commented, "You could certainly spend more to get great sound in your home theater...but this Polk Audio Reserve series package proves you don't really have to." $3,195 (as tested), polkaudio.com

Finalists:

PSB PWM-1 On-Wall Surround System
(April/May) Read Review

On-wall speakers like the PSB PWM-1 can be an excellent option if you don't want to dedicate your living room to a home theater audio system, but also expect dynamic and enveloping sound that's a step above what you'd get from in-wall speakers. In his review of a full 5.1 PSB PWM-1 On-Wall system, Michael Trei deemed it, "An excellent choice if you want a great-sounding speaker system for movies and music that won't take over your room or your life." $6,193 (as tested). psbspeakers.com

IK Multimedia iLoud MTM
(April/May) Read Review

Coming across as something of a desktop speaker system on steroids, IK Multimedia's powered monitor turned out to be a great desktop audio option, but also one that held up well for far-field listening when placed on speaker stands. "For anyone seeking a powered solution for the desktop, or for an intimate, small- room system, they earn my highest recommendation" commented reviewer Daniel Kumin. $700/pair, ikmultimedia.com

Sonus faber Lumina Surround System
(June/July) Read Review

Designed to appeal to a wider range of listeners (i.e., those with with real-world budgets) Sonus faber's Lumina Collection is the Italian company's most accessible speaker line yet. They may lack the curved all-wood cabinets of the brand's higher-end offerings, but nonetheless exude the company's characteristic high style, with real wood front baffles along with a leather cabinet wrap. As for the sound, reviewer TJN found the Lumina system to be "rewardingly neutral" on music, and "exceptionally dynamic, and well-balanced" on movies. $5,296, sonusfaber.com

PSB Speakers Synchrony T600
(August/September) Read Review

With Canadian speaker maker PSB's 50th anniversary on the horizon, the release of the company's new Synchrony T600 tower is cause for celebration. "With its clear, dynamic sound and deep- reaching bass, listeners with feet in both the stereo music and home theater camps will be well- served by this revamped version of the company's flagship," said TJN in his review. ($7,999/pair), psbspeakers.com

KLH Model Five
(October/November) Read Review

With its cool, fully authentic vintage looks and clean, uncolored sound—with solid bass!—KLH's Model Five loudspeaker, a re-imagined version of the reinvigorated brand's classic 1960s design, is a successful blending of the old and the new—new here meaning contemporary audio engineering practices. "An exceptional update to an iconic speaker design," enthused reviewer TJN. $2,000/ pair, klhaudio.com

Canton Chrono 70
(February/March)

After being missing from the North American hi-fi and home theater speaker market for over a decade, Germany's Canton is back with a full line of loudspeakers, including the mid-range Chrono 70 tower. The Chrono 70 "delivers powerful sound with ease and represents a great value at its $2K price," said MT in his review. $1,995/pair, canton.us

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