Top Picks Floorstanding Speakers

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Home Theater Speaker Systems
Monolith By Monoprice Encore T6 Speaker System: $1,410
The five-piece T6 speaker system delivers a remarkably high level of performance for the remarkably reasonable price of $1,400, which gets you two sizable tower speakers, a center-channel speaker, and a pair of two-way surround speakers — all tonally matched. Performance-minded shoppers who are on a budget can hardly go wrong, especially when you consider Monoprice’s 30-day money-back guarantee. (February/March 2022 Read Full Review)
Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 Surround Speaker System: $3,000 (as tested)
Elac’s Uni-Fi 2.0 speakers reprise the excellent Uni-Fi Series of speakers we reviewed in 2016, with a number of improvements, including a new concentric driver and a beefed-up 5.25-inch woofer. The Uni-Fi Series doesn’t offer a subwoofer so the tower-based 5.1 home theater suite we reviewed included Elac’s highly capable SUB3030 subwoofer. Elac’s 2.0 updates translated into impressive sound quality, conveying the chaotic soundtrack of District 9 with precision, clarity, and a heightened sense of drama. The sonic thrills didn’t end with movies. The adventurous 5.1 remix of Roxy Music’s Avalon (1982) created a sense of full immersion, making the Uni-Fi 2.0 system a serious contender in its price range. (April/May 2021, Read Full Review)
Polk Audio Reserve Atmos Surround Speaker System: $3,195
Polk Audio’s Reserve speaker series is a more affordable follow-up to the flagship Legend series, the apex of which is represented by the L800 towers that earned a well-deserved Top Pick designation in 2019. Though the outward design of the new series is comparatively understated, the four models chosen for the Atmos-capable 5.2.0 setup we reviewed incorporate the Pinnacle Ring Radiator tweeters and Turbine cone drivers developed for the Legend series. The result is crisp near-full-range performance from a streamlined system that relies on the towers for bass duties instead of bringing a separate subwoofer into the fold. (June/July 2021, Read Full Review)
Monitor Audio Bronze 200 Atmos Surround Speaker System: $4,010 (as tested)
Monitor Audio’s entry-level Bronze Series is in its sixth generation and still going strong as evidenced by the remarkably full and detailed sound delivered by the 5.4.2 surround system we put together — an 11-piece setup comprising a pair of Bronze 200 towers outfitted with Dolby Atmos-enabled Bronze AMS height modules plus two AMS speakers, a Bronze 150 center speaker, a pair of Bronze FX bipole/dipole speakers, and two Bronze W10 subwoofers. Monitor’s longstanding focus and dedication paid off with music and movies. For reviewer Tom Norton, Jean Guillou's organ transcription of Pictures at an Exhibition (Dorian Recordings) was a stand out with the 200 tower/W10 subwoofer duo handling the recording’s deep organ notes with ease. Likewise, he described the lively soundtrack of Blade Runner 2049 as “consistently involving with no sense of strain.” (February/March 2021, Read Full Review)
Focal Vestia No.3 Surround Speaker System: $5,500
When it comes to sound quality, some brands are hit and miss. And then there are the well-established global brands like Focal that do one thing and do it very well: build speakers that consistently sound great. With the Vestia series, Focal makes some its best speaker technology available at more affordable prices. Case in point: The home theater setup featuring a pair of No. 3 towers performed well with a varied and challenging roster of music and movie soundtracks. “Blade Runner 2049 sounded incredible, from its deep growling bass to its astonishing range of music and effects,” is how Tom Norton described his moving-watching experience, adding “female voices were natural and suspended in a well-defined soundstage without unnatural sibilants” when music was played on the towers. (December 2023/January 2024, Read Full Review)
Arendal 1723 S Surround Speaker System: $7,996
If you haven’t heard of Arendal you’re not alone. The brand hails from Norway where it’s been producing and selling speakers in Europe for more than a decade. We assembled a 5.1 home theater setup comprising four models from the well-crafted 1723 series. The THX Ultra Certified system performed admirably with movies and music, producing sound that was balanced and neutral. Reviewer Jim Wilson wrote, “I literally experienced details I didn't know were there. I could listen to these speakers all day every day, there is absolutely no fatigue or strain.” And the Subwoofer 2S, which earned a Top Pick in its own right, shrugged off the brutal opening sequence of Edge of Tomorrow, producing powerfully deep, articulate bass. In a word, performance from top to bottom was impressive. (April/May 2023, Read Full Review)
Focal Chora 826-D Atmos Surround Speaker System: $8,360 (as tested)
In 2019, Focal unveiled the Chora series of “high quality yet affordable loudspeakers” with prices starting at $800 a pair and has since expanded the line with home-theater models. Eager to audition the brand’s new lower-priced offerings, Al Griffin assembled a 5.1.4 Chora system around two pairs of 826-D towers, featuring up-firing Atmos Elevation drivers that enable soundtracks to blossom in a way that puts ordinary surround sound to shame. He was impressed with the system’s ability to convey ambience and detail with power and clarity whether he was listening to music or watching a movie. (December/January 2021, Read Full Review)
Monitor Audio Silver 7G Atmos Surround Speaker System: $8,610
Full-on multichannel surround-sound speaker systems have been a staple of Sound & Vision since the beginning because the best of these setups deliver the most credible theater-at-home experience you can get. Period. Such is the case with Monitor Audio’s Silver 7G series, the latest update in its longstanding Silver Series that made its debut in 1999 — the same year this magazine made the transition from Stereo Review to S&V. More than two decades later, we remain impressed. The handsome eight-piece 5.1.2 Atmos-ready system introduces a host of technical refinements that translate into superb sound, notable for its lack of coloration, deep soundstage, and precise detail. October/November 2022 Read Full Review)
MartinLogan Motion Surround Sound Speakers and BalancedForce Subwoofer: $9,194 (as tested)
When MartinLogan introduced the Motion Series more than a decade ago, it embraced a traditional box speaker design with one important exception: instead of a standard dome tweeter, the company used an innovative and seriously sweet sounding Folded Motion tweeter. The 5.1 ensemble we reviewed mated two Motion F20 towers with a Motion C10 center, two Motion B10 bookshelf/surround speakers, and a BalancedForce 210 subwoofer — all beautifully appointed and built with exceptional care. Once the system was set up, reviewer Jim Wilson settled in for extended movie-watching and music-listening sessions. The speakers acquitted themselves honorably, leaving him particularly impressed with their ability to blend exquisite detail with razor-sharp imaging and rich bass. (August/September 2023, Read Full Review)
$10,000 & Up
Arendal 1961 9.4.4 Speaker System: $14,490 (as tested)
We were so impressed with the Arendal 1723 series home theater speaker system that we decided to up the ante to see how the Norweigan brand would fare in the high-flying, immersive world of Dolby Atmos. Drawing this time from the company’s 1961 series, we assembled an over-the-top (some might say ridiculous) 9.4.4 system comprising nine 2.5-way 1961 Tower speakers arranged around the room ($1,799/pair), four wall-mounted 1961 Height speakers ($799/pair), and four 16-Hz-capable 1961 Subwoofer 1V subs ($1,199 each). Crazy, indeed. But also mind-blowing in performance — and price. Reviewer Mark Henninger likened the experience to “staring at a hologram — clean, precise and thrillingly lifelike.” Of course, any of these speakers will sound great in a variety of more typical (and less costly) configurations. (August/September 2023, Read Full Review)
Stereo Speaker Pairs
Fluance Ai81 Active Stereo Speaker System: $499/pair
We’ve had good luck with bookshelf speakers from Canada’s Fluance so we were intrigued when they came out with the Ai81, a medium-height floorstander, which like its smaller siblings has onboard power and supports wireless streaming via Bluetooth. What’s most enticing is the price: 500 bucks for a pair of full-range speakers is an achievement worth celebrating, especially if they sound good. And they do. Recording engineer-turned-reviewer Leslie Shapiro found the speakers to be on the bright (but never harsh) side and fully capable of putting up a realistic stereo image. “I was instantly impressed. There was no surround processing, just precise stereo placement.” The Ai81s are an option worth exploring if you’re on a budget. (April/May 2023, Read Full Review)
Canton Chrono 70 Loudspeaker: $1,995/pair
The 50-year-old German brand Canton recently made its way back to the States after a decade-long hiatus. Among the first wave of products to arrive on these shores is the impressive looking — and sounding — Chrono 70 floorstander, one of the few speakers made in Europe, not China. The speaker is a rear-ported two-and-a-half-way design that mates an aluminum-manganese tweeter with two 6-inch aluminum woofers in a stately 37-inch-tall cabinet offered in black or white. Whether you’re looking for a set of floorstanding speakers for music or want to build a surround-sound system around them, the Canton Chrono 70 is a speaker that, as reviewer Michael Trei put it, punches way above its weight class. (February/March 2022, Read Full Review)
KLH Model Five Loudspeaker: $2,000/pair
KLH, one of the classic speaker brands that gave rise to mass-market hi-fi in the 1960s, is back with a re-imagined version of the iconic Model Five. The speaker remains true to the original’s three-way acoustic-suspension design but uses a modern 1-inch aluminum-dome tweeter and a single 4-inch pulp-paper midrange driver instead of the two side-by-side 5-inch drivers in the original. Otherwise, it has a 10-inch pulp-paper woofer and the same rear-panel Low/Mid/Hi switch found on its predecessor. Veteran audio reviewer Tom Norton was impressed by the “huge sonic bubble” the Fives conveyed and noted how the speakers excelled with female vocals. Somewhere Henry Kloss, the speaker’s original designer, is smiling. (October/November 2021, Read Full Review)
Dynaudio Emit 50 Loudspeaker: $2,249/pair
Dynaudio is not exactly a household name here in the U.S., but the Danish company has been making speakers for almost 50 years while establishing a reputation among audiophiles for delivering high quality sound. The Emit 50 three-way floorstander is one of the brand’s more affordable models. At over $2,000 a pair, it’s not cheap but it does live up to the brand’s stellar reputation, mating a unique 1.1-inch fabric-dome tweeter with a 6-inch midrange driver and two 7-inch woofers in a sturdy if not pedestrian looking cabinet. Reviewer Dennis Young was enamored with the speakers’ ability to recreate a spacious soundstage and put up a convincing stereo image while delivering near full-range sound regardless of volume. (December 2023/January 2024, Read Full Review)
JBL HDI-3600 Loudspeaker: $3,800/pair
The 40-inch-tall HDI-3600 tower propels the JBL legacy into the future as the newest addition to the prestigious Synthesis series. Designed at the company’s state-of-the-art engineering facility in Northridge, California, the speaker unites a trio of 6.5-inch woofers with a refined version of the super-efficient compression-driver technology JBL cuts its teeth on more than 90 years ago. The result: A speaker that plays loud and projects an expansive soundstage, making it a natural for rock and electronic music. (December/January 2021, Read Full Review)
Definitive Technology Dymension DM70 Bipolar Tower Speaker: $4,000/pair
Definitive Technology has returned to its roots with the DM70 tower, the latest iteration of the bipolar design it pioneered 30+ years ago. Like all of its bipolar towers, the DM70 mates front- and rear-firing drivers with an integrated subwoofer. The beauty of this design is you get rich, three-dimensional sound with deep effortless bass from two minimalist speakers. Reviewer Mark Henninger was mesmerized by what he heard when he powered up a pair of DM70s: “The soundstage is vast and enveloping, and the imaging is so accurate that it is as if the performers are right there in the room with you. (April/May 2023, Read Full Review)
JBL 4329P Powered Streaming Studio Monitor: $4,500/pair
JBL has once again brought its heritage in studio monitors to bear in a consumer speaker but this time with a twist. At a glance you wouldn’t know it, but the 4329P is actually a “press and play” speaker built for streaming via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and an impressive audiophile-caliber affair at that, one that mates an 8-inch woofer and a horn-loaded 1-inch tweeter with a 300-watt amplifier. Using Chromecast to zero in on streaming performance, the 4329Ps aced just about everything reviewer Daniel Kumin threw at them. Bottom line: “JBL’s largest and most capable streaming speaker to date is an unreserved success.” (June/July 2023, Read Full Review)
Bowers & Wilkins 703 S3 Speaker: $6,000/pair
When your flagship speaker becomes a fixture at one of the world’s most famous recording studios, you know you have something special. Such is the case with Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series Diamond speakers and London’s Abbey Road Studios. The 703 S3 hails from the 700 Series that sits just below the 800 Diamonds. Though not as refined as its pricier 800 Series siblings, it’s a magnificent three-way design. The speakers easily lived up to the Bowers & Wilkins legacy, delivering an exceptionally refined soundstage with goosebump-inducing imaging and detail and tight, articulate bass down to around 30 Hz. In a word, they sound fantastic. (February/March 2024, Read Full Review)
Perlisten Audio R5t Loudspeaker and D15s Subwoofer: $7,000 (tower), $5,000 (subwoofer)
If you haven’t heard of Perlisten Audio, you’re not alone. Short for Perceptual Listening, the brand was launched by a group of audio industry veterans in early 2021 so it hasn’t been around all that long. Based on our experience with R5t tower speaker and THX Dominus Certified D15s powered subwoofer, they’re off to a rousing start. The R5t is a modified two-way design with two tweeters the company calls a DPC-Array (DPC for Directivity Pattern Control) in which the operating range of the top and bottom tweeters is limited to improve sound quality. Bottom line: it works. Veteran reviewer Tom Norton praised the towers for their “transparency, lack of coloration, and ability to throw a wide and convincing soundstage” and found himself in awe of the “superb dynamic range” of the D15s. This is a speaker combo worth your attention. (June/July 2022, Read Full Review)
GoldenEar T66 Tower Speaker: $7,200/pair
The statuesque T66 tower is the first speaker designed by GoldenEar since the brand was acquired by the Quest Group in 2020, and it is a hands-down winner that embraces and builds on the proven concepts central to the critically acclaimed Triton Series launched in 2010 under the guiding hand of audio legend and GoldenEar founder Sandy Gross. “Exquisite” is how Mark Henninger described the spacious, room-filling sound and definitive bass produced by the carefully selected complement of drivers that inhabit the T66’s slender enclosure: a folded-ribbon AMT tweeter, a pair of midbass drivers, and a formidable subwoofer section featuring a pair of long-throw 5 x 9-inch woofers, two passive radiators, and a DSP-controlled 500-watt amplifier. Congratulations to AudioQuest for delivering everything you could want in a speaker that looks as good as it sounds. (April/May 2024, Read Full Review)
PSB Synchrony T600 Loudspeaker: $7,999/pair
With almost 50 years of experience under his belt, Paul S. Barton is one of the most respected authorities on loudspeaker design, so when he unveils a new model the audio community pays attention. And when he announces a new flagship, audiophile ears really perk up, as they did this spring when PSB announced the return of its long discontinued Synchrony series. The T600 is an expertly crafted "transitional" three-way design that proves, once again, that Barton remains at the top of his game. Reviewer Tom Norton characterized the T600’s overall presentation as consistently superb with “astonishing” bass that extended powerfully down to 30Hz. (August/September 2021, Read Full Review)
JBL 4349 Speaker: $8,250/pair
JBL continues its decades-long tradition of delivering studio-grade sound quality with the 4349 two-way studio monitor, designed and built at the company’s state-of-the-art acoustic engineering facility in Northridge, CA. With its large horn, 12-inch woofer, dual ports, and front-panel trim controls, the speaker echoes the bold styling of JBL’s iconic professional monitors and delivers on the promise of conveying artist intent with sonic purity. Mark Henninger praised the 4349s for their mesmerizing sound, characterized by silky highs, a smooth, natural midrange, and powerful, deep bass. (April/May 2023, Read Full Review)
Home Theater Speaker Systems Archive
Polk Audio T50 Speaker System: $690
Polk’s amazing T50 system is one of the best values in home theater speaker systems you’ll find, delivering a true 5.1 experience including a powered subwoofer and floorstanding tower speakers at a soundbar price. “If you want to do it right, it’s hard to beat a real multi-speaker package with a subwoofer. The Polk T Series makes getting there eminently affordable, and the system sounds great…,” wrote veteran speaker reviewer Mark Fleischmann. (February/March 2016, Read Full Review)
Emotiva Airmotiv 5CH Speaker System: $1,177
Emotiva, champion of “affordable high-end” gear, has worked its pricing magic on the Airmotiv 5CH home theater speaker bundle, which delivers serious audio design and refinement at an unprecedented value. “Even with a generous allowance for a subwoofer, Emotiva’s suite should weigh in well under $2,000,” wrote veteran audio reviewer Dan Kumin. “This is a simply astonishing bargain, especially when compared with what three or four grand could buy you a few short years ago. If you’re shopping for a surround loudspeaker system these days—well, lucky you!” (January 2017, Read Full Review)
Elac Debut F5 Speaker System: $1,470
Here’s a debut that was worth waiting for. You may not know Elac, a 90-year-old audio company that hails from Germany, but regular Sound & Vision readers will likely know the company’s new designer, Andrew Jones, who made a name for himself at Pioneer designing some of the best sounding “cheap” speakers you can buy. He brings his considerable talent to bear on the F5 system, which might be quickly summarized as “same result, different company.” Reviewer Dan Kumin wrote: “[The F5’s] performance is impressive even without reference to price, while their value rating is off the charts.” (January 2016, Read Full Review)
Jamo S 809 Speaker System: $1,497
After years of building speakers quietly in the background, Denmark’s Jamo decided to make some noise with its Studio 8 series. The Dolby Atmos-enabled 5.1.2 setup delivers impressive performance with music and movies for the remarkably low price of $1,497. Indeed, it is a basic system with a pedestrian vinyl-wrap finish and a compact subwoofer bassheads will want to upgrade, but it produces a wonderfully cohesive bubble of sound that will make you smile. (Posted 8/16/18, Read Full Review)
Q Acoustics 3000i Series Speaker System: $1,499
The 3000i “Cinema Pack” from Great Britain’s Q Acoustics was made to order for our Top Value Pick designation. The tower-based setup sounds as good as it looks, which is to say very good, indeed — so good, that it made our 2018 Top Value Picks of the Year list (it was reviewed in late 2018 for the February/March 2019 print issue). Veteran reviewer Dan Kumin dubbed the system a unique value and praised it for delivering the goods with music and movies. (February/March 2019 Read Full Review)
Polk Signature S60 Speaker System: $1,600
Although co-founder Matt Polk has long since departed to retirement, the company bearing his name has stayed remarkably close to its roots and true to its creation story. Case in point is the new Signature Series. The S60 tower-based speaker system delivers precisely what we’ve come to expect from this venerable brand: high performance at a reasonable price—in this case, $1,600 for a six-piece home theater ensemble, praised by reviewer Daniel Kumin for its excellent timbral balance. (July/August 2017, Read Full Review)
PSB Alpha T20 Speaker System: $1,800
Unlike most AV categories, it’s not uncommon for good sounding speakers to remain in a company’s lineup for years. Case in point is PSB's entry-level Alpha Series, which has been around since 1991 and is still going strong. Now in its third generation, the Alpha suite reviewed here in a 5.1 configuration won’t win any awards for style but delivers a four-star subwoofer and impressive sound — whether you’re listening to music or watching a movie. (April/May 2019, Read Full Review)
Aperion Audio Novus 5.0.2 Speaker System, 2,995
The stylish Novus 5.0.2 speaker setup shines with music and, when combined with a good subwoofer, will immerse you with the visceral thrills that define today’s most sonically ambitious movie soundtracks. Reviewer Tom Norton described the sense of spaciousness the system conveyed on Blade Runner 2049 as first-class. “Surround activity was spot-on, and the music, with its strong electronic element, blew me away… Dialogue was always natural, with a total lack of bloat or distracting fizzy sibilance.” (February/March 2020, Read Full Review)
GoldenEar Technology TritonCinema Three Speaker System: $3,195 (updated 3/10/15)
A slimmed down version of the phenomenal TritonCinema Two system reviewed in January 2012, complete with sweet sounding folded-diaphragm tweeters and a powered subwoofer built into each main tower, the TritonCinema Three ensemble will seduce you with its stunning clarity, detail and depth. Said reviewer Darryl Wilkinson: “Few other speakers can couple the intimacy reminiscent of an electrostatic speaker with the authority and heft of a traditional box speaker in such an organic and integral way.” (March 2012, Read Full Review)
PSB Imagine X Speaker System: $3,443
It’s got some stiff competition at and even below its price but the Imagine X series brings the magic of PSB’s near-perfect tonal balance down to a more attainable price while adding the option of object-based surround sound. Veteran speaker reviewer Daniel Kumin concluded: “If I’ve found barely a nit to pick from PSB’s latest mid-market system, it’s because there aren’t many…Imagine X is outstanding in the typically quiet Canadian way: neutral, capable, dynamic, and uncolored, a textbook example of loudspeaker design and execution.” (October 2016, Read Full Review)
GoldenEar Technology Triton Seven Speaker System: $3,594
As reviewer Darryl Wilkinson said in his review, the GoldenEar “winning streak” continues with the Triton Seven-based speaker system that teams a pair of Triton Seven towers with an SCX center speaker, a pair of Invisa 650 in-ceiling surround speakers, and the killer ForceField 5 subwoofer, which netted its own Top Pick in the subwoofer category. In addition to knocking it out of the park on movie soundtracks, the Triton towers proved to be reference-caliber speakers for music at a decidedly mid-fi price. (November 2013, Read Full Review)
GoldenEar Technology TritonCinema Two Speaker System: $3,745 (updated 3/10/15)
It’s not very often that you hear the same word used in repetition to characterize the sound of a speaker system, but reviewer Darryl Wilkinson described his TritonCinema Two experience as “spectacularly spectacular” with much of the credit going to the delicate, electrostatic-esque sound produced by the system’s folded diaphragm tweeters. Bonus: You won’t need a separate bass module—a 1,200-watt subwoofer section is built into each of the main towers. (April 2011, Read Full Review)
Paradigm Monitor 11 Speaker System: $3,895 (updated 3/10/15)
Some speaker systems excel at reproducing movie soundtracks but are merely satisfactory on music—or the reverse. This was definitely not the case with the Paradigm Monitor 11 system we put together, which comprised a pair of Monitor 11 towers, a Center 3 speaker, two Mini Monitors, and a SUB 12 subwoofer. The parts of this whole can shine on their own but as reviewer Tom Norton observed: “Together they made up one of the most satisfying speaker systems I’ve reviewed to date and proved equally adept at putting you in the concert venue, recording studio, or movie palace.” (, posted October 16, 2013, Read Full Review)
Revel Concerta2 M16 Speaker System: $4,050
Revel, Harman’s premier speaker brand, puts its world-class engineering prowess to work in the spectacular M16-based Concerta2 speaker system, a 5.1-channel setup with five speakers and a powerful subwoofer — itself worthy of Top Pick status — that can be had for a price that’s extremely reasonable by high-end audio standards. “The Concerta2 made an unforgettable and overwhelmingly positive impression as a speaker system that does it all, and does it well nigh perfectly.” concluded reviewer Mark Fleischmann. (November 2017, Read Full Review)
Bowers & Wilkins 683 S2 Speaker System: $4,300
An update of B&W’s more affordable 600 Series speakers, the 683 S2 grouping we reviewed delivered big, immediate sound and bass that was tight if not a bit restrained. With music, the ensemble filled the room with “sweet definition, fine depth, and a natural explosiveness,” wrote reviewer Tom Norton. And with movies, it “had all the punch and over-the-top audio I could hope for, played as loud as I could tolerate.” The only caveat: The ASW 610 XP subwoofer may not be up to the task of reproducing the lowest and loudest bass on some movies. (November 2014, Read Full Review)
Definitive Technology Mythos STS SuperTower Speaker System: $4,355
The Mythos STS system stands as proof that it is, indeed, possible for five svelte speakers with graceful, sculpted lines to create a huge, involving soundstage with full-bodied bass, even though there is no stand-alone subwoofer. What’s more, vocals and dialogue are rendered with extraordinary clarity. You’ll feel like you’re standing next to Rocky when he yells, “Yo Adrian.” (March 2009, Read Full Review)
MartinLogan Motion 40 Speaker System: $4,550 (updated 3/10/15)
You’ll be amazed at how close the Motion 40 system comes to achieving the light and airy sonic character of the electrostatic speakers MartinLogan built its reputation on. Reviewer Darryl Wilkinson described the ensemble as “one of the most phenomenally cohesive, startlingly immersive home theater systems” in its price range. Much of the credit goes to the special Folded Motion tweeters, which impart an unmistakable clarity and immediacy to the soundfield. Add to that taut, powerful bass and get ready to experience an “inextricable, intertwining mind-meld of sound.” (, posted February 12, 2013, Read Full Review)
Paradigm Premier 700F Speaker System: $4,700
Paradigm, one of Canada’s most formidable speaker companies, has continued its long tradition of building excellent, audiophile-approved speakers with the Premiere 700F speaker system, reviewed in a 5.1 configuration with the Defiance X12 subwoofer reviewer Tom Norton called “phenomenal.” Norton was duly impressed with the crisp detail and dynamic sound the system delivered with movies and music: “I like how these Paradigms grab your attention and won't let go.” (February/March 2019, Read Full Review)
Definitive Technology Demand D15 Speaker System: $5,056
With its stylish Demand Series, DefTech offers a simplified path to home theater with a five-speaker setup, skipping the standalone subwoofer and relying instead on front tower speakers for deep bass. Listening to the towers on their own, reviewer Dan Kumin described what he heard as “focused, accurate, and uncolored, with a broad, spacious sense of width and depth.” When the center-channel and surround speakers were pressed into action, the system reached cinema-like levels without strain and with palpable impact. A standalone sub would bring the bottom octave to bear, but Kumin asks: Can you live without the added measure of floor-flexing bass in exchange for a simpler setup? “I think I could.” (Summer 2020, Read Full Review)
Sonus faber Venere: $5,493 (reviewed with the $999 REL T-7 subwoofer)
Sonus faber, Italian maker of the strikingly gorgeous $120,000 limited-edition Aida speaker, upholds its reputation for visually stunning, superb, furniture-grade build quality, and delicate, graceful, high-resolution sonics with its entry-level Venere ensemble—and does so at a fraction of the price of the much costlier Aida. Veteran reviewer Michael Fremer praised Venere for its remarkable value and called it an “exciting and musically convincing must-hear system” that will appeal to listeners who prefer clean, taut, and detailed sound. (April 2013, Read Full Review)
MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL Speaker System: $5,600 (updated 3/10/15)
If you haven’t experienced the thrill of electrostatic speakers, check out the stately ElectroMotion ESL system and prepare to experience an extraordinary level of clarity and detail. Reviewer Darryl Wilkinson on its musical abilities: “Few speakers at this price can so clearly define each instrument…as if you were sitting in front of the band.” Movies: “One of the finest-performing, most entertaining, drool-worthiest $5,000 home theater speaker systems you can buy.” (December 2011, Read Full Review)
PSB Image T Speaker System: $5,690 (with SubSeries 300 subwoofer substituted for discontinued SubSeries 6i; updated 3/10/15)
With the Imagine T, Canadian speaker stalwart PSB has produced a high-value system that easily satisfied reviewer Tom Norton’s audiophile cravings: “The PSB system is sweet and clean with music, capable of surprisingly forceful impact and wide dynamic range, and includes a subwoofer that is far more impressive than its price would suggest.” A must for your audition list. (May 2009, Read Full Review)
Definitive Technology Dolby Atmos-Enabled BP-8060ST Speaker System: $5,693
One of the first complete Dolby Atmos-enabled systems, the updated, state-of-the-art BP-8060ST suite of speakers is impressive in design and performance. Four slender power towers with built-in subwoofers and removable “elevation modules” plus a center speaker is all you need for a mind-blowing 5.1.4 surround experience that until now has been available only in Atmos-equipped movie theaters. “Gob-smacking, up-over-and-around placement and movement, and with never a hint of point-source speaker localizing, for beautifully naturalistic ambience” is how reviewer Dan Kumin described his foray into Atmos-land. Setup is a little involved but the payoff is well worth the effort. (January 2015, Read Full Review)
Monitor Audio Silver 10 Speaker System: $5,925
A redesign of the Silver RX system, the Silver 10 ensemble combines meticulous build quality with impeccable fit and finish and sound that reviewer Tom Norton described as open and detailed with “appealingly real sparkle and liveliness.” The only caveat is the W-12 subwoofer, which turned out to be much better suited for music than movie soundtracks.” Still, the system is well worth seeking out for a serious audition. (, posted July 22, 2014, Read Full Review)
Monitor Audio Silver 300 Speaker System: $5,975
When U.K’s Monitor Audio revamped its popular Silver Series of speakers, the company did something enthusiasts love: Made notable improvements without notably increasing the price. Reviewer Al Griffin was impressed with the Silver 300 system’s solid build quality and ability to deliver clean, detailed sound with music and movie soundtracks alike: “I found myself won over by its crisp, dynamic sound…and was particularly impressed with the C350 center speaker, which allows for seamless sound across the front channels.” (March/April 2020, Read Full Review)
MartinLogan Motion 60XT Speaker System: $6,695
MartinLogan’s Motion 60XT towers ($3,000/pair) and the matching ensemble we tested in this 5.1-channel setup delivered uncanny midrange and high-frequency clarity thanks to the company’s Folded Motion XT magnetic planar tweeter. (November 2015, Read Full Review)
PSB Imagine T2 Speaker System: $7,140 (updated 3/10/15)
The essence of the Imagine T2 is captured in the headline for our review: Sensationally Seamless Seduction. Digging deeper, reviewer Darryl Wilkinson explained: “The sound is beguilingly smooth and natural…Even though it’s composed of six boxes, the system is absolutely superb at working together as seamlessly as if it were one big speaker. All this from the gentle, organic lines of cabinets designed by a guy whose work can also be found in a Lamborghini showroom." (November 2012, Read Full Review)
Wharfedale Jade 7 Speaker System: $7,197
From one of the oldest and most respected brands comes a thoroughly modern system that sounds every bit as good as it looks. The audiophile cravings of reviewer Tom Norton were satiated by the Jades ability to “handle all types of music convincingly, including small ensembles, jazz, classic rock, and both male and female vocals.” Movies? Expect big, generous sound with an irresistible blend of dynamics, subtlety, and detail. (September 2012, Read Full Review)
GoldenEar Technology Triton Two+ Speaker System: $7,750
Is it possible to make a great speaker even better? Absolutely! With the hindsight of four years, GoldenEar revisited its first speaker, the award-winning Triton Two, with the intention of doing just that. With an updated crossover, drivers, and low-frequency processing, the results are stellar. Throw in a SuperCenter XXL and a half-dozen Invisa series in-wall and in-ceiling speakers and you have a Dolby Atmos-capable setup that rates a full five stars for performance, build quality, and value. GoldenEar, indeed. (February/March 2016, Read Full Review)
MartinLogan Motion 60 XTi Speaker System: $8,000 (as tested)
Assembled around the Motion Series 60XTi tower speaker and super-flexible Dynamo 1600X subwoofer, the six-piece system brings subtle upgrades in style and performance that translate into a fresh round of visual and sonic excellence reviewer Mike Trei characterized as “powerful and smooth.” Through all the chaos in Avengers: Infinity War, the Dynamo delivered a “tremendous wallop” without upsetting the grand sense of space conveyed by the system or marring the natural sounding dialogue. (April/May 2020, Read Full Review)
Wisdom Audio Insight P4i In-Wall Speaker System: $9,250 (updated 3/10/15)
If you’re looking for a near-electrostatic audiophile listening experience from speakers that literally disappear, you need to check out the P4i in-wall speaker system. The package includes five panels—designed to sit flush in the wall behind a finely perforated, paintable metal grille—that mate rectangular planar magnetic tweeters with oblong 3 x 5-inch woofers. Summing up his impressions, reviewer Darryl Wilkinson wrote: “Wisdom Audio’s Insight P4i and P2i in-wall speakers are an absolute delight to listen to. Regardless of the source material, be it musical or cinematic in nature, the P4i speakers never caused me a moment of disappointment.” (, posted September 20, 2013, Read Full Review)
KEF R900 Speaker System: $9,400
The venerated British loudspeaker company lives up to its reputation once again, this time with the tower-based R900 system, big brother to the R300 bookshelf system we tested last year. Reviewer Tom Norton marveled at the system’s ability to sort out the sonic complexities of sophisticated soundtracks like the one for Prometheus: “The aural candy begins with spectacular music cues over the opening credits…and ends awash in music, effects, and a dynamic range that tests the system to the max. The KEFs never faltered under this immense torrent of sound.” (, posted April 23, 2013, Read Full Review)
Polk LSiM707 Speaker System: $9,900 (updated 3/10/15)
Drawing on a proud, 40-year history of delivering quality sound at accessible prices, Polk struts its stuff with the LSiM707, which delivered a sonic presentation that reviewer Tom Norton called “revealing and detailed without being at all clinical.” On handling a favorite soundtrack, Norton proclaimed: “John Williams’ sweet score for War Horse enveloped the room, but it was the throb of the cavalry charges and the pounding of the artillery that made the biggest impression.” (June 2012, Read Full Review)
$10,000 >
KEF R5 Surround Speaker System: $10,200 (as reviewed)
KEF continues its longstanding tradition of sonic excellence with the newly revamped R Series, featuring the 12th generation of its famous Uni-Q coincident driver — a design the company has been refining for more than two decades. Veteran reviewer Tom Norton praised the system — reviewed in a full-on 5.4.2 configuration with four Dolby Atmos-enabled height modules and two subwoofers — for its all-around outstanding performance.” (April/May 2019, Read Full Review)
Legacy Audio Classic HD Speaker System: $10,580 (updated 3/10/15)
Serious audiophiles, listen up: If you revel in impeccably designed, full-size speakers capable of delivering a cathartic experience, Legacy’s Classic HD ensemble deserves a high place on your audition list. From over-the-top, batter-your-rib-cage pounding to the barely audible flutter of a butterfly’s wings and everything in between, you’ll be stunned by the lifelike presentation. As Darryl Wilkinson put it: “The Classic HDs are quite amazing in the way they can bring you under their spell and make you forget there are a couple of 110-pound towers sitting in the room in front of you.” (July/August 2013, Read Full Review)
MartinLogan ElectroMotion ESL X Speaker System: $11,395 (as reviewed)
MartinLogan’s ElectroMotion ESL X system reveals why electrostatic speakers are so special. Delicacy, detail and serious dynamics—thanks to the Dynamo 1500X subwoofer—are what you can expect from this meticulously crafted suite of speakers. “The affordable (by MartinLogan standards) electrostatic towers delivered the detailed, lifelike sound I know and love, and the solid foundation provided by the Dynamo 1500X enabled them to reach dynamic heights I hadn’t previously experienced in my days as a MartinLogan-phile," wrote reviewer Al Griffin. If you’ve never heard electrostatics, it might be time to arrange for audition. (May 2017, Read Full Review)
PSB Imagine T3 Speaker System: $11,855
Paul Barton’s flagship Imagine T3 tower, the anchor of this magnificent system, is a near-perfect, utterly uncolored loudspeaker that actually represents a bargain in today’s ultra-priced high-end audio market. (September 2015, Read Full Review)
DALI Rubicon 8 Speaker System: $13,080
Scandinavia, Denmark in particular, has a rich history of producing great sounding speakers. Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries (a.k.a. DALI) carries on that tradition with the Rubicon 8, the foundation of the five-piece home theater speaker system veteran reviewer Tom Norton tested. Setup requires some patience but the payoff is clean, tight bass and open, airy highs. “As impressed as I was by the Rubicons on music, I was even more drawn to them with movies,” he wrote. “The explosive music cues in Oblivion…will pin you to the wall on the DALIs.” (, Read Full Review)
Revel Performa3 F208 Speaker System: $13,300
From the speaker gurus at Revel comes the impeccably built Performa3 F208 ensemble, one step down from the flagship Concerta series and designed at Harman’s state-of-the-art R&D facility in Northridge, CA. Listening to the F208 towers on their own, reviewer Tom Norton marveled at the superb imaging, impressively uncolored midrange, and pristine top end. Turning to the stunning soundtrack of an otherwise dud of a movie, Battleship, he concluded: “The soundstage was huge, the bass deep and crisp, the effects never harsh, and the music as right as you could wish for.” (January 2014, Read Full Review)
McIntosh XR100 Speaker System: $16,500
Yes, the storied maker of those gorgeously analog amplifiers, known for their glowing power meters, makes speakers and has been doing so for years. Simply put, the XR100 speakers uphold the McIntosh legacy. Reviewer Michael Fremer described the sonic presentation as all Ferrari, producing “sound fields that were astonishingly transparent, tight, vibrant, focused, punchy, dynamic, and most of all, utterly effortless—at any volume I cared to listen at.” (June 2012, Read Full Review)
Revel PerformaBe Surround Speaker System: $20,500 (as tested)
Let’s get this out of the way right up front: Revel’s Performa Be is one of those rarefied speaker systems designed and built for devout audiophiles who will settle for nothing less than “the best.” Which is precisely what Harman’s high-end speaker brand endeavors to deliver with the 5.1 ensemble Tom Norton reviewed. With music, the Performa F226Be towers (with or without a separate subwoofer) sounded “full-bodied, open, and airy, with just the right amount of detail,” while the complete ensemble delivered an exceptionally rewarding experience with movies. If the best is what you seek, you simply must include the PerformaBe on your audition list. (October/November 2020 Read Full Review)
Focal Electra 1028 Be Speaker System: $23,247 (updated 3/16/15)
Known for its impeccably smooth tweeters, which are used by Wilson Audio and other high-end speaker makers, Focal’s 1028 Be commands attention visually and sonically. Reviewer Tom Norton explains: “No speaker system I’ve had in my current listening room (10 years and counting) has produced a more consistently enjoyable performance on both music and movies.” And those tweeters… The top end combined crystal clarity with an easy naturalness that most speakers shoot for and miss.” (February 2011, Read Full Review)
Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 18 Wireless, Powered Speaker System: $25,625 (including Avant 55 Ultra HDTV with built-in AV receiver and center speaker)
Beauty is more than skin deep with the stunningly beautiful and technologically sophisticated BeoLab 18 home theater system, one of the first to make use of WiSA wireless speaker technology. The system not only pays rich sonic dividends with music and movies, it turns movie watching into a magical experience with speakers that slowly emerge from the TV as it rotates and pivots into position. Reviewer Darryl Wilkinson concluded, “The BeoLab 18s and 17s worked as one unit, a testament to both the impressive acoustics of the BeoLab speakers and the lack of any unwanted delay from the WiSA wireless transmission.” (February/March 2015, Read Full Review)
Monitor Audio Platinum PL300 Speaker System: $26,000 (updated 3/11/15)
With the PL300, Monitor stepped out of its value comfort zone to craft the Platinum Series, which wowed reviewer Tom Norton with its amazingly detailed sound and tight imaging. “It covers all the bases from the subtle to the explosive, with a soundstage as small or immense as it needs to be. The Platinum speakers do it all, with full-bodied, extended bass without bloat, a natural midrange, and crisp, precise highs.” (October 2009, Read Full Review)
Paradigm Persona 3F Speaker System: $31,600
Over the past 35 years Canada’s Paradigm has earned a stellar reputation for building excellent sounding speakers at affordable prices. Then one day an employee asked what kind of speaker they could build if cost was no object. After much deliberation, Paradigm’s engineers answered with their best-ever system — the Persona 3F. The goal? To marry top-notch cabinet construction and finishing capabilities with advanced driver technologies in hopes of achieving something greater than the sum of its already great parts. They have succeeded. (July/August 2017, Read Full Review)
Revel Ultima2 Salon2 Speaker System: $45,993 (reviewed with B15a subwoofer, which has been discontinued)
One of the newer members of the world-class-speaker club, Revel unquestionably makes some of the best speakers money can buy. Enter the Ultima2 Salon2 system, delivering goosebump-producing sound that reviewer Fred Manteghian said “revealed the complexity of the human voice as perfectly as the mechanical gyrations of a grand piano. Whether listening to vinyl in stereo, or watching the latest action movie on Blu-ray, the experience is always rewarding.” (July 2009, Read Full Review)
Stereo Speaker Pairs Archive
JBL Stage A170 Tower Speaker: $500/pair
The A170s’ ordinary looks aren’t going to win any beauty contests but reviewer Michael Trei is quick to direct our attention to what really counts — the sound quality delivered by this unassuming pair of speakers from JBL, one of audio’s most iconic brands. As he put it, “The A170 is a slam-dunk winner,” delivering an impressively wide and deep soundstage and nailing tonal accuracy." (June/July 2019 Read Full Review)
Magnepan LRS Loudspeaker: $650/pair
Over the years, Magnepan has taken great strides to make its special class of speakers more affordable. The newest example is the 4-foot-tall LRS, short for Little Ribbon Speaker, which sells for $650/pair — a long way from the company’s $30,000 flagship. Like all “Maggies,” the LRS is a dipole that radiates sound from the front and back. Though deep bass is limited and the LRS won’t work well in every setup, reviewer Michael Trei concluded that this speaker will help you reach “a level of musical nirvana way beyond what its price tag would suggest.” (October/November 2020, Read Full Review)
SVS Prime Pinnacle Speaker: $1,600/pair
The stately Prime Pinnacle is a true contender in the world of affordable full-range tower style speakers — in this case, one with a lone tweeter bolstered by a 5.25-inch midrange driver and three 6.5-inch woofers, all situated in slender cabinet that’s about 40 inches tall. Expect to be wowed with prodigious bass, spot-on tonal balance, and a satisfyingly deep sound stage. (August/September/March 2019 Read Full Review)
Dayton Audio Epique CBT24 Speaker System: $1,600
If style is high on the list of traits you look for in a speaker, take a good look to the left. The arching design of Dayton’s Epique makes a bold visual statement that you’ll either love or hate. If you love it, its 24 drivers will further reward you with great sonics. As reviewer Dan Kumin put it, “The Epique imaged like no direct-radiating system I’d ever heard, producing the kind of depth, breadth, and float-in-the-ether sound bubble I associate more with panel speakers — electrostatics in particular…” If there’s a downside, it’s that you will need a subwoofer. (July/August 2017, Read Full Review)
GoldenEar Technology Triton Five Speaker: $1,998/pair
At 2,000 a pair, the Triton Five tower continues the GoldenEar value tradition with superb sonics at an attainable price. It’s the fifth model in the series and the second to feature a passive design as it assumes the role of big brother to the Triton Seven. Even without GoldenEar’s signature powered subwoofer, the Five is capable of producing robust bass and will do justice to whatever type of music you throw at it. Comparing the Fives to his reference speakers, reviewer Steve Guttenberg wrote: “The Triton Fives, at less than half their cost, make more bass, and the HVFR tweeter’s treble is sweeter and resolves fine detail better.” (May 2015, Read Full Review)
Revel Concerta2 F36 Speaker: $2,000/pair
In its 20 years, Revel has captivated audio enthusiasts with a slow but steady stream of impeccably crafted speakers. The new Concerta2 F36 towers continue the tradition with a rich, compelling soundstage. “Imaging and depth were superb, often suggesting that a centered vocalist or instrument were coming from the center speaker when, in fact, it was silent,” wrote veteran reviewer Tom Norton. “The sonic perspective was open and full-bodied through the bass and midbass, essentially uncolored in the midrange, and detailed and clear in the treble.” This is one to check out. (October 2017, Read Full Review)
Definitive Technology BP-8080ST Speaker System: $3,997
“The BP-8080ST and CS-8080HD make big, bodacious, but refined and focused sound that was consistently thrilling, involving, and best of all, flat-out fun for music and movies.” That was reviewer Shane Buettner’s take on this redesigned version of the bipolar tower speaker that made Def Tech famous. Love bass? Get ready to rumble with the powered subwoofers built into those slender towers. You won’t think twice about adding a stand-alone subwoofer. (February 2011, Read Full Review)
Bowers & Wilkins CM10 Speaker: $3,999/pr
If simple stereo listening is your passion, then you’ll appreciate the precise, lifelike imaging, intimate vocal sound, and well-defined bass delivered by a pair of CM10s, the latest addition to the CM speaker series one step below B&W’s fabled 800 Series Diamond (not Diamond Series). Captivated by the “soul” revealed by these speakers, reviewer Brent Butterworth wrote: “If you want a little more character and flavor and charm to your sound, get the CM10… there’s nothing I’ve heard that’s truly better in its price range.” (, posted January 14, 2014, Read Full Review)
Dynaudio Xeo 6 Powered Wireless Speaker System: $4,000
The Xeo 6 appeals to listeners who want a simplified music system that’s easy to set up and use and have room for a pair of modestly sized mini-tower speakers. Though pricey, you have to remember that the system is powered and includes what amounts to a wireless preamp. Giving it a 5-star rating for performance, reviewer Mark Fleischmann concluded: “While those with growing hi-res audio libraries should note the 16-bit limit of the transmission system, that doesn’t prevent the Xeo 6 from loving all kinds of music. I certainly loved having it around.” (June 2015, Read Full Review)
Definitive Technology Mythos ST-L Speaker: $4,998/pr
DefTech describes the Mythos ST-L as a re-imaging of the Mythos ST introduced in 2007, which means just about every aspect of this flagship has been refined: Redesigned (and laser-mapped) drivers), a cast-aluminum this-speaker’s-not-going-anywhere platform to replace the original granite base, and a built-in 1,200-watt subwoofer amp that delivers four times the power of its predecessor. In describing the result of all that tinkering, reviewer Darryl Wilkinson wrote: “True to its heritage, the ST-L is a stunning performer…a magical, emotive speaker, one that’s able to bypass the rational, thinking part of your brain and unleash deep and powerfully moving emotions trapped within.” (September 2014, Read Full Review)
GoldenEar Technology Triton One Speaker: $5,000/pr
It’s rare when a speaker gets five-star ratings across the board yet that is exactly the case with GoldenEar’s flagship Triton One. In a feat of engineering, the designers arranged 10 drivers and 1,600 watts of power in a sleek, 54-inch-tall cabinet. Their diligence rewards the listener with revelatory sound and an astounding price/performance ratio. As reviewer Darryl Wilkinson wrote: “GoldenEar’s Triton One speakers are members of that rarest of rare breeds for which words can do little justice. You simply have to listen to them—no, experience them—firsthand. What are you waiting for? (July/August 2014, Read Full Review)
Dali Callisto 6 C Wireless Loudspeakers: $5,747
Wireless speakers are all the rage but most of them are small things intended for casual listening in and around the house. You wouldn’t dream of using one to anchor a serious hi-fi system, which is where the Callisto 6 C from Denmark’s DALI (Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries) comes into play. The 6C is a formidable floorstanding speaker that also happens to be powered and wireless. The system includes a preamp/wireless controller or it can be used with the excellent, hi-res/multiroom-capable BluOS NPM-1 module if you want to take things to the next level. (April/May 2019, Read Full Review)
Polk Audio Legend L800 Tower Speaker, $5,998/pair
Polk’s engineering team did something special when they designed the new Legend L800 flagship speaker: They revived and refined the Stereo Dimensional Array (SDA) technology Matthew Polk developed nearly four decades ago with impressive results. Listening to a wide variety of music, Al Griffin reveled in the “appealingly neutral” full-range sound and expansive stage created by the new SDA-Pro implementation of the original SDA technology. We think Matthew would approve. (December 2019/January 2020, Read Full Review)
GoldenEar Technology Triton One.R Speaker: $5,998/pair
Don’t worry, if you feel a sense of déjà vu when you look at the new Triton One.R tower speaker, you’re not going crazy. It is, indeed, a near identical looking yet slightly scaled down version of GoldenEar’s celebrated Triton Reference flagship, one of Sound & Vision’s 2017 Top Picks of the Year. At $5,998/pair, the One.R costs 30% less than its big brother yet, in the words of reviewer Al Griffin, “delivers equally full-range sound, along with many of the same qualities that made that earlier speaker so impressive.” And to cap things off, the One.R is one of Sound & Vision’s 2018 Top Picks of the Year in Speakers. (February/March 2019, Read Full Review)
GoldenEar Technology Triton Reference Loudspeaker: $8,498
GoldenEar Technology, co-founded by audio legend Sandy Gross in 2010, has built a remarkable line of speakers in a relatively short period of time. The Triton Reference represents the pinnacle of the company’s efforts to date, delivering true reference-quality performance at a fair price. “The detailed, dynamic, and full-range sound had the effect of turning me into a music junkie,” wrote reviewer Al Griffin. “I’m a regular music listener, but once I had the Reference up and running, I found myself wanting to do little else.” (June 2017, Read Full Review)
B&W 802 Diamond Speaker System: $32,000
The Brits make some of the finest speakers in the world. B&W’s 802 Diamond system, featuring the company’s trademark tweeter eye, is the latest entry on the world-class speaker list, joining its iconic 800 Series siblings, which have occupied the control room of London’s famous Abbey Road Studios for more than two decades. Reviewer Tom Norton puts things in perspective: “If you’re serious about acquiring one of the highest-end home theater speaker systems, you need to hear this 802 Diamond package.” (November 2012, Read Full Review)