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BUYING GUIDE - LOUDSPEAKERS - £300-£799
PRICES SHOWN ARE THOSE AT THE TIME OF REVIEW
Loudspeakers
£
Year
Verdict
AAD E48 £599 May 02 A very fine 'speaker that's just let down by a slightly synthetic sound with acoustic music. Rock recordings are superbly relayed however, and imaging is excellent. Recommended.
Acoustic Energy Aegis 2 £350 Dec 00 Sold build and an exciting sound mean the 2's should be on your listening list. Great value too.
Acoustic Energy Aesprit 300 £400 Jul 02 Open sounding and easy to listen to, with plenty of bass, but when it comes to speed and agility they can't quite match the strong competitiion.
Alesis M1 (active)  £549 Jul 99  Almost worthy of domestic bargain status, the M1s lack just a little smoothness and finesse.
Arcaydis AS2 £700 Oct 99 Quality drive units give smoothness, detail and imaging. Require hefty amplification and finish could be better
Arcaydis ASC £399 Jun 99 The ASCs have natural warmth and good imaging. Inclined to be a little power-hungry.
ATC SCM7 £480 Dec 01 Clean and exact sounding, with plenty of detail. slight lack of bass extension though.
B&W CDM1SE £600 Apr 98 Tuneful and confident, these 'speakers are well suited to Pop and Dance music.
B&W DM305 £350 Mar 97 All the ingredients for listening fun are in the DM305. Overall presentation could be more cohesive though.
B&W DM602 Series 2 £300 Aug 99 A fair design that needs partnering with smooth amplification in a well-furnished room.
B&W P4 £600 Mar 95 Good-looking solid íspeakers with great spirit and tenacity but with a dry treble. Not fans of classical music.
Blue Room Minipod £400 Jan 97 Arresting style allied to an engaging sound makes the Minipods attractive. Best with smooth amps and source.
Boston Acoustics VR-M50 3699 Jul 01 Pricey but well built, the 50s are well engineered and immaculately finished. Good, fast bass but treble can be overwhelming on some recordings. Worth an audition.
Castle Avon £699 Dec 96 Taut, dry bass and lucid midrange but need matching to warm ancilliaries to avoid sounding bright.
Castle Harlech £799  Aug 96 Bass power and extension will impress but overall sound is uneven and rather sterile.
Castle Inversion £425 Aug 99 Unusual styling will polarize opinion, but sonically the '15s are fair performers. Imaging could be better.
Castle Kendal £450 Mar 98 The Kendals have great clarity but need coupling to warm ancillaries.
Castle Pembroke £499 Aug 00 A very musical 'speaker inside an unassuming cabinet. Basically accurate, ideal for classical and all acoustic music.
Castle Severn II £579 Jul 98 Apart from some hardness in the tweeters, the Severn 2s are accomplished all-rounders.
Castel Severn 2 SE £699 Oct 00 Big floorstanders with a big sound. Commendably natural sound with plenty of power.
Castle Stirling 3 £729 Jun 02 An accurate and well balanced sound with good body and oodles of detail. Some slight coloration, but otherwise spot on for the money. Good for solid-state and valves.
Castle Warwick 3 £549 Nov 01 The Warwick 3 is warm and friendly sounding. Deep, if at times sluggish bass and a fine sweet treble. Up against strong competition though.
Chario Hiper 1 £399 May 95 Music makers through and through with a great feel for rhythm and dynamics.
Chario Lynx £549 Apr 99 The Lynxes are superbly built but their rising bass and treble suit home cinema more than hi-fi.
Cyrus CLS 50 £500 Sep 01 Nicely smooth and fluid with a big sound from small cabinets. Not the most dynamic performers around and the bass, although deep, can be a tad loose.
Dali 450 £700 Feb 96 A powerful and rich sound from these competitively priced floorstanders makes them worth a recommendation.
Dali Royal Menuet £399 Feb 00 Solid and reliable performers, smooth, sophisticated and controlled.
Dali Royal Scepter £649 Oct 00 Excellent little speakers with a controlled, smooth and neutral sound. Great finish too.
Elac CL 82 Mk2 £399 Jan 00 Reliable German-made 'speakers that sound exciting with detail and refinement rare at the price.
Epos ES12 £495 Oct 96 Strong, punchy bass allied to detailed and articulate midrange and treble.
Epos M12 £430 Jul 01 Fast, detailed and engaging, the M12s are a winner. They need sensitive matching and are fussy with recordings.
Heybrook Heylios £339 Mar 97 The Heylios stand out for their bass depth, dynamics and sound staging. Overall balance prefers Classical to Rock.
Heybrook Heylo £389 Oct 95 Posses a neutral, fast and dry sound. A good match for soft sounding systems.
Indigo One £329 Feb 00 Sound exciting with studio recorded rock but deliver a veiled and occasionally muddled performance with richly texured classical recordings.
Jamo A410
A4 Sub-Woofer
£79
£349
Aug 02 Despite the unusual 'lifestyle' aesthetics, these are genuinely capable speakers capable of taking on the conventional box designs and winning.
Jamo 307 £300 Apr 95 Delicate, detailed sound, albeit with rather imprecise imaging. Will work well on a bookshelf.
Jamo E850 £300 Dec 00 With oodles of power, the 850's produce a big, if not always cohesive, sound with deep bass.
JPW ML910 £300 Nov 97 The 910s aren't perfect but make music fun. Quality, power and extension, the Millenniums are worth a listen.
JPW Ruby 2 £395 Oct 98 Once allied to warm electronics, the Ruby 2s mix insight with plenty of involvement.
Kef KMS 2002 £499 Sep 01 Brilliant but slightly flawed. Wonderful transparency, imaging and build, but runs out of steam when the going gets tough.
Kef LS3/5A £599 Jul 95 Partnered with the Rogers AB1, this is a substantial marriage.
Kef Q35 £350 Nov 97 Very accomplished midrange and treble but the dry in the bass. For Rock fans the upper bass speed is appealing.
Kef Q35.2 £350 Dec 00 Well finished and full sounding with a deep and rich bass. Could be a little 'big' sounding for some rooms, but they're easily among the best at the price.
Kef Q55 £499 Aug 97 The Q55s look rather expensive at £500 with their 'boom and tizz' presentation.
Kef RDM1 £499 Oct 97 The RDM1s soundstage well thanks to their Uni-Q drivers. Can be uninvolving because of a lack of scale and impact.
Klipsch KG3.5 £595 Apr 00 A fast and furious 'speaker with powerful bass and exceedingly clear treble. Not for the classically minded but immense fun on everything else.
Linn Katan £600 Apr 01 Exciting and attractive little 'speaker with detail and punch. Better with rock than classical.
Linn Tukan £389 Dec 95  Highly musical standmounters that give similarly priced floorstanders a great deal to worry about
Magnat Vintage 701 £799 Aug 00 Spankingly good 'speakers with a lot of attraction. They are suited better to big rooms and big sounds.
Meridian A500 £750 May 95 Very polite and many will appreciate their civility. Deep powerful bass.
Mission fs2 NXT Panels £799 Sep 00 The Mission panels offer a tempting taste of spaciousness and dynamics that you can't sit back and ignore. And think of all the floor space saved!
Mission 733 £300 Apr 95 Captivating floorstanders that bring music to life - what good hi-fi should do.
Mission 773e £400 Nov 99 Nicely engineered slimline model. Some sonic trade-offs with the compact size.
Mission 734 £430 Sep 95 Engineered for low price and showroom appeal rather than absolute sound quality.
Mission 751Freedom £350 Apr 97  Charming little stand-mounters with a sweet, warm, musical sound.
Mission 752 Freedom £578 Jan 97 Dynamic, punchy, and musical yet refined like few at the price. Bass lacks a little depth.
Mission 774 £500 Feb 99 With the right ancilliaries, the 774s have a clarity and lack of colouration still rare at the price.
Mission 780 £300 May 00 A civilised 'speaker with a well-controlled and musical sound. Not the ultimate for dynamic expression, and a little power-hungry.
Mission 782 £699 Aug 00 Solid cabinets and good engineering result in a detailed and punchy sound with deceptively deep bass. Great imaging.
Mission m51 £300 Jun 02 The m51s are very well engineered and have a taut and tuneful bass rarely found at this price point. Can sound hard when ill matched and fed bad recordings though. 
Monitor Audio 
Reference Gold 10
£799 Jun 01 A 'speaker for younger audiophiles, perhaps. A big sound for a standmount with plenty of low bass and rhythmic drive. Maybe too forward for some though.
Mordaunt-Short MS25i £300 Nov 96 Sweet sounding metal dome tweeter although the dry bass and rather plasticky midrange work against it.
Musical Technology PM15 £474 Jan 99 Sophisticated, neutral sound and fine musicality put the PM15s near the head of the class.
Near 10M £500 Jan 96 A thin and hard sound but precise with it!
Neat Critique II £445 Jan 99 Deserving 'speakers with good looks and build. Can fail to shine with over-polite equipment.
Neat Critique Pro £385 Mar 00 Unassuming appearance but very musical and reasonably priced. Smooth but clear performance without bass boom.
NHT 1.3 £389 Aug 95 Very crisp sounding 'speakers best suited to smaller rooms.
NHT Super Two £600 May 01 Caution is needed with placement, but the Super Two's are a very involving listen with fine bass depth.
O'Heocha D1S £495 Aug 00 Very promising stuff. Unusual, outlandish looks and a controlled but bright sound.
Opera Duetto £395 Feb00 Good with chamber music and string quartets, anything more beefy and rhythmic they become slightly confused
Opera Mini £300 Nov 99 A mini 'speaker made for music. Well built and versatile. At worst, ponderous, at best, immense.
Opera Operetta £795 Mar 01 Genuinely exciting to listen to with strong bass and sweet treble, they're equally proficient with both rock and classical. Beautiful build and excellent value for money.
Opera Prima £495 Feb 99 The Primas offer a taste of the high-end at a sensible price. They are more fans of Classical than Rock though.
Ortofon ConCorde 6 £329 Oct 95 Good value floorstanders with clean enjoyable sound - not quite supersonic, though.
Polk PSW150 £500 Jul 97 The PSW150 adds depth to a system but can sound obvious at times.
Proac Tablette £600 Aug 98 Amp-sensitive and slightly boxy in the lower treble, the ProAcs are still highly musical.
Quad 11L £380 Aug 02 Pretty much sets a new standard at the price. The gorgeous looking 11L is also a sophisticated and neutral sounding winner. A bit of a bargain.
Quadral QLX 180 £325 Dec 00 Large open sound from these big three way 'speakers. Good integration but the bass could be too heavy for some.
Rel Q Bass £350 May 96 Needs care in setting up but this subwoofer offers serious quality bass for not a lot of money.
REL Q100E £500 Apr 98 Another capable sub from REL that boosts bass and improves sound staging.
Rogers AB 1 £499 Jul 95 When used with the Kef LS3/5a this sub delivers the goods, beyond a doubt.
Roksan RokOne £595 Feb 97  Musically involving 'speakers that many will enjoy, but a little unrefined at times.
Sequence 400 £329 Apr 96 Good at orchestral scale but coloured in the midband.
Soundcraft Absolute 4P £799 Oct 97 The Absolute 4Ps excel in all areas except for the rather bright, hard treble. Bass is exceptional.
Spendor 2030 £599 Jun 96 Smooth and coherent in their delivery with deep and taut bass extension. Not the most spacious sound.
Systemdek 165 £400 Feb 96 Dry and clean sound, but can become hard and confused when pushed.
Tannoy Eyris 1 £599 Jun 02 Fine, open 'speakers in the traditional Tannoy mould. The fine detail and treble response is slightly marred by a slightly lazy bass though.
Tannoy Precision P10 £300 May 98 Though very even in their performance, the P10s lack ultimate clarity and punch.
Tannoy Profile 633 Plus £300 Nov 96 Weighty bass and rhythmic detail work well on dance. Less satisfying with classical music. Firm imaging.
Tannoy Revolution r2 £350 Oct 99 Lively and exciting, will appeal to many. Solid build and confident sound makes them well worth the money.
Tannoy Revolution r3 £550 Mar 00 Impresssively full-voiced floorstanders with seismic bass. Treble can suffer some sibilance if pushed hard
TDL RTL 4 £650 Feb 95 Easy going with plenty of detail and timbral richness. Better with classical fare.
TDL T-line 2 £550 Jan 97 Midrange and treble have good tonal colour, detail and speed. Bass is slow and blurred.
Technics SB-M01 £400 Feb 00 Deliver a strong and engaging sound that really does impress.
Technics SB-MO1E £400 Nov 99 Punchy and dynamic, yet refined. In a small environment, these highly detailed 'speakers are excellent.
Technics SB-M300 £350 Nov 95 A great sound with solid bass from a compact and well priced 'speaker.
Technics SB-M500 £450 May 96 Clean, dry and taut with good imaging and sound staging. More neutral than Missionís 752s but less euphonic.
Titan Mini T2B £600 Dec 99 Heftily built standmounts with terrific punch and attack. The metal drivers might make classical a bit harsh.
Triangle Comete TZXe £475 Jan 95 Quite pleasant, inoffensive sound but others costing less can offer more.
Triangle Zerius 202 £695 Dec 01 Good value for this type of high sensitivity loudspeaker. A big, full and exciting sound but can be bright at times. Ideally used with valves.
Videologic Sirocco Pro £550 May 00 Can run leading mid-price hi-fi designs frighteningly close for comfort!
Wharfedale Pi-30 £499 Mar 01 Forward, detailed and revealing presentation, but on the bright side and with weak depth perspectives.
Wharfdale Valdus 500 £300 Oct 95 Good for adding scale and power to a weak system or budget separates
Yamaha MSP5 £449 Jun 99 Ruthless to poorly-produced material and can sound cold, but their detailing is impressive.
 

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