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bgspeakers

BUYING GUIDE & REVIEWS - LOUDSPEAKERS - UNDER £300
PRICES SHOWN ARE THOSE AT THE TIME OF REVIEW
Loudspeakers
£
Year
Verdict
Acoustic Energy AE100 £200 Jan 96 Reasonably neutral but ultimately lacklustre. Control of treble and mid-range poor.
Acoustic Energy Aegis One £150 Sep 99 Weighty, powerful performers with plenty of character. Exceptional value for money.
Acoustic Energy Aegis Two £250 Mar 00 A highly engaging sound that grabs the attention to great effect. They can suffer from a slightly thin sound with some recordings.
Acoustic Energy
Aesprit 300c
£275 Feb 02 Plenty of life and verve with a fast sound. A cracking little design.
Acoustic Energy Evo 1 £180 Sep 02 Well built and engineered, the Evo's are detailed and enjoyable, if a tad heavy handed in the bass at times.
Acoustic Research
Status 10
£140 Aug 00 The S10's are smooth and exciting. a well defined bass and good control is present with any music.
Acoustic Research
Status 30
£249 Feb 00 Good value. The 30's have a warm, generous sound, but they can lack bite with upbeat music.
Audio Gem Opals £240 Dec 97 Partner the Opals with warm ancillaries and you get an involving sound. Avoid bright amps and sources.
ALR/Jordan Entry S £180 Jan 00 Small, beautiful, and they have bass to boot. The ALR/Jordans have a lot to boast about. (also reviewed Sep 01)
Aura LSB-627M £230 Aug 98 Energetic, bold and highly detailed, the Aura is one to consider for the budget-conscious
Aura LST-627 £299 Oct 98 Like Auraís matching stand mounters, the 627Ms are lucid and controlled. Treble is brightish.
B&W 601 £200 Jan 96 Unrestricted and clean sound with satisfying musicality. An engaging subtlety not common at the price.
B&W DM302 £130 Apr 96 Clear open and detailed sound but balance too forward and weak bass.
B&W DM602 £250 Nov 96  Excel with taut hard-hitting bass with dynamic and uncoloured midrange. Metal dome tweeter bleaches out the treble.
Boston CR6 £150 Sep 98 With simple music, the CR6s work well, but not quite as well as the best of the competition.
Boton CR75 £200 Feb 02 A big full and smooth sound but one that ultimately doesn't involve. Not the most attractive design.
Castle Isis £230 Jan 96 A lively little animal, well worth the money.
Castel Richmond £249 Apr 00 An engaging sound with well integrated drivers. Fundamentally accurate, but sound staging could be more spacious.
Celestion 12i £119  Feb 98 The 12is' powerful, confident sound belies a rather poor measured performance
Celestion Impact 15 £200 Jan 96 Big presentation but a rather distant quality. Could sound boomy and confined.
Celestion Impact 23  £299  Nov 96 Sterling performance in the bass with speed and control. Good midrange projection.
Chario Hiper 1000 £299 Feb 99 Quality construction and sound marry to produce a very capable 'speaker. Open treble and firm bass for the size
Eltax Liberty 1+ £99 May 00 An astonishing natural sound for the money. Well balanced in all directions.
Eltax Liberty 3+ £150 Jan 98 A lot of loudspeaker for the money. Punch and slam in the bass but sometimes thin in the treble.
Eltax Liberty 5+ £200 Sep 99 Immediate 'hi-fi' sound with little subtlety or finesse. Bass inclined to boom, although mass-loading helps
Eltax Symphony 6 £240 Nov 96 Although bright, the Symphony 6s score for clarity and power. Bass is fast and accurate.
Gale 2i £140 Feb 97 Smooth, balanced performers that do a good job on any genre. Free from the nasties that afflict many at the price.
Gale Mini Monitor £50 Apr 97 Not the last word in midrange or bass clarity, but gives real hi-fi results for a paltry £50.
GLL ICT100 £170 Nov 95 For their size and price they offer some super qualities, especially stable imaging
Heybrook Heylette £199 Sep 99 Better suited to Classical than Rock or Heavy Metal. Smooth and refined sound will appeal to many.
Heybrook Optima £259 Oct 98 Capable all-rounders, the Optimas combine smoothness, insight and control to great effect.
Heybrook HB1 S3 £269 Nov 96 Excellent imaging with clear treble and midrange. Bass slightly dry and boxy but would suit a smaller room.
Heybrook HB1 £179 Aug 00 Good bass response and keen dynamics. Not the last word in detail but very involving.
Jamo CS5 Actives £200 Oct 98 In spite of a few colorations, the Jamos are fine examples of budget active operation.
JM Lab Chorus 706 £229 Feb 02 A big and dynamic sound with a smooth treble. Strain a bit when pushed but overall fine 'speakers.
JPW 210 £150 Apr 02 A fine little 'speaker with plenty of bite and rhythm. Not quite as accomplished as the best cheaper competition, however, if size matters, though, they could be for you.
JPW ML510 £130 Jan 98 With greater transparency and a bit more get-up-and-go, the 510s could be leaders of the budget pack.
JPW ML510i £149 Aug 00 Plenty of kick but they're not subtle. There's better value for money around.
Kef 60S £200 May 96 The 60S is open and detailed but coloured too.
Kef Coda 7 £129 Apr 95 Rhythmic push and tuneful bass are the plus points of these small standmounts.
Kef Coda 8 £200 Jan 96 Breezy presence, good dynamics and a sense of fullness. Not the utmost in clarity, some box colouration.
Kef Coda 9 £299 Jul 96 Strong bass can get out of control, as can treble. This tends to overpower the midrange.
Kef Cresta 1 £99 May 00 A civilised sound that excels with vocals and phrasing. Some could find them a little laid back.
Kef Cresta 2 £150 Oct 99 A highly entertaining bi-wire budget mini. The only slight let-down is sound staging
Kef Cresta 3 £249 Mar 01 Big tuneful bass, easy clarity and good dynamics together give an entertaining performance. Some blemishes but still great fun.
Kef Q1 £250 Aug 02 Superb sound quality with excellent detail that's easily up there with the best at the price.
Kef Q15 £199 Feb 97 Impressive bass and a sweet clarity make the Q15s íspeakers thatíll put a smile on any audiophileís face.
Kenwood LS90UK £129 Jul 98 The LS90UKs have dry bass and limited tonal colour, but staging and imaging are superb
Klipsch KSB 2.1 £295 Feb 00 High sensitivity and easy to drive with exciting and involving sound. Well controlled bass can boom slightly.
Linn Sekrit £298 Apr 96 Well-behaved and with a decent tonal quality.
Magnat Vintage 105 £120 Feb 02 Not half bad for the money, the Vintage 105s are fast and exciting, but also a tad too forward sounding.
Mission 700 £130 May 98 The 700s are easily outclassed by Missionís own superb 731 Pros at a £10 premium
Mission 702e £199 Sep 99 Well constructed and engineered but top-heavy balance lets the side down with its lack of subtlety.
Mission 731 £129 Apr 95 An initially impressive, up front sound but ultimately a little uninvolving.
Mission 731 Pro £139 Jul 97 Music makers with a clean,punchy sound. Real value for money.
Mission 731i £130 Nov 96 Missionís babies are a truly worthwhile improvement on the original 731s.
Mission 731LE £150 Nov 95 Excellent sound puts the competitors in the shade. Well built and pretty too!
Mission 732i £200 Aug 97 If you've got £200 with 'loudspeaker' written on it, then the 732i should be on youíre shopping list.
Mission 771 £170 Jul 98  Superb stand mounters of real refinement and musicality. A touch bass light.
Mission 772 £230 Apr 99 Civilised standmounters which lack nothing in control, finesse or transparency.
Mission m70 £110 Jul 02 Great imaging as usual, with good projection and staging but the m70s don't do justice to 'big' recordings and bass can be a bit wobbly.
Mission m71 £129 Feb 01 Impressive imaging, with a big sound full of life and detail.  A slight dry, glassy hard quality doesn't favour strings and may emphasis sibilance on bright CDs. (also reviewed Feb 02)
Mission m72 £160 Aug 01 Fine imaging and vocal presence that kicks dirt in the faces of rivals. Good, out of the box sound but the bass may need some home tweaking to control it.
Mission m73 £199 Jun 01 An exceptionally detailed, smooth and rich sound. Weak bass impact and a little boxiness without sand filling, but spectacular in this area when filled.
MJ Acoustics Pro 50 £299 Jun 02 The Pro 50 sub-woofer is a fine performer in both movies and music. Real depth and perspective, adds depth and clarity, really demonstrating its quality.
Monsoon MM-1000 £200 May 99 A novel multi-media two-satellites-and-sub which nevertheless demands to be taken quite seriously.
Mordaunt-Short MS20i £200 Jan 96 Very tight bass and an all-round big sound. Some sharpness in the treble but assertive and clear.
NAD 801 £100 Jun 97 Impressive bass with midrange clarity are pluses. Prominent treble stops the 801 from challenging the best
NHT Super One £250 Nov 00 Excellent value for money, offering high-end quality at a low-end price
Paradigm Mini Monitors £230 Aug 97 The Paradigms have a generally enjoyable sound but treble is sharp and midrange recessed
Philips DSS 330 £63 May 00 Not exactly hi-fidelity but a sound product that's good value for money when used as a computer application.
QLN 122 £270 Jun 96 Solid bottom end will drive a large room well, but theyíre a bit bright too
RDL RA Labs Mini Ref £99 Jul 95  Engineering is not tip-top, but with a smooth system they will produce a clear and open, if bright, sound.
Revolver Purdey  £200 Jan 96 Rather small sound for a big cabinet. Absence of deep bass hard to forgive
Richard Allen Minette 3 £159 Sep 99 Very individualistic loudspeakers will need careful auditioning to ensure that theyíre right for you.
Rogers LS1 £149 Feb 96 Clear, bright and open but with weak bass. Best used close to or against a wall.
Rogers LS33 £250 Nov 96 Detailed and clear with a forward midrange. Could be a little rough on vocals; bass extension is limited.
Soundpax £30 Jun 02 Surprisingly musical, ultra lightweight cardboard 'speakers using NXT panel speakers. Cheap & cheerful way of getting music into the garage, garden shed or patio.
System Audio 1005 £299 Aug 96 Excellent all-rounder that provides a real open window into almost every genre of music.
Tangent Monitor 11  £200  Nov 97 The Tangents' bass has attractive speed and impact, matched with smooth treble and open midband. 
Tangent Monitor 2 £60 Jul 96 Good imaging as well as control. Tweets a bit too much but more than fine for the money.
Tannoy Mercury m1  £120 Jun 98 The best at the price and capable of embarrassing many more expensive íspeakers.
Tannoy Mercury m2  £140 May 97 For £140, you get a íspeaker with transparency and enjoyability unmatched at the price.
Tannoy Mercury m2.5 £160 Sep 99 A little brittle in the upper midrange but the virtues outweigh the faults many times over. Budget bargain.
Tannoy Mercury m3  £240 Nov 97 Even overall balance and taut secure bass, if not the deepest ever. Slightly lightweight and uninvolving.
Tannoy Mercury mX1 £119 Aug 00 Detailed and controlled with a great midband. Can be a bit lack lustre but are good value.
Tannoy Mercury mX2 £130 Jul 00 Strong and shouty contender in the popular bookshelf market. Lacks the subtlety for classical but fine for rock.
Tannoy Mercury mX3 £230 Dec 00 These new Tannoys are well balanced and full sounding through and through, making them fantastic value for money.
Tannoy R1 £199 Nov 98 Worth an audition if you need to balance a bright source and amp, but treble lacks clarity.
TDK S80 £89 Sep 02 Incredible sound for the money - brilliantly implemented NXT panels give a delightfully smooth yet fast and musical sound
TDL NFM 1 £120 May 97 Bright treble is partially balanced by taut , well integrated bass, but outclassed by the competition.
TDL Nucleus 1 £60 Apr 97 Clean, incisive, detailed and revealing, especially in the bass
TDL Nucleus 3 £200 Sep 99 The more you listen, the more you appreciate them. Best with smaller scale music - not for headbangers.
Videologic Sirocco Spirit £140 May 00 Placement sensitive, but a superb package that's excellent value for money.
Wharfedale
Active Diamond
£180 Mar 99 Great value introduction to active. The sound is deep and powerful but could be a little coloured for some.
Whafedale Diamond
Anniversary 7.2
£150 Sep 99  Honest reproduction, but with a suspicion of bass boom. Lacking in finesse; little dated now.
Wharfedale Diamond 8.1 £120 May 01 Unexpectedly clean, smooth, open and engaging sound makes them a modern hi-fi classic. Superb value for money, but classy ancillaries are a must. (updated  review Feb 02)
Wharfedale Diamond 8.2 £149 Oct 01 Great value 'speakers that are detailed and smooth. Simply a steal at the price.
Whafedale Diamond 8.3 £199 Feb 01 A touch more cohesive and sophisticated than rivals, with a very revealing treble. Some may wish for deeper bass but the 8.3s are up there with the best at the price.
Wharfedale Pi-10 £250 Sep 01 A fine 'speaker with solid build and deep bass, but can sound a bit sluggish at times and there is also a treble peak.
Wharfedale
Valdus 300
£150  Jul 96 Can work well if partnered to give weighty bass and smooth treble
Yamaha NS-200 £200 Dec 00 Notwithstanding slight problems at either end of the frequency spectrum, the NS-200s dish up a detailed and persuasive sound. Well worth a listen.
 

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