2014 SoundStage! Network Equipment Buying Guide

Monitor Audio Gold GX50Price: $1800 per pair

Website: www.monitoraudio.com

Philip said: With the Gold GX50, Monitor Audio has produced another fine loudspeaker. It possesses all the hallmarks of the Monitor house sound, along with incisive detail and tight, punchy bass. I found myself drawn to listen to voices through these speakers -- their midrange reproduction was very natural and open, and their ability to produce a well-defined, precise soundstage was outstanding.

Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

The gist: All the attributes you'd want in a small Monitor speaker, and then some.

Definitive Technology InclinePrice: $399 per pair

Website: www.definitivetech.com

Vince said: I have no hesitation in recommending the Inclines to anyone who wants a high-quality computer speaker system, or as the main system for a small bedroom or apartment. You won’t be disappointed.

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: Bipolar sound for your desktop.

Revel Performa3 F206Price: $3500 per pair

Website: www.revelspeakers.com

Doug said: If I had $3500 to spend on a pair of speakers right now, I’d buy a pair of Performa3 F206es over all others -- I love the speaker’s top-to-bottom neutrality, and especially its magical midrange, which did something special with voices. I also liked the way the review pair looked in my room, and appreciated the topnotch quality of their build and finish.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

The gist: Doug’s fave at the price point.

Focal Aria 906Price: $1500 per pair

Website: www.focal.com

Vince said: The Aria 906 is packed with Focal’s latest driver technology, and the results are fantastic. I was smitten by the Arias’ huge soundstage, neutral midrange, and beautifully rendered highs. This bookshelf punches above its weight, and compares favorably with other well-regarded speakers, even above its price range.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

The gist: Flax is good for you -- in more ways than one.

Monitor Audio Silver 6Price: $1500 per pair

Website: www.monitoraudiousa.com

Philip said: This is a speaker for the long haul -- one that you can set up and forget. After living with them for a while, I can say that this British speaker is the perfect solution for someone who cares about good sound, but who views a stereo as a means to an end -- music -- rather than an end in itself.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Access review.

The gist: Philip really liked the Silver 6es.

Bowers & Wilkins 684 S2Price: $1150 per pair

Website: www.bowers-wilkins.com

Doug said: All told, B&W offers high value with the 684 S2 -- the reason shoppers have long gravitated toward the company’s various 600 series. But I recommend that prospective buyers first listen to this new model with familiar music, to determine if it’s the right speaker for them.

Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

The gist: Pretty good, just not great like you would hope.

Axiom Audio M100 v4Price: $2790-$4167.60 per pair

Website: www.axiomaudio.com

Oliver said: Axiom deserves a gold medal -- or, better still, a Reviewers’ Choice award -- for how much sonic goodness they’ve packed into the wonderful M100. That they’re able to do so for a starting price of only $2790/pair is wondrous indeed. The Axiom M100 stands as one of the best-balanced reasonably priced speakers I’ve heard.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

The gist: Driver-packed large floorstander that costs less than you’d think.

Definitive Technology Mythos ST-LPrice: $4999.90 per pair

Website: www.definitivetech.com 

Roger said: Definitive Technology’s Mythos ST-L SuperTower elevates “lifestyle” speaker design to a new level of performance with its high resolution, clear and neutral midrange, and incredible dynamics. A true high-end design in every respect, it should hold its own against any speaker near its price, and even against some that cost considerably more.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Access review.

The gist: What a looker, with great sound to match.

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