Price: $1395 per pair
Hans said: Amphion’s Ion+ is a precision instrument. Its hallmark of accuracy makes it a compelling proposition, and its size and Northern European style make it an attractive one as well.
The gist: Finnish minimonitor with a distinctive style and neutral sound.
Price: $1800 per pair
Philip said: I’m certain that the AT-2’s combination of strengths will appeal to those who want the more full-range sound of a floorstander combined with the sort of imaging usually heard only from minimonitors. If that describes you, you’ll definitely want to hear a pair of AT-2s.
The gist: Great bass, and overall pretty good.
Price: $1000 per pair
Jeff said: For speakers so small, the LV2e’s had wonderful resolution and exceptional transparency, while establishing a soundstage of impressive depth and dimension. They’re fast, delicate, and detailed, and their two-way design coherently integrates the bass, treble, and midrange.
The gist: Who wouldn't want a powered, leather-wrapped minimonitor?
Price: $4187 per pair
Doug said: All told, for its asking price, the Rhapsody 80 performed exceedingly well in my room. Color me impressed -- very impressed.
The gist: A new company producing a surprisingly good speaker for a fair price.
Price: $3760 per pair in standard finishes
Roger said: Axiom Audio’s innovative engineering and first-rate implementation in the LFR1100, including the use of 11 biamped drivers and DSP, have taken bipolar loudspeakers to the next level. Considering the quality of the cabinet and finish, and the fact that it includes a solidly built, outboard digital signal processor, the LFR1100 seems a bargain at its base price of $3760/pair.
The gist: Innovative bipolar design out of the House of Axiom.
Price: $3798 per pair
Doug said: When people ask me to recommend a top-class, midpriced, floorstanding speaker, what almost always pop to mind are various models from such stalwart brands as KEF, Paradigm, and PSB. What I heard from the Chrono SLS 780 DC means that the next time I’m asked for such a recommendation,Canton, too, will be on the tip of my tongue.
The gist: Overachieving small floorstander from Germany.
Price: $2000 per pair
Sid said: Contrast Audio’s ad copy states that their loudspeakers sound very natural, dynamic, and realistic. At least in regard to the Model One As3-Ref, I would tend to agree, and especially in terms of this speaker’s reproduction of voices. The As3-Refs imbued singers with a sense of poise and authenticity in which nuances and emotions were conveyed with a truthfulness uncommon in speakers costing $2000/pair.
The gist: Quaint little speaker from the Ukraine with some unique charms.
Price: $1198 per pair
Hans said: At $1198/pair, the Definitive Technology BP-8020ST SuperTower is a near-full-range speaker that sounds far larger than its tiny footprint would suggest. Its active bass section and high efficiency should make it an easy load for any amplifier, and it offers shocking clarity for the price.
The gist: How can they pack in so much for so little?