A great pair of speakers can make an otherwise mediocre audio system sound amazing. And these days you don’t have to empty your bank account to make that happen. Here are four of the best-sounding speakers from CNET.com, which rates personal technology products.
ELAC Uni-Fi UB5
The good: The ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 loudspeakers offer the best performance of any speaker we’ve seen for the money. They deliver deep, tight bass; an effortless midrange and sweet highs. The soundstage is wide and unexpectedly deep.
CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (Outstanding)
The bad: Adding surrounds is a little ad hoc. If you want to listen to music, a dedicated stereo system will sound better for the money.
The cost: $349.00 to $399.99
Emotiva Airmotiv T1
The good: The Emotiva Airmotiv T1 is a large, affordable three-way speaker featuring high-end appointments including a folded ribbon tweeter. The T1’s sound quality offers close to the holy trinity of sound quality: full punchy bass, expressive midrange and airy highs. The bass response is deep enough to forgo the need for a separate sub in smaller rooms.
The bad: Bulky appearance, utilitarian black finish.
CNET rating: 4.0 stars out of 5 (Excellent)
The good: The relatively affordable KEF Q350 speaker sounds good with almost everything, and offers an excellent sense of depth and space in decent recordings. Fit and finish are superb.
The bad: The Q350 doesn’t come with grill covers, but KEF will sell you a pair for extra cost. Competitors such as Klipsch and Elac sound more exciting.
The cost: $649.99 to $650.00
The bottom line: The KEF Q350 bookshelf speaker looks exquisite, and sounds bigger and more expensive than it really is.