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What Hi-Fi? awards: review of the award-winning speakers

The British magazine has just published a list of selected Hi-Fi speakers it considers the best on the current Hi-Fi market. Here is an overview of the models available on Son-Vidéo.com. Find the speakers presented in this article on our page dedicated to the What Hi-Fi? awards.

Q Acoustics 3020

The Q Acoustics 3020 speakers

Q Acoustics 3020

First, the Q Acoustics 3020 compact speakers taken from the Q Acoustics 3000 series. A fearsome competitor for all entry level compact speakers. This speaker stands out due to its tone balance, its clarity and most of all its capacity to deliver a deep sound stage. The acoustic design is classic – a 5″ paper cone driver reinforced with aramid fibers and a soft dome tweeter. When compared to the 2020 model it replaces, this speaker delivers high frequencies in a much softer and smoother way. It is suitable for a listening room under 20m² and can be used with most stereo and home-cinema amplifiers. Read our test of the Q Acoustics 3020.

 

Monitor Audio Bronze 2

The Monitor Audio Bronze 2 speakers

Monitor Audio Bronze 2

The Monitor Audio Bronze 2 compact speakers are essential models in their price range and so is the rest of the Monitor Audio Bronze range. These speakers have been considered a reference for years and their success can be easily justified. Their specific feature is to deliver a powerful sound, especially in the low end of the spectrum, despite being compact speakers. The 6.5″ bass-medium driver is fitted with an ultra-rigid metal cone which enables the driver reach low frequencies without distorting in a damaging way. The aluminium dome tweeter is layered with ceramic which allows it to reach very high frequencies. Here again, most amplifiers can bring the Monitor Audio Bronze 2 to life, even at low power.

 

Dali Zensor 3

The Dali Zensor 3 speakers

Dali Zensor 3

The Dali Zensor 3 speakers benefit from a major advantage. Despite their smaller size, they are fitted with an 7″ bass-medium driver. Dali lays its cards on the table –  this small speaker is designed to express itself and deliver solid bass. The dome tweeter is lively and provides the speaker with an energetic sound. The wood fibre driver’s emissive surface make the Dali Zensor 3 adequate for larger living rooms and results in a very musical sound. These speakers can reach their full capacity when used with a powerful amplifier.

Q Acoustics Concept 20

The Q Acoustics Concept 20 speakers

Q Acoustics Concept 20

The Q Acoustics Concept 20 speakers adopt the drivers used for the Q Acoustics 2020i models and change the enclosure. The British brand has managed to completely change the listening experience by focusing meticulously on the woodwork. The speaker is made up of a sandwich structure of MDF boards, each separated by a layer of gel (GelCore) in order to absorb any unwanted vibration. The passive filter is made up of audiophile grade components. The listening experience, which was already very pleasant with the small 2020i is thus considerably improved and a plethora of additional micro-details can be heard.

KEF EGG

The KEF EGG speakers

KEF EGG

The KEF EGG speakers were designed to be placed close to the listener. These active speakers are equipped with a Bluetooth apt-X receiver as well as USB and optical digital inputs. The integrated DAC can handle audio signals sent by smartphones, tablets and computers up to 24 bits and 96 kHz. As always with KEF, the driver is a coaxial UniQ model paired up with a waveguide tweeter. The 4.5″ driver works delightfully in the high-bass range (70 Hz, no less). The listening experience is particularly detailed and clear. There is no need for an amplifier with the KEF EGG as they are already fitted with a 2×25 W amplification. A subwoofer output allows these speakers to be used in a larger living room.

B&W 685 S2

The B&W 685 S2 speakers

B&W 685 S2

The Bower & Wilkins 685 S2 speakers benefit from technologies developed by the British brand for its high end models. The metal dome tweeter is placed in a Nautilus type back compartment which dampens sound waves. With its robust 5″ driver, this compact speaker can fill up a room like no other, without giving the impression of pushing too hard. Its low sensitivity and potential make it a perfect fit for an amplifier with a large reserve of power.

Q Acoustics 3050

The Q Acoustics 3050 speakers

Q Acoustics 3050

The Q Acoustics 3050 speakers replace the famous Q Acoustics 2050i. The tweeter has been replaced by a model without ferrofluid. The pair of 6.5″ drivers has also been altered and the mica replaced with aramid fibres. The 3050 speakers deliver a surprisingly deep and wide sound. Very convincing in Hi-Fi, the Q Acoustics 3050 are absolutely impressive in home-cinema. Another piece of good news is that even the most moderate amplifiers can drive these speakers without any difficulty.

Read our test of the Q Acoustics 3050.

Triangle Titus EZ

The Triangle Titus EZ speakers

Triangle Tituz EZ

The Triangle Titus EZ speakers benefit from a real sense of scale. At both low and high volume, they deliver a very attractive sound. The main element of this speaker is its metal dome tweeter with a bullet shaped phase plug and partial horn loading. It is recommended to use them with powerful electronics with a solid bass delivery. The Denon DRA-100 is an excellent partner for these speakers.

KEF LS50

The KEF LS50 speakers

KEF LS50

The KEF LS50 speakers are not brand new models, however their performances are superior to that of many newcomers. They feature a 5″ UniQ coaxial driver in a bass-reflex enclosure. The sound is extremely well focused and the listener can find the ideal listening point in a heartbeat. The speakers are ideal for a lively listening experience and their design will not go unnoticed.

Q Acoustics Concept 40

The Q Acoustics Concept 40 speakers

Q Acoustics Concept 40

The Q Acoustics Concept 40 floorstanding speakers feature the same technologies as the Q Acoustics Concept 20, while its larger size obviously allows a more important bass range among other improvements. The use of GelCore technology and high quality components both contribute to the outstanding sound delivered by this speaker. A very refined model.

Tannoy XT6F

The Tannoy XT6F speakers

Tannoy Revolution XT6F

One of the extremely pleasant surprises of 2015. The Tannoy Revolution XT6F floorstanding speakers are 3-way models integrating a bass driver placed in a double bass-reflex enclosure and a 6.5″ coaxial driver. The ability this speaker has to bring out details speaks for itself and its balance is beyond reproach regardless of the amplifier. We did a review of the  Tannoy XT6F a few months ago and this wonderfully finished speaker absolutely won us over.

Tannoy Revolution XT8F

The Tannoy Revolution XT8F speakers

Tannoy Revolution XT8F

The Tannoy Revolution XT8F floorstanding speakers are related to the XT6F. The larger drivers (8″) increase the width of the sound stage and provide deeper bass. A powerful amplifier is recommended to handle the important air volume and the double bass-reflex enclosure. Excitement guaranteed.

B&W 683 S2

The B&W 683 S2 speakers

B&W 683 S2

The Bowers & Wilkins 683 S2 speakers are three-way models fitted with 4 drivers which benefit from sophisticated technologies in order to deliver a remarkably detailed and balanced sound. In order to improve on the already very good performances of the B&W 683 speaker, the English brand replaced the two bass drivers. The new 6.5″ transducers use a reinforced system made up of two layers of aluminium in order to limit cone deformation as much as possible. The response in the low end of the sound spectrum is also enhanced and quite simply excellent. The Nautilus tweeter is bright.

PMC Twenty 22

PMC Twenty 22

The PMC Twenty 22 speakers

The PMC Twenty 22 speakers are unusual dynamic compact models which feature a 6″ driver in a quarter wavelength line enclosure and a powerful dome tweeter cooled down with ferrofluid. PMC is an English brand with a rather discreet PR method, yet it benefits from worldwide recognition as the brand’s speakers were used by famous artists such as Stevie Wonder, Deep Purple, Prince, Brian May or Robbie Williams for their albums. The soundtrack of Titanic, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Dark Knight, to name but a few, were also mixed using PMC speakers. In other words, PMC designs studio quality speakers for the living room. Handmade in England, the PMC Twenty 22 feature bi-amplification terminals compatible with wire sections up to 4 mm².

 

This post is also available in: French

About the author

Tristan Jacquel

Tristan est rédacteur chez Son-Vidéo.com. Passionné de musique, d'acoustique et de high-tech, il réalise notamment les tests matériels pour notre blog.

1 Comment

  • A great compilation. Thanks for the detailed view. I am planning to get a Cambridge cxa60 amp. Can you advice which speaker from the above will best suit with this amp?

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