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Speakers come in all shapes and sizes, with different types of sound to suit every budget. Finding the best brand is a difficult task with a large degree of subjectivity and personal audio tastes to keep in mind. Nevertheless, certain brands have become synonymous with quality, making their speakers popular among dedicated audiophiles and more casual listeners alike.
Here’s a rundown.
Founded in 1946, Klipsch is very much a heritage brand backed up by years of innovation and continual renewal. Speakers from Klipsch are known for their focus on horn-loaded technology, which the company believes delivers the best quality of sound. Early models have become collector's items and are highly valued on the vintage markets. More modern versions range in price all the way up to the Kilpschorn Heritage Speaker, which leads the way both in terms of sound quality and price tag.
Klipsch has a reputation for producing loudspeakers, so all their models pack a big audio punch. This makes them a popular choice for home cinemas and public addresses. They deliver high-fidelity sound and don’t sacrifice range or clarity regardless of volume. Although Klipsch is often thought of as being quite expensive, their range is broad enough to accommodate all budgets.
Sonos is a much newer company, founded in the U.S. in 2002. In addition to traditional high-end speakers they’ve gradually moved into the smart speaker arena, with voice control and other technological advancements. Their modern speakers include the fantastic Sonos One SL Wireless, which includes (among other features) the option to stream music from an iPhone and ask Siri to play a song.
Innovations like these don’t come at the expense of sound quality, however. Sonos has never lost sight of what makes a speaker a worthy investment: unadulterated, high-quality sound. Few other brands can boast of speakers that fill a room as well as Sonos. They’re famed for a warm, rich sound that’s incredibly detailed, making them an excellent choice for a home theater surround sound system. All the additional technology is a bonus, but Sonos remains one of the best speaker brands if you want room-filling detail.
Another staple of the speaker market, Wharfedale has been around since 1932, when they were founded in the United Kingdom. The beauty of Wharfedale speakers lies in how they handle highs and lows. If your current speakers don’t perform well with deep bass or high trebles, a Wharfedale model may be the way to go. The diamond series has been popular for decades, but nowadays it’s rivaled by even more sophisticated models like the Denton Anniversary.
Wharfedale speakers are sometimes referred to as having a laid-back type of sound, which makes them ideal for long sessions. They're more mellow than some of the other brands on the list, but those highs and lows will still shine through. Many people choose Wharfedales as dedicated music speakers on account of their clarity and easiness on the ear over long periods.
Another British company, Bowers & Wilkins, was founded in 1966 and has since taken up a large market share. Its range is wide - one of the widest on the list - so they really do have a speaker to suit every taste. These include dedicated ceiling speakers like the CCM664SR as well as more traditional floor and cabinet models. Whatever you choose, most now come with a Continuum driver and a domed driver.
Top-of-the-range components guarantee pristine sound quality. Bass is clean and fast, and the midrange is especially strong. The company has years of experience at its back and still continues to innovate. If you need any further convincing, B&W has been the official partner of Abbey Road Recording Studios since 2017. Endorsements don’t come much more resounding than that.
Founded in 1975, JL Audio has one of the more versatile ranges on the list. In addition to the usual set of standing and wall speakers, they also make sound equipment designed to be used outside and even in cars. They are, however, most famous for their quality subwoofers, so this is the brand to go for if you like your lows emphasized and your bass strong.
JL Audio is about far more than subwoofers, however. These speakers will deliver stunning precision and quality, all completely distortion-free even at the highest volumes. Dominion subwoofers on higher-end speakers like the D110 are even more impressive, exposing previously unnoticed detail in your music collection.
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