Paradigm Shift A2
A 2012 Golden Ear recipient, the Shift A2 is more than just a cleverly named loudspeaker. Compact, internally powered, and equipped with DSP bass management and enough backpanel inputs to connect to almost any source, this is what 21st century entry-level high end is all about. A combination of sound and value, it extends the welcome mat to budding highenders who may have felt they couldn’t afford the entrance fee.
Focal XS Book
While functioning best as nearfield monitors tethered to a good computer-audio system, the XS Book speakers also work beautifully as part of a smallroom bookshelf system. For $299 these powered speakers offer a lot of sound, flexibility, and functionality. And though, in the end, they are a lifestyle rather than an audiophile product, it’s a lifestyle that most people won’t mind living.
Small and attractive enough to place on a desktop without rearrangements, the MM-1 features B&W’s famed Nautilus tweeter technology, a pair of 3" “woofers,” and four miniature, Class D, 18-watt amplifiers. The sound is notably natural with vocals, well balanced, and surprisingly open. Although there is no deep bass, what’s there will satisfy most, without the need of a cumbersome addon subwoofer.
The Mini-Maggie system is a three-piece, ribbon-tweeter-equipped, planar-magnetic, dipole speaker system intended primarily for desktop use. Featuring small tweeter/ midrange panels that sit atop the desk and a two-channel mid/bass panel that sits in the footwell below, the Mini- Maggie package is arguably the finest desktop speaker made. In detail, resolution, purity, freedom from grain, soundstage width and depth, and, above all, coherence, it sounds like a pair of Magnepan’s exceptional 3.7s on a smaller scale.