2013 TAS Editors' Choice Awards: Desktop Loudspeakers

Equipment report
Categories:
Stand-mount
|
Products:
Bowers & Wilkins MM-1,
Focal XS Book,
Magnepan Mini-Maggie,
Paradigm Shift A2
2013 TAS Editors' Choice Awards: Desktop Loudspeakers

Paradigm Shift A2
$279-$329
paradigm.com
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
$299
audioplusservices.com
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.

B&W MM-1
$499
bwspeakers.com
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.

Magnepan Mini-Maggie
$1490–$2285
magnepan.com
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.

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