5 Top Picks: Stand-Mount Loudspeakers $1000-$2000

Equipment report
Monitor Audio GX50,
Nola Loudspeakers Boxer,
Revel M106,
Sonus faber Venere Model 1.5
5 Top Picks: Stand-Mount Loudspeakers $1000-$2000

Sonus faber Venere Model 1.5
$1198 (stands $398)
Dressed in a striking laminate enclosure, the new Venere Model 1.5 is the smallest in Sf ’s six-model lineup. Looking as if it might have taken a short cut through “Silicon(e) Valley” on its way to your living room or loft, this compact Italiano two-way with the narrow slotted front port, swooping top panel, and curvilicious enclosure has Sf tradition stamped all over its sound. There’s an espresso rich and robust midrange that makes vocals shine and keeps dynamics lively, plus artifact-free midbass, minimal colorations, and big speaker composure. A small stand-mount speaker that you don’t have to apologize for, Venere—Latin for Venus—was love at first sight for reviewer NG and irresistible for the money. sumikoaudio.net

Built to celebrate KEF’s 50th anniversary, the LS50 monitor spins pure coincident-driver magic thanks to its blushing pink-gold Uni-Q coaxial midrange/tweeter mounted in bulls-eye fashion atop a uniquely arched baffle. Visually arresting and sonically satisfying, it delivers tonal neutrality at just the right pitch, with superb midrange sonics, full-bodied presence, and potent midbass punch. Thanks to its beautifully crafted high-density enclosure—an ideal platform for the space-saving Uni-Q—there’s little in the way of cabinet resonances or port colorations. Imaging is as clean and pinpoint precise as you’d expect from KEF. Positioned in a small- or medium-sized room, the LS50 makes a statement like few small speakers. You’ll want to hold on to these no matter how many upgrades you make to the rest of your system. kef.com

Nola Boxer
The Boxer is an unassuming two-way compact in a bass-reflex enclosure. Its physical profile may be working class, but sonically it plays pure uptown with a character that’s unerringly musical—a canny balance of warmth and detail. The Boxer also exhibits the moves you’d expect of a smart two-way—vivid images and quick transients. It’s not a shy, recessed presentation, nor is the treble brittle or fatiguing. Except for the slightest presencerange dip, there’s substance to every octave with very little dynamic compression. The result is an unpretentious over-achiever that speaks nothing less than the musical truth. nolaspeakers.com

Monitor Audio GX50
The smallest of the GX Series, this two-way, stand-mount loudspeaker with ribbon tweeter strikes a premium pose from any angle. A midrange-centric marvel that shines brilliantly in the company of vocals, the GX50 also conveys the delicacies of musical texture, air, and bloom. Tonally it can sound a little polite in the upper mids, and there’s a bit of extra brilliance in the sibilance range, but the openness of the ribbon tweeter more than makes up for these relatively minor colorations. More a finesse loudspeaker than a headbanger’s dream, the GX50 is beguiling in its strengths, and with that ribbon adds a distinctively sweet flavor to its price category. monitoraudio.com

Revel Performa3 M106
Revel’s M106 is cut from the same rich fabric as its big brother the F206, but designed for smaller spaces. A vocal lover’s dream, the two-way M sports the identical and brilliantly refined dome tweeter with acoustic lens waveguide of the floorstander, creating a wide sweetspot, a rewarding lack of localization, and estimable composure under all sorts of dynamic fire. Plus, it delivers nearly imperturbable output so that even under punishing conditions this feisty compact remains linear. There’s a cooler cast to its tonal balance likely due to the lighter bass, but its character is still unmistakably, accurately Revel. History will show this is one of the great compacts of the last ten years. revel.com