Definitive Technology BP8060 ST
A medium height, slim, versatile speaker with a builtin, adjustable amp to power its 10″ side-firing woofer, the BP8060 BP has a full, pleasant sound and a very wide effective listening area.
$2090–$2190 (depending on finish)
This latest version of Alan Shaw’s subcompact monitor is so cannily designed it almost transcends the limitations of its genre. Neutrality and natural tonal balance reign supreme, but this one can also play loud and descend to depths in the bass. Exceptional driver integration, coherence, and openness also characterize the design. PS’s favorite mini-monitor.
PSB Imagine T
Tonally neutral and dynamically turbocharged, this short twoand- a-half-way tower offers a balance of audio virtues that is classic PSB. From the vivid midrange to the powerful midbass, nothing seems out of joint—and that goes for the T’s seamless curved enclosure. Not as nuanced as the Synchrony but more than good enough to make you feel like a big spender.
Vandersteen 2Ce Signature II
This classic three-way floorstander delivers excellent top-to-bottom balance and engaging musicality. Moreover, Vandersteen’s baffle-less, timeand- phase-coherent design can suggest the spatial focus usually heard with planars. It benefits from bi-wiring and should be placed away from walls.
GoldenEar Triton Two
The Triton Two handles high frequencies via a superb Heiltype tweeter, the all-important middle frequencies via dual ultra-wide-bandwidth midrange drivers, and the low end with a sophisticated 1200-watt DSPcontrolled subwoofer. Together these elements give you a slender, full-range floorstander that sounds astonishingly refined, and offers robust dynamics and spectacular 3-D imaging.
Due to its not-insubstantial price of $2395 a pair, the Spendor SA1 has a lot of competition, but for a small listening room it may well prove to be a more musically rewarding choice than the vast majority of larger transducers. If you are assembling a high-end nearfield computer-desktop system, the Spendor SA1 definitely deserves to be among your top-five options.
Studio Electric Monitor
The Studio Electric Monitor was designed not only to fit into multi-use rooms, but to look and sound good while doing it. These $2600 speakers are a savvy option if you listen to music all day at high volumes and want to enjoy the experience well into the night.
LSA 1 Statement
This 13.5″ tall, two-way compact with three-inch ribbon tweeter is a completely musical package, with no inharmonious weaknesses. Its holistic sound is mellow, warm, and rounded. Plus it throws a larger amount of energy into the room than the typical compact. A speaker for the long run.
As a small stand-mounted monitor, it embodies the coherence, image specificity, and soundstaging strengths of the breed. The PM-1 also delivers surprisingly satisfying bass foundation and dynamic impact for its size. Beautifully balanced and beautiful to look at, too.
Dynaudio Excite X32
Sounding surprisingly large for its relatively small dimensions and driver complement, the Excite X32 also delivers a fair amount of detail and dynamic impact at its price point. While it can’t keep up with more expensive Dynaudio Confidence C1 in soundstage size or the sense of a continuously layered musical event, the X32’s main attraction is its engaging musical verve.
Sonus faber Liuto Monitor
$2998 ($798, stands)
Sonus has successfully incorporated the sonic virtues of the floorstanding Liuto into the smaller Monitor. Hewing to the Sf company line, the Monitor first focuses on capturing the natural richness and a bit of the romance of live music throughout the midrange. Part Renaissance lute, part rocker, the Liuto Monitor is one of the most elegant and versatile small speakers available. The purpose-built stands are optional but worth every penny.