Mark Harris
10 BEST SPEAKERS - The Independent, 15 July 2003

Gone are the days when the largest cabinets were the biggest noise in loudspeakers. Mark Harris gives sound advice on the best new deals for discerning audiophiles

NPX SoundpaX 35 -- BEST BUDGET BUY
Even the most urbane soirée is only ever a cocktail or two away from an anarchic mosh pit. When the volume rises, swap your walnut veneer speakers for these flat-pack, cardboard substitutes. The SoundpaX are loud enough to fill the dance floor, cheap enough to shrug off dents and even fold away neatly when sobriety returns.
NXT (020 7343 5050) www.nxt.co.uk

Mission fs1-AV 350
Flat panel speakers have a much wider stereo ‘sweet spot’ than conventional speakers, making them ideal for home cinema use. This great value system delivers complete surround sound from five small satellite speakers and one active subwoofer. Plug-and-play cables and all fittings are included, although the stands pictured cost an extra £65.
Mission (01480 541777) www.mission.co.uk

B&W DM601 S3 250 -- BEST BUY
The Kevlar cone driver in the S3 shows how serious B&W is about build quality. While it may not actually be bulletproof, the double-skinned cabinet features extra internal bracing for reduced coloration and a flowport for driving bass. A metal dome tweeter using B&W’s advanced Nautilus technology completes a class act.
B&W (01903 221500) www.bwspeakers.com

JBL Creature 90
Dump the ugly beige speakers your computer (PC or Mac) came with and replace them with JBL’s unobtrusive satellites and hefty subwoofer (think Stormtrooper helmet rather than upside-down potty). With one-touch volume controls and a stylish blue LED downlight, this is one Creature whose bark is better than its bite.
JBL (020 8731 4670) www.jblcreature.com

Monitor Audio Silver S1 300
If you want an excuse to display the S1’s silvery bass driver and shiny gold tweeter, tell yourself that real audiophiles remove speaker grilles to ensure total audio accuracy. Then settle back and just admire the way they catch the light. This design classic offers realistic bass and a wide, involving soundstage.
Monitor Audio (01473 824768) www.monitoraudio.co.uk

Kef Q7 AV 2200 -- BEST LUXURY BUY
Imagine a movie-house with no queues, no sticky floors and no giggling teenagers (family members excluded). Create the ultimate home cinema with this eight speaker surround sound package, based on Kef’s Uni-Q technology, where the tweeter is located within the mid-range driver. And if you’re worried about the expense, just think what you’ll save in popcorn…
Kef (01622 672261) www.kef.com

Soundbug 30
Developed using US military sonar technology, the Soundbug is a fun device that turns any flat surface (glass, metal, even MDF) into a loudspeaker. Simply plug it into your portable CD player, slap it down and the Soundbug’s powerful vibrations will make your furniture sing. Expect smiles all round rather than hi-fi quality sound.
Soundbug (0870 850850) www.soundbug.biz

T+L Talis TLS3 1800
Award-winning design and luxuriously rich audio aren’t what you’d expect of a German manufacturer, but the TLS3s are no ordinary speakers. Four aluminium-coned drivers handle the bass and mid-range, with a sophisticated annular super-tweeter looking after the top notes. To make a real statement, T+A can add a faultless chrome finish for a mere £1350 extra.
T+A (020 8863 9117) www.taelektroakustik.de

Mission M52 450
Big bass needs a big box, right? Wrong. A floorstanding speaker like the M52 can produce powerful, extended bass from a relatively small footprint. Available in beech, rosewood or graphite black finish, the two-way M52 is topped with a micro-fibre tweeter for smooth treble, making it a sound choice for home cinema set-ups.
Mission (01480 541777) www.mission.co.uk

Creative Travel Sound 50
Bring portable music to life with this compact, yet powerful speaker system. Boasting 2 Watts per channel stereo sound and up to 35 hours playback on a single set of batteries, the Travel Sound is a perfect travel partner for laptop computers or personal CD, MP3 and cassette players.
Creative Labs (0800 376 7954) www.europe.creative.com



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