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Volent VL-2 Signature Edition Loudspeakers

Volent VL-2 SEPrice: $8500 per pair

Website: www.volent.com.hk

Doug said: It’s also a seriously good speaker with exceptional build quality, terrific looks, and a wonderfully distinctive sound: deep, rich bass that will have you believing you’re listening to a much larger speaker; a well-balanced midrange that’s wholly natural and seamless, despite the very different technologies of its two drivers; and clear, prominent, lively highs that can sound spectacular with well-recorded music, but can veer toward brightness with "hot" recordings. In my opinion, where the VL-2 SE stands tallest is in the areas of transparency and detail.

Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

The gist: Unique, expensive two-way that delivers distinctive sound.

AAD Silver Reference 7 Loudspeakers

AAD Silver Reference 7Price: $5000 per pair

Website: www.philjonespuresound.com

Philip said: I’m sold on Phil Jones’s belief in the virtues of using multiple small mid/woofers to produce not merely enough but voluminous low-end output. This, married to a clean, open midrange and an extended top end, makes the Phil Jones Pure Sound Silver Reference 7 a well-designed, superb-sounding loudspeaker that will no doubt win the attention of audiophiles looking for a reference speaker in the area of $5000/pair.

Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

The gist: Phil Jones gives his take on great sound.

Silverline Audio Sonatina Mk.IV Loudspeakers

Silverline Sonatina Mk.IVPrice: $5995 per pair

Website: www.silverlineaudio.com

Jeff said: Having the latest version of Silverline Audio’s Sonatina in the house has been like visiting with a long-lost friend. They’ve obviously matured, but you still recognize the traits that made you so comfortable with them all those years ago. I’ll be very sorry to see them go, and hope it won’t be as many years before they visit again. Highly recommended.

Read the Ultra Audio review.

The gist: The evolution of Silverline's classic model.

Focus Audio Prestige FP88 SE Loudspeakers

Focus Prestige FP88 SEPrice: $6800 per pair

Website: www.focusaudio.com

Aron said: Focus Audio’s Prestige FP88 SE performed commendably with just about every recording and component I could find. Its finish is superb, its chamfered edges add a level of masculinity and character to its appearance that nicely offset its rectangular footprint, and I’ve always appreciated that Focus finishes its speakers’ plinths to match their cabinets. Inside, all components and the crossover design are new for this SE edition, and their resulting performance checks all the right audiophile boxes. 

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

The gist: Focus is looking better and better these days. A real player in high-end loudspeakers.

MartinLogan Ethos Loudspeakers

MartinLogan EthosPrice: $6495 per pair

Website: www.martinlogan.com

Jason said: Despite the fact that $6495/pair sounds to me like a fair chunk of change, I’d have to put the MartinLogan Ethos at the "reasonable" end of the price spectrum. Considering that the Ethos is one of the most musically satisfying speakers I’ve heard in my room, I also have to say that, at $6495, it’s a flat-out bargain.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

The gist: Cohesive sound from a hybrid speaker.

 

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