Let’s go back to about 30 minutes ago, I was minding my own business listening to one of my favorite albums, and asking myself “Where does my fascination for audio come from?”, mixed with the other questions of “is this normal?” and “Why do I like this so much?” When the B side finally played out, I started to put the LP back in its sleeve when my wife came in and said to me “By the way you are not allowed to buy any more speakers.”
If you are like me, I of course immediately began to defend my reason why I have so many speakers. I pleaded my case by showing her how each pair differed from the rest. Going into every detail from bass to booster, treble to tone. We examined from brand new technology to the vintage classics. Yes, the large cabinets of these speakers are quite massive to today’s standards but they are so beautiful to look at and sound lively and full. I do have too many sets of speakers in my wife’s defense and some take up quite a bit of living room real-estate. My fascination with the production of musical sound has led me down a resonance rabbit hole I never imagined going down, yet with every type of speaker I listen to I find something sonically different.
My wife, being a good sport, is now staring and squinting her eyes as she tries to hear all the nuances I’ve just explained. She begins to hear the music differently with a more critical ear. “You’re right!” she responds, “the guitar is more pronounced and detailed in the KEF’s’ ‘ she says in an enthusiastically sounding voice as the solo from “Hotel California” plays in the background. I would say this was an hour or so well spent. Now I have to explain to her how the DAC makes a big difference when listening to streaming music from Qobuz and how the new Phono Box pre-amp by Pro-Ject keeps our vinyl collection sounding 10X better than before. So, this should only take about 4-5 more hours and a few more articles in the next few issues of Nobleman. But don’t bore us, get to the chorus! So let’s get to my suggestions on the best speakers available.
Bowers & Wilkins 705 S3
For your new exploration into audio technics, I introduce to you first to Bowers and Wilkins. One of the most sought-after top-tier brands when it comes to anything speaker-related. Founded in England in the 60s, Rock and Roll was king and of course the hottest sounds were coming from the very place these little gems were meticulously crafted. With specialty mechanics giving you a true-to-life sounding vocals and instrument separation that is lifelike and smooth. – $3,399.00 www.bowerswilkins.com
Recommended Listening: Find a big room and play big songs. Start with the hollowed composer John Williams. Let his famous movie scores come alive and take you back to the time you first heard them. I recommend the Superman theme or the Jurassic Park theme to get a full display of what these speakers can do.
The EVO4.2’s use all the latest modern tech and design features to accurately reproduce sound and create a live-like soundstage within your listening room. The three-way driver design gives you an impressive kaleidoscope of sound, with a folded ribbon tweeter that helps create the silkiest smooth highs. Paired with a tailor made a Kevlar woofer that rounds out the sound with the perfect basse All of these components are of course housed within a beautifully hand-made solid wood cabinet that is specifically designed to boost sound quality. – $1,199.00 www.wharfedaleusa.com
Recommended Listening: Blues, Jazz, Acoustic, Vocals, Reggae, Instruments and low-mid tempo music types are presented fantastically. “Put on Killing Me Softly by the Fugees” or “The Soul of a Man by Tom Jones” and let the richness of each track overwhelm you.
KEF LS50 Meta
The KEF LS50 Meta speakers are the most well-rounded and jam-packed set of speakers, with features that rival the super ultra high-end Hi-Fi companies. What sets the Ls50 Meta’s apart is the new and innovative Metamaterial Absorption Technology (MAT). The maze-like structure behind the tweeter absorbs all unwanted sound from the back for a clearer, more detailed sound. The cabinets of these beautifully simple speakers are a heavy and solid build with a curved front baffle. For beauty seen inside and out. – $1,600.00 us.kef.com
Recommended listening: Well rounded genres with a lot of nuance are on full display. Choosing all different Rock genres and playing close attention to the guitar detail. As mentioned, turn on the classic “Hotel California” by the Eagles and you can feel like you are on that dark desert highway with cool wind in your hair. Or put on “Walk on the Wild Side” by Lou Reed and let the simple guitar line be transformed into a new rich texture you never heard before.
Bang & Olufsen BEOLAB 18
Just like me I bet you are always looking for the most bang for your buck, there is none more fitting than the Bang & Olufsen BEOLAB 18 home theater speakers. If you are looking to upgrade your home theater sound then these bad boys redefine what’s possible in the audio game, blending a sleek, slim design with materials like oak and aluminum that practically scream the next level. Packed with a 160-watt amplifier for each of its five drivers, these speakers are not messing around when it comes to delivering mind-blowing sound. The acoustic lens tech is straight out of the top-tier playbook, ensuring an audio experience that’s as immersive as it gets. And did I mention the wireless magic these babies have? Seamless integration into your smart home setup is a given. Bang & Olufsen, the Danish maestros of audio brilliance, have been slaying the game since 1923, and the BEOLAB 18 is their way of saying, “We’re just getting started.” Upgrade your home theater, and thank me later. – $11,250.00 www.bang-olufsen.com
Recommended listening: Movies with big scores and big soundscapes. Let the Christopher Nolan Film “Interstellar” astound you by the depth of Han Zimmer’s score. Be taken over as you watch Blade Runner 2049, the different soundscapes overtaking your body.
Words by Oscar Munoz