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Active Speaker Recommendations for USA (by @sweetchaos)

Do you ever reach the limiter when cranking them?
I haven't even attempted to crank them, no need, they get plenty loud pretty quickly and in my room, again subjectively, I tend to hear the room being suddenly engaged and it all gets a little messy. The 8's are really overkill for my needs, but they were such a bargain and even at very moderate levels the music just pours out of them.

I set the volume dial on the back of each speaker to 0dB and the gain on my E30 Dac wanders from mid 30's to mid to high 20's depending on time of day and type of music.

The Adam's are in my opinion a more handsome speaker, the sculpted front and ribbon twitter make them not unattractive sitting in the living room on some stands.

If you read any of @amirm 's reviews of small monitors he really "cranks" them and then you have to do the math of how much loudness is lost per meter to give you an idea of what you will hear at your listening position and make a judgement if that is loud enough for your purposes, compared to what he is hearing on the desk.
 
I haven't even attempted to crank them, no need, they get plenty loud pretty quickly and in my room, again subjectively, I tend to hear the room being suddenly engaged and it all gets a little messy. The 8's are really overkill for my needs, but they were such a bargain and even at very moderate levels the music just pours out of them.

I set the volume dial on the back of each speaker to 0dB and the gain on my E30 Dac wanders from mid 30's to mid to high 20's depending on time of day and type of music.

The Adam's are in my opinion a more handsome speaker, the sculpted front and ribbon twitter make them not unattractive sitting in the living room on some stands.

If you read any of @amirm 's reviews of small monitors he really "cranks" them and then you have to do the math of how much loudness is lost per meter to give you an idea of what you will hear at your listening position and make a judgement if that is loud enough for your purposes, compared to what he is hearing on the desk.
Appreciate it. Seems like I'll have a similar experience.

I actually have the T5V's but the wife doesn't like the look, so I went with Revel M16's. Once they get here I'm interested in hearing the difference between actives and passives.

If I'm able to place a decent looking grille on the Kali's, I might replace the Adam's.. who knows though
 
Appreciate it. Seems like I'll have a similar experience.

I actually have the T5V's but the wife doesn't like the look, so I went with Revel M16's. Once they get here I'm interested in hearing the difference between actives and passives.

If I'm able to place a decent looking grille on the Kali's, I might replace the Adam's.. who knows though
I just checked and I am actually sitting closer to 4m than 3m away from the sound plane between the speakers, so in my humble way I would say the 5's are going to do the job. If I could afford the M16's as another pair of speakers up my sleeve I certainly would probably buy them at the drop of a hat.

I really have to consolidate and get rid of all my other speakers, but they all have special characteristics that I like, I understand fully @MattHooper 's reasoning.:)
 
I just checked and I am actually sitting closer to 4m than 3m away from the sound plane between the speakers, so in my humble way I would say the 5's are going to do the job. If I could afford the M16's as another pair of speakers up my sleeve I certainly would probably buy them at the drop of a hat.

I really have to consolidate and get rid of all my other speakers, but they all have special characteristics that I like, I understand fully @MattHooper 's reasoning.:)
Thanks for that! With yours and another posters help, I'm pretty sure these are going to work just fine for the space. I'm excited to hear the difference and what my taste really is.

For some reason, I really fell for the Revel's. I was about to pull the trigger on the Polk R200's, but then I saw and heard the M16's... and there was just something about them. Also, doesn't hurt with them testing really well :)

Kali just made a home theater edition of the LP-6 (MM-6), that has all of the necessary inputs. Waiting to hear back if that'll be happening with the IN series.

Haha, yeah... it's easy to get carried away with all of this. Probably would've been happy with a set of $200 bookshelf's, but figured since return costs aren't terrible, can't beat testing and comparing them at the house.
 
Added:
- Mesanovic CDM65 standard mode (some measurements were done by Erin and some by Mesanovic).
Link
(note: Erin hasn't posted these graphs on his own site yet)
Screenshot 2022-12-19 at 1.47.13 PM.png

Screenshot 2022-12-19 at 1.46.59 PM.png

(screenshots from vendor website)

Excellent performance.
Made it to the top 3 spot for >US$5,300/pair.
 
The review says those are hypex amps.
Deni explained it here:

Erin's website is incorrectly showing the wrong info.
Front End Audio (site) also made this mistake...and it's still not fixed.
I'm guessing Erin copied the information from Front End Audio, which would explain both errors.
 
Speakers listed in lower maximum price table are removed from the higher price table even with a higher preference score than speakers on the list in the higher maximum price table, for example JBL 308P mkII and Kali LP-6v2

LS60 score is taken from the KEF white paper measurements? I can't find CAE 2034 standard mentioned there.
 
How do you calculate the preference score, by manually input data points from graphs? The picture of the LS60 measurements plot area doesn't even have a grid.
 
How do you calculate the preference score, by manually input data points from graphs? The picture of the LS60 measurements plot area doesn't even have a grid.
First, you take a screenshot of the image from Kef's whitepaper (see page 17).
Next, you import this image to WebPlotDigitizer and trace each line.
This is a manual process.
You'll get each coordinate in x-y for each graph, saved as a JSON file.
Once you have this information (or in the case of Amir's review, he gives this information directly in the form of TXT file), run it through Pierre's python script (from his github).
This will generate all the required information, including Preference Score.

Pierre did this already for Kef LS60 Wireless, as you can see here.

LS60 score is taken from the KEF white paper measurements? I can't find CAE 2034 standard mentioned there.
Yes it's from the whitepaper. The graph is clearly shown in the CEA-2034 format, without being labelled as such.
 
Should you include the Neuman KH310 as an active center channel option? It doesn't have to be rotated but it would work well as a center channel.
 
I'm constantly asked which speakers to purchase...so, here you go! :D
This guide is for ACTIVE speakers. For PASSIVE speakers go here.
Click on the "Spoiler" buttons below to expand each section.
What market are these recommendations for?
USA, with USD prices listed below

Does this include discontinued speakers?
No, since i'm only counting speakers that are currently sold at major retailers/resellers in the US.

What is the preference score?
The preference score (introduced by Sean Olive) (also sometimes called "Olive score") is the best science-based representation we have on how to classify whether a speaker (either active or passive) is preferred or not. A more neutral speaker will get the best preference score, and will likely win in a blind listening test, comparing two speakers. You can read about it here.

What are the limitations of the preference score?
1. Distortion handling
Amir and Erin (from ErinsAudioCorner) talk about this in their reviews, so you can take a look there.
Distortion handling of a loudspeaker is usually secondary to frequency response. Meaning, a great frequency response and poor distortion handling speaker will still be preferred over a poor frequency response speaker with great distortion handling. A great example of this is the fact that JBL 305P/306P/308P MKII speakers have higher-than-normal distortion, but because of their relatively neutral frequency response, a lot of people still enjoy them.
2. Loudness handling
Amir and Erin (from ErinsAudioCorner) talk about this in their reviews, so you can take a look there.
In terms of loudness handling, I've made a few notes to speakers below.
3. Your own preference for wide or narrow directivity
In terms of directivity, I haven't added this information below, but I could if enough people show interest.

Accuracy of data:
There are a few speakers in this list that weren't measured using Klippel NFS (that Amir and Erin have), which provides very accurate spinorama. A less accurate (in terms of resolution) spinorama can be made using quasi-anechoic methods as described in this post.
If you see * => We have quasi-anechoic spinorama or similar, but the speaker wasn't measured using Klippel NFS.

Are you biased in any way?
I purchased JBL 305P MKII prior to joining ASR, and Genelec 8040B last year after I read a few Genelec reviews. Read into that what you will.

How did you make this list?
I looked at all the speaker spinorama that we have and their computed preference score and compiled this list.
I also mention a few speakers of note, and talk about which speakers to avoid at a certain price point, based on my own understanding.

What is the limitation of this guide?
Blind reliance on measurements can be misleading ‐ one needs to tie those measurements back to subjective perception. Amir and Erin (from ErinsAudioCorner) both give their overall opinion on speakers, so feel free to read the written reviews.

What am I showing?
Top 3 speakers in terms of preference score, plus other worthy picks (explained in the legend).

What's the difference between Amir's and Erin (from Erin's Audio Corner) distortion charts?
Amir shows "Non-Anechoic" harmonic distortion.
Erin shows "Anechoic" (using Klippel ISC module) harmonic distortion.
They are similar, but not exactly the same.
Erin explained it in this youtube video
Which makes a direct comparison between Amir's and Erin's distortion graphs inaccurate (unfortunately).
Amir talked about why he stopped doing Anechoic harmonic distortion here.

LEGEND:
ValueDescription
#1Best rated-speaker in terms of preference score. Update: I set the threshold at 3.0, ignoring speakers below it.
#22nd best-rated speaker in terms of preference score.
#33rd best-rated speaker in terms of preference score.
WorthyWorthy picks that either Erin (from ErinsAudioCorner) or Amir measured and recommended. From Amir, I included all "highly recommended panther" award winners, plus the recommended picks (that I chose). Erin doesn't give a 'highly recommended' award like Amir does, but after reading Erin's review or watching the youtube reviews, I get the sense that Erin highly recommends that speaker. Plus I've included a few models that weren't measured by neither Amir or Erin, but still for consideration, since we can predict will be good, based on similar model's measurements.
PSPreference Score (with no subwoofer added). Value can be negative (for really badly designed speakers) and goes up to a 10 (theoretical limit). Higher is better.
PSwSubPreference Score (with theoretically-perfectly-integrated subwoofer added). Value can be negative (for really badly designed speakers) and goes up to a 10 (theoretical limit). Higher is better.
LFXLow Frequency Extension (in hz). This is the bass output at -6db point. This was computed, not estimated. Lower is better.
RLResponse Linearity. This is the response linearity test that Erin (from ErinsAudioCorner) provides when he tests his speakers. The below graphic indicates just how much SPL is lost (compression) or gained (enhancement; usually due to distortion) when the speaker is played at higher output volumes instantly via a 2.7 second logarithmic sine sweep referenced to 76dB at 1 meter. The signals are played consecutively without any additional stimulus applied. Then normalized against the 76dB result.
*We have quasi-anechoic spinorama or similar. However, this speaker wasn't measured using Klippel NFS (that Amir and Erin have), so it's resolution is less accurate. Warning: This will artificially boost the preference score higher than if the same speaker was measured using NFS.
**No spinorama for this specific model. I'm including it because we have multiple other spinorama from the same manufacturer, so it's not a stretch to imagine these will be good.
RedNew speaker added to the table for this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$150/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Neumi BS5P (with a new internal EQ provided by Neumi and ports stuffed) (Erin) (RL)4.47.368
Edifier MR4 (Amir) (Erin) (RL)3.56.158
Monoprice MM-3 (Erin)3.45.750

Active Speakers Under US$300/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Neumi BS5P (with a new internal EQ provided by Neumi and ports stuffed) (Erin) (RL)4.47.368
IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor4.0*6.249*
RCF Ayra Pro5 (Amir)3.96.148

Active Speakers Under US$350/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
JBL 305P MKII (Amir) (Erin) (RL)5.27.343
Pioneer DJ VM-50 (Erin) (RL)5.27.448
Neumi BS5P (with a new internal EQ provided by Neumi and ports stuffed) (Erin) (RL)4.47.368

Active Speakers Under US$400/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Kali LP-6v2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.739
Behringer B2031A^5.5*7.336*
JBL 305P MKII (Amir) (Erin) (RL)5.27.343
^ Amir purchased a unit, but it was defective.

Active Speakers Under US$450/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Kali LP-6v2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.739
Behringer B2031A^5.5*7.336*
JBL 306P MKII (Amir)5.37.138
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
^ Amir purchased a unit, but it was defective.

Active Speakers Under US$550/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
JBL 308P MKII (Amir)5.87.536
Kali LP-6v2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.739
Behringer B2031A^5.5*7.336*
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
^ Amir purchased a unit, but it was defective.

Active Speakers Under US$700/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
JBL 308P MKII (Amir)5.87.536
Kali LP-6v2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.739
Behringer B2031A^5.5*7.336*
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)5.47.341
Genelec 8010A (Amir)5.17.967
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
^ Amir purchased a unit, but it was defective.

Active Speakers Under US$800/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
JBL 308P MKII (Amir)5.87.536
Kali LP-6v2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.739
Klipsch The Fives (Erin) (RL)5.67.948
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
Genelec 8010A (Amir)5.17.967
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748

Active Speakers Under US$920/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
JBL 308P MKII (Amir)5.87.536
Kali LP-6v2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.739
Klipsch The Fives (Erin) (RL)5.67.948
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
Genelec 8010A (Amir)5.17.967
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138

Active Speakers Under US$1,000/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
JBL 308P MKII (Amir)5.87.536
Kali LP-6v2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.739
Dynaudio LYD 5 (Amir)5.78.358
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
Genelec 8010A (Amir)5.17.967
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138

Active Speakers Under US$1,100/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Neumann KH 80 (Amir)6.28.448
JBL 308P MKII (Amir)5.87.536
Kali LP-6v2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.739
Genelec 8020D5.7**??47**
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
-Genelec 8010A is no longer mentioned since 8020D exists at this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$1,400/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Genelec 8030C (Amir)6.38.546
Neumann KH 80 (Amir)6.28.448
JBL 308P MKII (Amir)5.87.536
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D is no longer mentioned since 8030C exists at this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$1,500/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Neumann KH 120A6.7*8.7*42*
Genelec 8030C (Amir)6.38.546
JBL 308P MKII (Amir)5.87.536
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
-Neumann KH 80 is no longer mentioned since KH 120A exists at this price point.
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D is no longer mentioned since 8030C exists at this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$2,300/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Neumann KH 120A6.7*8.7*42*
Genelec 8040B6.3**??36**
JBL 308P MKII (Amir)5.87.536
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C is no longer mentioned since 8040B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 80 is no longer mentioned since KH 120A exists at this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$2,800/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Neumann KH 120A6.7*8.7*42*
Genelec 8040B6.3**??36**
JBL 308P MKII (Amir)5.87.536
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C is no longer mentioned since 8040B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 80 is no longer mentioned since KH 120A exists at this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$3,500/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Neumann KH 150 (Amir)6.98.635
Genelec 8040B6.3**??36**
JBL 308P MKII (Amir)5.87.536
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C is no longer mentioned since 8040B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 120A or KH 80 are no longer mentioned since KH 150 exists at this price point

Active Speakers Under US$3,700/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Neumann KH 150 (Amir)6.98.635
Buchardt Audio A500 (Erin) (RL)6.97.721
Genelec 8040B6.3**??36**
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C is no longer mentioned since 8040B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 120A or KH 80 are no longer mentioned since KH 150 exists at this price point

Active Speakers Under US$3,800/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Neumann KH 150 (Amir)6.98.635
Buchardt Audio A500 (Erin) (RL)6.97.721
Neumann KH 120A6.7*8.7*42*
Genelec 8050B (Amir)6.37.527
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
JBL 708P (Amir) (Erin) (RL)5.06.838
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C or 8040B is no longer mentioned since 8050B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 120A or KH 80 are no longer mentioned since KH 150 exists at this price point

Active Speakers Under US$4,500/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Neumann KH 150 (Amir)6.98.635
Buchardt Audio A500 (Erin) (RL)6.97.721
Genelec 8331A (Erin) (RL)6.78.639
Genelec 8050B (Amir)6.37.527
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
JBL 708P (Amir) (Erin) (RL)5.06.838
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C or 8040B is no longer mentioned since 8050B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 120A or KH 80 are no longer mentioned since KH 150 exists at this price point

Active Speakers Under US$4,850/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Neumann KH 150 (Amir)6.98.635
Buchardt Audio A500 (Erin) (RL)6.97.721
Genelec 8331A (Erin) (RL)6.78.639
Genelec 8050B (Amir)6.37.527
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
JBL 708P (Amir) (Erin) (RL)5.06.838
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
Genelec 1032C******
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C or 8040B is no longer mentioned since 8050B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 120A or KH 80 are no longer mentioned since KH 150 exists at this price point

Active Speakers Under US$5,000/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Neumann KH 150 (Amir)6.98.635
Buchardt Audio A500 (Erin) (RL)6.97.721
Genelec 8331A (Erin) (RL)6.78.639
Genelec 8050B (Amir)6.37.527
Neumann KH 310A (Amir)6.37.730
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
JBL 708P (Amir) (Erin) (RL)5.06.838
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
Genelec 1032C******
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C or 8040B is no longer mentioned since 8050B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 120A or KH 80 are no longer mentioned since KH 310A exists at this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$5,300/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Mesanovic CDM65 standard mode (Erin)(RL-updated)7.28.630*
Neumann KH 150 (Amir)6.98.635
Buchardt Audio A500 (Erin) (RL)6.97.721
Genelec 8331A (Erin) (RL)6.78.639
Genelec 8050B (Amir)6.37.527
Neumann KH 310A (Amir)6.37.730
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
JBL 708P (Amir) (Erin) (RL)5.06.838
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
Genelec 1032C******
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C or 8040B is no longer mentioned since 8050B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 120A or KH 80 are no longer mentioned since KH 310A exists at this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$5,900/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Mesanovic CDM65 standard mode (Erin)(RL-updated)7.28.630*
Buchardt Audio A500 (Erin) (RL)6.97.721
Genelec 8341A (Amir)6.98.635
Genelec 8050B (Amir)6.37.527
Neumann KH 310A (Amir)6.37.730
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
JBL 708P (Amir) (Erin) (RL)5.06.838
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
Genelec 1032C******
-Genelec 8331A is no longer mentioned since 8341A exists at this price point.
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C or 8040B is no longer mentioned since 8050B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 120A or KH 80 or KH 150 are no longer mentioned since KH 310A exists at this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$6,700/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Mesanovic CDM65 standard mode (Erin)(RL-updated)7.28.630*
GGNTKT M17.1*8.4*29*
Buchardt Audio A500 (Erin) (RL)6.97.721
Genelec 8341A (Amir)6.98.635
Genelec 8050B (Amir)6.37.527
Neumann KH 310A (Amir)6.37.730
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
JBL 708P (Amir) (Erin) (RL)5.06.838
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
Genelec 1032C******
-Genelec 8331A is no longer mentioned since 8341A exists at this price point.
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C or 8040B is no longer mentioned since 8050B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 120A or KH 80 or KH 150 are no longer mentioned since KH 310A exists at this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$7,000/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Kef LS60 Wireless8.0*8.6*20
Mesanovic CDM65 standard mode (Erin)(RL-updated)7.28.630*
GGNTKT M17.1*8.4*29*
Buchardt Audio A500 (Erin) (RL)6.97.721
Genelec 8341A (Amir)6.98.635
Genelec 8050B (Amir)6.37.527
Neumann KH 310A (Amir)6.37.730
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
JBL 708P (Amir) (Erin) (RL)5.06.838
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
Genelec 1032C******
-Genelec 8331A is no longer mentioned since 8341A exists at this price point.
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C or 8040B is no longer mentioned since 8050B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 120A or KH 80 or KH 150 are no longer mentioned since KH 310A exists at this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$7,900/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Kef LS60 Wireless8.0*8.6*20*
Mesanovic RTM107.6*8.5*23*
Mesanovic CDM65 standard mode (Erin)(RL-updated)7.28.630*
GGNTKT M17.1*8.4*29*
Buchardt Audio A500 (Erin) (RL)6.97.721
Genelec 8341A (Amir)6.98.635
Genelec 8050B (Amir)6.37.527
Neumann KH 310A (Amir)6.37.730
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
JBL 708P (Amir) (Erin) (RL)5.06.838
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
Genelec 1032C******
-Genelec 8331A is no longer mentioned since 8341A exists at this price point.
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C or 8040B is no longer mentioned since 8050B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 120A or KH 80 or KH 150 are no longer mentioned since KH 310A exists at this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$8,000/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Kef LS60 Wireless8.0*8.6*20*
Mesanovic RTM107.6*8.5*23*
Mesanovic CDM65 standard mode (Erin)(RL-updated)7.28.630*
GGNTKT M17.1*8.4*29*
Genelec 8351B (Amir)7.18.429
Buchardt Audio A500 (Erin) (RL)6.97.721
Genelec S360 (Amir)6.37.935
Genelec 8050B (Amir)6.37.527
Neumann KH 310A (Amir)6.37.730
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
JBL 708P (Amir) (Erin) (RL)5.06.838
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
Genelec 1032C******
-Genelec 8331A and 8341A are no longer mentioned since 8351B exists at this price point.
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C or 8040B is no longer mentioned since 8050B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 120A or KH 80 or KH 150 are no longer mentioned since KH 310A exists at this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$10,000/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Kef LS60 Wireless8.0*8.6*20*
Mesanovic RTM107.6*8.5*23*
Mesanovic CDM65 standard mode (Erin)(RL-updated)7.28.630*
GGNTKT M17.1*8.4*29*
Buchardt Audio A500 (Erin) (RL)6.97.721
Genelec 8361A (Amir)6.88.027
Genelec S360 (Amir)6.37.935
Genelec 8050B (Amir)6.37.527
Neumann KH 310A (Amir)6.37.730
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
JBL 708P (Amir) (Erin) (RL)5.06.838
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
Genelec 1032C******
-Genelec 8331A and 8341A and 8351B are no longer mentioned since 8361A exists at this price point.
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C or 8040B is no longer mentioned since 8050B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 120A or KH 80 or KH 150 are no longer mentioned since KH 310A exists at this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$10,390/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Kef LS60 Wireless8.0*8.6*20*
Mesanovic RTM107.6*8.5*23*
Mesanovic CDM65 standard mode (Erin)(RL-updated)7.28.630*
Neumann KH 420G (Amir)7.28.224
GGNTKT M17.1*8.4*29*
Buchardt Audio A500 (Erin) (RL)6.97.721
Genelec 8361A (Amir)6.88.027
Genelec S360 (Amir)6.37.935
Genelec 8050B (Amir)6.37.527
Neumann KH 310A (Amir)6.37.730
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
JBL 708P (Amir) (Erin) (RL)5.06.838
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
Genelec 1032C******
-Genelec 8331A and 8341A and 8351B are no longer mentioned since 8361A exists at this price point.
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C or 8040B is no longer mentioned since 8050B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 120A or KH 80 or KH 150 are no longer mentioned since KH 310A exists at this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$12,500/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Kef LS60 Wireless8.0*8.6*20*
Mesanovic RTM107.6*8.5*23*
Dutch Dutch 8C (Erin) (RL)7.37.920
Mesanovic CDM65 standard mode (Erin)(RL-updated)7.28.630*
Neumann KH 420G (Amir)7.28.224
GGNTKT M17.1*8.4*29*
Buchardt Audio A500 (Erin) (RL)6.97.721
Genelec 8361A (Amir)6.88.027
Genelec S360 (Amir)6.37.935
Genelec 8050B (Amir)6.37.527
Neumann KH 310A (Amir)6.37.730
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
JBL 708P (Amir) (Erin) (RL)5.06.838
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
Genelec 1032C******
-Genelec 8331A and 8341A and 8351B are no longer mentioned since 8361A exists at this price point.
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C or 8040B is no longer mentioned since 8050B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 120A or KH 80 or KH 150 are no longer mentioned since KH 310A exists at this price point.

Active Speakers Under US$15,000/pair:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Kef LS60 Wireless8.0*8.6*20*
Kii Three (Erin) (RL)7.68.220
Mesanovic RTM107.6*8.5*23*
Dutch Dutch 8C (Erin) (RL)7.37.920
Mesanovic CDM65 standard mode (Erin)(RL-updated)7.28.630*
Neumann KH 420G (Amir)7.28.224
GGNTKT M17.1*8.4*29*
Buchardt Audio A500 (Erin) (RL)6.97.721
Genelec 8361A (Amir)6.88.027
Genelec S360 (Amir)6.37.935
Genelec 8050B (Amir)6.37.527
Neumann KH 310A (Amir)6.37.730
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) (RL)
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) (RL)
5.4
5.4
7.3
7.2
41
39
JBL 708P (Amir) (Erin) (RL)5.06.838
Adam T5V (Amir)4.46.748
Focal Alpha 65 Evo (Amir)4.36.138
Genelec 1032C******
-Genelec 8331A and 8341A and 8351B are no longer mentioned since 8361A exists at this price point.
-Genelec 8010A or 8020D or 8030C or 8040B is no longer mentioned since 8050B exists at this price point.
-Neumann KH 120A or KH 80 or KH 150 are no longer mentioned since KH 310A exists at this price point.

Bookshelf speaker (when turned 90 degrees) that can be used as a center-channel speaker:
RecommendationPSPSwSubLFX
Genelec 8351B (Amir) [US$4000/ea]7.18.429
Genelec 8341A (Amir) [US$3000/ea]6.98.639
Genelec 8361A (Amir) [US$5000/ea]6.88.027
Genelec 8331A (Erin) [US$2250/ea] (RL)6.78.639
Kef LS50 Wireless 2 (Erin) [US$2800/pair] (RL)5.87.842
Kali IN-5 (Erin) [US$350/ea] (RL)5.47.341
Kali IN-8v2 (Erin) [US$400/ea] (RL)5.47.239
Yes, these are all coaxial speakers, which have great horizontal, and vertical directivity. This makes them ideal to be used as a center channel.

Changelog:
- 2021-11-19: Launched.
- 2021-11-19: I've added a new price point (under US$2800/pair) for the Kef LS50 Wireless 2's, as well as removed Kali's recommendations for $3800/pair, and $4000/pair, and replaced with the Kefs.
- 2021-11-20: Re-organized the tables (too many words last time) for a cleaner look. Added top 3rd pick (previously only 2 top picks). Removed "Best bass speakers", since some of the recommendations of lower preference score speakers didn't make much sense, and since I've added top 3rd pick, I think this is a good compromise. Fixed several mistakes, forgetting to recommend a few Genelec models.
- 2021-11-20: Based on community feedback (posts 27,28), the Neumann KH 120A are no longer recommended above US$3800/pair, since JBL 708P exists.
- 2021-11-20: Added links to reviews by Amir and Erin
- 2021-11-22: Added missing worthy picks. Overall, previously "highly recommended" speakers are now carried forward in price brackets. This expands the number of recommendations as you go up in price brackets.
- 2021-11-23: Added amplifier column. Obviously, this is not an apples to apples comparison, but it's a step in the direction.
- 2021-11-23: Added Erin's Response Linearity test links
- 2021-11-23: Added upcoming reviews
- 2021-11-25: Removed Edifier R1280t, Mackie CR3-X, and Presonus Eris 3.5 from the list, because they fall below preference score of 3.0. As I've explained in post 61, and 63, these speakers ultimately lose to Neumi BS5P (preference score of 4.2), which is only $30 more. This also shows that we need more speakers tested under US$150/pair price point.
- 2021-11-30: Added Kii Three, takes #1 slot for studio monitors.
- 2022-01-16:
- Added JBL 4305P (press release), with PS of 6.8 and LFX 38hz, which makes it #1 from US$2200/pair until US$5900/pair (where it drops to #2 spot). We need this measured ASAP!! ;)
- Added Neumann KH 80/120, as I felt I was too harsh in the first place by keeping them out, after community feedback.
-2022-03-04: Added Genelec 8331 and Buchardt A500, reviewed by Erin
-2022-03-14: Added Focal Alpha 65 Evo, since Amir measured 2nd-sample, and it didn't have distortion isssue as previously. In addition, Amir gave it the highest panther award.
-2022-03-19: Added RCF Ayra Pro5
-2022-04-06: Added Bookshelf speakers that can be used as a center channel
-2022-05-01: Added Neumann KH 420G
-2022-05-18: Removed JBL 4305P (PS of 6.8, provided by vendor), since actual PS is 5.4 (as per Erin)
-2022-06-08: Forgot to add Genelec 8010A (review by Amir) and 8020D (no review, so estimated PS).
-2022-06-21: Highlighted new speakers for each price table in colour red.
-2022-06-29: Added PSwSub = Preference Score with perfectly-integrated-subwoofer.
-2022-07-03: Added Kef LS60 Wireless b/c Kef makes well-engineered speakers, so we can expect this to be excellent.
-2022-07-03: Removed Amplifiers tab, since it's not apples-to-apples between vendors, but kept the Response Linearity (RL) links.
-2022-08-01: Added Genelec S360 (Amir)
-2022-08-02: Removed "1,2,3, worthy" and "RL" columns. To simplify the table.
-2022-08-03: Removed Kef LSX and Focal Solo6 Be. They are both discontinued now. Added Genelec 1032C (expected to be excellent, based on recent Genelec S360 measurements).
- 2022-09-09: Added Kef LS60 Wireless. Based on latest spinorama from an ASR member.
-2022-12-10: Added Neumann KH 150
-2022-12-19: Added Mesanovic CDM65 standard
Thanks - I find it hard to use, however, since the the very small price category gradations require much work to manage comparisons.
 
Spoiler: Bookshelf speakers (when turned 90deg) that can be used as a center-channel

Why is there no iLoud MTM? Can't it also be rotated 90°? And because there is no LOGO on the front, it looks very elegant.
57591__73975.1645649793.jpg
 
Spoiler: Bookshelf speakers (when turned 90deg) that can be used as a center-channel

Why is there no iLoud MTM? Can't it also be rotated 90°? And because there is no LOGO on the front, it looks very elegant.
57591__73975.1645649793.jpg
The list includes speakers that work great turned sideways. The ILoud MTM has horizontal lobing when turned sideways. This dramatically limits the left-to-right sweet spot width. Imagine a row of seats, only the center seat is in the sweet spot and the seats on the side suffer from lobing. It's same issue with all traditional 2-way MTM center speakers.
 
The list includes speakers that work great turned sideways. The ILoud MTM has horizontal lobing when turned sideways. This dramatically limits the left-to-right sweet spot width. Imagine a row of seats, only the center seat is in the sweet spot and the seats on the side suffer from lobing. It's same issue with all traditional 2-way MTM center speakers.
What if I just build a PC surround for me?
 
2023-07-17:

- Removed Response Linearity (RL) links to Erin's reviews...too cluttered.
- Added Neumann KH 120 II.
- Removed KH 120A (first gen) since KH 120 II came out.
- Added Genelec 8320A, 8330A, 8340A, 8350A, which I missed previously.
 
@sweetchaos this is a great resource, but I think having fewer price categories would make it easier to use.
 
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