• SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh Laboratory MA252 Integrated Amplifier (November 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Hegel H90 and H190 Integrated Amplifiers (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - How Hegel's SoundEngine Works (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight  - Estelon History and YB and Extreme Loudspeakers (September 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - What Makes Hegel Different? (August 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Estelon Extreme Legacy Edition Loudspeaker (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion Overview and Technologies (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! Insight - Totem Acoustic Signature One Loudspeaker (June 2017)
  • SoundStage! Encore - The Cowboy Junkies'
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Anthem's STR Integrated Amplifier (May 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Paradigm's Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lenses (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Persona 9H Loudspeaker (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Contrasts: Dynaudio's Contour and Focus XD Speaker Lines (February 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Dynaudio/Volkswagen Car Audio (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Gryphon Philosophy and the Kodo and Mojo S Speakers (January 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - AxiomAir N3 Wireless Speaker System (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Dynaudio History and Driver Technology (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - The Story How Gryphon Began (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Devialet History, ADH Technology, and Expert 1000 Pro (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Devialet's Phantom Loudspeakers (August 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh Home Theater and Streaming Audio (July 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh MC275 Stereo Amplifier (June 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh History and Autoformer Technology (June 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - NAD Viso HP50 Headphones (May 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - GoldenEar Technology's Anechoic Chamber (May 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - PSB's M4U 4 Earphones (April 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - GoldenEar Technology's Triton Two+ and Three+ Loudspeakers (March 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- KEF's LS50 (February 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Monitor Audio's Platinum II Series (January 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Pryma 0|1 Headphones (December 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- KEF's Blade Two Loudspeaker (November 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- KEF and the Uni-Q (October 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Monitor Audio Acoustics & Aesthetics (August 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- PSB's Imagine T3 Loudspeaker (June 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Hegel's H160 Integrated Amplifier-DAC (April 2015)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- MartinLogan's Neolith Loudspeaker (February 2015)

To Hans Wetzel,

I am buying new speakers and don't want to spend much more than $2000 unless I need to. They need to go on stands. I would like to know what your favorite speakers are from this list: GoldenEar Technology Aon 3, KEF LS50, KEF R300, Monitor Audio GX100, Aperion Audio Verus Grand Bookshelf. If there are others I should know about, let me know.

Troy

Troy, you’ve singled out some great speakers in this list. If you’re definitely limiting yourself to bookshelf speakers, the KEFs are standouts in this group. The LS50 has received wide acclaim, including from our own Doug Schneider, while the R300 is the smaller brother of my reference R900 loudspeakers (review to be published on GoodSound! in May). The R300 has the benefit of a dedicated bass driver to complement its Uni-Q driver, and this allows for not only deeper bass, but also less distortion through the midrange, as the R300’s Uni-Q is not saddled with the burden of producing full-range sound. Personally, I find the LS50 to be the cooler design, but I’d bet the R300 will play louder, cleaner, and ultimately better than the LS50 for just a little more money.

The GoldenEar Technology Aon 3 should produce a broad, smooth sound for under $1000/pair, as would Aperion Audio’s Verus Grand Bookshelf. The GoldenEar will have greater low-frequency extension than the Aperion, but in the case of both companies, floorstanding models can be had for less than $2000 that bring significantly more to the table.

I can’t be sure why you’re limited to using stand-mounted speakers, but you should seriously consider GoldenEar’s Triton Three and Aperion’s Verus Grand floorstanders, both of which retail for just under $2000/pair. Both of these options will produce more bass than any of the speakers you’ve listed, and probably by a wide margin. I have not taken a good listen to anything made by Monitor Audio, but the GX100 was reviewed on our sister site, SoundStage! Hi-Fi, last year, receiving a Reviewers’ Choice award. I have also seen the GX100 at recent audio shows, and I have to say they are very pretty, and seem well-built. Though their fit and finish might be better, I suspect the GX100s will come up just a little short of KEF’s R300 in sound quality, as the KEF is a three-way design using the crazy-good Uni-Q. You may find the Monitor’s ribbon tweeter to be pretty intoxicating, however.

The only other suggestion I would have is Sonus Faber’s Venere 2.0. At $1699/pair, the stylish Italian bookshelf speakers would arguably be the best looking of this group, with the Monitor Audio a close second. With their matching stands, the price would be right around $2000.

Which is my favorite? By default it would have to be KEF’s R300 since I own its bigger brother, but every speaker here makes a compelling argument for itself in some form or another. The question is which fits your wants and needs, and you can only answer that by taking a listen to them all. Let us know which direction you wind up going. . . . Hans Wetzel