We’ve been saying you should spend at least as much on your speakers as you do on your TV for some time now, so we sent our buyers out with $2000 to $2500 to get a package of five speakers and a subwoofer. They shopped for brands that are normally found in some larger stores, as well as a some from the more specialised HiFi stores.
We hoped we would find at least one balanced system that could cope with stereo and multi-channel music as well as surround-sound movies. Overall, the results are a pleasant surprise, because our experience with cheaper systems has mainly been disappointing.
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How we test
Each set of speakers is positioned equidistant from the listening position and at around head height. They are then balanced for our listening room.
This room’s dimensions are approximately 5 x 4 x 2.5 (D x W x H, metres), and it is acoustically treated to replicate a reasonably sound-absorbent lounge room.
We use a Denon AVR-3801 AV receiver and Pioneer DV-989AV DVD player connected via RCA coaxial digital audio.
The listening panel is made up of at least three people with a background in either sound engineering or production. They are aware of the average price point of the products, but do not know the specific price point or brand of each set of speakers. They listen to the same tracks at similar volume through each set of speakers and agree on a ranking for each type of input.