A great multimedia experience is never complete without a good set of speakers. Whether you’re wasting away for the weekend in your pad binging on Netflix, immersing yourself in virtual worlds, or simply chilling to your favorite music, your speakers play a crucial role in bringing your media to life.
As it turns out, 2019 is a great time to buy a choice set of boomboxes. There’s an abundance of excellent options out on the market today that you’re simply bound to find something that fits your preferred budget, value, style, and most importantly, sound. Here are some great picks to get the year started:
Bookshelf speakers: ELAC Uni-Fi UB5
The ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 is the king of value bookshelf speakers. The Uni-Fi UB5 features Elac’s acclaimed concentric driver design, where the tweeter and the diaphragm are combined inside a single voice coil. The driver is paired with a 5.25-inch cone woofer. While concentric drivers are traditionally only used in the most expensive top-of-the-line models, the inclusion of concentric drivers in bookshelf form means this model packs a punch, without sacrificing your firstborn in the floorspace department.
What takes the ELAC Uni-fi UBI5 miles away from the competition, however, is its price and value-for-money. At $350, you get a great sound that until now just couldn’t be achieved on bookshelf speakers, for a price that doesn’t break the bank.
Powered wireless: KEF LS50 Wireless
KEF’s LS50 bookshelf speakers come in both wired and wireless varieties. While the wired version has long been an audiophile favorite, the wireless version has its fans going absolutely gaga over it. But don’t let the name fool you, as the LS50 Wireless is by no means wireless-only. It supports for usual analog stereo and optical input, as well as USB Type-B connectors.
The LS50 Wireless is internally amplified, with one built-in amplifier for the tweeter and the subwoofer, which combine for up to 230 watts per channel. This makes them powerful enough to go toe-to-toe with some models floor-standing speakers, and are capable of blasting all but the largest rooms with sound. On the digital side, its digital channel can support up to 24-bit/192kHz, although note that the optical input can support only up to 96kHz signals.
But what really makes the KEF LS50 stand out is its wireless capability. It’s controlled with a smartphone app, which lets you stream music from just about anywhere. Got a song on your phone that you’d love to listen to but phone speakers don’t cut it? How about one from your computer at home? What about that Spotify playlist you’ve been saving for Valentine’s? All of these and more are available using the LEF Stream app. The app also gives users options to fine-tune the speaker’s performance and volume, among others.
Computer speakers: Aperion Allaire
The Aperion Allaire speakers combine form and function into a unique offering that’s perfect for pairing with desktop computers and livening up bookshelves and bedrooms as well. They feature Bluetooth connectivity on top of analog input, optical output, and a subwoofer output. The 1-inch dome tweeter powered by two 50-watt built-in amplifiers and the 4-inch woven fiberglass woofer make the Allaire perfect for small to medium-size rooms.
With their excellent connectivity and a remote provided to improve user experience, you can play and pause even when you’re away from your desk. Apart from that, these speakers offer pure midrange details, rich bass response, and pristine treble for an outstanding sound quality that will make listening to your favorite songs to a whole new level. For a desktop that can double as an entertainment system, you’re definitely getting the best bang for your buck.
Home recording: JBL 306P MkII
These flat, studio-style sound come at a reasonable price range. They’re perfect for videographers, musicians, podcasters, and other creative hobbyists who work with audio regularly. If you’re a content creator who needs a good audio output, be it producing YouTube videos or recording demos in your bedroom, a set of speakers with flat frequency response will ensure that your sound translates well when listened to. While JBL’s LSR305 would usually take the title for the best speakers for home recording, the company has just outdone itself yet again with the release of the 306P MkII.
Like its predecessor, this new offering provides the kind of sound signature you expect in a professional studio. It also comes at a shockingly affordable price, making it the first choice for many content creators. The 306P could be even better than the LSR305 in terms of bass response. It comes with a fuller 6-inch woofer – an upgrade from the previous 5-inch woofer – which makes for bigger bass response and more accurate mixing.
Floor-standing speakers: GoldenEar Technology Triton Five
For serious audio enthusiasts, the leading floor-standing speakers in the market today is GoldenEar’s Triton 5. When it comes to getting the highest possible sound quality at non-car prices, the GoldenEar Technology truly stands above the rest. Created by stereo legend Sandy Gross, who previously led renowned companies Definitive Technology and Polk to the vanguard of great audio, GoldenEar is driven by the same passion for high-end sound.
With sleek black covers and a set of floor=standing loudspeakers, the Triton 5 looks chic and simple, yet it packs a punch in terms of sound. Two six-inch midrange drivers propel the bulk of the sound towards your eardrums. Its four 8-inch passive radiators improve the low-end integrate and eases it seamlessly into the overall sound. This technology offers superb definition, giving you just the right amount of ‘umph when listening to funk, hip-hop, and other bass-driven styles.
Whether you’re watching the latest blockbuster or jamming out to your favorite recordings, great sound brings media to life. There is a vast assortment of excellent audio equipment on the market, but these picks earned their spots for the “best” this 2019.