Take your boxes up to the next level.
When you look at speakers that emerge from the mid-range then things get a little tricky. Mainly because the mid-range price point is the place that, as it where, budget speakers are ‘done right’.
Budget speakers are not just ‘budget’ in terms of the price that you pay, they are ‘budget’ in the reservoir of cash available for their design. This means that the word ‘compromise’ is the principle topic of conversation. What the midrange speaker design gives you is, in some ways, a no-holds barred, luxury, top of the range, ‘budget speaker’.
Mid-range speakers should sound a lot better than a budget offering. Mid-range speakers should provide an immediate response of, “Yes, they sound good” or “Nah, hate them.” No pussy-footing around.
You won’t get the real ‘wow’ factor with mid-range speakers. Not the jaw-dropping thing. Not really. That sort of thing is reserved for your higher-end stuff. I’m not saying that mid-range designs are boring, though. Far from it. Mid-range speakers should offer solid performance but they should also excite, engage and involve you.
Look at the following list as a rough guide. I’m very aware that there are other offerings out there that also require your attention but I need your help in this bit. I’m reduced – by space – to just eight models here. Please add your missing favourites below for other readers to see and consider. I look forward to hearing from you.
NOTE: Mid-range means different things to different people. We’ve plumped for £400-£800. To some, this is still ‘budget’. Others see it as high-end. We had to put the pin somewhere…
Cambridge Audio Aeromax
That upper unit isn’t a tweeter but a BMR (Balanced Mode Radiator). BMRs handle a wider frequency range than your basic tweeter. The idea is to transfer music from the upper to the lower frequencies at a point less distinguishable to our ears during that cross-over. The result is mid-range precision and confidence.
The smallest of the ’S’ series speakers from the company and they are beautifully finished. Featuring MDF sandwiched with high-density particleboard, to reduce resonances, they feature bespoke ribbon tweeters.
Dali Ikon 1 MK.2
A pair of stand-mounted speakers featuring a hybrid tweeter or, for some, two tweeters. That is, a standard model and a ribbon design that work together. As such, they offer superb clarity and detail.
Q Acoustics 3050
A superb sounding set of floor-standing speakers combining punch with elegance. They feature Aramid fibre mid-bass cones: Kevlar to you and me, the bullet-proof material. So, don’t waste your time shooting at these speakers. Save your ammo.
Triangle Esprit Titus EZ
The only stand-mounters in the Esprit range and nicely finished they are too. They need running in to sound good, though. If you dislike brighter speakers, think twice here and be careful how you match them with other hardware.
Dynaudio Emit M20
Includes a 28mm soft dome tweeter and 170mm magnesium silicate polymer mid/bass driver. The relatively large mid-bass driver provides bass depth and control with open upper frequencies.
Focal Aria 906
Well, here’s a novelty. These speakers feature cones made from… flax. The same plant-related stuff utilised by the ancient Egyptians. Apparently, they are self-damping but rigid. Offers a big soundstage and lots of meaty bass. Who knew that the ancient Egyptians were so groovy?
A little known Swedish design they might be and they might look less than inspiring but these speakers – which work best butted up against the walls – offer superb bass control and mid-range clarity plus great timing. You need the Swede.
Need more inspiration? See you guides to the best budget, mid-range and high-end turntables.