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Barry Reiner

Professional Home Entertainment Expert

Best Speakers & Best Home Theater Speakers

In the realm of loudspeakers, superior quality and performance are key attributes. The speakers featured in my Best of the Best are high on these qualities.

The B&W C800s deliver everything you would expect from the leading maker of high-quality speakers, while Sonus Faber Stradivari Homage speakers live up to the standards of another well-known name. Focal-JM Labs Grande Utopias can adapt to different setups to perform in a big way. And the Wilson Audio Alexandria and Meridian Audio DSP8000 models use state-of-the-art technology to transmit music with amazing clarity and realism.

The best speakers are essential for your TV, stereo and other electronics. Our best home theater speakers suggestions ensure you'll hear the softest whispered plea and the subtlety in the screams coming from that scary movie.

Best Speakers by Barry Reiner

The Best You Can Get

  • B&W CT800

    Barry says: There are speakers, and then there are speakers. The B&W CT800 model falls into the latter category. Manufactured by the leading maker of high-end speakers, Britain's Bowers & Wilkins Loudspeakers, this premium model of speakers is ideal for custom-built home theaters.

    As a key feature, the B&W CT800 have an adjustable midrange/tweeter “head” that you can aim in different directions. This allows you to direct the mid- and high-frequency output to get the best possible coverage for your listening area. The mid-range driver can even accommodate a laser pointer to ensure perfect aim.

    B&W uses all the latest technology such as taper-tubed loading for tweeter and midrange drivers. And each of the CT800 enclosures is built with extra thickness to minimize vibrations and resonance against the cabinets. These high-performing speakers will take your home theater experience to a whole new level.

    • Leading-edge technology
    • Engineered for clarity, quality, and performance
    • Adjustable mid-range tweeter head
    • Resists vibration and resonance
  • Sonus Faber Stradivari Homage

    Barry says: What’s in a name? A lot, if it’s associated with a world-famous name like Stradivari. These distinctive speakers from Sonus Faber take their shape after the Stradivari violin.

    The Sonus Faber Stradivari Homage delivers the level of quality, design, and performance you would expect. They feature cabinets with convex exterior walls in sleek graphite or red violin piano gloss. And the wood density, quality, and fiber orientation of the cabinets were all meticulously designed to distribute, and virtually eliminate, resonance. These exquisite speakers are engineered to make everything sound like music to your ears.

    • Three-way system design in a unique elliptical enclosure
    • Curved external walls constructed using multiple layers of wood
    • Each driver is loaded into a tunable cavity
    • Crossover protects sound integrity
  • Focal-JM Labs Grande Utopia BE

    Barry says: Pardon the pun, but the Focal-JM Labs Grande Utopia BE speakers are utterly grand. They’re designed around the innovative Beryllium tweeter, allowing them to maximize their performance. These huge speakers can adapt to just about any situation, whether you’re presenting the music of a single individual, a small group or an entire orchestra.

    The impressive, floor-standing Grande Utopia BE model is in a category by itself. With its bold design, the Grande Utopia BE is more than a loudspeaker; it’s a work of art.

    • Four-way, bass-reflex speaker
    • Pure Beryllium inverted dome tweeter
    • Adaptable to any acoustic environment
    • Comes in a variety of finishes
  • Wilson Audio Alexandria

    Barry says: The Wilson Audio Alexandria is absolutely state of the art. In fact, the Alexandria is supposed to represent everything Wilson Audio knows about loudspeaker design. And it does just that. The massively-sized Alexandria speakers cover all the bases, delivering music with extraordinary refinement and authenticity. And the clever use of angles, curves, and perfect proportions give the speakers a strikingly elegant form.

    The Alexandria has won major awards, including 2005 Soundstage Edge of Art and 2004 Ultra Audio Product of the Year. It’s easy to see why. The bottom line is: the Alexandria offers the complete package style, quality, clarity and performance. And it truly lives up to designer Dave Wilson’s quest to reproduce music and theater in a way that preserves the magical and emotional impact of the live event.

    • State-of-the-art technology for optimized performance
    • Modules adjustable front to back
    • Front porting for reduced bass-range distortion
    • Placement flexibility to fit a variety of room sizes
  • Meridian Audio DSP8000

    Barry says: If I had to point out the best feature of Meridian DSP8000, I would say that it’s… all of them. Seriously, the DSP8000 has a host of great features, almost too many to mention. But I’ll give it a shot.

    DSP8000 loudspeakers use six high-efficiency, long-throw base drive units. They’re driven by five independent high-power, low-feedback-power amplifiers. And the cabinet is constructed with precision from layers of select wood and metals to preserve the sound integrity. These and other features work together to give the DSP8000 the incredible ability to place musicians in precise locations in a room. It can make everything from rock bands to film sound come alive. The DSP8000 truly sets the standard for clarity, dynamics, imaging, and realism.

    • Efficient long-range bass drive units
    • Cabinets built from multiple layers of quality woods and metal
    • Powerful amplifiers with low noise, high detail, and fast bass
    • Realistic sound quality that makes music come alive

You will be happy with any of these

  • B&W 703

    Barry says: When it comes to speakers, Britain’s Bowers and Wilkins sets the bar. And the B&W 703 lives up to the standards of this industry leading company. B&W speakers have always delivered the best quality at top prices. But the B&W 703 speaker helps make the company’s cutting-edge speaker technology more affordable for the average music and movie enthusiasts.

    The B&W 703s are floor-standing, three-way loudspeakers weigh about 60 pounds each. These economical speakers, which start at under $2,000, are an amazing value. They come in five different hand-rubbed veneers: black ash, cherry, rosenut, walnut, and maple. With their beautiful veneers and neat seams, these speakers can easily fit into any elegant surroundings. The 703s have admirable mid-range capabilities. They also have a fairly easily load, so they can be driven by almost any amplifier source.

    • Three-way vented box system
    • Available in five real-wood veneers
    • Twin bass drivers
    • Free-mounted Nautilus tweeter
  • Sonus Faber Grand Piano Domus

    Barry says: I’m quite partial to the Sonus Faber brand. So for me, the Sonus Faber Grand Piano Domus was an easy pick for the Best of the Rest speaker category. It’s the most prestigious and well-known of the high-end Italian loudspeaker brands.

    These speakers are at the top of Sonus Faber’s entry-level range. Still, they’re very impressive. They come from a company that’s known for its outstanding construction, attractive finishes, and high quality. The Grand Piano Domus is a four-driver, three-way floor-standing unit with an extravagant enclosure designed to resemble a lute. The front, top, and back panels are covered in real leather. Options for finishes include teak and, of course, a nice piano black lacquer.

    • Four-driver, three-way, floor-standing unit
    • Two identical base units
    • Elegant, tall column enclosure
    • Front, top, and rear panels enclosed in real leather
  • Focal Electra 1037BE

    Barry says: The 1037BE is the largest in Electra’s line of speakers. It’s the perfect choice if you need a full-range, high-resolution, coherence loudspeaker. The speaker is substantial, but the appearance of the cabinet can be pleasantly deceiving. The cabinet has a sleekly narrow design, which is less imposing in the typical listening room.

    In addition to a beautifully-styled cabinet, there are three drivers for each speaker. And the base is taut, yet not too overblown. These features translate into magnificent music for discerning listeners. You can count on the 1037BE loudspeaker to provide a wonderfully musical experience.

    • Three-way base reflex floor-standing speaker
    • Inverted dome beryllium tweeter
    • Conveys music with realism and depth
    • Aesthetically-pleasing cabinet
  • Martin Logan Summit

    Barry says: Many people say “seeing is believing.” Well, I say hearing is believing. And the sound that’s delivered by the Martin Logan Summit speakers is unbelievable. The richness, depth and subtle strength of their sound make them a standout among other loudspeakers.

    Not to mention the design. This advanced, full-range speaker has a breakthrough electrostatic panel and integrated woofer section that helps to minimize bulk. At the same time, the design sets new standards for efficiency, precision, and dynamics among floor-standing speakers. To say they’re a special breed of loudspeakers is an understatement. These state-of-the-art Martin Logan Summits are revolutionary.

    • Avant-garde electrostatic panel
    • 10-inch, low-distortion aluminum-cone woofers
    • AirFrame technology that enhances imaging, accuracy, and efficiency
    • Can personalize with a variety of options for the finish
  • Wilson Audio Sophia

    Barry says: There are two main reasons Wilson Audio Sophia speakers stand out in my book: their finish and performance. Wilson uses a very meticulous painting process. The proprietary WilsonGloss process, involved 12 steps, from primer to color to a clear coat. The mirrored finish comes standard on all Wilson products, but the company will also color match to provide a custom finish to match your décor.

    In terms of performance, it’s all in the technology. Wilson’s anti-jitter technology keeps down interaction among the drivers and reduces the noise floor. Bass-alignment technology produces bass at a greater depth and speed. And the tweeter employs anti-diffraction technology to lower back wave interference in time and frequency domain. The result: Wilson’s Audio Sophia delivers music and film sound that’s detailed and satisfying.

    • Sleek, elegant design
    • Anti-jitter technology
    • Full-range, three-way system
    • Special drivers to deliver coherence, transparency, and clarity

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