There was a time when active speakers were equated with Bluetooth gadgets, not serious listening. In recent years that’s changed, because by matching network modules, DACs, amplifiers, and drivers, manufacturers are able to tune all-in-one speakers to outperform component-based systems at comparable price points. The convenience and flexibility these speakers provide is worth considering too; in some cases you’re talking about a power cable and not much else. These products make great primary listening systems and can also easily round out a multi-room setup. Here are some of our favorites.
These are the speakers we recommend day in and day out. Their sound is spectacular, they support nearly every music service, and the price is right. Their build quality is impeccable, and little touches (like the handle on the Pulse 2i) completely change the way you interact with the speaker.
If you’ve seen this French company’s products, you’ve probably been struck by their elegance and beauty; they look nothing like conventional audio gear. If you’ve heard them, you know they’re serious about performance, too. For sound that’s hard to believe in a small footprint, as well as a guaranteed conversation starter, look no further than the Phantom family.
Dutch & Dutch
With origins in mixing and mastering studios around the world, the Dutch & Dutch 8c is taking the audiophile world by storm. It delivers the kind of sonic experience you would expect from a system of precision separates and matched speakers four times the price. With built-in boundary matching, listening position optimization, and room equalization, the 8c adapts itself to your listening environment with configuration that takes minutes.