- What characteristics make a speaker Hi-Fi?
- Learn about the best high-end speakers on the market
- Also, check out our post on the best speakers in the world!
For an audiophile, an excellent Hi-Fi speaker system is likely high on your list of importance for your home.
If not, why are you even reading this article?
Jokes aside, this article covers a range of some of the most prestigious, high-end speaker brands available today. Let’s dive in.
What Is Hi-Fi? And What Makes A Good Hi-Fi speaker?
Hi-Fi stands for high fidelity. In the audio industry, this term is used for speakers that produce a true listening experience and flat frequency response.
The higher the quality of the unit tends to mean a wider frequency response, speaker sensitivity, lower distortion, noise generated from the cabinet, and of course, sound quality.
There are several characteristics that make for an excellent Hi-Fi speaker system, and these are balance, design, materials, and engineering.
Heading into our list — this is in no way meant to be an exhaustive one, and we’ve likely missed a fair few that deserve to be on here. We’d love to hear from you in the comments as to what you believe to be the best speaker brands on the market today.
With that out of the way, here are our candidates for the top 7 best high-end speaker brands.
KEF is a UK-based, award-winning Hi-Fi speaker company. Founded in 1961, KEF has been one of the frontrunners in Hi-Fi audio, producing audio excellency for 60 years.
One of the best products KEF has to offer is their new LS50 Meta which won the What If and Eisa Best Product Awards for best stand-mount speakers. You can get a pair of these speakers for $1,300 USD.
The successor to the already famous LS50, the LS50 Meta has pushed innovation further. Their biggest technological advancement is the development of their Metamaterial absorption technology.
A maze-like disk that sits at the back of the driver helps to absorb 99% of all unwanted sound created from the rear of the driver.
Comparably speaking, the LS50 only absorbs 60% of all unwanted sound with a vented speaker, a huge leap in sound absorption technology.
This helps to produce a far cleaner and more uniform listening experience.
The LS50 has a very wide frequency response of 47Hz – 45kHz and a fairly high output sensitivity. This allows for a great balance between treble and bass from these speakers.
Furthermore, the LS50 Meta uses Kef’s 12-generation driver unit, which not only improves frequency response smoothness but produces an extremely low distortion.
When paired with the KC62 Subwoofer, you will experience the perfect listening experience.
Their cabinet design not only lends itself to excellent acoustic performance, but the sleek design makes these speakers fit perfectly in your home like an art piece.
2. Bowers and Wilkins
Bowers and Wilkins aim to deliver audio in its truest form as it was intended when recorded by the artist.
This is the reason that they are respected by both audio professionals and hobbyists alike.
The founder, John Bowers quotes, “The best loudspeaker isn’t the one that gives the most. It’s the one that loses the least.”
They have spent over 50 years focused on innovation and attaining the perfect balance of design and engineering.
One of Bowers and Wilkins’s showpieces is the Nautilus. At first glance, you may think these speakers are a sculpture in a museum.
Their unique design really makes them stand out from some of the other competitors on the market.
However, the speaker’s design isn’t merely for aesthetic purposes but a product of engineering innovation. Like the KEF metamaterial, Bowers and Wilkins found a way to remove the unwanted audio.
However, their technique is within the Nautilus tube system. The tubes help to prevent resonance and audio bouncing, which is prevalent in parallel box-shaped speakers.
One stark contrast between these sets of speakers and the LS50 Meta is the price. A pair of Nautilus speakers will set you back a whopping $60,000 USD.
One of the reasons that the price is so high is that these speakers are all made by hand to order. These speakers are the pinnacle of craftsmanship within the Hi-Fi speaker market.
In terms of performance, they are superb in the low-end, with a frequency response of 10kHz – 25kHz.
Bowers and Wilkins have a finely tuned crossover lending itself for very few frequency peaks and a very balanced listening experience.
However, compared to the LS50 Meta, which has a far wider frequency response, it has a truer treble output.
3. Bang & Olufsen
Founded in 1925, Bang & Olufsen has been iconic in the audio industry since its inception.
With a strong focus on innovative design, Bang & Olufsen are known for creating speakers that often feel as much an aesthetically pleasing part of the home as they are a pristine Hi-Fi listening system.
They often utilize wooden elements to conceal the speakers, giving them the appearance of furniture or, in some cases, a piece of art.
The BEOPLAY A9 is one of Bang & Olufsen’s standout products in design and performance.
Inside this cabinet are 7 separate speaker drivers. 1x woofer, 2x midrange, 2x fullrange and 2x tweeters.
While this cabinet has a fairly regular frequency response, it does have a very high speaker sensitivity, allowing for incredibly high output and performance with low wattage.
A unique feature of this unit, however, is its Bluetooth capabilities, allowing you to stream music through your phone as well as remotely change your EQ settings so these speakers can easily be attuned to your preference.
If you want a true audiophile experience, Bang & Olufsen also offers the BEOLAB 90. These speakers are one of the most technologically advanced on the market today.
However, If you thought the Nautilus Tube was expensive, a set of these speakers will cost $100,000 USD for a pair!
As you should expect from this product, the quality is outstanding. If you ever get a chance to listen to these speakers, you must.
In terms of performance, these speakers are staggering. With an intense 8200 watts of output, the Beolab 90’s are insanely powerful.
Each cabinet includes 18-inch drivers, each with its own independent amplifier.
One of the most notable features of the speaker is its “Beam Width Control.” This allows you to focus the audio depending on your situation.
For instance, if you’re watching a film, you can focus the audio towards you, or if you want the audio to fill the room, you can utilize the omnidirectional output.
4. Audio Pro
Audio Pro has become one of the leading brands when it comes to wireless audio. Audio Pro has always been focused on delivering excellent quality while remaining affordable for the average Joe.
In recent years, Audio Pro has leaned toward a multiroom listening experience, with most of its products supporting this feature.
The successor to the multi-award-winning C5 MKI speaker is the C5 MKII. Most Bluetooth speakers will usually have one, or in some cases, two drivers.
The C5 has popularised having one woofer and two tweeters. Don’t be fooled by this speaker being a Bluetooth unit, as it is impressive in terms of its sound output.
One of the reasons for this is the bass reflex at the rear of the speaker, which aids the speaker in handling the output, removing distortion and noise from excessive movement.
For a Bluetooth speaker, the C5 has unparalleled sound quality. If you’re in the market for a Hi-Fi portable audiophile speaker, look no further than the C5 series.
5. Fyne Audio
Fyne Audio is incomparable in terms of attention to detail in both design and sound. Arguably the peak of British audio engineering, Fyne covers all areas an audiophile desires.
Their range spans from freestanding bookshelf speakers to floor-standing Hi-Fi speakers, all of which supply excellent quality and design.
Fyne’s flagship product is the F1 series, a vintage look with modern hardware and design. These speakers start with an entry-level price tag of $38,000 USD.
One of this speaker’s most unique features is the bass reflex diffuser system named “BassTrax Tractrix.”
Unlike conventional speakers that have a bass reflex at the rear of the speaker, the F1 defuses the bass downwards through the cabinet.
As the speaker is on raised platforms, this allows for the bass to fill the room 360 degrees, rather than diffusing out the back into the wall, for example.
This means you must be as cautious when finding the right place for your speakers; these will sit comfortably anywhere in the home.
Fyne has put a large amount of care into the crossover for these speakers, finely tuning it over the years to create true balance.
Paired with the best components available, this system is a true audiophile speaker.
If you are looking for a more affordable option, the F700 series comes in with a somewhat more attainable price of around $10,000 USD. While still high, it is a considerable mark down from the F1.
With a sleek and modern design, the F700 series comes with all the same engineering knowledge and care used to produce the F1 series and are a close second from the Fynes catalog.
One of the oldest high-end speaker companies is Elac. With nearly a decades worth of manufacturing experience within the audio industry, their first consumer product was the PW1 record player in 1948.
They have since pushed their focus to speakers, becoming one of the leading speaker companies.
Elac has also ventured into the Dolby Atmos world, a truly immersive music and movie listening experience like no other.
This floor-standing speaker has a lot of ‘oomph’ in the low-end. If you are in the market for a high-end audiophile speaker with a heavy focus on bass, the Elac Uni-Fi Floorstanding speaker is a very good option.
With one coaxial midrange tweeter and three 5-inch aluminum cone woofers (both of which have newly designed drivers), these speakers produce a highly improved low-frequency response compared to some of their previous products.
One of these speakers’ shortcomings is the speaker’s SPL, which is one of the lowest on our list. This will require more power to reach the same level as some competitors.
Klipsch has been a pioneer in the audio industry since its beginning in 1946.
This is mainly due to their founder Paul Wilbur Klipsch who was a brilliant electrical engineer and even landed himself in the engineering and science hall of fame for his efforts in the audio industry.
One reason for his induction was the invention of the Klipschorn, a revolutionary corner speaker that has remained in production for 70 years.
You can begin to imagine the superb audio quality delivered by these speakers.
If you want to reap the benefits of several Klipsch products, they’ve kindly put together the KD home theatre series.
This bundle includes a sub-woofer, a center channel speaker, two bookshelf speakers, and two floor-standing speakers.
This combination is an excellent bundle to create a 5.1 surround home speaker system.
These speakers have what Klipsch calls Dhorm tweeter technology, which combines both horn and dome drivers.
This presents a very wide frequency response and smoothness in both the high and low frequencies and also helps to prevent low-frequency distortion.
The KD series also has a unique cooling system which allows for improved power handling and dynamics.
Before you go, check out our guide on 2-Way vs 3-Way Speakers!