Price: $16,000 per pair
Hans said: Cabasse’s Pacific 3 loudspeaker is as visually distinctive as it is sonically pleasing. It’s a unique quantity on both counts; it can reproduce the human voice with aplomb, and it offers some of the best imaging I’ve ever heard. The Pacific 3 may not be conventional, but it’s a very well-engineered loudspeaker offering a deeply involving sound.
The gist: Distinctive is the right word for these lovely speakers from France.
Price: $12,950 per pair
Michael said: The Argos v.2s present a wide, open soundstage, a high level of fidelity and musicality, a realistic-sounding midrange, deep bass, and the ability to play loud when you want to let your hair down to boogie or rock out -- and all of this to a much higher degree than previous Daedalus models could do.
The gist: Manufacturer-direct loudspeaker that Michael thought was quite good.
Price: $56,000 per pair
Jeff said: The Kaisers sound simply huge, with none of the negatives you might think that implies; e.g., a ten-foot-wide singer. There are times when you just want to kick back and relax into a massive soundstage, letting the music wash over you from seemingly every direction. You want to feel the power of music in your chest, while letting the highs caress your ears with subtle but detailed sound. You want to occasionally open your eyes and be amazed that the beautiful yet modest structures in the corners of your room are doing all that and more.
The gist: Unique and impressive sonic and visual qualities from a flagship loudspeaker from Germany.
Price: $29,400-$32,500 per pair
Doug said: For those who are shopping for speakers in this price range and who value strict neutrality, high definition, prodigious output capability, awe-inspiring build quality, and don’t mind a pair of speakers that weigh 195 pounds each, the Magico S5 is likely the best available, and among a handful of great-sounding speakers at any price.
The gist: The best speaker at its price point, period.
Price: $21,999 per pair
Aron said: PMC’s IB2i is a beguilingly good-sounding speaker that I found difficult to stop listening to. Night after night, the pair of them had me leaving my B&Ws in the spare room while I sat listening with a grin on my face.
The gist: UK-built stand-mount speaker that sounds like a great floorstander.
Price: $13,000 per pair
Aron said: T+A’s Constant Directivity driver array is incredibly well implemented and does a commendable job of presenting aural images in space with appropriate levels of depth, texture, detail, scale, and focus. The innovative twin bass driver/transmission-line combination partners wonderfully with the CD array to deliver deep, accurate, powerful bass that remains palpable and controlled regardless of volume level. Add to that a cabinet built and finished to last a lifetime, and one of the most attractive and well-thought-out protective grilles in the business, and T+A has a winner.
The gist: This smartly designed speaker from Germany provides a great price-to-performance proposition.
Price: $16,000 per pair
Doug said: The DC10A does things that few other speakers do. Most notable were its expressive sound -- bold, incisive, and powerful, it grabbed hold and drew me into the music in an uncanny way; the high level of detail, which remained consistent from very low to extremely high volume levels; its prodigious bass capabilities; and the composure and effortlessness of its sound as the volume levels were ratcheted up.
The gist: High-sensitivity design using some excellent old-school tech.
Price: $40,000 per pair
Pete said: While it hits the ball out of the park in all the traditional hi-fi categories of soundstaging, coherence, detail retrieval, etc., perhaps the Giya G3’s greatest strength is its total absence of cabinet-imposed colorations or character. The G3 performs a sonic disappearing act like no other speaker I’ve heard.
The gist: Funkified looks, SOTA sound.