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Photos: The Top Ten greatest audiophile speakers

The very best sounding speakers for under $3,500 per pair. The brands may be unfamiliar, but each speaker a stand out winner.

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CNET Reviews staff
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#10, Energy Take Classic 5.1 Home theater System ($600/six-piece system)

Hard to fault performance-wise and an outstanding bargain, the Energy Take Classic is tiny, but sounds awesome. Looks swell in shiny black laminate finish.

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#9, Klipsch RB-81 ($798/pair)

The Klipsch RB-81 is a larger than average bookshelf speaker, it's 19-inches high, but it'll knock your socks off with its freewheeling dynamics and punchy bass.

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#8, Aperion Audio Intimus 6T ($1,390/pair)

Aperion's biggest tower looks sharp decked out in high-gloss black or real cherry wood. The sound is refined and still packs a wallop. Recommended for home theater and two-channel use.

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#7, Dynaudio DM 2/8 ($975/pair)

The made in Denmark Dynaudio DM 2/8's soundstage is open, wide, and deep. But don't for a second let the DM 2/8's reserve and class lead you to think it can't get down and boogie, it offers truly stunning bass performance for a mid-size bookshelf speaker.

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#6, Definitive Technology Mythos STS Super Tower ($2,998/pair)

First, it's gorgeous, but I'm easily swayed by the sight of the Mythos STS' jet-black, hand-polished gloss aircraft-grade extruded aluminum enclosure. Oh, and the kick generated by each speaker's built-in powered subwoofer is outstanding.

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#5, Totem Arro ($1,350/pair)

Totem Acoustic's Arro is a small, but powerful tower speaker. Just 5.1 inches wide and 33.5 high, the built in Canada Arro can unfurl a huge, room filling soundstage. Great for home theater and two-channel music.

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#4, Thiel CS 1.6 ($2,390/pair)

Jim Thiel takes his time designing new models, but once it's introduced a new speaker stays in the line for a long, long time. The CS 1.6 is Thiel's most affordable tower, and it's vivid, highly articulate sound is revered by audiophiles.

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#3 Anthony Gallo Acoustics Reference 3.1 ($3,295/pair)

Gallo's Reference 3.1 speaker is loaded with advanced technology and sounds like no other dynamic speaker. The 36 inch tall speaker sounds tremendous, with excellent dynamics. Great for home theater and two-channel.

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#2, Zu Audio Druid Mk.IV ($3,400/pair)

Zu Audio's Druid Mk IV was my personal reference speaker for years. The model is nearing the end of its last production run. Zu tells me the replacement model may not appear for awhile. A great, ultra dynamic speaker; the Druid Mk IV can rock the house like no other speaker near its price.

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10 of 10

#1: Magnepan MG1.6/QR ($1,895/pair)

Magnepan's MG 1.6/QR is, hands-down, the greatest value in TRUE high-end speakers. It's a flat panel design, standing a statuesque 64.5 inches tall, but just 2 inches thick! The MG 1.6/QR is fussy about where it sits in your room and need gobs of power to really sing, but it's so good!

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