Anthony Gallo Acoustics Micro SE satellite speakers ($478/pair)
This 4-inch spherical speaker may be the ultimate high-end lifestyle, almost invisible speaker. The Micro SE somehow manages to make a really big, highly transparent sound. The speaker will be released next week; an Audiophiliac review is in the works.
The M-Audio BX5 D2 is a bona fide active (self-powered) monitor that can be used as a reference in a home studio (or desktop system). Each bi-amplified speaker has two amps, a 30-watt amp for the tweeter, and a separate 40-watt amp on the woofer. It's a step up sonically from the Audioengine A2 monitors, and the BX5 D2 goes for under $230 a pair online.
3 of 10 Sharp
Sharp SB-HT60 sound bar and wireless subwoofer ($500)
Few sound bars cut it with movies and music, but Sharp's ultrawide, 54.5-inch 'bar sounds way bigger than the other similarly priced sound bars we've tested, and the HT-SB60's wireless subwoofer isn't too shabby either. With a street price hovering around $320 to $360 the SB-HT60 is tough to beat.
4 of 10 Music Hall
Music Hall Marimba bookshelf speakers ($349/pair)
Its low-key looks are deceiving, but the Marimba is a real keeper. It's an audiophile-grade speaker that won't break the bank. There's a 1-inch silk dome tweeter and a 5.25-inch woofer lurking behind a removable, black cloth grille.
5 of 10 Adam Audio
Adam Audio F5 desktop monitors ($499/pair)
Adam's new F5 desktop monitor features two Class AB amps: one 25-watt amp for the X-Art tweeter and a 35-watt amp for the 5-inch carbon-fiber woofer. Sounds sweet and hyper-detailed; an Audiophiliac review is in the works.
6 of 10 Hsu Research
Hsu Research VTF-1 MK2 subwoofer ($449)
The Hsu Research VTF-1 MK2 is, hands down, the best-sounding affordable subwoofer around. This big 'n' bulky bad boy has a 10-inch woofer on its bottom panel, and a 200-watt amp in its gut.
7 of 10 Steve Guttenberg/CNET
Magnepan MMG flat panel speakers ($600/pair)
It's just 1.25 inches thick, 48 inches high, and this flat panel speaker is made in the U.S. The MMG sounds unlike any conventional box speaker on the planet. True, it's not a rock 'n' roller, but adding a sub might fix that flaw for some folks.
8 of 10 Steve Guttenberg/CNET
Tekton M-Lore tower speakers ($650/pair)
This supereasy-to-drive tower speaker can rock with a vengeance, and with a minimum amount of wattage. It's a 34-inch high tower, and it sports an 8-inch natural fiber woofer and a 1-inch silk dome tweeter. The M-Lore is made in the U.S.
9 of 10 Teac
Teac LS-H265 monitor speakers ($199/pair)
Most audiophiles' first "serious" speaker is a small, two-way monitor, and the little Teac LS-H265 would be a great place to start. It has a 1-inch dome tweeter and a 5-inch woofer. This hi-fi or desktop speaker measures just 7.1x11.5x10.2 inches and weighs 9.7 pounds.
10 of 10 Sarah Tew/CBS Interactive
Dayton Audio B652 speakers ($52/pair)
Still the reigning champion of cheap, the B652 sings sweetly on a desktop or as hi-fi speakers. Paired with the $25 Lepai LP-2020+ stereo integrated amp, you get a sound that trounces any $200 Bluetooth speaker I've ever heard, but sorry, you'll have to use wires to hook up the B652s.