South Coast Speakers
For those looking for the most accurate, musically engaging audio experience there are many options that you can invest your hard-earned loudspeaker money into. There is always the "west coast sound" which implies a somewhat forward, in-you-face sound experience from the likes of JBL, Revel, Wilson Audio, Magico, Tekton Design, Zu Audio type of speaker. There are more off-beat speakers that present a completely different sound like Magnepans from Minnesota or the even-more-technologically-advanced MartinLogan speakers from Kansas. There is the always polite sounding speakers from Canada including Paradigm, PSB and products like Axiom Audio. On the Eastern coast of the United States, there are even more mellow sounding speakers from the likes of Rockport, Aerial and many others.
If you are looking for the most laid back, musically in-the-moment speakers you need to look across the pond at something very different from the United Kingdom. The Brits have a lot to offer in terms of regional speakers that can either rock your world or seduce you like a snaggle-toothed super model. Either way you are going to be happy.
The Best Audiophile Speakers from The United Kingdom
Meridian - Meridian Audio's digital speakers are something the behold. Be it their small powered speakers or their reference DSP 8000 powered, digital speakers - Meridian offers something truly magical to the listener. Custom colors, powered speakers, a small footprint only start to describe the advantage of Meridian speakers.
Bowers & Wilkins - Perhaps the most famous speakers from the U.K., B&W speakers have a full range from their Zeppelin Air iPod dock to their 800 Diamond reference speakers that grace the mastering labs at places like Abbey Road Studios. B&W speakers are the end of the road for many audiophiles as they present a Kevlar packed shot to your musical heart that is fatal.
Wharfedale - This United Kingdom designed speakers is a value leader in the United States because of their "sustainable build" outlook that goes down in China. Their Wharfedale Jade series speakers are something to behold for those with a lot more money to spend.
Quad - The United States has their Magnepans, their Janszens, their hybrid electrostatic speakers from MartinLogan but purists look to Quad speakers for the no-bass but plenty-of-space sound that electrostatic freaks love. Don't play Pantera on Quads - stick with Miles and Coletrain and you will be very happy.
Acoustic Energy - AE is another brand that garners a little bit of respect from the other side of the pond but their poor distribution makes them more of a topic of discussion than something that you might plunk down your platinum card for in the real world.
Linn - Linn is best known for their LP 12 turntable and their CD 12 CD player, but their active loudspeakers are something to behold for music lovers. Linn speakers require a little work to seek out for American consumers but their control and poise are worth the effort.
KEF - KEF speakers blew it in 1990 in ways that no other high end speaker has ever done. They basically gave their market share over to the likes of Celestion, Bowers & Wilkins and even Canada's Paradigm in a short, six month time window. While today KEF's speakers are fantastic, the repercussions of past mistakes still haunt the brand even with flagship products like the KEF Muon speakers priced at well above $100,000 USD.
Mordaunt-Short - These speakers from the United Kingdom don't get the love that they deserve. Sexy lines, easy to power and lust-worthy value proposition makes these speakers a must have for Anglophiles. The Mondurant-Short Performance speakers represent the top of the line experience from these killer speakers
Pro-ac - These speakers are politely British. They can image but they can not pound like a hard-hitting American speaker. For classical fans, they are all you need. If you like a little Rob Zombie or even some Led Zeppelin - look elsewhere.
Tannoy - More popular in Asia than in England or the United States, Tannoy represents one of the most famous brands of audiophile loudspeakers today. The Tannoy Autograph speakers are critically acclaimed, but speakers like the Arena 5.1 are a little more relevant in the modern, global marketplace.