Sunday, July 14, 2024
Home A look back at the Bookshelf Marathon – Summary

A look back at the Bookshelf Marathon – Summary

4

Yung

If there is anything that has stuck with me from this mega-multitest, it is that there is a relationship between the country of origin and the speaker. In this price category, brands can make choices of technology, materials and components that say something about the signature, the look.

Scandinavia

Scandinavian brands (Amphion, Buchardt, Dynaudio) are neutral and sleek. The U.S.-origin Revel, Golden Ear and JBL are generous and big (even the British Neat Petite sounds big). And JBL deserves credit for employing a horn driver. A tribute to JBL’s past and, judging by the reactions of my colleagues, a rightful choice. Sonus Faber is beautifully Italian finished with leather on the top. Typical Italian design.

Germany

Then the Germans Elac and Audio Physic. These are perhaps the most atypically associated with a country because Elac actually tries to be a bit out of the ordinary in design and technology and does an excellent job of it. The brand new Audio Physic Step 35 impressed with a great degree of control, balance and understanding of musical information.

Great Britain

The British quartet of Neat, KEF, Monitor Audio and ATC is typical British in two ways. KEF and Monitor Audio have a distinct sound signature that makes most recordings sound nice. They are lightly tuned and that will be for good reason because listeners will like this. ATC clearly shows where the brand comes from, namely the control room of the studio. Not a speaker that immediately stands out but one you can listen to for hours and the refined midrange reproduction is downright addictive. Neat totally captivates the listener. And that in an unprecedented compact size. Very impressive.

China

Finally, the only Asian brand, Aurum Cantus from China. In this price range, it cannot really keep up with the competition yet. But we see that a lot goes well too, for example the reproduction of the piano. As with (electric) cars, China is rising to the European surface with its own brands for audio. With a headphone brand like Hifiman, China is already competing at the top of the market; we look forward to seeing what else is to come.

Finally, the match with the amplifier. If there is an overall winner it is Hypex’s Nilai. What an all-rounder that is! This unassuming little black box drives speakers like we have rarely heard. The Benchmark AHB2 comes closest here. The paradoxical advice when choosing a speaker is: choose your amplifier first.

Type test
Multitest
Production country
Differs

Winkels met Amphion

Sint-Antoniusstraat 15
2300 Turnhout, BE
Joseph Bensstraat 21
1180 Ukkel, BE
Bredabaan 1031
B-2930 Brasschaat, BE
Pelikaanstraat 126
2018 Antwerpen, BE
Sikkel 40 F
3274 KK Heinenoord, NL

Winkels met ATC

Emrikweg 25
2031 BT Haarlem, NL
Korevaarstraat 2 e-f
2311 JS Leiden, NL
Hennesweg 20
6035 AD Ospel, NL

Winkels met Audio Physic

St. Ceciliastraat 28
5038 HA Tilburg, NL
Koningsstraat 35
2011TC Haarlem, Noord Holland, NL
Beethovenstraat 9-b
1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL

Winkels met Dynaudio

Schoenmakersstraat 19
6041EX Roermond, NL
Grotestraat 23
5931 CS Tegelen, NL
St. Ceciliastraat 28
5038 HA Tilburg, NL
Geldropseweg 105
5611 SE Eindhoven, NL
Korevaarstraat 2 e-f
2311 JS Leiden, NL
Theresiastraat 151 - 157
2593 AG Den Haag, Noord Holland, NL
Beethovenstraat 9-b
1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL

Winkels met Elac

Grotestraat 23
5931 CS Tegelen, NL
St. Ceciliastraat 28
5038 HA Tilburg, NL
Beethovenstraat 9-b
1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL

Winkels met JBL

Stationsweg 87
9471 GM Zuidlaren, NL
Geldropseweg 105
5611 SE Eindhoven, NL

Winkels met Kef

Sint-Antoniusstraat 15
2300 Turnhout, BE
Joseph Bensstraat 21
1180 Ukkel, BE
Bredabaan 1031
B-2930 Brasschaat, BE
Pelikaanstraat 126
2018 Antwerpen, BE
Laat 29A
1811EB Alkmaar, NL
Schoenmakersstraat 19
6041EX Roermond, NL
Grotestraat 23
5931 CS Tegelen, NL
St. Ceciliastraat 28
5038 HA Tilburg, NL
Geldropseweg 105
5611 SE Eindhoven, NL
Breestraat 146-148
2311CX Leiden, Zuid Holland, NL
Hermesweg 2
3741 GP Baarn, Utrecht, NL
Steenstraat 54
6828 CM Arnhem, Gelderland, NL
St.-Katelijnevest 53
2000 Antwerpen, BE
Beethovenstraat 9-b
1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL

Winkels met Monitor Audio

Sint-Antoniusstraat 15
2300 Turnhout, BE
Joseph Bensstraat 21
1180 Ukkel, BE
Pleinweg 136
3083 EP Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, NL
Bredabaan 1031
B-2930 Brasschaat, BE
Pelikaanstraat 126
2018 Antwerpen, BE
Schoenmakersstraat 19
6041EX Roermond, NL
St. Ceciliastraat 28
5038 HA Tilburg, NL
Korevaarstraat 2 e-f
2311 JS Leiden, NL
Koningsstraat 35
2011TC Haarlem, Noord Holland, NL
Beethovenstraat 9-b
1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL

Winkels met Neat

Hermesweg 2
3741 GP Baarn, Utrecht, NL
Koningsstraat 35
2011TC Haarlem, Noord Holland, NL
Spoorstraat 18
7491 CK Delden, Overijssel, NL
Steenstraat 54
6828 CM Arnhem, Gelderland, NL

Winkels met Revel

Sint-Antoniusstraat 15
2300 Turnhout, BE
Joseph Bensstraat 21
1180 Ukkel, BE
Bredabaan 1031
B-2930 Brasschaat, BE
Pelikaanstraat 126
2018 Antwerpen, BE

Winkels met Sonus Faber

Sint-Antoniusstraat 15
2300 Turnhout, BE
Joseph Bensstraat 21
1180 Ukkel, BE
Pleinweg 136
3083 EP Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, NL
Bredabaan 1031
B-2930 Brasschaat, BE
Pelikaanstraat 126
2018 Antwerpen, BE
Laat 29A
1811EB Alkmaar, NL
Schoenmakersstraat 19
6041EX Roermond, NL
Grotestraat 23
5931 CS Tegelen, NL
St. Ceciliastraat 28
5038 HA Tilburg, NL
Breestraat 146-148
2311CX Leiden, Zuid Holland, NL
Beethovenstraat 9-b
1077 HL Amsterdam, Noord Holland, NL

4 COMMENTS

  1. In addition to the agreement regarding the excellence of the Hypex Nilai500DIY poweramp, I note that the new KEF R3 Meta is NOT mentioned in the final list -> I remember my great disappointment during the test

    ATC SCM 11 we could not assess them correctly when sounding in mono but I also contemplate them. With Hypex Nilai and closer to the walls (the usual in European rooms).

    My winners:

    Audio Physic Step 35 (expensive) + Hypex Nilai + subwoofer?
    Neat Petite Classic + Pass Labs

    -> Money leans towards the Neat Petite Classic with Brittish amplifier sound. Or hybrid like my new (December 2022) Magnat MA 900 in my cheap second audio system (with modded KEF Q100, bass-front bass reflex closed…).

    • Neither is the Sonos Faber mentioned and we are quite taken with it. I’d like to quote the last sentences, since I somehow suspect they will fail to get noticed:

      “So are the speakers not mentioned not great? Or decent? They certainly are good, but in weighing the notes we took and listening back in the livestream, these are the speakers that offer the most on these criteria.”

      The shortlists are not the list of winners. I’d like to make that clear. Emphasise it even.

×