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Loudspeakers up to £2,499

Q Acoustics 3010i

The latest range from Q Acoustics, the new ‘i’ version of the ever popular 3000 series builds upon its predecessor with various cosmetic and sonic refinement, primarily a 25% larger cabinet for improved bass performance. They feature the classic combination of a soft dome tweeter and a  bass/mid driver made with an Aramid fibre/paper composite cone, for a neutral and natural sound.

Finishes:  Graphite Grey, Walnut, Carbon Black or Satin White

Dimensions: Height 25cm, Width 15cm, Depth 25cm

Q Acoustic 3010i loudspeakers : £239.00

Q Acoustics Q3000i speaker stands in satin black or white: £175.00/pair

Q Acoustics Q3000WB wall bracket: £22.00 each

Q Acoustics 3020i

The latest range from Q Acoustics, the new ‘i’ version of the ever popular 3000 series builds upon its predecessor with various cosmetic and sonic refinement, primarily a 25% larger cabinet for improved bass performance. They feature the classic combination of a soft dome tweeter and a  bass/mid driver made with an Aramid fibre/paper composite cone, for a neutral and natural sound.

Finishes:  Graphite Grey, Walnut, Carbon Black or Satin White

Dimensions: Height 28cm, Width 17cm, Depth 28cm

Q Acoustic 3020i loudspeakers : £299.00

Q Acoustics Q3000i speaker stands in satin black or white: £175.00/pair

Q Acoustics Q3000WB wall bracket: £22.00 each

Q Acoustics 3030i

The 3030i is a new larger addition to the ‘3000’ family of stand mount speakers. Featuring a large paper coned 6.5” bass driver, this speaker produces a bigger and more effortlessly sound. There’s a touch more cabinet sound than the smaller 3020i, but it will fill larger rooms with ease, and finds its own niche in the market for people that want a reasonably priced speaker who have rooms that most smaller stand mounts would get lost in.

Finishes:  Graphite Grey, Walnut, Carbon Black or Satin White

Dimensions: Height 33cm, Width 20cm, Depth 33cm

Q Acoustic 3030i loudspeakers : £389.00

Q Acoustics Q3030i speaker stands in satin black or white: £195.00/pair

Rega Kyte

The Kyte was a study to develop a more affordable speaker to join the Rega range. The tweeter is the same as found in the rest of the RX range and is joined by a new Rega manufactured mid/bass drive unit which features the familiar Rega elements of small voice coil (good for high frequency reproduction) and a stiff paper cone.

The big difference from all previous Rega speakers is the cabinet. Rather than use wood they have developed an enclosure that is made from an injection moulded phenolic resin. There is a massive cost to tool up for this, but the benefits are in reducing the  unit cost (which is how they’ve managed to produce one of the most affordable British made speakers available). There are other benefits too, it’s easier to make a design without parallel panels, which helps spread internal reflections. To stiffen the cabinet walls, bracing with ceramic plates are used, the cabinet feels light and stiff when handled. An optional T shaped rear foot is included, so you can either have the speaker sitting upright or with a slight rearwards tilt.

The sound is really quite different, and does take some acclimatisation. Whether this is due to the removal of colouration from the lack of a wood cabinet, or an addition of the resonance's of the stiff plastic enclosure I’m not completely sure - but I’d hedge my bets and say it’s a bit of both. The Rega speaker strengths of speed and midband insight are still present, but the sound is a little leaner and cooler than the rest of the range. Close to wall placement is required for the ported enclosure to get sufficient reinforcement at low frequencies, which naturally helps ease of positioning in many rooms.

They are a speaker that really deserves to be auditioned, and Rega should be congratulated for bucking the trend and producing a design that uses clever construction techniques that allow them to make them in the UK with high quality drive units at a very reasonable price.

Finish: Black

Grilles: none (but tweeter partially protected by fascia)

Dimensions: H 325, W 188mm, D 232mm (with standard foot fitted)

Rega Kyte speakers: £399.00

Rega Kyte optional Stand Adaptor: £50.00 (provides a larger footprint than the standard included foot)

Jamo S7-15B

Before writing further, I have to explain the model number for this Jamo range, which is not memorable but descriptive of where it sits in the four strong model range. Firstly the S7 stands for Studio 7, and this explains the unusual but pleasing leaned back look for the speaker, as it has a 7 degree lean to the cabinet which helps  time align the centres of the drive units buy recessing the soft dome tweeter relative to the mid/woofer, which should improve integration and imaging.

The ‘15’ shows it uses their smallest bass/mid driver in the range with a 15cm diameter. This driver uses a paper cone with embossed pattern that they call ‘Thor’s Hammer’ which helps stiffen the driver wihilst keep its mass low. Finally the ‘B’ stands for Bookshelf, although as ever we’d suggest this sort of speaker is actually best used on dedicated speaker stands.

So that’s the boring bit out of the way! I’ll touch on the looks very briefly, but I think they’re something you need to see in the flesh as photographs tend to make them a bit awkward, but in reality they look novel and smart in equal measure, with a clean and contemporary look that reflects the Scandinavian heritage . The finish quality is really quite exceptional too.

Onto the sound, these are easy speakers to like, they sound big and fill small and large (within reason) spaces with ease. There are more transparent speakers around, but this can often be to the Studio 7 benefit as they are forgiving of lesser recordings and equipment, yet still produce an engaging sound. In use they appear easy to drive, much more so than the specifications would suggest, an indication that they have been well engineered.

Finish: Grey Cloud (white) or Blue Fjord (dark blue/Grey)

Grilles: Magnetic

Dimensions: H 320, W 200mm, D 240mm

Jamo S7-15B speakers: £449.00

Heco Aurora 200

New model, coming soon. A more compact version of the Aurora 300 detailed below. More details to follow shortly…

Finishes: Ebony Black or Ivory White

Grilles: Included, colour matched to cabinet and magnetically held in place

Dimensions: W 170mm, H 308mm, D 245mm

Heco Aurora 200 loudspeakers: £499.95/pair

Jamo S7-17B

This is the second model up in the Studio 7 range. This model features a larger diameter bass driver and greater enclosure volume too.

More details to follow soon.

Finish: Grey Cloud (white) or Blue Fjord (dark blue/Grey)

Grilles: Magnetic

Dimensions: H 365, W 230mm, D 380mm

Jamo S7-17B speakers: £549.00

Heco Aurora 300


Heco keeping going from strength to strength, hardly surprising for a firm with such a long history (albeit one that isn’t anywhere near as well known in the UK as it deserves to be). The Aurora effectively replace the previous Elementa range but are priced even more reasonably. All the ingredients that make a great speaker are present, a paper cone and soft dome tweeter are always a great starting point, and as in the previous range Heco have cooked up something rather remarkable, especially at the price point. Cosmetically they are very attractive, with a contemporary design and decent vinyl finish available in two different colours.

Sonically it’s difficult to fault them to be honest. Perhaps a touch of softness to the mid band and a touch more cabinet sound than ideal, but it’s churlish to complain when the speaker delivers such an effortless and musical performance. They’re very easy to drive, dynamic and yet still sound much larger than they have any right to, with impressively extended bass given their reasonable dimensions and decent efficiency. Tonally they are on point too, shaming many more expensive loudspeakers.

Finishes: Ebony Black or Ivory White

Grilles: Included, colour matched to cabinet and magnetically held in place

Dimensions: W 195mm, H 357mm, D 315mm

Heco Aurora 300 loudspeakers: £599.95/pair

Edwards Audio Apprentice SP



Over the last few years there has been a move towards making budget floor standing speakers larger and larger - presumably with the aim of offering greater perceived value. This can not only have sonic downsides (as larger panels will be more prone to resonance), but also makes them dominate smaller rooms.

Against this competition the Apprentice speaker is a breath of fresh air, it is truly diminutive, enough to even justify the term ‘cute’. They stand just 75cm tall (without plinth) and are very nicely proportioned.

Under the skin is a well braced cabinet, with a soft dome tweeter and two paper bass/mid drivers working together in unison. The crossover is an ultra simple first order design, which slowly blends the high and low frequencies together at the crossover point and helps reduce the often obvious transition you get with more complex circuits.

Whilst designed to be used close to walls they are actually remarkable placement tolerant, and can be pulled into the room without losing much bass output thanks to the front mounted slot port.

Sonically they do not really match their appearance, this isn’t a small sounding speaker. It has image scale, especially height, that is very impressive, with the result that they disappear into a wall of sound remarkably effectively. The fact the bass weight is well judged, whilst being nicely extended and remarkably effortless for such small drive units is the icing on the cake. We’ve thrown all sorts of music at them, including complex electronic music like Jon Hopkins and the speakers do a remarkable job, they have the timing and speed to get your foot tapping and draw you into the performance like few others manage. As you’d expect with paper cone drive units the mid band is airy and naturally, with voices and stringed instruments sounding particularly well portrayed.

If you’re after a budget floor standing loudspeaker then the Apprentice SP should really be on your list, I can’t think of any other current design that offers this blend of strengths (the nearest I can think of is wonderful old Royd Minstrel that I used to sell 15-20 years ago, and they didn’t look anywhere near this attractive). What’s more this speaker is actually being built in Britain!

Finishes: Cherry real wood veneer, satin white, satin black

Dimensions: Height 75cm (excluding plinths), Width 15cm, Depth 17cm.

Edwards Audio Apprentice SP speakers in Satin Black or Satin White: £599.95 pair

Q Acoustics 3050i

Please note the picture is of the previous version and will be updated shortly.

The latest range from Q Acoustics, the 3000 series builds upon the remarkable 2000 series. It features a new concentric ring dome tweeter and a bass/mid driver made with an Aramid fibre/paper composite cone, uprated crossover components and a more rigid cabinet.

The 3050 are a quite sizeable floorstander, especially considering their low price, but unlike many budget designs the cabinet is rigid and shows no signs of cost cutting. As befits its substantial proportions the bass is well extended and full, but not over powering in level (and foam port bungs are included when sub optimal positioning is necessary), in this respect they are a remarkably mature speaker, many firms hype the bass on their budget models thinking that that’s what owners want, but we rarely find that’s the case. The overall presentation is smooth, refined and with a good sense of ease. There’s a slight softening effect compared to more expensive designs, but this will counter the more forward artefacts often present in budget driving electronics that they’re likely to be partnered with, and they’re still revealing enough to show improvements elsewhere in the system.

These are a remarkably able floor standing speaker offering great actual and perceived value for money, with a room filling sound that isn’t overblown, making them an ideal starter floorstander for a wide variety of sizes of rooms.  

Finishes:  Graphite, Walnut, Black or White

Dimensions: Height 102cm, Width 20cm, Depth 30cm

Q Acoustics 3050i: £699.00/pair

Jamo S7-25F

This is the third model up, and the smallest floorstander in the Studio 7 range. This model features their smaller diameter bass drivers in a neat enclosure that doesn’t dominate a room.

More details to follow soon.

Finish: Grey Cloud (white) or Blue Fjord (dark blue/Grey)

Grilles: Magnetic

Dimensions: H 805, W 200mm, D 340mm

Jamo S7-25F speakers: £799.00

Jamo S7-27F

This is the largest model in the Studio 7 range and features two of their 17cm diameter bass/mid drivers.

More details to follow soon.

Finish: Grey Cloud (white) or Blue Fjord (dark blue/Grey)

Grilles: Magnetic

Dimensions: H 855, W 230mm, D 380mm

Jamo S7-27F speakers: £949.00

Q Acoustics 5040

When Q Acoustics get a speaker right, they really do get it right and at a price that must cause other brands sleepless nights. I wouldn’t want to be a competitor following the launch of the new 5000 series, and I’m quite surprised with what they’ve achieved and the direction they’ve taken. To my ear this is no dual purpose hifi/home cinema speaker that most of the market expects, but a proper bona fide hi-fi design.

I’ll briefly cover some of the basics. First up is the cabinets which are made from 25mm mdf, much thicker than most speakers, and (possibly contentiously) to my mind preferable to the thin walled lossy gel core design used on some of their more expensive models. The paper cones feature a one piece curved diaphragm which dispenses with a separate dust cap, which when done well could have benefits with controlling dispersion (etc). Hidden inside the cabinets are ‘helmholtz Pressure equalizers’ which are intended to reduce cabinet resonance's.

This is a more lively and insightful sounding speaker than we’ve seen from Q Acoustics before, intentionally so by all accounts. The sound is clean, fast and crisp. They are surprisingly revealing at this price point, and I probably wouldn’t want to partner them with a poor source or amplifier, but that should not been seen as a negative - just avoid anything harsh or aggressive as they are unlikely to hide this trait. I would suggest that if you view them as being a speaker of nearer twice their price and partner them accordingly then you wont be disappointed with the results. Needless to say we tried them with lower powered valve amplification and they worked wonderfully, they appear to be quite efficient and easy to drive, which ultimately benefits every amplifier and results in more realistic dynamics than less efficient models.

If you expect boosted bass (as many do at this size and price point - often preferred for home cinema applications) then this wont be the speaker for you, but that risks making it sound as if they’re bass light, and that is definitely not the case - just the bass is clean, fast and extended. They are easier to place than many thanks to this too, with close to wall positioning being a possibility in some rooms even without fitting the optional foam bungs into the ports.

As many will know I’ve been a big fan of certain Q Acoustics models, especially their cheapest models. They have always been well judged and enjoyable to listen to. This new range is much more serious speaker in terms of their abilities, yet still with a fundamental rightness that has always made their models so popular and now with less colouration, more believable dynamics and improved timing too. Definitely a firm recommendation from us, and I do wonder if Q Acoustics competitors are already starting to stock up on Nytol.

Finish: Satin Black wrap, Satin White wrap, Oak vinyl, Rosewood vinyl

Grilles: Magnetic

Dimensions: H 967, W 361mm, D 293mm

Q Acoustics 5040 speakers: £999.00

Heco Aurora 700

The Aurora 700 is the big brother to the stand mounted 300 featured elsewhere on our speaker pages, and as you’d probably expect there are a lot of similarities. The drive unit technology is the same and this carries over to a very similar presentation, but with even greater room filling abilities.

It’s a three way design, with a soft dome tweeter and three 170mm paper coned drivers - the top one handling the mid range (above 280Hz) and a pair below handling lower frequencies. They are easy to drive and efficient, so a little amplifier power goes a long way (92dB claimed sensitivity).

They are a pretty substantial speakers, especially at this price level, and as you’d probably expect of a speaker with this sort of cone area they produce an effortless, room fillling, dynamic sound. Like the 300 there’s a little softening in the mid band but this is not unpleasant nor intrusive. In smaller rooms they will need some space behind them, circa 50cm or so, but this can be reduced the further they are from corners.

With the 700 Heco have done it again, they have produced an extremely high value for money speaker, that is very listenable and engaging.

Heco have also just added some special edition great gloss finishes,, these include gloss black, a deep Red, bright Orange, dark Green and a medium Grey. These are only available for a limited time.

Finishes: ebony Black or Ivory White, and now gloss Black, Cranberry Red, Sunrise Orange, Speed Green and Cool Grey

Dimensions: H: 116cm x  W20cm x D33cm

Grilles: Included (magnetically held on)

Heco Aurora 700 in satin black or satin white £1,449.00

Heco Aurora 700 in Gloss, Black, Red, Green, Grey and Orange £1,399.95


Rega Aya

New speakers don’t come very often from Rega, so the new Aya is a welcome addition to the market. They are due any day (written at the start of September 2023) so as soon as we have heard them we will update this with our findings.

The design appears quite fascinating with the sculptured cabinet being made from a glass reinforced cement - a much more cost effective solution than a wooden enclosure and with its own striking finish. This should also prove to be a stiff enclosure and thanks to the composite nature of this specific material they’re not as heavy as you might expect, at just under 15kg each.

It’s a 2.5 way design with a 7” bass unit that appears to be aperiodically loaded, which bodes well for bass control and a flattened impedance making them likely to be quite easy to drive.

Finish: Steel Grey

Dimensions: H: 87cm x  W26cm x D22cm

Grilles: Not Included, but available separately, see pricing below (magnetically held on)

Rega Aya speakers excluding grilles: £1,499.00

Optional Grilles: £80.00/pr

ProAc Tablette 10

As the name suggest, the Tablette 10 is the tenth generation of ProAcs smallest speaker range. This model is loosely based on the BBC LS3/5A - the cabinet is the same size, it is a sealed box and uses a damped thin wall cabinet - all things familiar to the LS3/5A aficionado. Where ProAc have broken from tradition is to use modern high quality drive units and crossover - gone is the plastic coned bass driver, replaced by a Paginna Mica mix (a doped combination of Reed leaves and Mica), with a 1” Silk dome tweeter.

The result is a speaker that much more expansive than its small size would lead you to expect. The mid band is wonderfully open and resolved, there’s great clarity and surprising dynamics for a diminutive and relatively inefficient box (86dB claimed). They are naturally well suited to close to wall positioning, and whilst you wouldn’t call the bass extension thunderous, what’s there is tuneful and well proportioned.

I suspect the aim of the Tablette 10 was to show what ProAc could do with the basic LS3/5A recipe when not tied to the officially licensed formula of crossover and drive units, and I’d say it is an unreserved success. Here’s a thoroughly modern take on a classic, and for those who are on a budget or are space limited then the Tablette 10 is an essential listen.

Finishes: see pricing below

Dimensions: Height 30.5cm, Width 19.5cm, Depth 16cm

ProAc Tablette 10 speakers in Cherry, Black Ash, Mahogany, Maple and Silk White: £1,580.00

ProAc Tablette 10 speakers in Ebony and Rosewood: £1,780.00

ProAc Tablette 10 Signature

The Tablette 10 Signature is an evolution of the standard 10 detailed above. The main change centres around the bass/mid driver which features a copper phase plug, Excel magnet system and a revised crossover.

Sonically the change is one of greater resolution but also a slightly cooler and more analytical presentation. The mid band is a touch more prominent making it a tad less tolerant of lesser equipment and recordings, but it counters this by offering an insight into the midband often found on many much more expensive designs.

Finishes: see pricing below

Dimensions: Height 30.5cm, Width 19.5cm, Depth 16cm

ProAc Tablette 10 Signature speakers in Cherry, Black Ash, Mahogany, Maple and Silk White: £1,905.00

ProAc Tablette 10 Signature speakers in Ebony and Rosewood: £2,165.00

Audio Note AX-ONE

The smallest Audio Note loudspeaker makes a welcome return. Now made in the same factory in Austria that produces their larger models, these speakers will feature high quality real wood veneers, revised cabinet, drivers and crossovers. More details to follow.

Finishes: Walnut or Black Ash real wood veneers

Audio Note AX-ONE : £POA at manufacturers request

Russell K Red 50

Following hot on the heals of the larger Red 100, the Red 50 is a smaller design that shares many of the same ingredients that make its bigger brother so successful. The small cabinet is about the same size as the famous LS3/5A, but there the similarities finish, as the 50 has wider bandwidth, greater dynamics as well as a much more engaging and natural sound. If you are looking for a very compact speaker with an expansive sound, then we can highly recommend the Red 50.

Finishes: Oak with white baffle, walnut with black baffle, or black oak with black baffle

Dimensions: Height 30cm, Width 20.4cm, depth 20cm

Russell K Red 50 speakers: £1,995.00

Optional grilles: £205.00/pair

ProAc Studio SM100

The SM100 is the successor to the classic Studio 100 - one of our all time favourite stand mounted speakers. To understand this new model it’s best to consider its predecessor first. It was a design that was kept in production for two decades as it was highly prized by those in the know for its naturalness and accuracy, yet simultaneously was perhaps ProAcs best kept secret, often being overlooked in the press. Over the years it has found homes in many domestic and professional settings - in the case of the latter the list of famous names that own them is impressive - from heavy metal and dance musicians and engineers through to many more sedate genres.

We were very sad when they finished production (in fact ProAc had several aborted attempts to discontinue them as demand kept pushing them back into production) and we were concerned that they wouldn’t reach the same heights again, but thankfully it appears our fears were unfounded. I’m delighted to say that the new SM100 is remarkably close to the original, both in terms of design, sound quality and presentation. The cabinets are still reassuringly weighty and dead and of the same size as the original. The classic combination of soft dome tweeter and paper mid/bass driver is thankfully retained too. A new 1” tweeter, and crossover, is used, with the bass driver featuring the latest ProAc cast basket and a rubber rather than foam roll surround, making them more robust (and longer lasting in humid climates).

At the time of writing I have not back to backed the old model with the new, but think I am sufficiently familiar to make comparison with reasonable confidence. First thoughts are that the new model strikes me as being much easier to partner. The old model would spit out inferior electronics, revealing greyness and grain wherever it existed. For us it was never really a problem, we took care to make sure they were partnered with the right (predominately valve) amplification and high quality sources, and then music simply happened.

So they are more forgiving, but they don’t seem any less transparent, which is quite something to pull off if true. They still thrive on great partnering systems of course, but remarkably tolerate inferior ones without disdain (although do remember this is still as serious a speaker as you’d expect of one at its price, so it’s all relative).

Unlike most speakers used in studios there’s no obvious presence lift, they’re not relentless and tiring and they don’t make you feel like a giant magnifying glass has been placed over certain elements of the recording at the expense of others (and of musical enjoyment).

What has always made the 100 special is the mid band, and that’s still the case. It is expressive, clear and natural to a very rare degree - compare it to many British classic highly regarded monitors that use plastic cones and you’ll hear just how contorted and contrived they really are. This isn’t a one trick pony though, there isn’t an area that lets them down, the treble is open and extended, the crossover beautifully judged. The bass is clean, tuneful and as extended and powerful as can be expected of a cabinet of this size and with this level of sensitivity (a perfectly reasonable 88dB). They image, they time, they portray emotion - you get the gist!

Finishes:  Cherry or Black Ash real wood veneers. Other special order finishes available for a premium, please contact us for details.

Dimensions:  Height 40.6cm, Width 20.3cm, Depth 25.5cm

Proac Studio SM100 loudspeakers £2,365.00

Speakers above £2,500

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