The Best $2500-Per-Pair Stand-Mounted Speaker

To Doug Schneider,

So, for up to $2500 USD, what would be your ideal stand-mount speaker? I like the Studio Electric M4, but was told that the Philharmonic Audio BMR Philharmonitor and KEF R3 are just as good if not better. Up to a 100W amp and a small room.

Dave Furon

My ideal stand-mounted speaker would be one that reproduces the entire audioband, which means bass down to 20Hz, and play as loudly as I could ever want it to with absolutely no compression or distortion. Of course, no stand-mounted speaker like that exists for $2500 per pair -- or even $25,000 per pair! -- so what we’re left with, regardless of price, are compromises and no “ideal” one to recommend. What’s more, they differ, sometimes by a little, sometimes by a lot. For example, with the Revel Performa3 M106 that I pitted against the Studio Electric M4 in the M4 review, they both had strengths and very few weaknesses, but they were fairly different sounding. If push came to shove on those two and I was forced to live with just one, I would probably pick the M4 because of its fuller-sounding bass. On the other hand, someone else might take the M106 because it sounds a little more neutral and precise, something I couldn’t argue with. If you threw the BMR Philharmonitor and KEF R3 you mentioned into the mix, each one might also stand out in a certain way and someone might choose one of those. So that’s really the thing -- I can’t tell you which one is ideal or what will work best in your setup. Neither can anyone else. The only thing I or any reviewer can do is lead you in a direction by providing a selection to choose from, then let you decide which best suits your room, associated equipment, listening taste, and, of course, budget. . . . Doug Schneider