Best floorstanding speakers for listening to music
Chris Haslam chooses the best floorstanding speakers for all your music listening
Floorstanding speakers dominate most living rooms, but offer exceptional sound across a vast soundstage. Cheaper models may be impressively loud, but can cause nasty vibrations if design corners have been cut. The best designs have internal bracing which prevent resonance colouring the sound.
Speaker and amp pairing advice
It’s rare to find completely incompatible speakers and amps these days, but before you buy do check that the ohms of both are compatible (speakers usually carry ratings between four and eight ohms; amps typically four to 16 ohms) and – to make a huge generalisation – that your amplifier is 50 per cent more powerful than your speakers.
How to get the best sound from floorstanding speakers
Floorstanding speakers are designed to project sound at your ear level when sitting. Ideally, you should keep the speakers well spaced and at least 30cm away from any surfaces to get the best result.
Best floorstanding speakers to buy
Klipsch RP-8060FA II
Voted best for live performance Klipsch’s Reference Premiere series offers 11 options including bookshelf, surround sound, subwoofers and centre channels, so you can tailor a system to suit your home and budget. The flagship RP-8060FA II are imposing floorstanding speakers with excellent quality cabinets. With upward firing Dolby Atmos speakers hidden in the top, their performance is forceful and dynamic, while their spun copper eight-inch Cerametallic woofers with a distortion-absorbing aluminium Faraday ring add depth and power to low frequencies. And their Tractrix horn technology works wonders with the higher frequencies, perfect for live concert recordings and movies.
Q Acoustics 3050i
A few years old now, these floorstanders remain the best-value around. Available in black, white, walnut or grey, the MDF cabinet features a special bracing structure that helps minimise unwanted vibrations, while HPE (Helmholtz Pressure Equaliser) tubing technology helps to equalise the air pressure inside, eliminating resonance. Playing hi-res pieces from my laptop (using Tidal) combined with my Marantz HD-AMP1, I was thrilled by the energy on offer. They’re warm, engaging and offer plenty of punch and, impressively, don’t complain too much if they’re positioned in less-than-ideal spaces.
KEF LS60 Wireless
Launched for KEF’s 60th anniversary, these all-in-one streaming stereo speakers are something special. They’re elegantly slim – remarkably so, given that they have 1,400W of combined power – and will play from virtually any source up to 24-bit/192kHz. There’s support for AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast, Spotify Connect and Tidal Connect, to name a few, plus inputs for HDMI (eARC), optical, coax, Aux-in, and a subwoofer, not that you’ll need one.
The speaker configuration boasts a single Uni-Q driver – with a 19mm tweeter sat in the middle of the 10cm driver – and four back-to-back 5.25-inch drivers that brilliantly enable the low, mid and high frequencies of whatever you’re playing to radiate from a single point, creating a huge soundstage and virtually no sweet spot.
Whatever I played through the LS60 Wireless sounded gobsmackingly good, and I’m in awe of how well the slender speakers handled lower frequencies. The timing and authority are truly remarkable for a streaming system, with the scale and power of a full orchestra and the nuance of a single instrument both thrillingly present. Getting to spend time at home with speakers as good as these was an absolute privilege. KEF.com
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Chris Haslam is a freelance consumer technology journalist, specialising in tech, audio, lifestyle, health and interiors. He is the monthly audio columnist for BBC Music Magazine, rounding up the best audio equipment on the market for classical music lovers. He is also a contributing editor for Wired UK.