Legacy link:
This new site was launched in July 2010. Visit the older site to access previous articles by clicking above.

To Jeff Fritz,

I read your comments in "What I'd Buy: Loudspeakers Over $15,000" with great interest. In the more-or-less $30k/pair point there seem to be some great options. Unfortunately, my hometown of Houston, Texas, has become something of a hi-fi desert, so auditioning is hard.

My room is 23' by 30' with a ceiling that starts at 9' and slopes up. It is my living room, and except for rugs/furniture, it won't have any sound deadening. I plan to use a Trinnov for a preamp/room-correction device.

What I am really trying to ask is do you have any suggestions on how to sort through the options remotely? I am specifically asking about the TAD Evolution One, KEF Blade, Magico S5, and Rockport Avior.


This is clearly one of those can't-lose propositions. In fact, from my perspective, you've made exactly the shortlist I would have made if shopping at that price point. You're right that the $30k/pr. mark is stacked with great loudspeakers. I would go as far as to say that it is one of the most competitive price points in all of high end. The companies you've mentioned have all found ways to instil a good portion of their more expensive offerings into their $30k/pr. products, creating speakers that not only compete fiercely against one another, but, surprisingly, with more expensive models within the same companies' lines.

Unfortunately, there is no way for me to know which speaker -- out of the models you've chosen -- that you might like best. If you won’t have the ability to travel and hear them, you'll have to rely on reviews and advice from friends and perhaps a good dealer. One thing you could do is call a dealer(s) that carries two or more of the brands and ask them for their opinion. You might get some insight that way. Otherwise, just read all you can and try to ascertain which brand your sonic priorities most align with. It would be hard for me to imagine that you would be unhappy with any of the models you've chosen. The four speakers you've written me about are all winners and each would be a fine centerpiece for a very ambitious audio system. . . . Jeff Fritz