Hansen The Prince V.2 Loudspeaker ($39,000)

A three-way loudspeaker of impeccable design and construction, offering a truly visceral musical experience. The Prince V.2 is a revealing loudspeaker of associated equipment, requires good power behind it and is relatively easy to place in any midsize room. Its special tweeter unit reveals the highest of treble details naturally without glare or compression. Its midbass and low bass are extraordinary coherent with the tweeter unit, and provide the kinds of dynamic sweep and prodigious underpinning to music that is intoxicating. Instruments and voices leap from a layered soundstage with a natural quality that is exhilarating. The Prince V.2 is one of the most visceral “in the present” loudspeakers around. Built to be enjoyed for a lifetime. [Nelson Brill]


Hyperion Audio HPS 968 Speakers ($7000)

Hyperion’s 968’s are one of the most remarkable audio products I’ve ever had the pleasure to review. They feature astonishing clarity and speed from the patented Hyperion manufactured drivers. Their 25 Hz to 25 KHz extension is deliciously musical AND neutral. When paired with the right amp their bass can be breathtaking. (Organ music lovers take note.) Easier to place than the majority of floor-standers due to Hyperion’s proprietary back wave reducing technology. At 7K their bang for the buck is off the charts. I highly recommend anyone in the up to $20K speaker market to give the Hyperion’s a listen. I bet most will be amazed. (I’ve shocked owners of $20K + speakers who’ve heard these in my system) At first look the two box design is reminiscent of the Wilson Watt Puppy but at a massively different price point. I loved the HPS 968’s so much I bought the review pair. [Alvester Garnette]


JAS Orsa Loudspeaker ($2,495/pr)

This gorgeously finished two-way, ribbon tweeter based monitor is perfect for moderately sized rooms. It has splendid musicality and surprisingly deep bass for its size. Paired with a modestly powered amp like the April Music Aura Note, the Orsa can provide you with stunning sonics and spouse-loving looks at a real world price. [Dave Thomas]

Sunny H3W12 Loudspeakers ($28k)

I first heard these speakers at RMAF 2007, these loudspeakers delivered such a natural and hypnotic presentation that eclipsed literally everything else I heard at the show. However their monstrous size was a huge concern for me at the time.  A few months later I had the distinct pleasure of personally listening to their big brother (the 800 lbs Majestics) at Clement Perry’s home.  Upon leaving CP's home, I had to reevaluate my concerns of the Sunny H3W12 fitting comfortable into my listening room.  Since owning these wonderful state of the art loudspeakers, I have not looked back since.  They deliver, with such an uncompromised tone and natural realism; I hardly realize they're in the room. [Moreno Mitchell]


Tidal Contrivas (Starting at $38,000)

If we had a category for “component of the year”, this would be it for me personally. The Contrivas took my musical enjoyment to a height I didn’t know was possible in my listening room. I’m still going through withdrawal with having sent them back to the distributor. I first heard these speakers at this years CES and thought they were exceptional then. Having them at home did nothing short of convince me of how wonderful they really are. I reached new heights of realism, presence, performance at the frequency extremes, and most importantly, a level connectedness to the music I had not felt before. Every time I turned on my system, each album or CD I played, I was not just sitting there listening to music, it was more like an “experience.” [Mike Wright]

Volent Paragon VL-3 (($9,600) This sexy little debutante has got me singing its praises. Contrary to popular belief, it has become more apparent that some Chinese manufacturers have resorted to making really exotic products regardless of price. Not everything coming out of China will be cheaply built: Hence, the lofty Volent Paragon VL-3 loudspeaker. Boasting frequency extremes in the 100k horizons, based on Volent's proprietary Twin-Ribbon tweeter, this remarkably attractive and curvy (read Italian styled) transducer is built in China. Don't let its rather short stature and minimalist approach fool you because this smallish three-way floor-stander possesses a life-like character that's rich in resolution and top-end openness! The Volent VL-3 might ask a lot from a potential purchaser because of its relatively short history and state of birth. Any potential purchaser who auditions the VL-3 under the right conditions should easily notice its remarkably fast transients, accurate bass definition marked by its uncanny natural expression and musicality. Put it this way, if you didn't know where this loudspeaker was made, based solely on its looks and sound, China would be your last guess!  [Clement Perry]


Xavian Giulietta Loudspeaker ($3,200/pr)
An audiophile loudspeaker from the Czech Republic. The Giulietta is as musically dynamic as any speaker in the $2K-$5k range I’ve heard. Once you get past just how well built and engrossing to listen to these speakers are, you’ll be repeatedly asking the same question I did: Is that dollars or Euros? Either way, the Giuliettas are a superb bargain. [Dave Thomas]