It may seem like the only way to get your hands on some great sound is to spend big on what you might term “proper” hi-fi, with complex setups, esteemed brands and multiple units coming together to form one mega (and mega-expensive) system that takes up its own wing of the house and causes your spouse to wish you’d taken up golf instead.
That needn’t be the case. With Black Friday over but Cyber Monday still alive and kicking, we’ve rounded up some of the best products that will offer a true hi-fi experience without complexity or massive prices. These products are all a single unit apiece (ok, the KEFs are a pair), but the sound they offer is truly remarkable nonetheless.
As its What Hi-Fi? 2023 Award certifies the Sonos Era 300 is one of the best wireless speakers we’ve recently tested, revealing itself to be an all-in-one performer that boasts superb audio, excellent streaming features and impressive spatial audio capabilities.
As we stated in our Sonos Era 300 review, “[it] performs admirably with any format of music… no matter what source or genre [which] all adds up to an enticing experience that’s worth embarking on”, especially with regard to its awesome handling of spatial audio.
The features only help to seal the deal. The Sonos app is great, Trueplay room calibration works superbly, and the Era 300 can slot into the wider Sonos multi-room ecosystem easily, while Wi-Fi 6, AirPlay 2, Bluetooth 5.0 streaming, plus voice control, only strengthen its credentials. The discounts aren’t huge right now, but we’d recommend the Era 300 even at full price.
It’s been around for a good while, but the B&W Zeppelin continues to impress us, and many others, with its sonic talents and iconic oval form. No other speaker really comes close to the Zeppelin in terms of the mothership-esque design of one of the most iconic-looking units we can think of. See one in the flesh and they’re really a sight to behold.
It may have a few feature limitations (limited hi-res support and no Chromecast), but the Zep makes up for it with its expansive, open presentation and agile, weighty bass. Large speakers of this sort can often have a big, booming but slightly muddled or unsubtle presentation, traps which B&W’s oval brute doesn’t fall into. Capable at high volumes and immensely fun to listen to, it’s certainly worth considering this Cyber Monday.
Read our Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin review
Oh, how we love Naim’s Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation wireless speaker, so much so that we’re still recommending it four years later. It can be yours for just £699 at Richer Sounds this Cyber Monday, down from its original £799 price tag.
A perennial winner at the What Hi-Fi Awards, the Mu-so Qb was recently crowned Best Home Wireless Speaker Over £500 for the fifth year in a row, boasting the sort of longevity and continued relevance that most rivals can only dream of. With support for Spotify and TIdal Connect, Chromecast, AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth, as well as the Naim Audio App, the Qb is an effortlessly versatile unit.
Plus, it just sounds so good. Even against newer rivals, the Qb delights with an open and expressive yet professional and detailed performance that will delight pretty much any listener across any genre. And on top of all that, it looks dark, sleek and really, really cool.
Read our full Naim Mu-so Qb review
The original KEF LSX were great, but these LSX II take things to the next level. A certified What Hi-Fi? Awards winner in 2023, the LSX II step things up sonically with a profile that feels capable, layered and dynamic, all while keeping rhythms and tones tight and extremely well-formed, no matter what you’re listening to. Bass, especially, feels taut and controlled, while the overall presentation feels refined, mature and satisfying.
They’re smart, though (that’s the point), supporting a host of connectivity options ranging from wi-fi, Apple AirPlay 2, Google Chromecast and Bluetooth, as well as streaming services like Amazon Music, Deezer, Qobuz, Spotify and Tidal. Physical inputs, such as HDMI ARC and USB-C connections for hooking up to a TV and laptop respectively, really boost things further.
Superb speakers at a great price.
Read our full KEF LSX II review
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Read our full Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation review