Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Articles

Best Floorstanding Loudspeakers Under $1,500 in 2024

In 2024, our favorite mid-tier budget friendly floorstanding loudspeakers are from Q Acoustics, DALI, Magnepan and Wharfedale.

Best Floorstanding Loudspeakers Under $1500

Table of contents:

2023 was a great year for music listeners looking for mid-tier high-end floorstanding loudspeakers below $1,500.

Brands like Q Acoustics, Focal, Bowers & Wilkins, PSB, and Acoustic Energy introduced a number of new models that definitely need to be on your radar and we will be reviewing many of them throughout 2024.

Change is hard for some brands and there is always a bit of a risk when a company introduces a new range meant to satisfy the needs of the middle of the market; especially when said manufacturer has already established itself as a category leader below $1,000 and in the segment above $3,000.

Can they find that magic again in a segment of the market that often struggles to attract mainstream attention? 

The mid-tier loudspeaker segment has become a rather crowed space with the aforementioned brands and DALI, ELAC, SVS, Polk Audio, and Klipsch engaged in a Game of Thrones-esque fight to the finish. 

One can build a very satisfying high-end system around any of these loudspeakers for the price of a rather expensive high-end power cord — which is the biggest waste of money around.

All of these loudspeakers have been tested by members of our staff and look for other models to be added throughout the year.

Q Acoustics 5040 Floorstanding Loudspeakers No Grilles
Q Acoustics 5040 is available in white, oak, rosewood, or black

Q Acoustics 5040

Do you really get that much more from a performance perspective when you purchase the Q Acoustics 5040 loudspeakers for $1,499 over the 3050i which retail for $999 USD? 

The new mid/bass drivers offer leaner, tighter, and better defined bass response with every genre of music. The 5040 sacrifices some impact compared to the 3050i but the detail and speed are far superior. 

The overall tonal balance is more neutral than the 3000 series and that makes the loudspeaker somewhat of a chameleon depending on your choice of amplifier. 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

You can read my two-part review of the Q Acoustics 5040 here and here, but make no mistake — these were one of the most important releases of 2023 because they made rather incredible sonic performance that much more accessible to those looking for a well made floor standing loudspeaker that is actually affordable.

Pros: Transparency, detail, clarity, very wide soundstage, very immediate presentation, superb value for the money

Cons: Very sensitive to system matching, need some space to really open up, and will make you try as many amplifiers as you can get your hands on

Where to buy: $1,499/pair at Amazon


DALI Oberon 5 Floorstanding Loudspeakers in Light Oak
DALI Oberon 5 Loudspeakers in Light Oak

DALI Oberon 5

DALI receives a lot of attention for its very expensive high-end models like the KORE and its Phantom in-wall/in-ceiling loudspeakers — but its best value products can be discovered at the opposite end of the market.

The Danish manufacturer is one of the largest manufacturers of loudspeaker cabinets in the world and makes almost everything in-house; including the screws and bolts that hold everything together.

Because of their long-term investment in driver technology, they are also able to pass on all of those aforementioned benefits to the consumer.

The Oberon 5 have been available for a few years but they continue to sell well and we understand why.

They are relatively compact two-way towers, measuring 33 inches high and 13 inches wide.

DALI have proven that they know how to build inert and beautiful cabinets; the Oberon 5 is made from MDF and available in four finishes; white, dark walnut, light oak, and black ash.

The driver complement harkens some comparisons to the somewhat larger Q Acoustics 3050i; the Oberon 5 use a pair of 5 inch mid/woofers and the company’s trademark 1.14 inch soft dome tweeter.

A single-wired two-way crossover is also used and the speakers do not offer a very difficult load; a nominal impedance of 6 ohms and 88dB/W/m sensitivity rating

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Very much like the Q Acoustics 5040, these need some space from the wall behind them and are smoother sounding when pointed straight ahead. Angling these in towards your listening chair provides no real benefit.

The trademark DALI top end is very present with a lot of energy and detail, but you will not have to worry about any hardness unless your amplifier is tilted that way as well.

The low end is punchy and rather dynamic sounding considering the size of the drivers and cabinet, but these are not bass monsters.

What really sells us on these loudspeakers is the expressive midrange that takes vocals to another level in this price range.

Pros: Expressive sounding midrange, punchy mid bass and lower midrange, sound larger than they look, excellent build quality and value for the money

Cons: Better suited for small to medium-sized rooms, treble is sensitive to partnering equipment, need a high quality amplifier to really show off just how good they are

Where to buy: $1,300/pair at Amazon


Magnepan LRS Loudspeakers
Magnepan LRS Loudspeaker

Magnepan LRS+

There are a million opinions online about the topic but the simple truth is that you can drive a loudspeaker like the Magnepan LRS+ (Little Ribbon Speaker) with any amplifier that can double its output and is stable into a 4 ohm load. A/V receivers are not great choices in this scenario. Their actual power output into a 4 ohm load is rather iffy.

Emotiva, NAD (not the C 316BEE V2), Schiit AudioBryston, Audio Research, and Pass Labs all work well with Magnepan.

The LRS+ need a lot of space. A minimum of 3 feet from the wall behind them. You also need to angle the panels so that the tweeter potion of the panel are further from your ears than the woofer. I have my LRS+ turned so that the woofer panel is almost 2 inches closer to my listening position.

The LRS+ also benefit from either a heavy paving stone placed underneath the legs or a dedicated stand like the Magna Risers.

Don’t expect a lot of deep bass from the LRS+ – that’s not why you are buying it.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Pros: Transparency, detail, clarity, deep soundstage, very immediate presentation, superb value for the money

Cons: Limited bass, require high current amplification, wonky feet, need to be placed at least 3 feet from the wall behind them

Where to buy: Magnepan Dealer Locator


Wharfedale Diamond 12.3 Floorstanding Loudspeakers
Wharfedale Diamond 12.3 Loudspeakers

Wharfedale Diamond 12.3

Wharfedale’s founder, Gilbert Briggs built his first loudspeaker in 1932 in his home in Ilkey, Yorkshire; the town was based in the valley of the river “Wharfe.” Briggs opened Wharfedale Wireless Works in 1933 supplying advanced loudspeaker drivers to the growing radio industry and the company became a leading supplier selling more than 9,000 units per year until the outbreak of World War II.

The company flourished after the war and became one of the first companies to offer a two-way loudspeaker in 1945 – the prototype for the modern loudspeaker.

The Diamond series has been around for a number of years and have always offered a lot of performance for the money. A pair of Wharfedale Diamond 10.1s have graced my home office for almost 6 years and I have zero desire to replace them; they work incredibly well with both solid state and tubes.

The Diamond 12.3s utilize two 5″ Klarity midrange woofers and one 1″ soft dome tweeter in a rather inert enclosure that blends really well in modern and traditional settings.

The 88 dB (8 ohms, dips to 5 ohms) sensitivity makes them rather easy to drive and they certainly love amplifiers like the Audiolab 6000A and NAD C 316BEE V2 Integrated Amplifiers.

The Diamond 12.3s deliver strong dynamics, detail, and a very high level of resolution. They don’t need to be pulled that far from the walls to really deliver balanced performance.

The build quality is superb for the money.

Pros: Balanced, airy treble, punchy mid bass and upper midrange, excellent with vocals, superb value for the money

Cons: Need better quality electronics to really shine, slightly reserved presentation, vinyl veneer

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Where to buy: $998/pair at Crutchfield


Tip: In videos with Tarun, The British Audiophile, we discussed the Q Acoustics 3050i & Magnepan LRS (Part 1) and Wharfedale Diamond 12.3 & Focal Chora 816 (Part 2).

Related reading:

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Perry

    November 5, 2022 at 10:31 pm

    Maggies are great. I have the SMGa and they are fantastic.

    If you’re skilled with wood, make some feet that will allow them to stand up a bit more straight. You’ll hear the difference.

  2. Renato

    November 7, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    I agree with the 3050i being a great speaker but deceitful. I even contacted you before about then. I now have the Iota Vx stack driving them and what a change that was. They are very underwhelming with lower end gear and that’s probably why they don’t get the praise they deserve. They need power and good electronics behind them and they are immensely rewarding. Every little improvement I made, cables included, end up being immideatly aparent.

  3. MadMex

    November 19, 2022 at 7:10 pm

    What’s with all the tall and skinny, statuesque, budget or no budget, floor-standing speakers these days? Where did all the short and stumpy, brick house, floor-standing speakers, a la Klipsch Heresy, go? Bring back the brick house, in my expert opinion.

  4. Doc Greene

    November 20, 2022 at 1:59 pm

    None of these really perform as well as the Paradigm Monitor SE8000F selling for around $849 each. This is due mostly to the best acoustic lab in the Hemisphere in Toronto Canada, and the cost of such being underwritten by the Canadian Government. I know its not fair to other countries but we can reap the benefit. I have been an audiophile for more than 40 years and I have owned just about everything including the Apogee Full Range ribbons at 8K each. Paradigm has always been amazing to me at any price.

    • Ian White

      November 20, 2022 at 2:17 pm

      Doc,

      Which makes them $1,700/pair. Read the headline again.

      Having spent time inside that lab and anechoic chamber back in the 1990s, I can confirm that Paradigm have a very unique R&D lab in my hometown and use it very effectively.

      Best,

      Ian White

  5. Andre Roy

    January 21, 2024 at 7:56 am

    Hello Ian. These are all good budget towers for sure. Good job on that. I sure wish you would take the time to get your hands on a pair of Triangle Borea BR07 floor-standers. I purchased a pair for myself a year and a half ago, after trying out then shortly after selling the BR09s. Pound for pound, I have found that the 07s have the same eye opening sound that the BR03s which I also own, but with far greater impact and presence. The BR07 model have been totally overlooked by audio reviewers. They have been treated like a dirty little secret. They are one of the best all around speakers I have owned for what we can get them for, since enjoying this great hobby for the last 35+ years. Give them a listen, I’m sure you will agree. Thank you. Keep up the good work!

    • Ian White

      January 21, 2024 at 2:24 pm

      Andre,

      Interesting. I will have to see if they can send me a pair.

      Best,

      Ian White

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

You May Also Like

Integrated Amps & Stereo Receivers

Depending on your budget, the $499 NAD C 316BEE V2 might be the ideal stereo integrated amplifier to build a hi-fi system around.

Floorstanding Speakers

One of Focal's most successful loudspeaker ranges is getting a massive refresh for 2024. The Aria Evo X Series are making a huge splash...

Gift Guides

Unwind in the ultimate man cave and escape into home entertainment bliss with incredible gift ideas for hi-fi audio or home theater.

Floorstanding Speakers

Jamie and Nick from Q Acoustics discuss their game changing M40 micro-tower wireless speakers and award-winning 5000 series loudspeakers.

New Products

Are you looking to build a 2.1 music/home theater system with a pair of high-end wireless floor standing loudspeakers? The new Q Acoustics M40...

In-Wall Speakers

The outdoor CI market is hot and rather wet apparently. The DALI PHANTOM E-60 and E-80 WR in-ceiling speakers will be available from March,...

Articles

Just what can one buy in 2024 for $4,500? The DALI Oberon 5 and NAD C 3050 make some serious music together on the...

Digital Music Systems

Can you really build a high-end audio system with vinyl playback around the Arylic H50 Network Amplifier?

Advertisement

ecoustics is a hi-fi and music magazine offering product reviews, podcasts, news and advice for aspiring audiophiles, home theater enthusiasts and headphone hipsters. Read more

Copyright © 1999-2024 ecoustics | Disclaimer: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.



SVS Bluesound PSB Speakers NAD Cambridge Audio Q Acoustics Denon Marantz Focal Naim Audio RSL Speakers