The 5 Best Hi-Fi speakers of 2022 range from Italian to French beauties, and each one celebrates the luxurious power of high quality sound.
Hi-Fi is short for high fidelity, an innovation of sound technology that has been around for nearly 100 years, but continues to improve year after year. Hi-Fi speakers today are not only beautiful, but offer the most incredible sound on the planet, hands down.
Times and technologies have changed, but the power of sound in our lives has not.
Historian Greg Milner suggests a litmus test for you in his book “Perfecting Sound Forever: An Aural History of Recorded Music.” He challenges you to turn on a standard radio (or find a random radio station on your phone or desktop and push play). Intently listen to the first singer you hear and imagine the instruments are gone, then turn the volume down and imagine what it would sound like if that same person was standing in front of you singing a cappella, how powerful and deeply personal that sound would be. Then, turn the volume back up and hear how inhuman the voice sounds coming out of the tinny speakers.
This is exactly why we are so deeply devoted to the power of sound.
Instead of sending you down a rabbit hole, we would like to lend you our expertise and cut through the market noise – we would like to introduce you to the five speakers on the market right now that we know for a fact can give you that same experience of your favorite musician standing before you, making eye contact with you as you absorb their art.
1. Sonus Faber Olympica Nova V
The Sonus Faber Olympica Nova V has the best detail and range in this year’s lineup, and is a stylish showcase piece. You can listen to this gorgeous tower for hours and never experience listening fatigue. This brand is nearly 40 years old, but this is the first in their offering to feature original drivers, designed entirely in-house.
One could call this an interior design piece as it echoes materials and curves found in nature, while filling any room with warm and engaging sound. This model features a reflex duct fully integrated into the cabinet, which is the port (hole or vent) traditionally cut into the cabinet with a section of affixed piping. With this full integration, you’ll get better speed and transparency of sound.
Because style matters and we all know wood tones aren’t universal, this model is available in walnut finish or wenge (a darker) finish. It’s a floorstander design, featuring silver metal feet, a clever play on sleek stand design.
The frequency response for this masterpiece is 32 – 35 Hz, the sensitivity is 90 dB SPL (2.83V/1 m), and the nominal impedance is 4 ohm. If these numbers mean nothing to you, don’t worry – we can demonstrate in the showroom how incredible they are.
2. Focal Chora 826D
If you want full range sound at a great price, the Focal Chora 826D is a phenomenal option. This loudspeaker provides versatility with Dolby Atmos/DTS:X™ drivers for your home theater surround sound system.
What makes the 826D so special is that it has front-firing drivers to project sound directly at you, but also features an upward-firing driver to bounce sound off of your ceiling to wildly improve the sound effects coming your way.
As for finishes, the Chora 826D comes in traditional black high gloss and dark wood, but we have to say their take on light wood is a standout.
The frequency response is 48-28,000 Hz (±3dB), the sensitivity is 91 dB, and the nominal impedance is 8 ohm. Again, you don’t need to be a sound nerd to get why these numbers are impressive, we can show you, but rest assured us sound nerds are impressed.
3. JBL L100
If you have a vintage bone in your body, this classic will grab you. It is one of the most iconic JBL speakers of all time, and it has been brought back to life. Do you remember the famous 1983 ad of the rich guy in the leather chair whose butler plays his requested Maxell tape again and the speakers are so incredible that they blow his hair and tie back, slide his glass of Chablis toward his hand, and nearly knocks the lamp over? That ad featured the JBL L100 speakers. That’s obviously a much earlier generation, but that’s where you know the speaker from. We all do.
Fast forward to 2022 and there is a sleeker presentation of the classic. Because JBL knows that the vintage vibe isn’t enough to impress, this bookshelf speaker model features an impressive 30cm bass driver, delivering rich deep bass frequencies easily, where rivals in their category tend to struggle. It’s a charming throwback that offers modern sound, which is a nice surprise.
The L100 offers the famous orange grille, but you can also opt for blue or black. The choice made here is a personal style preference, but we would note that the orange is their nod to the original line from decades ago.
The frequency response is 40Hz-40kHz (-6dB), the sensitivity is 90dB, and the nominal impedance is 4 ohm. For a smaller set of speakers, these numbers are pretty extraordinary, especially at this price point.
4. Sonus Faber Lumina III
The Sonus Faber Lumina III is a minimalist statement piece that will enrich any listening room. It is a smaller tower that offers incredible precision with great looks. Don’t let the Italian craftsmanship intimidate you, it’s an accessible price point, particularly for the superior sound performance. The company created this model to reach a younger consumer, but its appeal is not limited to any age group.
The Lumina III fills any living room with distortion-free sound and is known for having high speech intelligibility for a first-rate gaming or movie experience. This is Sonus Faber’s play into a lower price point than they traditionally create, but they haven’t sacrificed performance or furniture-grade materials and outperform in both low frequencies and high frequencies while somehow maintaining an affordable price.
The speaker set is praised for their impressive midrange and highs and any pop or rock would sound simply delicious on the Lumina III.
This gem of a set offers a frequency response of 40 Hz – 24.000 Hz, the sensitivity is 89 dB, and the nominal impedance is 4 ohm.
5. T+A Criterion S 2200 CTL
T+A makes incredible amps, but did you know their stereo speakers are also stunning?! The T+A Criterion S 2200 CTL offers warm, detailed sound. CTL stands for “Compensated Transmission Line” which is an alternative to the bass reflex system wherein the sound guide behind the bass drivers is long, like an organ pipe, to generate extremely low frequencies.
This construction method also lends to a heavier speaker which completely eliminates resonance effects and creates a more spacious sound. To be more specific, the mid-range driver has been upgraded from their last model and combines with the textile treble unit and organic baffle to create what they’re calling “Constant Directivity,” which is all shop talk to say that it disperses sound elegantly and evenly in any space.
The Criterion S 2200 CTL comes in a wider variety of finishes than any other option we’ve featured, from high gloss carbon or black lacquer, to arctic silver, white lacquer, and even dark walnut and whitewashed oak. Whatever wood combination is already featured in your home, T+A is prepared to fit right in.
The sensitivity on this model is 88dB, and the nominal impedance is 4 ohm. If you’re looking for a unique listening experience with incredible bass response, we’d love to demonstrate these tower speakers for you in person.
Mind-blowing sound abounds
We could list at least a dozen hi-fi speakers for you, and then a dozen more, and this is just the tip of the iceberg, but these five are going to impress you in person and deliver the high quality sound you’re looking for.
The world is not looking for novelty right now, rather seeking connection with quality. Consider that sales of vinyl records hit a 30-year high in 2021. Investments in home theaters are rapidly increasing as families once frustrated by being forced to spend time at home are now embracing it. A shift towards nostalgia is palpable and the American home spends more time together than any recent generation, be it familial or housemates.
This perfect storm has created demand for hiqh quality products that deliver superior sound, hitting various price points. You’re not alone in considering your next purchase, and our list of the best options on the market this year can help you cut through the noise (pun intended) to rediscover the depth of sound music and movies were meant to have.
Come experience these options in our showroom or call us for personalized service.