Best hi-fi system: speaker set-ups for music enthusiasts

The best hi-fi systems and speakers to get the most out of your listening experience

best hi-fi system

Are you looking for the best Hi-Fi systems? Then, you've come to the right place. A traditional Hi-Fi system is made up of a few different components, but none of them is more important than the speakers, which are responsible for creating the actual sound of your music. So, if you can splurge anywhere, then let it be here.

Soundbars, Bluetooth speakers and expansive sound set-ups (for more on this, take a look at our guide to the best surround sound systems) have become all the rage, but sometimes classic is best, and hi-fi systems fit the bill.

Trust us when we say that, if you care about the quality of your audio, you want the best speakers you can afford. To make it easier to choose, we've ranked our top choices below.

The best hi-fi systems in 2021

Monitor Audio Bronze 2

1. Monitor Audio Bronze 2

A great sounding set of speakers with a classic look

Specifications
Frequency response: 42Hz - 30kHz
Impedance: 8 Ohm
RMS Output Power: 100W
Size: 18.5cm x 25.5cm x 35cm (HxWxD)
Form-factor: Bookshelf
Reasons to buy
+Has a weighty, refined sound+Great classic looks
Reasons to avoid
-Work best on dedicated stands

Technically, Monitor Audio's Bronze speaker is supposed to be the company's entry-level lineup, but you'd be forgiven for thinking that it sounds anything but. 

Instead, being the youngest sibling ends up working wonders for the Bronze 2. It benefits from all the hand-me-down knowledge of the more expensive Silver and Gold speakers, but it's available at a fraction of the cost. 

They're a great looking pair of speakers, and they sound even better. You'll need to avoid tucking them away on a bookshelf unless you want their soundstage's width to suffer, but given the clearance, their quality will blow you away. In our opinion, these are the best hi-fi speakers you can buy, bar none.

Tannoy Eclipse 2

2. Tannoy Eclipse 2

A beefy pair of floorstanding speakers

Specifications
Frequency response: 38Hz - 32kHz
Impedance: 8 Ohm
PMPO Output Power: 240W
Size: 28.7cm x 26.7cm x 90.9cm (HxWxD)
Form-factor: Floorstanding
Reasons to buy
+Detailed and expressive+Sturdy and well built
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky 

If you've got the space, then a pair of floor standing speakers can let you kill two birds with one stone. Firstly is the fact that you won't have to find anything to place them on, meaning you don't have to spend any money on speaker stands. 

But secondly is the fact that floor standing speakers have a lot more space to work with, which potentially means dedicating far more space to the internal drivers that create the sounds you end up hearing. 

The Tannoy Eclipse 2 are our top choice when it comes to floor standing speakers. They're lovely and detailed, and there's plenty of kick there when the music gets going. 

Like the Bronze 2 speakers above, you'll need to be careful with where you place them, as reviewers have noted that locating them in a corner can cause their sound to boom a little, but with a bit of thought, these speakers will be the perfect complement to your Hi-Fi setup. 

Roth Oli RA1

3. Roth Oli RA1

The best hifi speaker if you're on a budget

Specifications
Frequency response: 80Hz - 20kHz
Impedance: 6 Ohm
RMS Output Power: 50W
Size: 23.1cm x 15.1cm x 15.3cm (HxWxD)
Form-factor: Bookshelf
Reasons to buy
+Small and compact+Decent sound
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't do so well at high volumes

If your budget is a little tighter, then nowadays it's possible to get a pair of speakers for outrageously low prices.  The Roth Oli RA1 are a great budget pick, and we wouldn't advise going much cheaper than these. 

They're a relatively small pair of speakers, but that doesn't mean they can't put together an excellent refined sound that balances heft with detail. Push these speakers a little harder, and at higher volumes, their budget status will begin to reveal itself, but for quieter home listening, you shouldn't have any issues at all. 

Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2

4. Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2

A pair of versatile active speakers

Specifications
Frequency response: 55Hz - 20kHz
Impedance: N/A
RMS Output Power: 20W
Size: 17cm x 13cm x 13.5cm (HxWxD)
Form-factor: Bookshelf
Reasons to buy
+Range of different inputs+Can be used as desktop speakers
Reasons to avoid
-Require power

The Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2 are a little different from the other speakers on this list. 

They're known as 'active' speakers, which means that they get their power separately from the amplifier, hence amplifying their sound. 

This means that they're a lot more versatile than the other speakers on this list, although that means they won't work quite as well in a traditional Hi-Fi setup. 

Around the back, you've got an optical audio input in addition to a standard 3.5mm Aux input, and you can also connect a source wirelessly over Bluetooth if you'd rather not bother with wires at all. 

There's also a subwoofer outport if you'd like to give the speakers more heft at a later point. 

white hifi speakers from B&W

(Image credit: B&W)

5. B&W 607

A fantastically sounding and surprisingly affordable pair of standmounts

Specifications
Frequency response: 52Hz - 28kHz
Impedance: 8 Ohm
RMS Output Power: 30-100w
Size: 30cm x 16.5cm x 23cm (HxWxD)
Form-factor: Bookshelf
Reasons to buy
+Rich, warm sound+Very affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Nothing, at this pricd

The Bowers & Wilkins 607 stand mount speakers dig deep in the bass, tonally balanced and impressively detailed. 

Add fine build and Monitor Audio's usual high standard of finish, and you can't go wrong. An affordable 2018 Award winner, these speakers are more than worth the money.

How to choose the best hi-fi speakers for your home

Before we get into the specifics of which speakers we recommend, it's first worth summarising what a complete Hi-Fi setup looks like. 

At a minimum, a setup needs three components: a source (such as a record player, CD player, or streaming device), an amplifier, and a pair of speakers. You connect the speakers to the amplifier using a speaker cable and the amplifier to the source using 'interconnects'. 

It's become increasingly common these days to combine two or even three of these components to simplify the Hi-Fi experience. Some companies offer amplifiers with CD players built-in, for example. In contrast, others offer so-called 'active' speakers that can handle their amplification duties when connected to the right source. 

This guide to the best speakers will mainly focus on what is called 'passive' speakers. These speakers need to be paired with an amplifier to work, but you won't have to power them separately on the plus side. 

When browsing speakers online, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the numbers their manufacturers like to throw around. The truth is that unless you're going to set them up alongside the main stage at Glastonbury, then the only number you'll really have to pay attention to is their impedance (measured in Ohms or Ω). 

You want to make sure that the impedance of your speakers is higher than that of your amplifier. This will ensure that your speakers aren't overloaded and blow out. But, don't worry, we've outlined the impedance of each of our picks below so that you know what to pair them with. 

Other than that, you should be sure to check out whether the speakers you're looking at are floor standing or bookshelf speakers. The former is a lot bigger and designed to sit on the floor, whereas the latter is small enough to be placed on a bookshelf or mounted on a stand. 

So without further ado, here are our picks for the best Hi-Fi speakers available.

Jon Porter

Jon was previously TechRadar's home technology expert, specialising in audio-visual buying advice. He now writes for Trusted Reviews, covering a wider range of technology content

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