We have recently added three little gems to our demonstration stock. The KEF LS50, Monitor Audio GX50, and B&W PM1 are all superb examples of exactly what can be achieved with a small "bookshelf" (although that should be more correctly "standmount" speaker.
With the recent trend towards floorstanding speakers their smaller brothers can be easily overlooked, but a small speaker can have a lot to offer, generally improved stereo imaging and definition at the expense of some scale and dynamic range. These three offer this whilst still producing size defying scale and extension.
First up we have the KEF LS50, this is a stand alone model produced to mark the 50th anniversary of KEF and fully utilising their long heritage of making quality monitor speakers. You can find the full run down here http://www.kef.com/html/en/showroom/flagship_hi-fi_series/LS50/overview/
We've been living with these in the shop for a week or so now and are truly impressed by the excellent results that can be achieved with relatively modest electronics. They have a seamlessness and control which totally belies their size which has a lot to do with the use of KEF's proprietary UniQ driver and quite unique looks to boot, these little babies really make music! At £800 a pair these have to be one of the hiFi bargains of the year.
The next of our small wonders is the Monitor Audio GX50, the baby of their Gold range of speakers they again belie their size in performance and have a delicacy and finesse to the treble (thanks to the ribbon tweeter) which isn't often heard at this price point, unlike the B&W and KEF speakers these are not a "one off" matching centre speaker and sub are available which makes them equally at home in 2 channel and surround systems and they really can sing. They are also available in a variety of colour options.They are £949 for a pair partner, them with some of the electronics from our Naim Cyrus or Audiolab ranges and let them do their thing!
Last but most definitely not least we have the B&W PM1, again a stand alone model within the extensive Bowers and Wilkins catalogue they are an exquisitely made and finished speaker utilising all of the company's expertise and packing it into a small bundle of delight. There is just something "right" about the way these little speakers make music and the better the partnering equipment you throw at them the more they seem to reveal. Like the other speakers here they totally belie their size, close your eyes and you'd be forgiven for thinking you were listening to a floorstander, albeit a floorstander with much better than usual imagery and delicacy. They are £1995 a pair and the matching stands are not only a visual treat but also a very very good stand at £400 a pair.
So as you can see we're a bit spoilt for choice here at Brentwood, come in and have a listen to these if you're in the market for a pair of quality standmount speakers, actually come and have a listen even if you're thinking of floorstanders you may be very pleasantly surprised!!