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Best box speakers under $1,000

A well-designed stereo setup can make it seem as if the performers are in the room with you.

You’re missing out if speaker distortion has become a player in your music or other audio, says Robert Schindler, a salesman for Audio Advice in Pineville. He has plenty of advice on how to make the most of your system’s bass and treble.

But you have to pay attention to where you place your speakers, says Robert Schindler, a salesman for Audio Advice in Pineville. He has plenty of advice on how to make the most of your system’s bass and treble.

“There’s a lot involved in setting up a pair of speakers properly,” Schindler said. “You can move a speaker half an inch and completely change the sound.”

Speakers should sit away from the walls. Having space around them lets them generate sound from front, back and sides. That means it’s not a good choice to put your speakers on ceilings, shelves or walls.

Most of all, you need high-quality speakers to get the best stereo sound, Schindler said. “Don’t shop by numbers, whether it’s wattage or how many drivers. It’s what pleases you” that matters.

Electromagnetic speakers sell for $2,000 or more and typically produce superior sound, Schindler said. But there are good “box” speakers available for less. If you’re looking at spending up to $1,000 on a pair of stereo speakers, these are the top performers for the money:

← Bowers and Wilkins

CNET rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 (Outstanding)

The good: The Bowers and Wilkins 685 S2 bookshelf speakers offer excellent sound quality in an attractive, stand-mountable package. Their versatile sound can handle both music and movies well. The redesigned tweeter offers better insight into recordings without becoming harsh, and the new tweeter cover is a godsend for parents.

The bad: The bass could go deeper, and the design is somewhat uninspiring to look at.

The cost: $650 per pair.

The bottom line: Whether you listen to death metal or nature documentaries, the Bowers and Wilkins B&W 685 S2s are an astoundingly good set of speakers and an excellent deal at this price level.

↑ SVS Prime Tower

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

The good: The SVS Prime Tower is a well-built and great-sounding speaker for the money. The “3.5-way” design offers significantly more detail than standard two-way offerings. The speakers are capable of quite deep bass and work well in a home theater setting. They’re available in a stunning high-gloss black finish.

The bad: The sound’s highly detailed character can lack intimacy. The rear panel’s twin bass ports need a foot or more of clearance from the wall behind the speaker.

The cost: $500 each

The bottom line: The SVS Prime Tower’s highly transparent sound will appeal to audiophiles hankering for big-speaker sound at a price they can afford.

Klipsch RF-62 II

CNET rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (Very good)

The good: The Klipsch RF-62 II is a large two-way tower speaker ideal for high-impact home theater and hard rock, EDM, reggae and hip-hop. Bass is plentiful, and dynamic range impact is as good as it gets for speakers in this price class.

The bad: Overwhelming for small rooms, and acoustic music lacks refinement.

The cost: $399 to $400 each

The bottom line: The Klipsch RF-62 II floor-standers are the speaker equivalent of a 1970s American muscle car – big, fun and brash.

← PSB Imagine X1T

CNET rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (Very good)

The good: The PSB Imagine X1T has a revealing sound that lets acoustic music, classical and vocals sound natural and refined. The styling is tasteful, and the front bass port frees up speaker placement compared with more typical rear-ported designs.

The bad: This tower comes up short on big speaker oomph and power.

The cost: $450 each

The bottom line: The PSB Imagine X1T is a sweet-sounding speaker and very easy to listen to, but it lacks the gravitas of other similarly sized and priced towers.

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