Stereophile's Products of 2022 Loudspeaker of the Year

Loudspeaker of the Year

KEF Blade Two Meta ($28,000/pair; reviewed by Kal Rubinson in Vol.45 No.9 review)

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Finalists (in alphabetical order)
Estelon Forza ($149,000–$163,000/pair depending upon finish; reviewed by Michael Fremer in November 2021, Vol.44 No.11 review)
Genelec G Three ($1590/pair; reviewed by Herb Reichert in August 2022, Vol.45 No.8 review)
MBL Radialstrahler 120 ($24,900/pair; reviewed by Julie Mullins in November 2021, Vol.44 No.11 review)
Perlisten S7t ($17,990/pair; reviewed by Kal Rubinson in December 2021, Vol.44 No.12 review)
Wilson Audio Specialties Alexx V ($135,000–$151,000/pair depending on finish; reviewed by Jim Austin in December 2021, Vol.44 No.12 review)

Upon listening to a recording of Foxtrot compositions and arrangements by great 20th century composers, performed by Gottlieb Wallisch on a Steinway D concert grand piano, Kal wrote, "The Blade Two Metas justified the Steinway, delivering dynamic range, percussive punch, and treble sparkle that no dancehall piano could approach but that this music deserves. The deep space of the Kirche spans widely beyond the Blades, but Wallisch and the big Steinway seem unconstrained sitting between them." Listening to René Jacobs's great new recording of Der Frieschütz on Harmonia Mundi, Kal—a multichannel nut—observed, "Via the Blade Two Metas, I heard lots of delicious detail in the orchestra and impressive impact, despite the smaller forces. In the Wolf's Glen scene, I felt the space close in with the incantations and expand gloriously as chorus, orchestra, and singers approach a climax then fade at the end. I never—not once—thought to myself, 'This is great, but it would be even better in multichannel.'"

On Black Dahlia, a 12-part symphonic suite by Bob Belden, "The Blades' expansive view went well beyond immersive. It was transporting. Play it loud to complete the illusion and be consumed by the music."

"As of today," Kal concluded, "the Blade Two Metas are the best speakers I've heard in this room (or perhaps anywhere), and I urge an audition to anyone interested in music reproduction of the highest quality. The Blades were picked up about 24 hours ago, and I miss them already."

He didn't miss them for long. He put his pennies where his pen was. He bought a pair.

About the Vote
Another tight vote, in a category packed with strong contenders. The KEF Blade Two Meta—which is affordable for a world-class loudspeaker, at $28,000/pair—received two votes more than the second-place finisher, the much more expensive Wilson Alexx V. The Estelon Forza, which on the strength of Mikey's review alone could have won this category some years, was a somewhat distant third.

Most surprising, perhaps, is the Genelec G Three, which not only made the finals but held its own in the final voting despite costing just over 1% of what the Wilsons cost and slightly less than 1% the price of the Estelons. (That Genelec price is without stands, and stands are needed, but Genelec sells a variety of loudspeaker supports, including wall mounts, tabletops, and floorstands, at quite reasonable prices.)

COMMENTS
Jack L's picture

......seven categories: Amplification Component of the Year,.."qtd Jim Austin

My question is: did "each reviewer" already auditioned "EACH of the 3 items in the seven categories" in order to give valid & impartial nominations ????

Otherwise, how could it be a valid nomination in case the reviewer(s) concerned never auditioned those particular candidate components out of the seven categories he/she nominated ????

IMO, actual personal in-depth audition of a candidate components is crucial of valid & fair nomination given by the reviewers concerned.

Listening with own ears is believing

Jack L

ChrisS's picture

Jack L, do some reading.

Did you even read this article?

A priori?

Jack L's picture

Hi

I have read it. That's why I asked.

YOU think you read it but you don't seem to know what you are talking about !

Jack L

ChrisS's picture

A priori!

Jack L's picture

Hi

If I were a priori, you are a big mouthing posteriori !

Hahahahahaaha....

Jack L

ChrisS's picture

...everything in your head?

Jack L's picture

Hi

Sure, better than a huge posteriori like you "listen to your great stereo with your head so far up your ASS all the time" as per your pal: johnnythunder!

Johnnythunder1: get your kissing cousin johnnythunder2 talk to me as yr mouth stinks like your ASS !

Hehehehehe

Jack L

johnnythunder1's picture

with your head so far up your own ass all the time.

David Harper's picture

ignore this guy. everything he thinks is wrong.

ChrisS's picture

...between Jack L and David Harper.

Hehe...!

Anton's picture

I don’t think it would be a conversation so much as simultaneous monologues.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Since when Stereophile Components of the Years becomes a stage for you bunch of polylogue-jokers ???

Jack L

ChrisS's picture

...believing, Jack L!

Jack L's picture

Hi

If here were a library, reading books there is believing.

Here is Audiophile, so LISTENING is believing, right?

Besides, who wants to read any nonsense from "you bunch of polylogue-jokers" here ?

Hahahaha..

Listening to music is believing

Jack L

ChrisS's picture

...Stereophile.

I can also read Herman Melville's Moby Dick on my computer.

Are we believing yet?

Jack L's picture

Hi

First off, what's Stereophile magazine in your "libray" to do with "Mody Dick" read from yr computer ??

Stereophile is about audio/music - we listen with our ears.
"Mody Dick" = The Whale, is an 1851 novel read by the eyes.

Apple to orange comparison ! Former is for real vs latter is a fiction. So you believe in fiction, be my guest ! I don't.

This is an audio/music venue, not for novels reading. Thanks but no thanks.

Listening to music is believing

Jack L

PS: I am never a novels reader since day one. Too busy with my music listening already ! What dragged me in to start my first novel reading was the billion-dollar top seller: "Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown in 2003. The thriller was sooo popular I got to wait a while for it from my neighbourhood public library !

ChrisS's picture

...go round and round.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Come on. You should be "WATCHING yr eyeballs go round & round in your mirror to look for yr ears - gone with the wind !

For no-ear YOU, reading is believing, pal. HEhehehe...

Jack L

Indydan's picture

Hey Jack L, why does everyone pick on you? Maybe it's because the L in Jack L is for LOSER.

For Jack L, SUCKING is believing.

Jack L's picture

Hi

Who cares, SOURgrapes !

What "everyone"?? The editor here is not a "LOSER" like YOU here as he does not "pick on" me.

YOU "sucking" "loser" is my believing !

Jack L

Indydan's picture

Hey JackOFF the Loser, keep sucking!

Jack L's picture

.

Indydan's picture

Hey Jack L, I am hearing from reliable sources that you pick your nose and eat it...

rschryer's picture

Btw, I'm eating dude. Gross.

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