To Doug Schneider,

Thanks for your excellent reviews and articles. I just upgraded my low-fi to a more current setup with a Cambridge Audio Azur 840A integrated amp and Oppo BDP-95 player utilizing the balanced connections.

I am now shopping for a pair of speakers and my considerations are KEF R500, PSB Imagine T2, and Amphion 3L, all of which you recommended.

Do you have any advice for me? I know I need to audit it myself but it’s almost impossible to do A/B comparisons in my area. I listen mostly to vocals, soft rock, fusion, some jazz and minimal classical.

Thanks and regards,

The answer would be so much easier if you had a really bad speaker or two in the mix. The problem is that they’re all excellent and you really have to audition them yourself to know which one you’d like best. They should all work well with your integrated amplifier.

The only thing I will say is that they vary quite a bit in price -- the R500s are about $2600 per pair, while the T2s and 3Ls are about $3500 and $4000 per pair, respectively. KEF and PSB can offer speakers at lower prices because they make these models in China, plus their sales volumes are quite high, so they get economies of scale. Amphion, on the other hand, is a small manufacturer building their speakers in Finland, which is their home turf, so their prices are naturally higher.

So if saving money is important to you, make sure to look at the R500s first, since they’re by far the cheapest. But if they’re not your cup of tea, definitely look upwards. Something I’ve learned after all these years in this is that although saving money is nice, it’s not everything, since you usually have to live with these purchases for a long, long time. . . . Doug Schneider