October issue now on sale

As the audio world moves to active speaker systems with streaming capabilities built-in, you'd be forgiven for thinking passive loudspeaker designs are a bit old hat. But despite technology moving things on considerably in recent years with ever more sophisticated and elegant all-in-one solutions to experience music at home, listening to a pair of traditional two-way standmounts is still the way to go for plenty of us. Many readers will have started out on their hi-fi journey with a pair of 'bookshelf' loudspeakers partnered to a source and amplifier of matching separates to satisfy their quality audio goals, and it still remains the well-trodden path towards hi-fi nirvana for many budding audiophiles today.

There's nothing old hat about the models in this month's Group Test and our six thoroughly modern mid-priced standmounts – priced £520 to £720 – utilise sophisticated materials, the latest techniques and come with a wealth of loudspeaker design experience and trickle-down tech to champion musical engagement like little else. The number of models vying for attention means that it's an extremely competitive sector, which is great news for buyers with plenty of choice to be had to hit the sweet spot of great sound at a reasonable price.

Also inside the October issue:
Naim’s Nait XS 3 next-gen integrated amplifier with MM phono stage, NAD’s C 658 flexible streaming DAC with preamp, Cambridge Audio’s AXA35/AXC35 amp and CD player separates combo, Focal’s Kanta No1 eye-catching floorstander and PSB’s Alpha P5 budget standmount. Plus, Insider talks to the Technics engineer behind the re-imagined SL-1200, Music Legends celebrates the music of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Dealer Visit heads to streaming specialist Strictly Stereo.

Lee Dunkley, editor