August 2016 Top Picks at a Glance

The end of summer beckons and so do the 10 products we singled out for Top Pick status in August.

From an unexpected speaker from Quad and a soundbar-based 5.1 system from Atlantic Technology to SVS’s crazy cheap subwoofer isolation system and Sony’s killer HDR-ready 4K TV, the mix is eclectic as usual but with an emphasis on speakers this time around. Appropriate, we think, considering speakers define the sonic character of any system. Let us know if you plan to make (or have already made) room for any of these gems in your home entertainment space.

Quad Z1 Loudspeaker: $1,999/pair

The Z1 is most definitely not your father’s Quad. Not even close. For one, it’s a fraction of the size of the iconic ESL full-range electrostatic speaker, standing only 15 inches tall. For another, the company that was founded in Great Britain 80 years ago is now owned by Taiwan’s International Audio Group. What it does have in common is an exquisite finish (check out the cherry) and excellent sound, thanks to a beautifully voiced ribbon tweeter whose depth, breadth, and detail will surprise you. “When you spend $1,000 per speaker, you expect something better than the norm,” wrote reviewer Mark Fleischmann. “The Quad Z1 delivers with its carefully tweaked ribbon tweeter, gracefully sculpted cabinet, and musical adeptness.”

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