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Epoz Aktimate Micro
Although nicely finished in red, white or black piano gloss, the Aktimate Micros are, at first glance, underwhelming. But from those plain looks come hidden depths and brilliant performance. As with all the speakers on this page, the amp is built in: in this case a two-channel, 40W affair. One knob controls volume; the other selects the input you’re using: the iPod dock up top, a 3.5mm jack or the USB input that acts as an external sound card for your computer (and should make anything played through it sound much better than it does through the headphone socket). Despite their 24cm stature they sound huge and composed, with bags of treble and midrange detail, beat-perfect timing and a clear soundstage. The bass is a little exuberant for monitoring, but fun if you’re playing Battlefield 3. In short, unlike most desktop speakers, these feel like proper hi-fi – which is fitting, as they look like it too.