We've seen speakers shaped like eggs, airships, and even, well, speakers, but we've never seen anything quite like these. Taking their form from mother nature, these Oma Monarch Speakers ($TBA) use their slender legs and bodies — along with their large, wing-shaped wooden baffles — to create an unmistakable butterfly shape, while two 15-inch woofers, cast aluminum alloy horns, and compression drivers deliver sound that's as unbelievable as the aesthetic.
Inspired by the NYC neighborhood of the same name, these new Audyssey Lower East Side Speakers ($200) promise to deliver high-quality, room-filling sound from your computer, TV, iPhone, or anything else you want to connect. Thanks to .75-inch silk-dome tweeters, 3.5-inch woofers, 4-inch passive bass radiators, and Audyssey Smart Speaker digital technology, they produce sound that belies their diminutive size, while a digital optical input, 3.5mm input, and headphone jack take care of any connections you might want to make, and a front-mounted volume control lets you take the decibel level from library to lounge with the turn of a dial.
Whether you're just getting into vinyl or simply looking for a stylish replacement for your aging gear, the Pro-Ject RPM 1.3 Genie Turntable ($500) is a terrific choice. Featuring a strikingly stripped-down design, the Genie will turn heads with its looks, while the quiet running synchronous motor, two-step pulley, resonance-optimized platter, aluminum tonearm, and external power supply combine to deliver ear-pleasing sound. As for taste, smell, and touch, that's up to you.
Theater-like surround systems are great, but sometimes you just want crisp and pure plain ol' stereo. For those times, a set of standout bookshelfs — like the Bowers & Wilkins PM1 Speakers ($2,800) are just what you need. Sporting the company's all-new Carbon Based Tweeter, mounted inside a Nautilus tapering tube, the PM1s also offer Kevlar cone bass and midrange drivers with new Anti-Resonance Plugs, dual-layer composite cabinets with an internal bracing system, and sound that will have you wishing that all your speakers sounded this good.
Got a thing for the monolith from 2001? The Sound Freaq Sound Platform ($200) comes pretty close. This versatile speaker offers up Bluetooth, an iPod/iPhone Dock, an aux in port, and an FM radio, giving you plenty of sources to choose from — whether you're using the IR or App-based remote — while two 2.75-inch full-range drivers, dual chamber ports, and UQ3 digital sound processing keep everything sounding great, no sentient computer-based being necessary.