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Bang & Olufsen Beosound Essence

Picture a remote in your mind. What did you see? A long, rectangular black box with some rubbery buttons on it? Because that's what 99% of audio systems ship with, despite the fact that the iPod proved long ago that's not a good interface for controlling your music. The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Essence ($1,000) is closer to what it should be. This Nest-sized remote can sit or hang nearly anywhere, controlling a hideaway box that offers power for a set of stereo speakers, as well as Wi-Fi for AirPlay and DLNA streaming, and direct connection to Spotify, QPlay, and other Internet radio sources. An ideal companion for B&O speakers.

  • Sony In-Car Smartphone Cradle Receiver

    There are already plenty of ways to connect your mobile device to your car stereo — whether wirelessly, over USB, or using an auxiliary input — letting you listen to music, take calls, and more. But the Sony XSP-N1BT Smartphone Cradle Receiver ($250) is the first system that turns your device into the interface for your infotainment. Its unique clamping system grips your phone in landscape orientation, and when combined with their AppRemote for iOS and Android devices, functions as the complete input for your stereo. Wireless connection is available for Android devices, while iPhones will still have to connect over USB, which also charges your device while it's in use.

  • Samsung Shape Speaker System

    With plans of taking a shot across Sonos' bow at the upcoming International CES, Samsung has added another weapon to their multi room wireless audio arsenal, the Samsung Shape Speaker System ($50-$400). Combined with the already-existing Shape M7 Speaker, the smaller and less-expensive Shape M5 gives you a flexible solution for audio across your home or apartment. With the optional wireless connectivity hub and Samsung's iOS or Android app, you can play music through these speakers from a range of services, including Amazon Cloud Player, Pandora, Rhapsody, and TuneIn Radio, as well as connectivity over NFC and Bluetooth.