You can do a lot of things with cinder blocks, but creating a set of speakers is one of the less obvious options. Cinder Speakers are a development from Daniel Ballou and Dashdot that turns simple cinder blocks into high fidelity speakers. It turns out that concrete is a low resonance material that minimizes vibrations and reduces coloration of the sound delivered by the drivers. They ship pre-assembled and pre-wired, including a 5" driver, tweeter, crossover, and input jack. Of course, they are heavy, but once set up are able to create an impressive sound given the rudimentary components.
Last year's SL-1200G lauded the return of the heralded Technics turntable, albeit at a seriously high price. The Technics Grand Class SL-1200GR Turntable expands the lineup with a model that packs a lot of the same tech for less cash. It borrows heavily from its predecessor, using a coreless direct-drive motor with rotor magnets placed on both sides to eliminate rotation irregularities. The platter is a two-layer affair, with die-cast aluminum upgraded with deadening rubber on its entire rear surface, and the aluminum tonearm is manually assembled and adjusted by Japanese artisans. In other words, it's every bit as worthy of the SL-1200 moniker.
It may remind you of an Amazon Echo. There's a good reason for that. Developed in collaboration with Amazon, the Lenovo Smart Assistant packs Alexa's smarts into a more decor-friendly package. Like the Echo, it has an array of 360-degree, far-field microphones to let you turn off lights, order pizzas, or hail an Uber using nothing but your voice. It also has a 5W tweeter and 10W woofer for music, but should you decide you need something a bit more powerful, there's an all-black, Harman Kardon-powered edition with a larger sound cavity for improved performance.
There's a reason turntables and CDs are still around: no matter how good wireless audio gets, it has a hard time competing with wired, high-res sources. The Samsung H7 Wireless Speaker uses new UHQ technology to upscale any incoming audio to 32bit output, resulting in lifelike music no matter the source. The speaker itself is impressive, with a bass response going down to 35Hz, algorithms that work to cut down on distortion, and a "wide-band" tweeter that expands the sweet spot. Dual wheels offer control of volume and streaming services, Bluetooth support is unconfirmed but highly likely, and the contemporary metal finish should look great in any room.
Inspired by Art Deco styling, the Bang & Olufsen Brass Collection replaces the company's typical stainless steel and aluminum with the warm, gold hue of brass. The collection encompasses most of the company's key products, from the portable, wireless Beosound 1, to the top-of-the-line Beolab 90 speakers. Accents like smoked oak and black steel add to the unique style, making the company's signature designs all the more interesting.
More than just a Bluetooth box, the BoseBuild Speaker Cube is a chance to get your child interested in electronics. The kit includes everything you need to build the speaker, with rugged components designed with kids in mind and app-based instructions. Along the way, your child will learn about concepts ranging from magnets and electromagnets to how sound works, and when finished will end up with a high-quality speaker they can take pride in having built themselves.
The Shinola Runwell Turntable is the first audio offering from the Detroit brand, and was produced along with a name audiophiles are sure to recognize — VPI Industries. The belt driven turntable is built in America using US parts like a friction-free all-metal tonearm, a modular phono preamplifier, and a Ortofon 2M Blue phono cartridge. And it's certain to be the center of attention in your home as well, with an eye catching design thanks to the solid steel and aluminum machined components that sit on an white oak wood skirt base. Limited to 500 pieces, it's a fitting tribute to the musical history of the great city of Detroit.
Pretty much all record players have one thing in common: they spin the record. The RokBlok Record-Riding Player turns this notion on its head, instead riding around on top of the record like a toy train to play the music hidden in its grooves. Weighing in at just 3.2 oz, it has a built-in pre-amp, speaker, and rechargeable battery, and also has Bluetooth for streaming the sound to a more robust system. And since it's not tied down by wires or power cables, it'll work pretty much anywhere you can find a flat surface whether you're playing a 33 or a 45.
Whether you're entertaining guests or just taking time to create your own music, this Com Four DJ Console is up for the task. It's easy to assemble, has an exchangeable insert which can also host CD players, allows you to house turntables in classic or battle mode, and can hold up to 350 vinyl records. Available in black matte or white, it's easily one of the best looking DJ setups we've ever seen, and is sure to stand out wherever it makes an appearance.
You might not be able to drive a Lambo everyday, but you can appreciate their design on a regular basis with the Ixoost Esavox Lamborghini Speaker System. Crafted from a carbon monocoque chassis, two hand-made wooden side cabinets, and an original Lamborghini exhaust, it outputs sound as loud and detailed as one of the Italian sports cars. It has 800 wats of total power spread across two 1-inch tweeters, two 6.5-inch full-range drivers, two 8" woofers, and a massive 15-inch downward-facing sub. Powered on with a start button like the ones used in the cars, it accepts audio over Bluetooth or RCA inputs and is available in four exclusive colors.
Like the Model One before it, the Wrensilva Standard One Stereo Console packs modern hi-fi components inside a classic design. Within its handcrafted wooden frame, you'll find a custom integrated 300 WPC Amp hooked to a pair of custom 8 inch 2-way speakers on end and a fully decoupled belt driven turntable with phono preamp on the other. Bluetooth is built in, extra inputs are available inside the cabinet for adding other audio sources, and the built-in vinyl storage pockets let you keep your favorites handy, while the magnetic grilles let you decide whether to expose the speakers or kid them hid.
Sporting a simple design that pairs two cubes with a acoustically-designed aluminum baseplate, the Aerix Duet Music System provides outstanding audio in a handsome package. Thanks to 360-degree horns, a down-firing 5.25" subwoofer, and a 200 watt amp, it gives you great sound no matter where it's placed, and support for WiFi streaming from sources like Spotify and Pandora means you can put it anywhere you want. It also has AptX Bluetooth for playing music from your phone or tablet, and a slot-loading CD player gives you a reason to dust off you physical media collection.
Okay, so technically speaking the whole turntable doesn't levitate. Just the platter of the Mag-Lev Audio Levitating Turntable floats in the air, holding your favorite albums in a friction-free spin above the main unit. It uses patented technology to maintain precise magnetic tuning of the platter's spin, which can be set to 33 or 45 rpm with the turn of a button. A Pro-Ject 8.6 tonearm and Ortofon OM 5E cartridge make sure your music sounds great, and a semi-automatic system returns the tonearm when the record is finished, meaning you can walk over and flip it or grab another at your leisure.
Our mobile devices keep getting more powerful. Their microphones don't. The Blue Raspberry Microphone fills this gap with excellent audio quality in a highly portable package. It does so with proven microphone technology and a new, patent-pending Internal Acoustic Diffuser that mimics the acoustic treatments found in studios and concert halls to focus on your voice or instrument and ignore unwanted noise. The folding, integrated stand also helps in this regard, minimizing surface contact and isolating the mic from vibrations and other noise. It connects over USB or Lightning, works with a host of both mobile and desktop recording apps, and comes with a soft carrying pouch.
Porcelain is a naturally low resonance material, making it ideal for these Raumfeld x Rosenthal Porcelain Speakers. A collab between the high-end audio and porcelain manufacturers, the speakers' teardrop shape optimizes the acoustics from the coaxial speakers, driven by a 160 watt Class D amp. Laying claim to the title of "first steaming speakers made from porcelain", it also has integrated Wi-Fi for app-controlled playback, as well as line-in, Ethernet, and USB inputs.
The price is jaw-dropping. So is the sound. The idea of a standalone music player might seem prehistoric, but the Sony NW-WM1Z Walkman Music Player makes a strong case for its continued existence. It has a gold-plated, oxygen-free copper chassis that reduces contact resistance and magnetic interference, and an intuitive touchscreen interface. But the real magic happens on the inside, thanks to a dual clock circuit, 384kHz/32bit recording, Quad DSD playback when used with a balanced connection, DSEE-HX signal processing, and a robust FT CAP power supply to improve low-end performance. Just remember: to sound its best, it's going to need a better source than your library of torrented MP3s.
With 360-degree sound and a design that begs to be seen, Bang & Olufsen Beosound 2 Wireless Speaker give you maximum placement flexibility. The 3/4-inch tweeter uses Acoustic Lens Technology to spread high frequencies around the room, back-to-back 2-inch drivers provide midrange punch, and adaptive technology lets the 5.25-inch woofer feed off extra power from the three Class D amps for added bass when needed. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth let it support a host of different wireless streaming options, and the cone-shaped aluminum cabinet will look great in any room of your home.
Lots of people use their Amazon Echo as their main speaker for the simple convenience of voice control. Unfortunately, it doesn't sound all that great. The Whyd Speaker does. Like the Echo, it lets you use your voice to control the action, and taps in to nearly every popular music service so it's sure to find and play what you want. Multiple Class-D amplifiers drive the four full-range drivers that are spaced around for 360º coverage, and another drives the integrated subwoofer. There's a glass touch surface at the top that lets you take manual gesture control, and since you're going to want to keep it close, the organic design comes in multiple colors to suit your tastes.
Created in collaboration with industrial designer Joey Roth, the Grovemade Wooden Speaker System uses its natural material to full effect. Each set's enclosures are crafted one at a time in Portland using CNC machining and hand forming, leaving the interior without any parallel walls or flat surfaces, eliminating distortion. The 2-inch full-range drivers benefit further from the back-loaded horn, as well as the 2x25W amplifier. Each shell is finished with two coats of natural oil and set atop a leather stainless steel stand. Available in maple or walnut.
Known for their high-end loudspeakers, Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries is ready to take their show on the road with the Dali Katch Portable Speaker. Its body is made from extruded aluminum, and holds a 2 x 18W Class-D amplifier powering a pair 21mm soft-dome tweeters and dual 3.5-inch aluminum woofer. One of each is aimed out the front and out the back, and the speaker has built-in profiles to optimize the sound whether the speaker is in the middle of a room or up against a wall. It connects over Bluetooth 4.0, has Apt-X support for cleaner audio, runs for up to 24 hours per charge, and has a built-in sliding leather strap for maximum portability.
Visualizers, and even visualizers with lyrics, aren't anything new. They just require a computer. Or did, until now. When you play a song on the Lyric Speaker, it uses its built-in Wifi to lookup the lyrics to the song and analyze its mood, displaying both the words and algorithmically-created motion graphics on its translucent LCD screen. Dual high-res drivers ensure your music sounds good, and Google Cast support means it plays nice with a host of other gadgets.
It doesn't look like any other speaker. That's entirely on purpose. The Sony Glass Sound Speaker is meant to provide both music and lighting for your next gathering. For sound, it has a glass tube tweeter that emits audio in every direction, a translucent passive bass radiator, a 2" woofer for midrange, and LDAC Bluetooth for excellent audio quality, while the glass tube allows a candlelight glow to escape the built-in LEDs. Available exclusively at MoMA.
Hand-built using the best components available, the G Lab Block Amp pairs decades-old technology with an outstanding modern design. Four metal cubes housing various components are connected to the top circuit board via a central black column that also holds the power supply. The amp routes incoming signals — whether from the pair of line-ins, or the phono input — through pairs of EL34, ECC88 and 6N6P tubes to produce amazing sound at only 5.5W per channel. Just make sure you have a sturdy base — the Block weighs 44 pounds all by itself.
Named after famed Jazz singer Billie Holiday, the Billie Amp promises to bring smooth sound into your home no matter the source. It has dual inputs for both analog and digital sources, a dedicated turntable input, and aptX Bluetooth, all of which pass through the custom-built tube preamp before the Class D ICEpower Bang & Olufsen amp sends the signal out to your speakers. There's also a powerful headphone amp with a convenient front connection jack, and to ensure everything looks as good as it sounds, it has wooden volume and source selection knobs that add warmth to the machined aluminum body. Made in Montreal.
Bass has always come at a premium when you're on the go: Sony's Mega Bass helped as much as it could back in the days of the Discman, and Beats built an entire headphone empire on the principle. The Basslet Wearable Subwoofer promises to deliver better bass than either of these, and in a completely novel way. It uses an in-line box that sits between your headphones and the jack to send low frequencies over to a sleek, wrist-worn black square that uses haptic technology to let you feel the bass in your music. The result is the feeling that you're standing in front of a massive rig of stage monitors, but without the hearing loss.
Don't let its sleek design fool you: the Devialet Gold Phantom Speaker is capable of hanging with stereos multiple times its size. At its heart is an ADH amplification system giving you the benefits of both Class A and Class D systems, with zero distortion, zero saturation, and zero static. The result is 4,500W of power, enough to produce sound levels up to 108 dB, or concert-level loud. Its aluminum midrange and bass drivers let it hit notes down to 14 Hz, while the titanium tweeter is capable of reaching 27 kHz. Like the regular Phantom, it also plays nice with a host of audio sources, thanks to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Airplay, and Spotify Connect support, as well as optical inputs, and comes with a handsome 22 carat pink gold finish, so you won't feel the need to hide it in a corner.
Whether you're listening to powered monitors or a set of high-end cans, the JDS Element Headphone Amp & DAC ensures your audio sounds as good as possible. When receiving audio from your computer over USB, the wide dynamic range of the DAC keeps things noise- and hiss-free. It can drive everything from standard headphones to power-hungry planar magnetics, thanks to a dual gain setting and a peak output of over 1.5W. Should you want to use a secondary audio source — a turntable, for example — there's an option to add an extra set of RCA jacks to the back. And thanks to its sleek machined body and oversized, top-mounted volume knob, you won't mind it taking up space on your desk.
British audio pioneers Naim have already proven that their Mu-so wireless speaker is a design and sound gem. And now, with the release of the Naim Mu-so Qb Wireless Speaker, they've adopted many of the features from the original Mu-so into a smaller, even more attractive wireless speaker. The Qb is a beautiful cube that fits snugly in your living room, kitchen, or bedroom and somehow manages to pump out 300 watts of power out of it's compact base. And it's simple to control and easy to connect, providing you the ability to stream using your smart phone, tablet, or even through a USB input. Available in a variety of colors, it's positioned to quickly become the ultimate high-end multiroom audio solution for your home or office.
DECT technology is nothing new — if you were alive in the '90s, you no doubt had a cordless telephone that used it. It's just that these OneClassic Speakers are the first speakers to ever use it. Thanks to this decades-old wireless standard, the speakers are synchronized 100 times every second, keeping timing errors between the right and left speakers to less than half a micro-second, or 50 times less than Wi-Fi-based wireless speakers, and they can also be integrated into an all-wireless, true 5.1 surround system. All you need to do is plug in a USB dongle, plug the see-through acrylic speakers in, and enjoy high-quality sound without the wires.