You have a case for your smartphone, so you should probably have a case for your new Jawbone Mini Jambox — the Killspencer Speaker Case ($180). These American-made hand-crafted cases come in a range of styles: chocolate pebbled leather, natural oil-tanned leather, and black nylon with leather. The interior features an Alcantara lining to keep your Jambox from getting scuffed, while their proprietary sound-screen technology prevents the case from muffling your music. The built-in carrying loop makes it easy to pull out of your bag, while a magnetic snap closure keeps everything contained.
The Jawbone Mini Jambox ($180) is your smartphone's new best friend — here's hoping your headphones don't develop an inferiority complex. Perfectly-sized for your pocket or bag (just 6" by 2 1/4" by 1"), this speaker is built to go wherever you go, but don't let its small size fool you. Packed inside its attractive aluminum exterior are two acoustic stereo drivers and a passive bass radiator that produce the kind of sound you'd expect from something much larger. Bluetooth and stereo connectivity, 10 hours of battery life, a built-in microphone, and a range of color options make it the ideal choice for high-quality sound on the move.
When it comes to high end cartridges for your turntable, the Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement ($15,000) is in a league of its own. The flagship cartridge for Clearaudio, already a well respected source in the hi-fi landscape, is nothing short of awe inspiring. Drop the Goldfinger on an album and experience one of the richest, most balanced sounds possible, with minimal surface noise, and without sacrificing any of the depth and resolution that Clearaudio has become famous for. And oh yeah, did we mention it's housed within a 14 karat gold body, featuring twelve magnets allowing for the use of 24 karat gold for the coils? And of course the added touch of a half carat diamond mounted in the front of the body. A perfect gift for the hip-hop mogul on your list that you thought had everything.
Experience rich sound and deep bass when you work with the Symbol Audio Desk ($4,000). Sliding doors on this writing desk open to reveal two four-inch full-range drivers with titanium cones, paired with a down-firing five-and-a-quarter-inch sub-woofer. The cabinet is dampened and ported, helping your music sound great. Cable management keeps unsightly wires tucked away, controls for volume and bass keep you in control, while a stereo input jack lets you connect just about any device. Choose from solid oak, walnut, cherry, or maple finishes.
Whether you're a musician, vocalist, or podcaster, you can take the stress out of home audio recording with the Nessie Microphone ($100). It adapts to whatever audio you're recording, automatically processing sound so you can just focus on your work. Three processing modes — one optimized for rich vocals, another for detailed instrumentation, and a third for raw audio (in case you want to manually edit post production) — let you work the way you want to. A built-in pop filter and an internal shock mount keep your audio sounding clear, without the need for additional gadgets. It features a zero-latency headphone output and USB plug-and-play compatibility with Mac and PC.
If you want your home audio to sit as the centerpiece in your living room, it needs to look beautiful. The Ruark Audio R7 ($TBA) has a stylish 60s contemporary look, wrapped in walnut veneer cabinet and sitting on black lacquer legs. The center — made from aluminum and glass — houses a DAB+/FM/internet radio, a CD/MP3 player, and has the ability to stream music wirelessly over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. A removable RotoDial remote lets you control it from nearly anywhere in your home, while a selection of inputs at rear puts it at the center of your entertainment system. Two drivers, an eight-inch subwoofer, and 160 watts of power keep your music sounding great.
If you're tired of listening to music on the go from your smartphone's inadequate speakers, check out the Bose SoundLink Mini ($200). This palm-sized speaker is small enough to fit easily into a bag (only about two by two by seven inches), but packs the kind of sound you'd expect from Bose. It connects wirelessly to any bluetooth-capable device — smartphone, tablet, laptop — with a wireless range up to 30 feet and seven hours of battery life. Comes with an auxiliary input, micro-USB port, charging cradle, and available soft covers in several colors. [Scouted by Allan]
Regardless of whether you want to get even with your downstairs neighbors for their last party, or you just think music sounds better cranked up, nothing fills a space with sound like a set of floor standing loudspeakers. Using an innovative construction technique, the Bowers & Wilkins CM10 Speakers ($TBA) have the tweeter on top, making room for three bass drivers.The tweeter's double-dome design means they sounds good even at the highest frequencies. The third driver delivers stronger bass, and the kevlar cones are made to last. Available in August in black, wedge, rosewood, or satin white.
Even in the age of digital audio technology, musicians still recognize the advantage of tube-based amplifiers for the natural sound quality they produce. The ALO Audio Studio Six Headphone Amplifier ($4,900) brings the same quality to your studio headphones — and at this price, should bring world peace too. With four 1/4-inch stereo jack outputs and three stereo RCA inputs, as well as built-in volume and input select knobs, it's a great addition to your pro or home recording studio. Get yours in either black, or silver, to go with the rest of your gear.
Well-known for producing audio tech that looks as good as it sounds, Tivoli Audio brings us the Blucon Bluetooth Receiver ($150). This tiny device (only about 1" by 3" by 3"), brings bluetooth wireless functionality to any stereo with an auxiliary input jack, so you can play music from your bluetooth-capable device to your home stereo. Choose from a number of wood finishes if you'd rather it remain in view, or easily tuck it away in a cabinet.
The product of British pro-speaker maker Bowers & Wilkins and Italian super-car builder Maserati, the 805 Maserati Edition Speakers ($TBA), are set to please audiophiles and motorsports enthusiasts alike. The first of the series, a loudspeaker, looks great in maple veneer and black Maserati leather, set on a stand adorned with the unmistakable Maserati Trident logo. But, they're not just easy on the eyes — the audio tech is recording-studio quality, and will suit your living room just fine. Look for them in specialty speaker stores this Fall.
Every once in a while you come across a product that isn't just a good deal, but offers quality so far above and beyond what you'd expect for the price that you find yourself recommending it whenever you get the chance. That's the case with these Hsu Research Hybrid 3 Speakers ($920-$1,920). Available in 2.1, 3.1, 5.1, or 7.1 configurations, these packages pair the powerful 350W, double ported, 12-inch VTF-3 MK4 subwoofer with HB-1 MK2 horn bookshelf speakers and, in the larger packages, a HC-1 MK2 horn center speaker. We've been using the 7.1 setup in one of our test theaters for months now, and the only thing that's been more amazing than the sound is the looks on people's faces when we tell them what it costs. And while we've been testing out the handsome satin black set — they are in a theater, after all — if you're thinking about filling a more traditional living area with sound, you might also want to check out the rosenut option.