Part speaker, part artwork, the Bang & Olufsen Beolab 14 Sound System ($TBA) is the company's latest gallery-worthy setup. It consists of four 140 watt satellite speakers with 2.5-inch drivers housed in aluminum casings with your choice of fabric grilles, and a white, freestanding 280 watt 8-inch subwoofer that features both a highly-engineered bassport and a position dial that ensures great sound whether it's set up against a wall, in the middle of the room, or in a corner somewhere. If you already have a B&O TV, you're ready to go, but otherwise you'll want to make sure you get yourself a receiver to help run the show.
Speakers don't have to be something you hide away. These Tailor Loudspeakers (£2,000; roughly $3,000) are designed to displayed proudly. Standing just a hair over three feet tall, these handsome speakers are built from English Walnut, and feature a balanced, natural sound with fast bass and a frequency response of 40Hz ~ 20Khz. But what really sets them apart is the front, which is upholstered in fabrics from Maharam suppliers to Paul Smith, giving them a unique look that you'll want to make part of your living area. Should looks not be of importance to you, you can still grab a pair with a plain black front for a few hundred pounds less.
Have an unused speaker laying around? Put it back to good use with The Vamp (£35; roughly $55). This diminutive cube-shaped box gives your aging gear new life by providing a Bluetooth link to your phone or tablet and a 4 Watt single-channel amplifier that can drive even large speakers with surprising gusto. The whole thing is powered by a rechargeable battery that lasts for over ten hours, and can connect with speakers that boast on-board terminals or a plain ol' wire coming out the back. Shipping in June in white, red, or black.
Why choose between a wireless speaker or a docking system? With the Bowers & Wilkins Z2 AirPlay Speaker System ($400), you don't have to. A fresh take on the Zeppelin Mini, the Z2 features a top-mounted Lighting dock that fits iPhones and iPods, as well as built-in Wi-Fi for AirPlay support. Other features include class D amplifiers, custom 3.5-inch drivers with fiberglass cones, a glass-reinforced ABS enclosure, a 3.5mm auxiliary input, and your choice of black or white bodies.
No, it doesn't hold liquids — but it will fit in your bicycle water bottle cage. The Scosche BoomBottle ($150) is a compact weatherproof speaker that aims to make better use of your cup holders. It features two 40mm drivers and a passive subwoofer to produce surprisingly rich sound, Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming, a 3.5mm input for other audio sources, a built-in microphone for speakerphone use, integrated music controls, and a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 10 hours. Available in five different colorways.
You don't need to be rocking a rustic look in your home for the Audiowood Barky Turntable ($1,300) to fit in with your decor — but it surely wouldn't hurt. This precision piece of equipment is made from a Rega parts kit, featuring a glass platter, a RB303 arm, a Rega Bias cartridge, and a solid ash platform that's finished with polyurethane, wax, and boasts adjustable spike feet. A decent vinyl collection for it to play? That's up to you.
Improve the sound coming from your TV and give yourself a wireless audio solution all at once with the Sonos Playbar ($700). Designed to complement most HDTVs, this single-box solution features nine individually amplified speakers — six mid-woofers and three tweeters — and a single optical input that lets you switch between sources using your current TV remote. Of course, this is a Sonos box, and as such offers built-in support for wireless audio streaming, as well as compatibility with the Sonos Sub and Play:3 speakers, which let the Playbar form a 5.1 surround system. Shipping in March.
It's not exactly water proof — you'd do well to avoid throwing it in the river — but the Braven BRV-1 All-Weather Speaker ($180) is IPX5 water resistant, making it an ideal speaker to use poolside, by the campfire, or anywhere else outdoors. Apart from its rugged build, it also features 3W of output per channel, a built-in rechargeable battery good for up to 12 hours of playtime, Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming, a 3.5 mm auxiliary input, and a mic for speakerphone use. Available later this month in teal and a handsome black and gray.
We've heard the phrase "party in a box" applied to a lot of different things — boxed wine or 30-packs of Busch, anyone? — but never like this. The Soul Party In A Box ($1,000) is a self-contained, room-rattling speaker system. To get your music in, it features a dock for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, Bluetooth with AptX support, a USB port, and an auxiliary port. To blast it out to the world, it features side-firing dual 6.5" subs, 3" midrange drivers, and 1" tweeters, plus dual front firing 1.5" midrange speakers. Other features include an HDMI output, a karaoke mode with mic input, an included remote control, and a built-in handle for taking the party with you.
Still convinced that you need a docking speaker for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch? The JBL OnBeat Rumble ($400) isn't a bad choice. In addition to the two tweeters, it features a 4.5-inch down-firing subwoofer for deep bass. Other features include a two-tone, orange and black paint scheme, an auxiliary input for legacy devices, and Bluetooth - so as it turns out, you don't really need that Lightning dock anyway.
Bringing classic electronics into the modern era isn't always easy, but the OD-11 Cloud Speaker ($TBA) does so with elegance and class. Based on the original Carlsson OD-11 from 1974, this deceptively simple, roughly 10 inch cube features built-in Wi-Fi, an integrated 100W amplifier, a single woofer, and a single tweeter, all of which combine for terrific sound in nearly any room. The remote communicates with the box via Bluetooth 4, and features a magnet on the back so you can stick it anywhere you find handy. With 3.5mm and optical inputs for other audio sources and the ability to be used in pairs for left/right separation, it's a great choice for minimalist interiors.
Well, we didn't see this one coming. The Samsung F750 Vacuum Tube Soundbar ($650) packs a decidedly audiophile feature — an integrated vacuum tube — into the un-audiophile sound bar form factor. While the goal is warmer, more natural sound, other features — like a gyroscope to optimize sound quality based on height, rotation, and slope and a wireless subwoofer — will likely make a difference too. In keeping with the wireless theme, it also offers Bluetooth for cordlessly connecting your smartphone, tablet, or even TV if it supports that kind of thing.