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-$1,920). Available in 2.1, 3.1, 5.1, or 7.1 configurations, these packages pair the powerful 350W, double ported, 12-inch VTF-3 MK4 subwoofer with HB-1 MK2 horn bookshelf speakers and, in the larger packages, a HC-1 MK2 horn center speaker. We've been using the 7.1 setup in one of our test theaters for months now, and the only thing that's been more amazing than the sound is the looks on people's faces when we tell them what it costs. And while we've been testing out the handsome satin black set — they are in a theater, after all — if you're thinking about filling a more traditional living area with sound, you might also want to check out the rosenut option.
Part speaker, part artwork, the Bang & Olufsen Beolab 14 Sound System ($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.