Like running, the right jams can seriously pump up your swimming. But unlike running, you’re going to need specialized equipment that can handle the pool. Swimbuds Sport & Underwater Audio iPod bundle includes a waterproofed Underwater Audio 2GB iPod shuffle, that’s good to 200 feet deep, and a set of Swimbuds Sport waterproof earphones. The earphones also come with a large set of different earbuds for both swimming and engaging in high-sweat activities, including several that deliberately minimize noise insulation to avoid compromising safety while biking or jogging. Their headphone’s cord is also very short to keep the earphones and the iPod — easily attached to the strap of your goggles — from flopping around during flip-turns and other vigorous motions.
Pick up the bundle at Amazon – $175
Inspired by Eames’ Lounge Chair in both looks and refinement, Davone’s Ray-S Speakers probably sound even better if you’re kicking back in the former. Ray-S’s curved laminations — made of real walnut wood — are stiffer than fiber board and eliminate parallel facing surfaces to reduce inner cancellations, allowing its 8″ hand built woofer along with tweeter and midrange drivers to shine through and produce extremely detailed sound. Each comes mounted on a 1-inch thick water cut steel stand, with a well-researched design that minimizes energy loss of the speaker into the floor it’s standing on.
Learn more at Davone – $8,600
Probably the loudest telephone on Earth thanks to two front-facing speakers, the Android Lollipop-running Marshall London Smartphone is all about facilitating the way you consume and create music on the go. An M-button on top gives you one-click access to your music playback on the fly, even on top of other apps, and unlike all other smartphones its volume is controlled via a precise scroll wheel, perfect for finding that optimal sweet spot of loud but not deafeningly so. It’s also got two 3.5mm stereo jacks each with independent volume control for sharing with a friend, a Cirrus Logic WM8281 Audio Hub with an independent audio processor, Bluetooth aptX support, dual mics for stereo recording, and a global equalizer.
Hit up Marshall Headphones for details – $TBA
If you’re willing to compromise on compact size and highly hyped brands the Fluance Fi50 will more than deliver, at least as far as expectations from wireless speakers go. The Fi50 employs an audiophile grade MDF wood cabinet for its touted acoustic properties and sports dual 5-inch full-range woofers plus dual soft dome coaxial tweeters, all powered by a 40 watt amplifier, to deliver serious sound. And while it’s fuelled by a wall outlet instead of batteries — not surprising given its size and power — the Fi50 boasts Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and aptX, delivering solid performance seamlessly from a connected Bluetooth device without having to fiddle with auxiliary cables or leave your smartphone stranded by its side.
Buy one at Amazon – $200
Grado Labs hand built products have been coming out of Brooklyn for over half a century. Surprisingly, the Grado GH1 Heritage Series is their first to be built using wood sourced a fallen maple tree found in Brooklyn — Sunset Park, to be more specific — that would otherwise be turned into furniture. Limited in quantity to the yield of this single tree, these headphones are solidly constructed and output forceful bass, accurate midrange, and impeccable highs. Each also includes a signed letter from Jonathan Grado, making these cans perfect for Grado aficionados looking to immortalize a little piece of Brooklyn that also just so happens to sound amazing.
Pick up a pair at Grado – $650
It’s not what was added to Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless that makes all the difference, it’s what was removed. And in this case that’s its wires, replaced by Bluetooth aptX to stream Hi-Fi quality tracks from your device of choice. Like its cable-bound brother, the P5 Wireless boasts the same finely tuned drivers, designed more like traditional loudspeakers than headphones for more precise diaphragm movement and sharper sound quality. And don’t worry cutting your listening short due to low juice: 17 hours of listening time per charge entails takeoff-to-landing use on all but the longest flights (or work sessions). Though if it does run flat, an included auxiliary cable can keep the music playing indefinitely.
Grab a set at Amazon – $400
Maybe more evolution than revolution, but the already excellent Bose SoundLink Mini II now offers even more bang for your buck than its predecessor. With the same sleek aluminum design, the II features a built-in mic for use as a speakerphone, an extended 10 hour lithium-ion battery, and a USB charge port that replaces the previous annoying proprietary adapter. It’s also easier to pair than before, interfacing with up to two devices at once to switch back and forth between them at a whim.
Find it at Amazon – $200
Unlike anything you’d come to expect for the price, Sacred Sound’s Pro Earphones forgo fancy packaging and marketing, instead investing entirely in build quality and sound — which might explain why you’ve never heard of them before. Shielded within a hardened ceramic housing lies a custom precision tuned 8mm driver that outputs balanced sound across the spectrum to perform well for most music genres. They also come with built-in microphone controls for Android & iOS devices, a flat, durable TPE cable that doesn’t tangle, and three silicone tips for finding a perfect fit.
Learn more at Sacred Sound Audio – $60
A good part of the vinyl experience relates to the large, physical presence of the medium itself. Chicago-based Gramovox improves upon the former with the Floating Record Vertical Turntable, moving the platter to a vertical position that shows off your record — secured by a clamp — while it’s spinning at either 33 1/3 or 45 RPM. The system is built within a dark walnut or maple wood base and features an Audio-Technica AT95E 1/2″ mount cartridge with elliptical diamond stylus, a dynamically balanced carbon-fiber tone arm, and two 2″ 15W Tymphany speakers. Plus, as a result of its vertical design this turntable has a smaller footprint than traditional devices, fitting better onto smaller shelves or stands.
Learn more at Kickstarter – $330
The wireless speaker for adventure seekers, Ultimate Ear’s UE Roll is about the size of a round flask and pumps out some serious 360 degree sound. A plasma-coated acoustic skin renders the Roll waterproof to IPX7 standards (1 meter below the surface for 30 minutes) as well as dirt, dust, and stain resistant; hell, if it gets dirty, just wash it in the sink. It’s also [obviously] Bluetooth enabled, lasts 9 hours per charge of its lithium-ion battery, and boasts a built in marine-grade bungee cord for attaching it to your gear. And if one of your friends has another — or any UE speaker, for that matter — use the UE Roll app to Double Up and seamless synchronize music playback across both devices for surround sound.
Grab one at Amazon – $100