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
About a million services exist to stream music. And here’s another. But while similarities between Apple Music and other platforms are particularly conspicuous regarding concept, most others aren’t backed by companies with relevant resumes as extensive as Apple’s and Beats’. Apple Music grants access to tens of millions of tracks across all your devices (even Android-powered ones, soon), letting you stream, make playlists, download for offline listening, and discover tons of new music thanks to smart recommendations that build off songs and artists you already like or love. It’ll also serve up recommended playlists from respected tastemakers in music, includes Beats 1, a new 24/7 radio station (amongst others) manned by renowned DJs, and gives you a closer look into the behind-the-scenes work of your favorite musicians via Connect.
Coming June 30th with a free three-month trial. Learn more at Apple – $10 per month
Turntables aren’t exactly space efficient, largely due to the dimensions of their media. But the Pro-Ject Elemental Turntable is scarcely bigger than the record on it. A solid minimalistic turntable, the Elemental boasts an artificial stone central mass point underneath the platter bearing that dulls and absorbs unwanted rumbling and vibrations. Other features include speeds of 33 and 45, an ultra low mass tonearm with an Ortofon OM 5E cartridge, and simple plug-and-play setup.
Grab one in red, white or silver at Amazon – $230 [via]
Whether you’re reading on the metro or at a concert, there are many reasons why you’d want control and curate the sounds you hear. Doppler Labs’ Here Active Listening lets you do just that using two wireless in-ear buds plus a smartphone app. It won’t replace your existing headphones nor does it aim to: Here instead acts as a sort of equalizer and suppressor on your hearing by employing various technologies, for instance cutting out the sound of a jet engine, of a baby crying, or boost the bass at a show as you see fit. It also features a real world volume control to modify the magnitude of ambient noise, augments reality with sound effects or preset filters at your discretion, and fits away in its charging case which holds enough power to refill Here twice.
Learn more at Kickstarter – $180+
Our individual tastes in music differ, but software solutions like equalizers can only do so much while popular bass-heavy headphones only suit a certain subset of listeners. So instead of a one-size-fits-all solution, Axel Modular Headphones are offered as one of three specifically engineered “Soundscapes”: Deep, Pure, and Core, each distinct in inner hardware and thus adept at reproducing audio optimally over several music genres. Selecting the most appropriate Soundscape for your listening preferences is mindless if you use Spotify and still straightforward if not — just plug in a few of your favorite artists. Then, build your Modular Headphones to your liking by choosing on-ear or over-ear cups, a headband, and headband insert. They fold for portability and include a universal in-line mic for conveniently answering calls.
Learn more at Kickstarter – $125+
Intricacy stripped down to its essence, JAYS’ u-JAYS On-Ear Headphones were designed with providing detailed acoustics and lasting comfort in mind; the fact that they also look good is simply function projecting form. Each cup boasts 40mm dynamic neodymium drivers within 360° vented enclosures and behind viscoelastic ear cushions that conform to the shape of your ears while worn and create a tight, fitting seal to reduces sound leakage. They also feature a replaceable three-button remote cable, a spring steel headband for a balanced fit, and core parts made of stainless steel to better withstand everyday wear and tear.
Coming in Q3. Learn more at JAYS – $200