With its unusual shape and weight for a portable speaker, Bang & Olufsen’s aluminum and leather Beolit 15 may be overlooked — that is, until it’s heard. The Beolit 15 boasts 240 watts of peak power, more than sufficient to fill a large room with booming omnidirectional sound provided by dual Class D amplifiers powering a 5.5-inch long-stroke full-range driver, two four-inch passive bass radiators — one on each side to nullify vibrations — and three 37mm mid-tweeters. The 15 also drops AirPlay in favor of Bluetooth 4.0 aptX, though it still retains a 3.5mm auxiliary jack for direct, higher resolution connections. And even though it’ll keep playing for up to 24 hours on a charge, you don’t need to worry about it running dry: a trap door on its rear conceals a charge cable, ready to go in just a moment’s notice.
A sound system component unlike any other, the Devialet Phantom eclipses speakers multiple times its size with its tremendous output. This sleek, alienoid device features proprietary ADH (analog digital hybrid) technology, which employs a powerful processor to purify and magnify the audio signal, precisely regulating the unit’s mechanical functioning. While small speakers usually lack bass, the Phantom is an exception, its symmetrical lateral wings beating simultaneously to produce ultra deep bass while cancelling out movement to keep the unit dead still. And while a single Phantom sounds incredible, up to 24 can be paired and synchronized at once, far amplifying the acoustic experience to a ludicrous state.
Audiophile-quality equipment is often accompanied by, at the minimum, decent looks, but the Beam Tower Speakers are on a whole other level. Each Beam Tower is housed in a stunning, 43-inch tall reclaimed heart pine timber cabinet and boasts a versatile 8″ Scan-Speak driver that’s solid across the bass and mid-range coupled seamlessly to a 1″ Seas aluminum dome tweeter. Driver selection, in addition to impedance correction circuits, QB3 vented alignment, and accuracy across the range, results in an acoustic experience that still manages to best the speakers’ aesthetics.
Learn more at Fern & Roby – $4,500
Everything nowadays feels disposable, particularly our tiny, seemingly impossible to repair electronics. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and here to prove that are Jays’ q-Jays Earphones. Considering that cables are usually the first thing to go on a pair of buds, q-Jays come with exchangeable, screw-on, 3-button remote-equipped cables that can be swapped if need be without busting out a soldering iron (and inevitably inflicting irreparable damage). The earphones themselves are of course built to last with a CNC-machined and laser-cut housing that’s finalized with a tough physical vapor deposition finish, and sound quality competes with the best of them thanks to precisely tuned dual balanced armature drivers in each side, tailor-made acoustic filters to clean the sound, removable laser-cut filters, and multiple sizes of silicone or foam ear tips.
Learn more at Jays – $450
On the subtler end of the style spectrum lies Ghostly’s TMA-1 Headphones, designed in collaboration with Danish acoustics design house AIAIAI. But don’t let its murdered out, matte black design make you think otherwise: these are some seriously listenable cans. The Ghostly edition TMA-1’s feature dynamic 40mm closed drivers that pump out detailed, accurate sound, fine Moroccan leather-covered Japanese memory foam cushions that passively block out external noise, plus seven-position adjustable cups for optimizing size. They’re also equipped with a variety of detail-oriented niceties, including a 6.3mm plug adaptor and a durable 1.5 metre woven coil cable that locks with a twist to keep from getting pulled out.
Pick up a pair at Ghostly – $250
Perhaps bold, red or white corded earbuds aren’t flashy enough for your liking, but Glow Headphones should be. These earbuds promise quality sound thanks to Knowles dual balanced armature drivers but really stand out thanks to their laser-driven Corning Fibrance cables, which light up brightly and pulse to the sound of your music. Each pair also includes an in-line 5-way remote, a pulse oximeter rate rate sensor within the buds (which can synchronize the pulsing to your heart beat), and comes in one of three colors: red, blue, or green.
Find them at Kickstarter – $150
The company’s first professional pair of open-back reference headphones, Audio-Technica’s ATH-R70x feature acoustically transparent honeycomb mesh housings and 45mm drivers explicitly designed for providing natural, spacious open-back sound. Foregoing plastic, these cans boast a carbon composite resin structure that improves rigidity for a more detailed sound. They also weight in at an insubstantial 7.4 ounces, make use of a new 3D wing support system for prolonged comfort while worn, and employ a versatile dual-side detachable cable that automatically preserves stereo orientation, regardless of the side to which it’s plugged.
Preorder at Amazon – $350
Symbol’s Stereo Console doubles as both a console for your audio system and part of that system itself. This stunning handcrafted piece boasts a powder-coated steel wire frame stand, an optional LP storage bin, room for a turntable, and built-in cable management to eliminate all wires from sight besides a single power cord. Oh, and it’s also got two 4″ full range titanium cone speakers and a down-firing 8″ subwoofer, powered by its 2.1 Class D amplifier and controlled by an included remote.
Learn more at Symbol Audio – $3,700
Sennheiser’s Momentum was — and is — an excellent choice for individuals looking to dull out external sounds while jamming, and cutting the cord was the logical next step what with wireless capabilities present on literally all our devices. Equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 and aptX, these cans deliver the same distinctive sound experience as the originals for 22 hours per charge without wires getting in the way. They also boast NFC for instant pairing with compatible devices, active NoiseGuard sound cancellation that attenuates outside noise by up to 20dB, a collapsible frame for easy carry, and the use of soft, breathable Alcantara for sweat-free comfort. Plus, in a pinch, they can also operate using the included [evidently removable] auxiliary cable.
Read more at Sennheiser – $400
You won’t often find high fidelity audio equipment wrapped in plastic enclosures, and for good reason. Based on their award-winning A2+ speakers, Audioengine’s B2 couples a hand-built, acoustically isolated wooden cabinet to hi-fi components such as an extended range Bluetooth module & aptX decoder (with A2DP and AVRCP support), a 24-bit DAC, dual 2.75″ Kevlar woofers, and a pair of 0.75″ silk dome tweeters. It pairs easily, without a password, at up to 100 feet away — roughly triple the range of most Bluetooth speakers — and also boasts an auxiliary audio input for wired use plus a detachable magnetic grill. And though it might not fare as well as others on the road due to a lack of built-in batteries and larger size, it handily overpowers similarly priced mainstream portable speakers, making it by far the better option for home use.