Audio & Speakers
Brooklyn-based audio brand Grado Labs has once again upgraded its flagship Prestige headphones. With the addition of a powerful and intelligently-tuned 44mm driver, the all-new X Driver delivers their best, most advanced audio experience yet. The new model also features improved cables and a more cushy headband. Available now.
With its beach-friendly waterproof design and pocketable size, Sony’s SRS-XB13 speaker makes a cool companion for hot summer days. With an IP67 rating for dust- and water-proofing plus a UV-coated finish, it’s built for all-weather outdoor action. Shorter than a common 12-ounce can, it is also very packable; with a webbing strap loop for lashing it to your pack or carrying around your wrist. Battery life: 16 hours. Available in a range of colors.
Designed for everyone from beginners to professional producers, the OXI ONE is a digital sequencer & MIDI controller that empowers you to make music with nearly unlimited creative control. It’s based around a performing keyboard with incredible connectivity, including, central & peripheral bluetooth wireless. It’s got 4 fully configurable sequencers, 32 track capability, loopers, arpeggiators, harmonizing with 150 different chord variations & so much more, making it a powerful modular component for live or studio use. A funded Indiegogo.
Designed for Apple users, Belkin’s Soundform Connect dongle is a smart little nugget that transforms any powered home speaker into an AirPlay smart speaker that can cast using newer iPhone, iPad, Macs, and Apple TVs running iOS 11.4 or later. Robust controls allow you to customize the experience through multiple speakers and rooms using the app or Siri.
In a range that includes more than 20 different speakers, the latest addition to Bang & Olufsen’s Beosound lineup is the portable Beosound Explore, a waterproof, dust-proof, travel-friendly speaker boasting 27 hours of continuous playback. Its small size, sturdy aluminum-body construction, and an integrated carabiner clip make it a great option for on-the-go audio. Just remember, most other hikers don’t want to hear your Travis Scott playlist.
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Designed to be either wall-mounted or stand on the floor, Bang & Olufsen’s top-of-the-line Beolab 28 home speaker merges meticulous Danish design with wireless freedom and legendary B&O sound. The speaker delivers rich, room filling audio that’s adapted to the space using the brand’s proprietary Active Room Compensation software. The speaker array includes a downward-facing bass woofer with a 6.5” driver, three 3” full-range drivers & a 1-inch front-mounted tweeter. Available in a range of finishes to suit your environment.
101 decibels is loud for a home speaker, especially when you consider a live rock show will hit about 115dB. But there’s more to the Kube4 all-in-one audio system than loud volume. Designed in partnership with SoundHub, it’s a portable wi-fi & bluetooth speaker that supports AirPlay 2.0, Spotify Connect, and uses the Kube app to deliver a full-range premium audio experience. It has a waterproof rating of IPX5 for indoor-outdoor versatility and with 40-hours of battery life, it’ll keep the soundtrack pumping all weekend long. A funded Kickstarter.
For the debut of their first true wireless earphones, the P17, Bowers & Wilkins created a unique solution to your in-flight audio woes. Because the case of these premium buds doubles as a transmitter, it can connect to in-flight entertainment & retransmit it wirelessly to your ears. They also offer ANC, AptX, IP54 waterproof & dustproof rating, 4.5 hours of continuous playback with 20 more hours stored in the charging case. Available in black & white/rose gold.
With a design that borrows the compact form of a book, Bang & Olufsen’s latest addition to its Beosound speaker range is called the Emerge. It’s a wireless bluetooth home speaker that will blend-in on your bookshelf but stand-out with room-filling sound. The speaker array includes a 37mm midrange driver, a 14mm soft dome tweeter and a 100mm side-firing woofer. It links with all other Beosound speakers and is available in Gold or Anthracite black metal with a tonal wood wrap.
Spotify’s Car Thing is the company’s first foray into hardware. The “thing” is a voice-controlled device/display for use in the car; a Bluetooth-connected “remote” for enjoying Spotify without the need for a phone. Which will be useful in older and classic cars without infotainment & connectivity. The dash-mounted device features 2 tactile buttons allowing you to easily, safely control Spotify manually as well as by voice command. It will only be available to wait-listed Premium subscribers selected at random.
To get the absolute best-quality audio you can between your device and your headphones, the Onyx DAC from THX makes it easy. This tiny USB dongle plugs in to deliver clean DAC with 4 options for sound: standard, high resolution, Direct Stream Digital (DSD) and Master Quality Authenticated (MQA). Works with PC, Mac, Android & iPad.
Danish audio innovator Bang & Olufsen is calling its flagship Beoplay HX headphones, “outstanding.” We won’t disagree. With premium materials throughout—like aluminum, lambskin, and memory foam, they’re built for long-lasting comfort. Add Adaptive ANC, B&O’s 40mm drivers & 35-hours of battery life & the HX sounds pretty good to us.
With punchy, full-range sound delivered by 11mm Beryllium drivers, the MW08 ceramic earbuds from high-end audio brand Master & Dynamic feature not just killer audio but advanced ANC. Aluminum, nano-bonded external antennas ensure flawless connectivity, while Ambient Mode keeps you aware of external sounds—as little or as much as you like. Battery life is a respectable 10 hours, with a total of 40-hours of playback from the charging case.
The very pocketable USB-C DAC from premium audio brand Astell&Kern debuts. It’s a cable bridge that plugs in between your USB-C Android device & headphones to bring you robust, distortion-free sound. The converter is a Cirrus Logic CS43198 MasterHiFi that supports native DSD256 playback plus 32-bit audio files. This lightweight & compact DAC is encased in a zinc-alloy housing for stylish durability.
As the first Sony speakers to feature the brand’s 360 Reality Audio format, the new 360 Reality Audio bluetooth speakers deliver immersive 360 soundscapes. There are 2 models: the RA3000 and RA5000, both are compatible with Alexa & Google Assistant, Alexa Cast in Amazon Music HD, and feature built-in Chromecast for effortless streaming.
As it marks its centennial, Germany’s iconic Braun brand has created a unique collab with global design influencer Virgil Abloh. From deep in the Braun archive, Virgil unearthed and updated the 1965 Wandanlage hi-fi audio wall unit; a stunning & fully functional Dieter Rams-designed sound system with a fresh chrome finish.
Powerful enough for room-filling sound at home while small enough for all-around portability, the Roam speaker from SONOS is a versatile little noisemaker. It’s the audio brand’s smallest and most affordable speaker yet but the feature set is impressive. SONOS is known for premium quality sound & fit the Roam with dual Class H amps and an arcing “racetrack” mid-woofer. The battery delivers over 10 hours of playback & the IP67 rating keeps it weather-protected in the great outdoors.
Marshall’s first entry into the realm of true wireless earbuds is called the Mode II. These loud little earphones feature 6mm dynamic drivers, Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity and IXP4 water resistance. The buds offer just over 7-hours of playback while the charging case provides 4 full charges for up to 25-hours of continuous play. Adjustable EQ, touch controls & voice assistant make them equally adept for work and play. Available for pre-order now.
Seeking to extend the effective life of its high-end connected home speakers, Bang & Olufsen’s Beosound Level is a battery-powered speaker with a modular design that uses advanced chip technologies designed to handle software updates far into the future. The speaker streams via AirPlay 2, Chromecast, and Spotify Connect & supports Google Voice Assistant. Battery offers 16-hours continuous playback & recharges via USB-C.
High-end French audio brand Devialet has just released the latest evolution of its infamous stand-alone speaker, the Phantom. The new & carefully upgraded Phantom I retains the same smooth, spherical design & with the luxurious good looks comes enhanced single-chip audio processing, Heart Bass Implosion (HBI) tech, and Apple AirPlay2 streaming support. Choose matte black or gloss white/rose gold.