Here, the obsessive curators and experts at Audio Advice give their best picks for high-performance audio technology that won’t break the bank this holiday season for rolling out readers.
It’s an all-in-one wireless speaker. The Sonos app connects the PLAY:5 to your WiFi network to run music through your iPhone, laptop or other player. A simple touch interface allows you to control and navigate through your music right from the speaker. Inside are three bass drivers and three high-frequency tweeters. Each has its own amp with full DSP (digital signal processing) control. SONOS PLAY:5 retails $469 or $999/pair.
PRO-JECT Debut Carbon Turntable
The Debut Carbon from Pro-Ject features a carbon fiber tonearm, which increases stiffness and decreases unwanted resonance, making it one of the best values in vinyl playback. Available at $399, including a $100 Ortofon Red phono cartridge.
GRADO SR80e Prestige Series Over-Ear Headphones
Proudly made in Grado‘s Brooklyn, New York factory, the SR80e has a new driver design, a new polymer housing to dampen distortion, and is extremely lightweight. The open-back design gives you a soundstage that seems to extend outside your ears. Unlike many of the popular bass or treble-exaggerated products on the current headphone market, the SR80e produces sound characterized by warm harmonic colors, rich, full-bodied vocals, excellent dynamics, and an ultra-smooth top end. A can’t-miss choice at $99.