Buyers Guide | Feature Articles

Audio Holiday Gift Guide 2012

 

Axiom Audio M3v3 ~ $348

“Affordable Bookshelf Speaker for the
Discerning Listener”

AudioReview’s – Adam LaBarge - When I checked the price again I was blown away to find out they were $348, especially when considering their performance. The M3v3 do most of what a great speaker should. They present a large and open image, linear reproduction of sound, offer a good amount of detail, and be as transparent as the speaker can be. Read Full Review
pcdistrict.com - The M3 is Axiom’s most versatile and compact stereo and home theater speaker. Winner of the SoundStage! Reviewer\’s Choice Award and GoodSound! Product of the Year, the M3 delivers powerful bass, outstanding treble, and award-winning musical sound for under $400…
Doug Schneider, SoundStage.com – “…these little Axiom speakers have no right to sound as good as they do.”
Buy It Here

Audioengine 2 – $199

“Micro-Sized Computer Speakers That Will Rock Your World”

They cost more than other computer speakers, but in return you have high-end sound.
The A2 speakers offer:

  • Clear mid-range vocals
  • soft silky highs
  • giant bass

We’ve been using a pair here around the office and at home for the past months and are continually blown away by their performance.  Music is engrossing, sound stage is wide, vocal are clear. Never fatiguing. When plugged into a laptop for movie, dialog is clear and explosions have thump.

Buy It Here
Vanns

Klipsch Image S4i ~ $99

“Perfect for the iPhone, Superior Sonic Quality
at a Very Reasonable Price”

CNET - The Klipsch Image S4i earphones offer up sound quality on par with and better than sets that cost many times as much, and they include compelling extras for iPhone and iPod users.
PC Mag - For $100, you get a great-sounding pair of earphones that controls the latest iPods and iPhone, and even works with the iPod shuffle voice-over feature.
Gizmodo - Excellent sound quality for the price, in both mic and earphones – Styling and build quality are nice, but the finish is delicate…
.

Buy It Here
Vanns
Buy It Here
Crutchfield.com

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air ~ $599

“Room Filling Sound with the Latest Tech, 
Air Stream,WiFi, 24-bit”

The new Zeppelin Air retains an iPod dock but it will only work with newer 3G, 3Gs, 4 and 4s iPhones and newer iPods.
The new dock taps directly into the iPod’s digital audio output thus allowing Bowers & Wilkins to use a high end Analog Devices’ AD1936 digital to 24-bit analog-to-digital converter (DAC). Better Sounding Music! Increased micro dynamic performance, open and clean mid-range, and detailed bass.
Multiple Zeppelin’s can be used to stream music to multiple rooms in a home or office, but the interface and features aren’t very user friendly.The unit is very easy to set up, though some folks have had a bit of issue with the Wireless feature.Remember, the Zeppelin Air allows only 802.11g clients to connect to it. Make sure your router has that.

Specifications

  • Superb, room-filling sound
  • AirPlay for high-resolution wireless audio streaming
  • Advanced DSP for high-quality sound
  • Five high-quality amplifiers
  • Tweeters similar to award-winning MM-1
  • Internal subwoofer for bass with power
  • Add more units for elegant multi-room system

Jawbone JamBox ~ $200

“Best Sounding On the Go, Bluetooth Speaker”

The Jawbone JameBox isn’t one of the best rated wireless speakers on Amazon and at the Apple Store for no reason.
This little guy is extremely portable, sounds very good, and is very simple to use.  No matter if you are on the go or just hate large and messy speakers at your desk. The JamBox is will do it all.

Specifications

  • Wireless portable speaker connects to any Bluetooth device
  • Stream music, movies, games, phone, and conference calls
  • Proprietary acoustic drivers (stereo pair)
  • Proprietary passive bass radiator
  • Built-in Microphone
  • Up to 10 hours of power from internal rechargeable battery
  • Very good BlueTooth extension

SoundMagic PL30 ~ $30

“Hands Down the Biggest Bang for
Your Buck, Earphones”

TechPowerUp - These earphones provide a good amount of bang for the buck even though they are ridiculously cheap. At $25 I am surprised you can even make a set of in-ears that have the qualities that the PL30s have.
PC World - Though the SoundMAGIC PL30 in-ear headphones don’t provide professional-level quality, they do offer excellent sound at a bargain price.
WhatHiFi - The delivery boasts bouncy, solid bass, with lovely punch and body through the range. The presentation has decent dynamics and scale
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Energy 5.1 Take Classic HomeTheater – $399

“The Pinnacle of Sound vs. Price, 
CNET’s Editor’s Choice, Need One Say More?”

AudioReview Rating -  4.20 of 5 – smoknnca Says: I like what the take 5 has to offer. Quality sound at a bargain price.
CNET: The Energy Take Classic 5.1 is the best budget speaker system we’ve reviewed, earning our Editors’ Choice Award with its outstanding sound quality and exquisite looks.
HomeTheaterSound: And if you want genuinely rich, enjoyable cinema surround sound but are on a budget, go no further — buy the Energy Take Classic system. You’ll thank me for it. I offer just one phrase of caution: Prepare to be astonished.

Sonos S5 Wireless Zone Player – $449

“Effortless Set-up Multi-Room Filling Sound, 
WiFi Music Streamer with Style”

Control music from your iPhone, iPod, iPad, computer or almost anything else.The Sonos S5 sounds great and can be linked up with other Sonos players for multi-room music enjoyment.
CNET: The Sonos Play:5 shrinks the Sonos streaming music experience down to a compact single-speaker system with great sound, which you can control from any iOS device or Android smartphone.


Bose Quiet Comfort 15 ~ $299

“Noise-Canceling Headphones At Their Best,
Travel in Peace”

CNET - While they’re no bargain, the Bose QuietComfort 15s currently offer the best sound and silencing capabilities in a pair of noise-canceling headphones.
LaptopMag.com - Noise cancellation immediately produces a virtually silent environment. The QC15 blocks out a broader range of frequencies than the rest of the pack, making them great for just reducing background noise without even playing any music.
BestNoise-CancelingHeadphones.com - …this brand of headphones built its reputation on producing silence and its the brand against which all other noise-canceling headphones are compared.
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Logitech Squeezebox Touch – $299

“Wireless Music Streamer Used By Audiophiles, 
Easy to Use, Sounds Great”

The perfect gift for any one who is looking to connect their stereo to the modern age and reduce ugly cables.
The Squeezebox is a Wireless music streamer. You plug it into your existing stereo and control it with your iPad, iPhone, Andriod Phone, or Computer. The Squeezebox works with both Mac and PC and can play a huge selection of file formats, as well as internet radio.
Connection Types:

  • USB host connector for accessing music and photos via USB drive or USB key
  • SD card slot for music and photos
  • Supports sampling rates up to 24 bit / 96 kHz
  • Stereo analog (RCA), digital optical, and digital coax output
  • 4,3″ (11 cm) 24-bit color LCD with capacitive touch screen
  • Ethernet

 

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