True audiophiles are typically concerned with acoustics over aesthetics, but these four new speakers have managed to master both, fusing timeless design with impeccable sound.
Audio Speakers, $400, BlueTube Audio, BlueTubeAudio.com
Here’s what hard core craftsmanship looks like: Ben Clarkson, co-founder of BlueTube Audio, hand-selects each piece of cherry and walnut lumber used to build the company’s speaker (pictured right). He then laminates and sands each board, rubs them down with linseed oil and tops it off with three coats of wood wax. The result? A gorgeous handmade speaker that connects via Bluetooth to your iPhone, Android, or directly through an auxiliary input. The speakers work with any amplifier, but we recommend the matching amp from BlueTube sold here.
NS2 Airplay Monitors, $449, Nocs, Nocs.se
Nothing says “I’m effortlessly edgy” like these NS2 Air Monitors by Nocs (above) – especially if you go for the bright orange pair. They’re controlled through Apple’s AirPlay technology, allowing you to stream music wirelessly from the device of your choice, and come in a range of both neutral and punchy colors: orange, yellow, red, gray, black and white. At 6.3 inches, they’re perfectly suited for a desktop or mantle.
OD-11 Cloud Speaker, $800, Teenage Engineering, TeenageEngineering.com
The retro look of Teenage Engineering’s OD-11 speaker (left) happened organically: it’s aesthetic is inspired by a speaker of the same name, created by Swedish audio engineer Stig Carlsson in 1974. Unlike Carlsson’s, though, this one operates by pulling music wirelessly from the cloud. It comes with a funky magnetic button (they call it an “ortho remote”) that allows users to control volume, and turn the speaker on and off with a simple tap. The 10-inch single speaker is powerful on it’s own, but it can be synced with up to three other speakers for a surround-sound experience.
Passive Bookshelf System, $699, Grain Audio, GrainAudio.com
The folks behind Kickstarter-funded Grain Audio are serious about sound – which is why they chose a simple, minimalist design for their Passive Bookshelf System speakers (right). Because they’re constructed using solid Walnut (they think it delivers a warmer, more natural sound), each speaker set is completely unique. The PBS is currently available for pre-order – and while you’re at it, you should probably buy the matching wood headphones.