written by:
July 5, 2015
Originally published in Today's Smart House
as
Sound Off
From turntables to speakers, these products turn the listening experience up to 11.
The Zero 1 digital speaker system by Avantgarde Acoustic

Digital Audio Devotee

The Zero 1, made by the German company Avantgarde Acoustic, contains a complete digital audio system within the speakers’ polyethylene cabinets. AirPort Express can be used to connect the speakers to a source. Each cabinet contains a DAC (digital- to-analog converter), allowing direct connection to digital sources; the signal is then routed through a digital crossover network and DSP (digital signal processing), which can correct for room acoustics. The three speaker drivers each have their own power amplifers, and the two speakers communicate via radio link. $18,500 per pair.

1 / 5
Magico Q7 Mk II loudspeaker by Magico

The Audiophile

To some, speakers are the most alluring part of any audio system, and for most audiophiles, the stark, machined-aluminum enclosures of the Magico Q7 Mk II loudspeakers are equivalent to a stealth fghter jet. Where most speakers have screwedtogether fiber-board boxes, Magicos feature aluminum skeletons and skins and are bolted together for a sturdy build. The speaker drivers have graphene cones, and the high-frequency tweeter has a diaphragm of diamond-coated beryllium for maximum rigidity and sound transmission. Pricing matches the stratospheric aspirations at $229,000 per pair.

2 / 5
Lepai LP-2020A+ amplifer and Dayton Audio B652s speakers

The Minimalist

The tiny Lepai LP-2020A+ amplifier can be found on Amazon for an amazing $25—less than you’d pay in shipping for other equipment— and provides enough power for modest speakers like the Dayton Audio B652s, available online for $40, among the best speakers available for under $100 per pair. The Lepai is compatible with Bluetooth adapters, preamps for record players, and even CD players.

3 / 5
Scout Jr. turntable by VPI

The Vinyl Lover

Why not commit to a turntable built to last a lifetime? The Scout Jr. by VPI is a newly introduced, simplifed version of the popular Scout turntable that has been made for over a decade. The Scout Jr. is a belt-drive turntable with a fully isolated AC synchronous motor, a nine-inch stainless-steel tonearm, and a premounted Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. A separate phono preamp is needed. Scout Jr. isn’t cheap, but it represents excellent value: Many products from VPI’s initial production runs are still in daily use. $1,499.

4 / 5
Deepblue2 bluetooth speaker by Peachtree Audio

The Newbie

Peachtree Audio’s Deepblue2 is a Bluetooth speaker, like hundreds of others, but this heavy one-piece system sounds more like a high-quality audio setup than you’d expect. Deepblue2 features fve speaker drivers, including a central woofer, and 440 watts of power. There’s an optical digital input for connection to a CD player or other digital source, but even YouTube sounds terrifc using aptX Bluetooth compression technology. Its $399 price may seem high for a Bluetooth speaker, but given its quality, performance, and versatility, it’s a deal.

5 / 5
The Zero 1 digital speaker system by Avantgarde Acoustic

Digital Audio Devotee

The Zero 1, made by the German company Avantgarde Acoustic, contains a complete digital audio system within the speakers’ polyethylene cabinets. AirPort Express can be used to connect the speakers to a source. Each cabinet contains a DAC (digital- to-analog converter), allowing direct connection to digital sources; the signal is then routed through a digital crossover network and DSP (digital signal processing), which can correct for room acoustics. The three speaker drivers each have their own power amplifers, and the two speakers communicate via radio link. $18,500 per pair.

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