High-end audio represents the very pinnacle of technical achievement – much like watchmaking, it unites impeccable craftsmanship, infallible accuracy and slick design to create beautiful, must-have products for our home. Here, we have explored the ultimate products you need to know about now; many the results of months of research and development in order to develop concert-perfect sound of crystal clear clarity. Of course, the aesthetic hasn’t been neglected and these pieces will not only bring you rich sound but also make a strong design statement. Enjoy our edit…
KEF (best for the lover of simplicity)
The KEF LS50 Wireless speakers not only sound great, but are also an appealingly convenient product. The two compact speakers are beautifully curved and, best of all, already include high-performance amplifiers, digital sound technologies and wireless tech, so there’s no need for extra boxes or wires cluttering up your living space. You can easily stream wireless music from wherever you wish, with no further effort required. Perfection.
AUDIO DEVA (best to begin a collection with)
The world’s first ever platterless turntable, the Atmo Sfera by Audio Deva gives a smooth, easy listening experience thanks to a builtin RIAA preamp. Designed and handcrafted in Italy, it looks good and is also a breeze to set up, thanks to its pre-fitted aluminium tonearm.
CONTINUUM (best for design lovers)
The Continuum Obsidian turntable runs like a dream thanks to the new DC motor at its heart, which complements an assured design – the decoupled arm mount and plinth-less base are especially nice touches.
absolutesounds.com; £45,000 including Viper tonarm as pictured
WILSON AUDIO (best for the wow factor)
Wilson Audio’s flagship new loudspeaker, the WAMM Master Chronosonic, may cost more than half a million per pair when built to order, but they’re worth every penny. It’s the most time-domain correct loudspeaker they’ve ever produced – adjustability in the time-domain is down to an astonishing five millionths of a second, which makes for a flawless performance.
absolutesounds.com; £700,000 per pair
SONUS FABER (best for hipsters)
The limited edition Sonus Faber Sf16 is a thing of real beauty. A one-box stereo with electrically expendable speakers, it’s reassuringly powerful and visually stunning.
KEF (best for the fashion conscious)
These KEF & Porsche Design Space One Headphones offer the cool design quirks we take for granted from Porsche, but with KEF’s added technical nous. KEF’s own particular brand of noise-cancelling headphones deadens outside noise, while maintaining superior audio quality. The combination of aluminium and a sandblasted titanium finish also creates a bold aesthetic.
BURMESTER (best for those in the know)
The ultimate listening room needs the ultimate power amplifier, and the slick Burmester 911 mkIII is it. Burmester are the ones who provide premium audio options for Bugatti, Maybach and Mercedes-Benz, among others, and we can promise you won’t go wrong with their products.
YG ACOUSTICS (best for connoisseurs)
The YG Acoustics Sonja XV loudspeaker is an update on the much-loved Sonja – and boy, what an update it is. This four-tower version features some incredible exclusives, including a tweeter made in-house and some awesome bass inductors. They can also effortlessly move air around, which results in an experience on par with a live concert – very nice indeed.
SCS (best for kicking back in style)
All this incredible audio equipment is all very well, but in the ultimate listening room what do you need more than a comfy sofa? If you can remember when all anyone wanted was a La-Z-Boy, be prepared to instantly covet this luxurious three-seater with sound system included, which makes it a handy accessory indeed.
ENSEMBLE (best for the full package)
Ensemble live and breathe audio, paying attention to every tiny detail, making critical parts to their own specific needs and creating a musical experience that instantly fills a room, making it akin to a concert. For the core of a hifi system, we recommend their speaker, Ondiva, the integrated amplifier Fuoco and some of their cables, one of the most essential parts of any hifi system. The Ondiva speakers aren’t overwhelming in size but play like a large speaker, offering an awesome fast bass response and the ‘in concert’ projection that they are, rightly, so proud of. Fuoco has been just as carefully thought out, with the option for up to six sources to be connected. Even better, it’s easy to use, with Ensemble offering a ‘plug and play’ guarantee. Their cables, too, come with quality assured. The fact that the Incanto Analog Signal cable (or interconnect) has the Ensemble designed RCA connectors made of copper, rather than the more commonly used but less effective brass, is just another tick of approval in our opinion.
SUGDEN AUDIO (best all-rounder)
The Sapphire by J E Sugden & Co provides a ‘Pure Class A’ listening experience combined with bespoke, handcrafted custom build quality. Fifty years of audio design and innovation ensure a unique experience when enjoying your favourite music. The Sapphire can form the heart of any high-end audio system with extensive connectivity options for analogue and digital entertainment sources.
sugdenaudio.com; Sapphire FBA-800 Power Amplifier, £6,635
Sapphire DAP-800 Pre-Amplifier, £4,365
EDEN ACOUSTICS (best for range of sound quality)
The Eden Acoustics TÔMEI Active Loudspeaker System is revolutionary thanks to its ‘open air’ design. Stripped-back technology means only the essentials are there, and the speaker baffle and ACU-1 signal control unit are separated, creating an almost boundless, walk-around soundstage.
AUDIBLE FIDELITY (best for future-proofing)
The Marantz Premium SA-10 Super Audio CD Player/DAC and the Marantz Premium PM-10 Integrated Amplifier are a great pair. The company at the helm have overhauled their design philosophy – and put in some painstaking research and development – in order to produce some truly elegant products. The SA-10 boasts a wholly new SACD-M3 transport mechanism, which offers the best performance possible, and it’s also a digital-to-analogue converter which means it can and will be able to play a variety of audio formats. Meanwhile, the integrated amplifier is actually more like a preamplifier with a pair of monoblock power amps, with a beautifully-finished case which brings it together seamlessly. This is only made possible by the stereo switching amplifier, which lets the system perform at its very best and looks good doing so.
SA-10 Super Audio CD Player, £5,999
PM-10 Integrated Amplifier, £6,999
ARTNOVION (best for aesthetics)
Artnovion’s acoustic wall and ceiling panels brilliantly combine function with style. They efficiently enhance the acoustics in your living space and look fabulous while doing so, and, with a range of styles to choose from, you’ll easily find the one which best suits your home.