We’re all spending a lot more time listening to our home soundsystems and, while that’s generally because we can’t do much else, there’s no excuse for making-do with a lacklustre array of equipment. You might not think you need an upgrade, but that’s just aural Stockholm syndrome. Your ears will thank you for the sweet release of something decent to listen to. After all, what’s the point of having great musical taste if it sounds like you’re streaming from YouTube on dial-up?
We’re not saying you need to throw out everything you own and start again; we don’t even know what you’re listening to outside of a few wild assumptions. Instead, revamp your set-up with a new key piece or two and revel in the new era of clarity you’ve ushered in. You – and anyone that you foist your musical library upon – will thank us.
NAD Masters M50.2 Digital Music Player
Say what you want about the benefits of vinyl, sometimes you just don’t have the space for an analogue system. If that’s the case then look no further than this full digital solution courtesy of NAD. Not only can it store your entire CD collection and access your full library of music, but it’s BluOS-enabled. A cross-device way of streaming high-resolution music, BluOS allows the NAD Masters M50.2 to work seamlessly with the rest of your system and wider smart home system. Just link it to your phone and you can control the M50.2 and other enabled devices with worrying ease.
Easy access, high fidelity – if you’re looking for digital music without compromise, here it is. The fact that it looks fantastic almost falls by the wayside.
£3,795, available at NAD Electronics.
KAD K7 Wireless Loudspeakers
This slim pair of speakers may look odd without the tangle of wires we’ve come to expect emerging from their backsides, but that’s because KAD’s latest is hammering home that wireless streaming is the new norm, even in high-end audio.
Taking its cues from the live PA systems used by artists in concert, the K7 loudspeakers put the emphasis on a realistic soundstage, aurally placing instruments and artists where they should be. Complemented by 24bit / 96kHz high-resolution wireless streaming and you have a pair of speakers that are both incredibly easy to set up and fit for a concert.
Given the current crisis, the KAD K7s might be the closest thing you’ll get to one any time soon.
£15,950 (pair), available at KAD Audio.
If you’re going to have speakers taking up a big part of your interior space you may as well make sure they’re not only elegant enough to fit in with your (we’re sure) incredibly-designed apartment, but also sound utterly exceptional, too. Boenick’s W11 loudspeakers fit the bill nicely on both fronts.
Created by Sven Boenicke, one of the finest audio artisans working today, the W11’s apparent simplicity belies its incredible versatility, which is one of its greatest assets. Along with a bass adjustable by increments of 2.5 dB, the mid-range driver uses paper for a more natural, uncoloured and uncluttered sound.
The W in the name stands for wood, so it’s no surprise that the cabinetry is as solid as it comes. Available in ash, walnut or cherry wood, it’s the final flourish to the W11’s stunning aesthetic minimalism. Great sound, great looks and great versatility: the W11 has it all.
From £10,988, available at Boenicke Audio.
+Audio THE+RECORD PLAYER
‘All in One’ might be a bit of a dirty phrase among audiophiles, but even vinyl purists would struggle not to fall in love with The+Record Player. Forget a sprawling, piecemeal system spreading over half your living room; this is simple, single-device listening – be that from vinyl or streaming – at its finest.
Combining a solid Pro-Ject turntable (already a fantastic start) with a built-in, high-performance stereo system comprised of a two-way bi-amplified speaker system, feedback-cancelling architecture and a pair each of 3.5’’ woofers and 1’’ tweeter, it has all the highs, lows and rumbles of a system many times its size.
In size and layout The+Record Player recalls the retro charm of 70s portable record players; in style though it’s more contemporary than the Turner, and far, far more tasteful.
£1,167.63, available at +Audio.
Bayz Audio Counterpoint 2.0
Loudspeakers haven’t changed all that much over the last couple of decades, conceptwise… which is why Bayz Audio’s incredible Counterpoint loudspeakers are so important. Rather than using a highly directional driver to force sound towards the listener, the unique tech behind Bayz’s proprietary speakers disperses the sound radially in every direction – just as a real instrument would do.
What that means to the listener is that the speakers all but disappear, creating a beautifully pure, precise sound that’s as close to the having the artist in the room as most modern speakers can hope to achieve. The first true, omnidirectional loudspeakers, it’s only fitting that the curving, carbon-fibre cabinets look as space-age as their technology inside them. There’s nothing else out there quite like the Counterpoint 2.0.
€144,000 EUR, available at Bayz Audio.