Listen Up to Some of Our Favorite Designs for the Aspiring Audiophile

Several years ago I found myself being invited into an old darkened stone wall building located in the outskirts of Struer, Denmark. I was led to sit facing toward two gargantuan faceted Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 floor standing speakers amongst few other guests to listen to the pair of  $115,000 speakers. Within the space and with our full attention, the selection of high quality audio tracks emerged with a distinct presence of dimensionality. I will always remember the minutes listening to those classical, rock, and electronic tracks as revelatory and immersive – the definition of an audiophile experience.

Beyond such one-of-a-kind listening session, I’ve enjoyed a breadth of slightly more affordable gear over the years, many representing the liberal definition of the term audiophile in various forms. In the era of digital audio, and with numerous “Pro” models intended for discerning consumers, there is an exceedingly selection of very good audio devices perfectly suited for everyday enjoyment. A few of our current favorites below:

overhead view of turntable

Bang & Olufsen Beosystem 72-22 Marks 50 Years of the Beogram 4000 Turntable
The reemergence of the Beogram 4000 was a particularly favorite surprise from the Danish heritage brand, an effort to bring back classic designs into the spotlight with the intent to “refurbish, restore and recreate.” Designer Jacob Jensen’s Beogram 4000 is arguably the most beautifully designed turntable, revolving between the narrow band of minimalism and expression of the technology within.

interior view of modern space with two tower wireless speakers in grey against the wall

Standing Room Only: KEF LS60 Wireless All-in-One Floor Speakers Are a Hi-Fi Dream
A pair of these svelte and minimalist floor standing speakers designed by KEF collaborator and industrial designer Michael Young make a notable impression even before a single note escapes from the unusual layout of four back-to-back 5.25-inch Uni-Core force-canceling drivers. The LS60s look the part of expensive audiophile speakers elevated by the modern decor-friendly palette of Mineral White, Titanium Grey, and Royal Blue complementary to any room.

transparent speaker with green box behind it

COTODAMA x mastermind JAPAN Lyric Speaker Box
When audiophiles drop the term “transparent sound” they’re usually referring to a speakers’ ability to deliver the original and untainted aural intention of the musician(s). In this case the speaker itself is nearly fully transparent, revealing the inner working components while also operating as the most stylish karaoke lyrics display.

closeup view of turntable mechanics

The Stir It up Wireless Turntable Keeps It Simple and Sustainable
The warmly designed and eco-sourced House of Marley Stir It Up wireless turntable isn’t an audiophile turntable, but it does simplify streaming vinyl sound with a few tastefully appointed details found in higher end models, including anti-skip controls, Audio-Technica modular cartridge, and engraving etched across the tone arm. Sometimes such simplicity is a luxury.

high tech ipod

Astell&Kern A&norma SR25 MKII Angles To Make Hi-Res Audio a Pocketable Affair
The definition of a truly niche audiophile device, the sharply angled high-resolution music player lands somewhere between 1980s-evocation of the Sony Walkman and a prototype iPod Pro Apple never released aimed at the small but passionate audiophile on-the-go.

LED lit turntable in blue and pink in dark with Brian Eno leaning over it

Brian Eno’s LED Color Changing Turntable Spins an Ambient Mood
Every bit an art installation as it is an operable turntable, these colorfully luminescent and limited LED-illuminated turntables created in collaboration with London’s Paul Stolper Gallery are the ambient artist’s latest meditation of colorscapes.

orb-like speaker

Syng Cell Alpha Audio Speaker’s All-Encompassing 360 Degrees of Sound + Design
The spherical brainchild of former Apple lead designer, Christopher Stringer, the Syng’s Triphonic driver technology comprises a trio of tweeters and mid-frequency drivers arranged in a ring, resulting in 360º output that can be placed nearly anywhere.

angled interior view of shelf holding high end stereo system

Cambridge Audio Evo 75 and Evo 150 Elegantly Simplify Hi-Fi
How much did we like the Evo 75 after testing one out? Enough to go ahead and purchase a pair of matching $750 Cambridge Audio Evo S speakers to complete the system’s satisfying combination of exemplary sound, user-focused simplicity, and a pleasing degree of sophisticated design.

angled view of pair of off-white headphones

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Headphones: A New King Has Been Crowned
Active noise canceling headphones admittedly come with compromises in accuracy, but they’re also sometimes the most welcome and necessary tools for literally drowning distracting everyday ambient noises. We consider them work essentials. Bowers & Wilkins toppled our previous favorite ANC headphones with their balance of comfort and performance, with active noise cancellation being the cherry on top of this delectable sundae of stereo sounds.

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Gregory Han is Tech Editor of Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at gregoryhan.com.

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