If you've been surviving on crappy headphones or middling speakers, perhaps it's time to upgrade. When it comes to audio, it's generally true that you get what you pay for. Some models do punch above their weight, but if you want top-notch sound quality or excellent noise cancellation, be prepared to pay a premium. And we're not even talking about the marginal improvements from audiophile-grade gear. But your ears will thank you. Here are our picks for great audio upgrades.
When it comes to true wireless earbuds, you often hear about the ones from Apple, Bose, and Sony. While these brands are certainly contenders in the premium consumer segment, don't sleep on the Technics EAH-AZ80. These earbuds deserve to be up there in sound quality, and noise cancellation. They are also very comfortable, with a wider range of ear tips than the competition. And with the ability to connect up to three devices at the same time, the Technics is perfect for work and play.
Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2e
One glance, and you know these Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2e headphones aren't going to be cheap. They look elegant, classy, and expensive. More importantly, they sound fantastic, with a level of detail and immersion that you won't get with cheaper headphones. They also feel very comfortable, thanks to its well-padded earcups. My only grouse is that they can't be folded, and is hence, not as travel friendly.
Ruark R2 Mk4
When it comes to speakers, sometimes you want more than just great sound. Appearances matter, too. And the Ruark R2 Mk4 has that retro look that may just fit your home decor to a tee. It's also a proper radio, with a telescopic antenna to boot. Underneath its old-school design, it's thoroughly modern. It supports popular streaming services like Spotify, and you can connect to it via Bluetooth. You even get multi-room audio if you have more than one Ruark speaker.
Sonos Era 300
There are plenty of great speakers out there. But if you're curious about spatial audio or Dolby Atmos music from streaming services like Apple Music, there are very few options. In fact, I would say the Sonos Era 300 is your best bet now. For one, it actually has drivers that fire from the front, sides and even upwards to produce a true spatial audio experience. And a pair of them will also elevate your Dolby Atmos movies when used as surrounds with a Sonos Arc soundbar.
If you want a capable one-soundbar solution — due to space constraints or simplicity's sake — consider the Sony HT-A7000. This 7.1.2 channel soundbar can do Dolby Atmos, and Sony's 360 Spatial Sound. It also has three HDMI ports, 3.5mm analog jack, USB-A, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. While it's not quite as rumbly as a system with a dedicated subwoofer, the HT-A7000 has a wide sound field with clear dialogue, and distinct height channels. You can also add on wireless speakers, and subwoofers if desired.
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