KEF LS50 Collection LS50 Wireless II
The fruits of three years of painstaking research, the LS50 Collection from Kent-based maker KEF (see also main pic) seriously raises the bar in terms of both intuitive usability and sit-bolt-upright clarity and resonance. This wireless version – compatible with AirPlay 2 and Chromecast as well as all Bluetooth-enabled devices – boasts blissfully simple set up (including EQ settings) as well as sound quality that is nuanced, natural and – with the volume hiked up – blissfully overpowering.
£2,250, available here
Transparent Light Speaker
One for al fresco nocturnal revellers, this. A Kickstarter campaign is to thanked for the existence of a multi-sensorial, portable light and sound device from the Stockholm-based modular electronics design brand. Inspired by a traditional lantern, and designed to emulate the ethereal quality of actual flames, it has been crafted using borosilicate glass and aluminium grills, and boasts sturdiness (both aesthetically and in a practical sense) as well as an IPX2 weather rating (it can handle water that hits it at 15 degrees or less) and a 10-hour battery life. The omnidirectional sound from the five-watt unit’s 2.5in full-range driver and passive 3-inch radiator packs more whoomph than you might expect from a glass unit.
The Gingko Halo
Car design luminary Ian Callum once said that Jaguars should look, in profile, like a feline poised to pounce: this aluminium, walnut and beech wood speaker, designed in Warwick by a 2011-founded brand dedicated to reading the nuptials over style and substance, looks poised to deliver rich, natural audio quality: and doesn’t disappoint, despite the modest price tag.
Sony LSPX-S2 Wireless Glass Sound Speaker
Another one for design chin-strokers, this cylindrical shaped duo hurls crisp, fuller-than-full sounds into every corner of the room thanks to three actuators which vibrate the organic glass tube. It’s one for he aural as well as the visual aesthete: high-resolution audio allows the playback of music at higher sampling rates than those found with CDs. Remember when form and function, with speakers, had to fight for prominence?
Ruark Audio MR1 Mk2
Family-owned British company Ruark is a hallowed name amongst the most pernickety of audiophiles, thanks to its borderline-obsessive approach to tweaking and tinkering with every strand of its DNA to create more pleasing sound with each new release. Here, the 75mm woofer and 20mm textile dome tweeter with neodymium magnets pump out around 20 Watts’ worth of finely textured sonic brushstrokes.