In the same way you make design choices for your home or curate the items you carry each day, consideration should be given to the appearance of your audio devices in addition to their function. Below you will find nine products, including headphones, speakers and vinyl players, that place as much value on form factor as they do sound quality—affording you plenty of options when it comes to seamlessly blending technology with your personal style.
The second-generation AH-GC30 wireless headphones from Denon make no compromise when it comes to beautiful design and solid performance. Comfort is key here, making use of synthetic leather, aluminium and plastic ear cups—ideal for frequent air travel and long commutes. Most sightly is the definitive sculptural fork attaching the headband and dual-movement memory foam ear cups—flexible enough to fold away so the headset can fit snugly in a small bag during transport or in the accompanying travel bag. Noise Cancelling modes are nuanced and carefully designed across city, office and airplane modes, which when complemented by the solid premium build and superior sense of comfort, gently transports you into your own world while you listen to the music you love.
Designed for those who value flexibility in their music system, the Yamaha MusicCast VINYL 500 Turntable offers a range of listening options and balances robust performance with a clean aesthetic. In addition to functioning as a wireless turntable, a built-in phono preamp and line output mean the MusicCast Vinyl 500 can be connected to an existing hi-fi setup—enhancing the system with seamless access to major music streaming platforms like Spotify, TIDAL and Deezer, or adding Bluetooth convenience into the mix. For Apple fans, the inclusion of AirPlay 2 means your hi-fi setup can join in on the action when streaming your music to devices throughout the home. Alternatively, a direct phono output on the unit can be used for connecting to an external phono preamp for those looking for the highest sound quality.
Designed to co-exist with its surroundings, the artfully engineered Pantheone I takes design cues from the iconic oculus of the Pantheon in Rome and appropriately floods a room with beautiful, full sound. Just as the oculus fills the Pantheon with natural light, this incredibly unique Alexa-enabled speaker is able to direct sound and take full advantage of a room’s acoustics. Relentless in its power which is just as carefully crafted as its hollowed circular frame, the 25kg smart device contains a Class D amplifier, two 130W subwoofers, two mid-range drivers and four tweeters.
Smaller in form than the comparable Sonos Playbar, Beam has been designed to fit a wider range of lounge rooms and complement televisions both big and small. This elegant soundbar still offers incredible depth courtesy of four full-range drivers, a centre tweeter and three passive radiators. Aesthetically, instead of the typical metal grille, fabric for the Beam is seamless and solid, wrapping around the body to maintain the streamlined look. The elongated pill-like body looks heavier than it is, but the Beam only weighs in at 2.8kg which makes it the lightest of Sonos’ soundbars.
As one of Bang & Olufsen’s newest devices, the Beosound Balance is yet another show of force from the luxury Danish brand and a swift reminder of their masterful command over minimalism. Making reference to furniture design, the base is made from FSC-certified solid wood, available as Natural Oak or Black Oak. The top features a Kvadrat textile, while the metal section nods to tableware. It’s sculptural shape and premium materials make it a highly decorative addition to any design scheme. Reminding us that their products are just as much about function as they are form, Bang & Olufsen’s audio engineers have kitted this stunning device with an impressive spec sheet, running through two 5.25-inch drivers, two 2-inch full-range drivers, one ¾ tweeter and two 3-inch full-range drivers.
Opting for a functional retro-modern aesthetic, compared to previous models the Apple Airpods Pro offer a better fit and hence deliver superior performance. Two black mic vents interrupt an otherwise all-white body, with a stem that’s shorter and more narrow than previous versions; an efficient balance between form and function. Lightweight and comfortable, the Apple Airpods Pro are not only compact and reliable but use a new iOS Setting called “Ear Tip Fit Test” to account for individual differences amongst listeners. Central to this is Apple’s decision to include three different silicone ear tips, with one best suited to the unique curvature and bumps of your ear. The buds interior microphone picks up how sound hits your ear canal to suggest the ideal tips for you. Noise-cancellation and transparency modes complete this set of premium earphones.
Named as such for a very good reason, the Bose Portable Home Speaker has been engineered as a lightweight and compact audio device perfect for outdoor activities and workouts. Available in either a modern silver model or an understated black, the 7.5-inch tall, anodised aluminium speaker produces clear and articulate 360 degree sound. It also works efficiently as a smart device, working with Alexa or Google Assistant. The comfortable fabric-wrapped handle lets you carry the speaker around like a bucket, bringing a rich multi-directional soundscape with you wherever you go.
Featuring a geometric form, the Master & Dynamic MA770 is made with a concrete composite that offers acoustic benefits such as improved dampening, less resonance, and a cleaner sound. The unique design of the speaker allows it to play at full volume with no unwanted room vibrations. Stereo pairing and multi-room setups are possible, as well as standalone operation. The diamond-cut anodised aluminium control panel and removable, magnetically-attached steel grille perfectly complement the speaker’s concrete finish in grey or black.
For for the music lover who values innovation but still demands an exceptional audio experience, Sony’s LSPX-S2 Glass Sound Speaker has been engineered to fill every corner of a room with vibrant and high-resolution 360-degree sound. The unique device makes use of an organic glass tube which vibrates to bring an immaculately clear quality to the listening experience.