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We Pick The Best Sound Products For 2010

By The SmartHouse Team | Thursday | 03/12/2009

Whether making the most out of the home cinema experience or rocking out on the train with your headphones, sound has become a huge part of our entertainment lives. This year, we saw the introduction of digital radio and Internet radio found its way to more devices. AV receivers also appeared that are smarter and better integrated with networking features.

Click to enlarge
Best Subwoofer
Velodyne SPL1000 ultra  
www.revolutiontechnologies.com.au |$2299
This 10-inch forward firing subwoofer takes things a step further than its competitors by not only offering quality but ease of use, with a dedicated remote control and a front control panel allowing you to make fine adjustments on the fly from the comfort of your couch.

Highly Recommended
Tannoy TS12
www.syntec.com.au | $1349


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Best Receiver Over $1,000
Pioneer VSX-LX52
www.pioneer.com.au | $1999
This receiver offers many features that rival devices twice its price. It has multi-zone audio, 1080p scaling and an iPod dock, and is THX certified. Not only that, it also looks sexy, with its polished black metal and large dimmable display.

Highly Recommended
Yamaha RX-V765
www.yamahamusic.com.au | $1599

Click to enlarge
Best Speakers Over $10,000
Focal Grand Utopia 111 EM
www.lenwallisaudio.com | $269,000/pair 
While it may well be beyond the means of most people, there is no denying that these are easily the best speakers on the market at the moment, perhaps even ever made.  They are massive speakers, standing at two metres tall, and they produce unparalleled audio clarity.

Highly Recommended
B&W CM9 Theatre
www.e-hifi.com.au | $4499


Click to enlarge
Best Speakers Over $5,000
PSB Synchrony One
www.audioproducts.com.au | $6999  
In its price bracket, these speakers offer a much richer audio experience that their competitors. They can produce excellent bass and rich mid tones. They don't have the dynamic range of their more expensive brethren, but they will definitely impress most users.

Highly Recommended
Sonus Faber Minima Vintage
www.internationaldynamics.com.au | $5699

Click to enlarge
Best Speakers Under $2,000
Dali Lektor II 
www.dali.com.au | $895 
For a small form factor speaker, these produce a much richer and enticing sound than you would expect. They aren't terribly brilliant when it comes to bass, but, considering their size, these bookshelf speakers outperform their competitors at this price point.

Highly Recommended
www.e-hifi.com.au | $799


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Best  Soundbar 
B&W Panorama
www.e-hifi.com.au | $2999 
As far as simulated 5.1 audio goes, this is the best sound bar we have heard. It uses positioned speakers to bounce audio off the walls to make it sound like you have a 5.1 setup. Everything from deep bass to high treble is reproduced with exceptional clarity and the surround effect is exquisite.

Highly Recommended
Yamaha YSP-4000BSWi
www.yamahamusic.com.au | $3299

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Best Home Theatre Speakers
B&W MT-25
www.e-hifi.com.au | $2594  
Marrying the M1 satellite speakers with the ASW608 sub-woofer works surprisingly well. While a compact system, they don't lack any of the shortcomings from which many smaller speaker systems tend to suffer and can produce sound that is far beyond much more expensive systems.

Highly Recommended
Jamo S606HCS6
www.qualifi.com.au | $2999


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Best CD Player 
Marantz CD6003
www.qualifi.com.au | $999  
You can't fault this player when it comes to the audio it can produce. It is capable of delivering fulfilling range and is able to control the dynamics in music quite well. For the quality it delivers, the pricing is remarkably cheap, especially when you compare it to similar players.

Highly Recommended
Linn Classik Music

Click to enlarge
Best Multi Room Audio System
This system is far more advanced that the usual multi-room media streaming devices.  Its strengths come in how customisable it is and how automated it can be. Because the system is modular, it can act as a simple music playing system or configured to include home automation features.

Highly Recommended
Colorado VNet


Click to enlarge
Best iPod Docking Station
B&W Zeppelin Mini  
www.e-hifi.com.au | $599
The original Zeppelin has been the leader in the iPod dock category since it was released, and this new model, with reduced size, continues that tradition. In a market crammed with mediocre units, the Zeppelin mini shines as it is able to achieve exceptional volume and clarity.

Highly Recommended
Bose SoundDock 10
www.bose.com.au | $999

Click to enlarge
Best Portable Music System

iPod Touch
www.apple.com.au | $268-$549  
It is fairly obvious why the iPod has won this year. Apple has created innovative technologies that make its players work brilliantly ,but the support through the iTunes store and the attractive design makes it stand out from its competitors and is why Apple's products are so highly sought.

Highly Recommended
Samsung YP-P2
www.samsung.com.au | $319 (8GB)


Click to enlarge
Best Headphones 

Sennheiser HD800
www.syntec.com.au | $2399 
The price of these headphones is enough to make most people balk but, when you hear them for the first time, it is easy to see where that money has gone. They can deliver everything from rich bass to high treble with ease and clarity much better than their competitors.

Highly Recommended
Etymotic Research HF5
www.vistra.com.au | $219

Click to enlarge
Best Wireless Headphones

Beyerdynamic RSX-700 
www.audiotelex.com.au | $ 507 
These headphones stand apart with their superior sound quality and design. They are comfortable to use, look great and produce good volume and sound fidelity.  Considering how accurate the sound reproduction is on them, they are reasonably priced too.

Highly Recommended
Sennheiser RS 180
www.syntec.com.au | $599.95


Click to enlarge
Best Outdoor Speakers 

Boston Acoustics Voyager 7 Outdoor Speakers
www.hifivideomarketing.com.au | $1499
These speakers overcome the challenges of delivering audio outdoors thanks to a powerful one inch tweeter coupled with a loud but clear seven inch woofer. Combine that with its sturdy weather resistant design and it's no wonder it is best in category.

Highly Recommended
Bose 251 environmental speakers
www.bose.com.au | $799

Click to enlarge
Best In Ceiling Speakers 

Stealth Acoustics FX8
www.qualifi.com.au | $1399  
For those wanting the minimalist approach to home theatre, these speakers are the perfect option. They are invisible without compromising on audio quality. The FX8 wins this category simply because of all the in-ceiling speakers available, they sound the best.

Highly Recommended
Speakercraft CRS 8 Series


Click to enlarge
Best Multi Channel Receiver

Denon AVR 3310
www.audioproducts.com.au | $2999  
Denon also wins for this category as well, simply because nothing else comes close to the features it has on offer. With its multitude of HDMI ports and the ability to set up multi-room zones, it really is the ultimate receiver on the market at the moment.

Highly Recommended
Pioneer SCLX90
www.pioneer.com.au | $13999

Click to enlarge
Best Integrated Amplifier

Cambridge Audio Azur 650A
www.synergyaudio.com | $799
While there are other amps on the market that out perform this unit, the value for money here wins out overall. For bass and mid tones, the audio fidelity on the Azur is exceptional, but treble is a little bright at times. However, for the best bang for your buck, you can't go past this unit.

Highly Recommended
Gryphon Atilla
www.advanceaudio.com.au | $14,500


Click to enlarge
Best Digital Radio

Pure Sensia  
www.pure.com/au | $749
Many digital radios do pretty much the same thing, but the Sensia is much more than just a radio. In addition to its touchscreen and impressive futuristic style, it is also a network music player. There is also an iPod dock accessory that essentially turns the unit into a speaker system as well.

Highly Recommended
Sangean WFR-1D+
www.sangean.com.au | $699

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