7 Audio gadgets you'll love
What's summer without great music? Make sure it accompanies you wherever you go with these superb audio gadgets
Marshall Stockwell II
If you’re after something that’s half-pint-sized-tank, half-speaker, yet compact and ready for any kind of adventure, Marshall’s Stockwell II Bluetooth speaker might be the one for you. Everything about this gadget is rock 'n' roll: from the muscular metal grill to the water-resistant, silicone-finished cabinet, it’s one indestructible, damage-proof little powerhouse that’ll make the perfect companion for wherever life takes you this summer: a camping trip, a music festival or even the beach.
Stockwell II is also super-easy to use: the volume, bass and treble control knobs are bulky and simple to navigate, featuring a battery life display that won’t keep you guessing how much juice the speaker’s got left—which, more often than not, will be a lot! Stockwell II's battery life is really impressive, lasting up to 20 hours without charging and featuring a quick-charge feature that’ll give you six hours of playback from just 20 mins at the plug. A holiday must-have, if you ask us!
Ruark R5 Music System
The height of sophistication in terms of both sound and appearance, the Ruark R5 Hi-Fi Music System is a show-stopping luxury that’ll easily become a conversation point whenever you have guests over. Featuring a stylish retro design that comes in either rich walnut brown veneer or soft grey lacquer, Ruark R5 will graciously blend into any room of your house and become a surefire mainstay.
Naturally, it has a jaw-dropping sound to match. Designed as an all-in-one system, Ruark R5 features a multi-format CD player, DAB/FM and internet radio tuners, as well as support for aptX HD Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi streaming—you can hook it to your turntable too! The resulting sound is rich, all-encompassing and warm, and is at its most satisfying when paired with deliciously smoky low frequencies, like balmy basslines and sensual brushes of Bossa Nova. We listened to Antonio Carlos Jobim and Frank Sinatra’s collaboration on the genre staple, “How Insensitive” and had our mind blown.
KEF LS50 Wireless Music System
Looking for a really functional audiophile system that’ll deliver big sound without taking up half of your house? The KEF LS50 Wireless music system won’t disappoint. Their award-winning acoustic features include an FEA-designed cabinet, Uni-Q driver, constrained layer damping bracing, precision-engineered curved baffle and elliptical flexible sound port—all of which eliminate cabinet vibration and sound radiation, ensuring the sound is well-rounded and crystal-clear. The system elevates all frequencies with equal precision, meaning it excels at emphasising the subtlest gems that could get normally lost in the background, like delicate string sections in classical pieces or concealed loops and buzzes on your favourite electronic track.
The system is also incredibly easy to set up and use, ready for action as soon as it’s out of the box. There’s a vast choice of inputs ensuring that you can connect it to almost any music streaming device you can think of, including 2.4GHz/5GHz Dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 with the aptX codec, Asynchronous USB Type B, TOSLINK Optical, and RCA Analog. You can connect up to 12 devices in total, including a maximum of eight Bluetooth devices and you can switch between audio inputs conveniently. Effortless!
Marshall Major III Bluetooth Headphones
As you’d expect with any Marshall product, the Major III Bluetooth headphones combine superb audio quality with simple but elegant design. With three sumptuous shades of brown, black and white to choose from, they boast an aesthetically pleasing, curvaceous look that’s nevertheless sturdy and adaptable, including—one of our favourite features—a collapsible design, meaning they’re the perfect travel companion as you can easily fit them into your backpack without them taking up too much space.
The audio quality is also something to behold: emphasizing every smallest sound, Marshall’s attention to detail is consistently superb: from potent bass, to toothsome highs via sleek mids, it won’t disappoint you no matter what you listen to. Put on a favourite song that you’ve heard a thousand times before and you're still bound to discover little new sonic morsels that you’ve never noticed before.
Loewe Klang M1 Bluetooth Speaker
If, like us, you have days that you just spend shuffling around the house—cleaning or cooking—but like to constantly have your music or podcast on whichever room you go to without switching between devices, this compact and stylish little speaker will become your best friend. With its soapdish size and a solid leather strap, it’s easy to carry around and will fill any space you’re in with resonant, warm sound and a powerful volume kick that’s hard to believe coming from such a small package.
But, most importantly, this mini speaker is pure eye candy! It comes in three colours: silver, graphite grey and, our favourite—a sexy rose gold—applied through a High Tech PVD process, which makes them both sturdy and stunning. We also love the conveniently broad control buttons with pleasingly colourful LED light indicators which mean you'll never need to fumble looking for the play button. Finally, Klang m1 boasts an outstanding play time of up to 12 hours, making it the perfect companion for summer days spent in the garden or just an exciting and practical gift for the music lover in your life.
Klipsch R5 Neckband Headphones
The words “elegant” and “subtle” don’t immediately spring to mind when you think of neckband headphones and the ugly, plastic shape they usually come in. And yet, Klipsch’ new R5 headset offers pure class and simplicity. With its premium-quality stitched leather strap that smartly sits on your neck or under your shirt collar, these headphones are miles ahead of all its competitor equivalents. The earplugs are soft, fit snugly in your ear, filling it with deep, reverberant and well-isolated sound—just make sure you pick the right-sized ear tip first! The bass is incredibly impressive for a pair of earbuds and the mic is equipped with a voice-enhancing function for extra efficiency when taking phone calls on the go or in noisy environments.
Another delightful thing about this headset is its refreshingly reliable Bluetooth connectivity—the headphones are simple to use, with instant, automatic pairing and a steady, uninterrupted Bluetooth connection. The intuitive controls are ridiculously easy to locate and navigate without looking, and the vibrating neckband will ensure you’ll never miss an important call—everything taken care of.
Marshall Stanmore II Bluetooth Speaker
If you’re a sucker for an old-school 1960s retro look when it comes to your audio gear, you’ll fall head over heels for Marshall's cool Stanmore II Bluetooth speaker. Contained within a sturdy wooden casing wrapped in sumptuously textured vinyl and featuring a silver-grey fret, it’s certainly easy on the eye and will instantly become an inseparable stylish accessory to any room of your house. Even the adjustment knobs are a thing of beauty: generously sized, brassy and equipped with indicator lights, they make using this speaker an utter pleasure that feels incredibly tactile and, as a result, nostalgically old-fashioned.
But if swiping and tapping is what you're about, fear not. All you need to do is download the Marshall app and everything is instantly at your fingertips, including an equaliser to adjust the sound to suit whichever room you’re in, the option to connect and switch between two Bluetooth devices or pair with Alexa for voice activation.
The sound is incredibly powerful, loud and boasting amazing bass that’ll bring out the best in your favourite gutsy blues tracks or rock anthems, but never overshadowing the rest of the sound, with bright highs and pronounced mids. We listened to a bit of industrial and loved the enhanced, belly-shakingly-low guitar riffs on some of our favourite Einstürzende Neubauten tracks.