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Nocout Punch

Tested: Nocs NS2 Air Monitors

There’s no shortage of speakers vying for your computer’s affections. The trouble is, most have land grab aspirations that put Ted Turner’s to shame. Nocs NS2 Air Monitors ($450) are precisely designed to suit even the “coziest” of desktop environments, but like any child of the information age, prefer not to be pigeonholed by any single role.

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Air superiority

The Best AirPlay Speakers

Originally designed to play music on only their own products, Apple’s AirPlay technology now allows users to stream multimedia from iPhones, iPads and computers to any enabled HDTV or speaker system via wi-fi. Because Apple now allows third parties to use their tech, myriad standalone speaker systems designed specifically for AirPlay are on the market: some are better than others, and they all span the price and design spectra. Here are our 10 picks for some of the best AirPlay speakers available.

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AirPlay for grown ups

TEAC CR-H700 AirPlay Audio Receiver

Forget the Bose — throw the AirPlay enabled TEAC CR-H700 ($700) onto a bookshelf or console and you’ve got the perfect mid-sized room system. If you’re not familiar with TEAC, all the better; if you knew about the company’s bargain basement offerings of yore, forget them. It is worth noting they’re one of the oldest…

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Putting off aires

McIntosh McAire

While iDevices flipped the consumer audio industry ass over tea kettle in a brush of a click wheel, the audiophile world stubbornly weathered the storm for years, hoping the digital compression nightmare might just vanish away in time. The introduction of the McIntosh McAire hints that convenience is gaining ground with the stuffy, stubborn niche…

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Cool Bean

Denon Cocoon

The high-end speaker dock pool, already swimming with the likes of the B&W Zeppelin, B&O BeoSound 8, and the Bose SoundDock 10, just got more crowded with Denon’s Cocoon diving in. The Cocoon, available in home or portable models, represents Denon’s late foray into the iDevice market — while they have fielded systems with docks,…

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Everything you need to live it up

Roundup: Memorial Day Weekend

Looking to make your extended weekend celebration extra memorable? Well, our editors have culled through our latest posts to help provide some last minute inspiration for your Memorial Day weekend, whether the festivities are at your place, or elsewhere. You can thank us by throwing another burger on the grill. Two slices of cheese, please….

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Dare to Stream

Logitech UE Air Speaker

Logitech has a new dog in the iOS speaker fight. Teaming up with Ultimate Ears — best known for the ubiquitous in-ear monitors you see worn by everyone from Bono to Bieber — the Logitech UE Air Speaker ($400) is a single-unit sound system whose engineers are out to prove that it has equal parts…

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Sound Choice

Pioneer VSX-822-K Receiver

Pioneer’s 2011 VSX 1021-K was the first receiver to integrate AirPlay. The company’s latest crop of 2012 receivers continues to chase the cutting edge, bringing AirPlay to all but the lowest end of the lineup. While all of the four midrange models have their own appeal, the sweet spot in our opinion is the VSX-822-K…

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Sound Off (the Hook)

Pioneer Elite SC-57 Receiver

The Elite SC-57 receiver’s ($2,100) biggest claim to fame is power. Its proprietary D3 digital amplifier assumes the throne as the most powerful amp of any multichannel A/V receiver in the industry and is the only one of its kind to receive THX Ultra 2 Plus certification. From a capabilities standpoint, this unique power plant…

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Like a G-17

Klipsch Gallery G-17 Air

AirPlay continues to invade the home and this time, packed into the Klipsch Gallery G-17 ($530) wi-fi portable speaker system. The G-17 touts four individually powered drivers: two 10-watt Tractrix-horned tweeters alongside dual 20-watt woofers alongside all the usual ports like USB and 3.5mm inputs. Charge up its batteries (or plug-in directly), and take it…

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Making Master Control Look Weak

Pioneer VSX-1021-K Receiver with AirPlay

The Pioneer VSX-1021-K 7.1 Home Theater Receiver ($550) has iPhone and iPad integration oozing out of its amplified pores. First and foremost, it’s the first midrange receiver out of the gate to ship AirPlay ready — which allows iOS and Mac users to stream music wirelessly to their main home theater system, as well as…

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Coverage Squared

Marantz SR7005 A/V Network Receiver

Packing a Medusa-like arsenal of connectivity, the Marantz SR7005 ($1,599) receiver isn’t just a brute powerhouse dressed in a sharp suit. It packs 125 watts per channel, 7.1 channel surround, audiophile-grade sonics, and a host of formats including Dolby TrueHD, dts-HD Master Audio, Audyssey processing, HDMI 1.4 for 3D, 6 HDMI inputs, Pandora, SiriusXM, Windows7,…