Timeless Sound

The Best Luxury Wireless Speakers of 2017 (So Far)


Tech By Photo by Bang & Olufsen
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The line’s now blurred between wireless speakers and premium home theater systems. Nearly all of today’s premium wireless speakers can connect as satellites to larger audio ecosystems, whether that be by AirPlay, Play-Fi, Chromecast Audio or Sonos. (Note that that excludes Bluetooth speakers, which compress files, resulting in lower-quality audio, and don’t all play well with other systems.) The below speakers are all high-end, borderline aspirational — great for true audiophiles looking not just to stream hi-fi audio, but also add a statement piece to their interior decor.

Editor’s Note: “Wireless speaker” can be interpreted in two ways. They can either be completely wireless, meaning they’re portable and have built-in batteries, or they just stream audio. The below are the latter. They are powered speakers that need to be plugged into a power source, but stream sound wirelessly.

Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 1 and BeoSound 2

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At IFA 2016, Bang & Olufsen announced two premium wireless speakers. The BeoSound 1 ($1,495) is completely portable, boasts 16 hours of non-wired playtime and produces full 360-degree audio. In comparison, the BeoSound 2 ($1,895) is a powerful speaker system most likely meant to rival Sonos, but which must be plugged in always.

BeoSound 1
Compatibility: Google Cast, Bluetooth, AirPlay, Spotify Connect, DLNA
Portable: Yes
Battery Life: 16 hours (1)

BeoSound 2
Compatibility: Google Cast, Bluetooth, AirPlay, Spotify Connect, DLNA
Portable: No
Power: Two 2-inch midrange drivers, 5 1/4-inch bass driver

Naim Audio Mu-So Qb

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The Qb is the smaller, newer and more cube-shaped sibling of the original Naim Mu-So ($1,499). Along with its wireless connectivity, it boasts an old-school USB port and a TOSLINK port, plus a 3.5mm analog jack. The volume knob also feels great — that’s a guarantee — and pumps out beautiful hi-fi audio. Its small package packs two dome tweeters, two midrange drivers, two passive bass radiators and a custom-made subwoofer that’s driven by a 100-watt amp.

Compatibility: Bluetooth, aptX, Tidal, Spotify, Apple AirPlay and more
Power: 300 watts
Portable: No

McIntosh RS100

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The McIntosh RS100 works with DTS Play-Fi, arguably Sonos’s biggest rival, and can be integrated with a multi-room system with other Play-Fi speakers from Definitive Technology, Paradigm, Polk Audio and Wren. The bidirectional speaker has two built-in drivers (a 4-inch mid/bass woofer and a 3/4-inch titanium dome tweeter), a frequency range of 55Hz – 20,000Hz, and a distinct, retro look.

Compatibility: Spotify Connect, SiriusXM, TIDAL, Pandora, Amazon Prime, Rhapsody and more
Amplification: 60 watts of total amplification
Portable: No

Devialet Gold Phantom

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This isn’t the only speaker Devialet has created under the award-winning Phantom name, but it’s the best of the bunch. It’s finished in 22k rose gold, for one, and more importantly, it’s the most powerful compact speaker Devialet has ever created. Like its predecessors, the Gold Phantom’s vibrations make for a vibrant visual experience — and produce audio with zero distortion, zero saturation and zero background noise.

Compatibility: WebRadio, Sirius XM, Netflix, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube
Power: 4,500 watts
Maximum volume: 108db SPL
Portable: No

Sonus Faber Sf16

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The Sf16 is a grail item for many. It works on the DTS Play-Fi wireless platform and can be linked with other Play-Fi speakers, but it stands on its own as spectacularly as you would expect, for over 12 grand. It has two 5-inch bass drivers, in front and in back, and two satellite speakers that rise out from its main body. At 1,400 watts, it’s powerful, beautiful and rare. Sonus Faber will only make 200 per year.

Compatibility: DTS Play-Fi, Tidal, Deezer, Spotify and Amazon Music
Power: 1,400 watts
Portable: No