Our Favorite Tech: Andrew's Picks
With hundreds of headphones and speakers to choose from, how do you know which one’s worth it? The answer, more often than not, comes down to a matter of preference.
As one of World Wide Stereo’s Product Specialists, I get the chance to talk with music lovers and movie enthusiasts every day about the electronics we sell, the brands we represent, and which products might be best for their needs.
I’m a musician with a background in video production, so I live and breathe music and tech. Since I have a personal, hands-on connection with how something should look or sound (whether it’s a guitar lick or a classic film like Lawrence of Arabia), I tend to prefer gear that reproduces audio and visuals as naturally as possible, as opposed to an enhanced version of it. And I think the products listed below pass that test with flying colors. Here are some of my personal favorites, from headphones to bookshelf speakers to projectors.
Audeze’s iSine 20 in-ear headphones are by far, my favorite purchase I've made. Ever. The iSine 20 sound is as full as it is detailed, and creates the best soundstage I’ve heard from earbuds. The bass extends down to 10Hz (for my fellow audiophiles out there), which is rare for a pair of in-ears. The effect it creates is akin to a live concert. Whenever I throw these headphones on and play Andre Manoukian’s "Apatride," the soundstage is so clear, I can literally hear the bass over on the right side of the room. And despite their size, Audeze's iSine 20 headphones are very light and rest gently on my ears. I could go on and on, but I recommend you check 'em out yourself.
$599 | Shop now >
When it comes to great TV audio, there are two things everyone looks for: big bass and clear dialogue. While almost any sound bar is a definite upgrade from your TV’s built-in speakers, some simply rise above the rest. For me, it’s the Denon HEOS sound bar.
From the app controls to the streaming capability, there are a ton of convenient, cool features. But it really just comes down to the audio, and I love how this sounds. The HEOS sound bar delivers clean, detailed dialogue and sound effects, as well as smooth and mellow tones so it’s natural and authentic. When watching Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens last weekend, I completely forgot I was watching a movie. Sure, the Millennium Falcon flew before my eyes, but I heard it breaking the speed of light all around me. My imagination was completely free to get caught up in a fantastic film. That’s the kind of stellar experience the HEOS bar helped create.
$899 | Shop now >
I’m a movie guy, through and through. And a great TV or home theater projector is the ultimate for anyone who’s as obsessed with cinema. These days, I’m really into Sony projectors, like the VPL-VW285ES. And here’s why: No one does 4K and HDR content as faithfully or effectively as Sony. It has everything to do with the research and development of their equipment. Sony holds itself to a higher standard when testing their projectors, using real video content to ensure they deliver great picture quality. So 4K content like Disney’s Moana will look equally as vibrant and brilliant at home as it did in theaters. Sony's VPL-VW285ES also comes in at under $5,000 — which is a steal for what you get from this projector.
$4,998 | Shop now >
When I first listened to "I Need a Dollar" by Aloe Bacc on Dynaudio’s Xeo 2s, I was astounded. For a pair of bookshelf speakers, they deliver a truly audiophile experience that rivals a pair of floorstanders. And the reviews I’ve read all seem to agree, too. No matter what music I put through them, every single song sounded incredible. Even the bass performance was strong and impressive. After playing a few songs, I immediately had visions of these Dynaudio speakers on a pair of stands next to my TV... and then on a bookshelf in my office (and you can be sure they’ll be the next addition to my home). Plus, Dynaudio’s Xeo 2 bookshelf speakers feature optical and RCA connections, so they make a phenomenal hybrid stereo system that’s perfect for music and movies. Win-win!
$1,299 | Shop now >
Hands down, the NAD C368 is my favorite amplifier. One of the most versatile pieces of equipment I’ve seen, this amp from NAD Electronics boosts audio from a variety of sources — vinyl records, CDs, streaming music files, Bluetooth-enabled device, you name it — with incredible clarity. Packing a respectable 80 watts per channel behind its minimalistic faceplate, the audio quality captures the smooth soaring sound of analog amplification, while also providing the punchy detail of digital. (NAD is pretty magical in that way.) So whether I’m in the mood for "St. Thomas" by Sonny Rollins on vinyl or Beck's "Heart is a Drum" on TIDAL, I can switch sources and get the same powerful audio without compromise.
$899 | Shop now >
What I'm listening to...
Whenever I demo a pair of headphones or speakers, there are a few songs I always play — like the ones I mentioned from Beck and Sonny Rollins. Wanna listen to them all? I created this Spotify playlist featuring my favorites just for you — check it out!