Hot Summer Music Gear

Hot Summer Music Gear

Digital music is obviously everywhere-smartphones, iPods, PCs, iPads, the cloud, you name it. Fortunately, there's no shortage of products that let you dock, stream, record or otherwise blast that music into high-performance audio systems. Whether it's for discovering new artists, creating your own podcast, or for your mobile office, the discerning music listener wants the best-sounding music-the best of everything possible. We've selected some of the best of the year so far.

HP Pavillion dv6t Select Edition

HP's dv6t Select Edition aims to be more than your standard powerful laptop -- it's a full-on entertainment center that easily fits into your bag. With a second generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor, Beats Audio™ quad speakers, a BrightView HD LED display and an optional Blu-ray reader/writer, the Select Edition can bring out the full glory of your favorite tunes, videos, movies and apps.

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Price: from $750

Receiver & Desktop Audio

(left to right)

Denon RCD-N7
In an age when audio receivers are relegated to home theater duties, the RCD-N7 is a compelling mix of old-school sensibilities and newfangled wizardry: It has the requisite AM/FM receiver and CD player, an iPod/iPhone dock and connects through Wi-Fi or Ethernet to a home network for listening to streaming audio services and Internet radio. The whole shebang is controllable by using a handy, free Apple iDevice app (and upgradeable to use Apple's Airplay streaming software).

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Price: $600

Yamaha TSX-70 Desktop Audio System
What separates the TSX-70 from the crop of garden-variety iPod dock/alarm clock combo units is attention to detail: Beyond its stylish, retro good looks, it's a thoughtfully designed clock and a jamming little sound system. Unlike most models on the market, Yamaha chose dimmable LED lights for the clock instead of LCD, which tend to either light up a dark room or are unreadable when dimmed sufficiently. Audio quality and power are ridiculously good for a box this small, making it a solid fit for an office or den.

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Price: $200


(clockwise from purple headphones at top left)

Justin Bieber's JustBeats Solo HD
They're a comfy, travel-centric over-the-ear model with iPhone controls built into the cable.

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Price: $200

Sennheiser's MM 550 Headphones
The 550 dispenses with cables altogether, relying on Bluetooth for high-quality wireless audio and employ active noise-canceling to block ambient offenses.

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Price: $500

Justin Bieber's iBeats
These are an an in-ear version of the JustBeats over-the-ear model.

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Price: $120

AKG's Quincy Jones Signature Q701
These target the audiophile crowd.

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Price: $480

Shure's SE425
These earphones put out unbelievable sound (and block out virtually all outside noise) and can enjoy life extension through replaceable cables.

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Price: $350

A refined in-ear model, these earwigs feature a tangle-resistant ribbon cable.

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Price: $180

Neuhaus Laboratories T-1 Amplifier

Tube amplifiers have long been the weapon of choice for finicky (and deep-pocketed) audiophiles, who preach the good word of that retro technology's sonic warmth. Listen to Neuhaus' relatively low-cost version, which connects wirelessly with Bluetooth-enabled devices (as well as through RCA, optical/Toslink and USB) and hear the difference.

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Price: from $495