From the confines of their recording studios, three of the industry’s most sought-after producers lend their ears and expertise to test this season’s sweet new audio gear.
The Los Angeles-based two-time Grammy winner is best known for his work with Frank Ocean, Zayn, Lorde and Lykke Li. In 2018 he launched his own label, Britannia Row Recordings.
"Being a user of vintage recording and stereo equipment, I felt at home upon unboxing this. Aesthetically, it fit right into my world. [The music] felt warm and lush -- not typical for most small Bluetooth speakers I’ve listened to." KLIPSCH The Three tabletop stereo system, $499; klipsch.com
"Call me old school, but I’m probably part of the .01 percent of folks who still enjoy music through traditional speakers. I’ve never felt inspired to listen to or create music [through headphones], but I was pleasantly surprised to see Adam was making these; we finished production on Channel Orange on their S3H-Xs. The headphones sound right to me: nothing hyped, not compressed." ADAM Audio Studio Pro SP-5 headphones, $499.99; sweetwater.com
Grammy-winning producer, engineer and mixer whose credits span music from John Prine, Margo Price and Jason Isbell. Ross-Spang’s Southern Grooves Productions studio is in Memphis.
Wireless Home System
"Sonically this speaker is fascinating. Listening to hi-res audio, it retained the dynamics we work so hard to capture in the studio. There was a pleasing top end and a definite hype to the bottom end. I found the bass to be a little too loud until I changed the EQ settings in B&O’s app. Different surfaces and placements in the room really altered the sound, so I highly suggest moving it around till it speaks best to you." BANG & OLUFSEN Beosound 2, $2,250;
"Visually this radio is classic and timeless. The green lights when you find a station are the sugar on top. For [a unit] this size, though, there will be compromises. This little feller is a small mono speaker that gets quite loud, albeit with distortion, [and is] a little too bassy at times. But I enjoyed having it on the nightstand and tuning into WEVL, Memphis’ amazing volunteer radio." SANGEAN WR-16 radio, $109; amazon.com
"I really liked how good this sounds. I tested the system by first listening to some tracks I’m familiar with. Once I got my head around the levels, I started wearing it -- which still takes getting used to -- while washing the dishes . The bass is quite intense that close to your body. I like this best as speakers for watching movies from my laptop." BOSE Soundwear companion speaker, $299.95; bose.com
"If I’m honest, I’m not a fan of putting anything in my ears that has the potential to become detached and lodged in there. But I appreciate that [these headphones] have different size earbuds to allow for flexibility and have the option of silicone or foam earbuds, which I much prefer." FENDER Pro IEM Nine 1, $249.99; fender.com