2022 was a pretty momentous year for audio gear. There were tons of new headphones, earbuds, turntables, soundbars, speakers and hi-fi year, ranging from true audiophile to budget-friendly.
Below, you’ll find the best and coolest audio products that were announced this year.
The Sony WH-1000XM5 are the company’s newest flagship noise-canceling headphones and the successor to the 2020-released Sony WH-1000XM4. The new models have been redesigned with a more lightweight body and wider earcups. They have more powerful active noise-cancellation and improved microphones for call clarity. They also have a new fast charging ability. The downside? At $400, they’re pretty pricey.
Read our review of the Sony WH-1000XM5.
The Sonos Ray is the company’s new entry-level soundbar. It costs $279, which is $180 less expensive than Sonos’s other budget-friendly soundbar, the Beam (Gen 2), but it comes with some key tradeoffs. It connects to your TV via optical (instead of HDMI) and doesn’t support Dolby Atmos; Sonos’s pitch is that it’s a good fit for people with older TVs that only have an optical connection. The Ray also lacks a microphone for smart voice controls.
Read our review of the Sonos Ray.
KEF LS60 Wireless
The KEF LS60 Wireless is the company’s first pair of active floorstanding speakers. They work very similarly to the company’s LS50 Wireless II music system (which is our pick for the best active speaker system), so you can stream music in a myriad of different ways. But the LS60 Wireless also borrow acoustics technologies from KEF’s super high-end Blade and Reference lines of speakers. Effectively, it’s an all-in-one system made for super audio enthusiasts.
Master & Dynamic MW75
Master & Dynamic
Master & Dynamic announced its newest flagship noise-canceling headphones, the MW75, which are the direct successor to the 2019-released MW65 — and they’re a big change. They have a new design, a ton of improved features (including adaptive noise-cancellation and support for a companion app) and a hefty new $599 price tag. They are one of the most expensive pairs of noise-canceling headphones out there, yes — but they are also one of the highest-quality and most beautiful.
KEF LSX II
KEF’s LSX has been one of our favorite affordable all-in-one speaker systems for years. Now the sequel is finally here. The LSX sports the W2 wireless platform found in the premium LS50 line, but not the first generation LSX speakers. The new model comes at a price bump, running $1,400 to the original LSX list price of $1,100.
Apple AirPods Pro (Gen 2)
Apple released the second-generation models of its AirPods Pro. The new wireless earbuds look pretty similar to their predecessors and cost exactly the same — $249 — but Apple has given them a more advanced H2 chipset, superior audio and twice as powerful active-noise cancellation. There are new capacitive touch controls on each earbud that allows you to adjust volume (a first for an AirPod). They have a more durable case that can wirelessly charge on a Qi charger, MagSafe charger or (most excitingly) an Apple Watch puck. They will ship with an additional size ear tip that’s “extra small.” And the case has a built-in loop that you can attach a small lanyard that Apple will sell separately.
Read our review of the AirPods Pro 2, here.
Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2
Bowers & Wilkins
The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 are noise-canceling headphones and the follow-up to the company’s 2019-released PX7. Despite looking similar, the new models have been slimmed down to make them lighter and more comfortable. Their sound quality and active noise-cancelation have been vastly upgraded. And they are B&W’s first pair of over-ear headphones that allow you to tweak their EQ settings (via a companion app). You can buy them in three different finishes: black, blue or light gray.
Bowers & Wilkins PX8
Bowers & Wilkins
The Bowers & Wilkins PX8 are the company’s flagship noise-canceling headphones and, at $699, they are the most expensive pair you can buy (other expensive competitors are Apple’s $549 AirPods Max and the Master & Dynamic $599 MW75.) The new headphones are essentially a higher-end model of the B&W’s recently released PX7 S2 ($399), with superior drivers and made of more luxury materials. They are available in two finishes: black or tan.
Teenage Engineering PO-80 Record Factory
Teenage Engineering is well-known for its creative gadgets and its latest one is no different. The PO-80 Record Factory is a unique kind of turnable because it is capable of both cutting and then playing a vinyl record. That’s right, you can connect it to an audio device (via a 3.5mm jack) and make a vinyl record. These are tiny 5.0-inch vinyl records, granted, so don’t expect to record an entire album (although there is an adapter for making 7.0-inch records). The PO-80 Record Factory is powered by USB and has its own built-in speakers; you can also hook it up to an external speaker via a 3.5mm connection.
Victrola Stream Carbon
The Victrola Stream Carbon is the first turntable that works natively with an existing Sonos speaker system. It’s a collaboration between Victrola and Sonos and, after you set it up, it’ll appear in the Sonos app just like any other Sonos component; from there, you just group it with your other Sonos speakers are — boom — you’re rocking out to vinyl. There’s no extra components needed. In addition to working perfectly with Sonos, it’s also just a really gorgeous and high-end turntable.
The Devialet Mania is the French hi-fi company’s first portable speaker. It supports both Wi-Fi (AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect) and Bluetooth streaming, and comes with Amazon’s Alexa baked right in so you can control it with your voice. It’s a true 360-degree speaker, but Devialet integrated it with ASC (Active Stereo Calibration) technology so it can automatically adjust its sound depending on where you have it; when placed in the center of a room it’ll play true 360-degree stereo audio, but when placed against a wall it adjusts to a more front-firing sound (Devialet says the latter creates a more expansive and powerful soundstage).
Audio-Technica Sound Burger (2022 Version)
Audio-Technica announced that it’s reviving its iconic portable turntable, the Sound Burger, from the ’80s — but the 2022 version will be updated with modern conveniences, like Bluetooth connectivity, a lithium-ion battery and support for USB-C charging. It’s able to play records at 33 rpm and 45 rpm speeds. It still lacks a built-in speaker, so you’ll want to pair it over Bluetooth to a speaker(s) or pair of headphones; it has a 3.5mm jack for hooking up to wired headphones or an analog system, too. Only a limited number of these modern classics will be released.
Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar Plus
Sennheiser’s original Ambeo soundbar is one of the best and most expensive Dolby Atmos soundbar you can buy; released in 2019, it’s a standalone 5.1.4 soundbar with 13 dedicated drivers. The company announced a smaller version of that exact soundbar this year. The new Ambeo Plus soundbar packs nine total drivers (two are up-firing to create a truly immersive experience) and comes in at $1,000 cheaper.
The Sony LinkBuds are wireless earbuds with an innovative design: there’s a physical hole to let outside sounds in. The idea is that it’s like an always-on transparency mode, so you can hear your music while also the world around you. Additionally, the LinkBuds are among the smallest wireless earbuds you can buy. They’re available in either white or black.
Sony LinkBuds S
The Sony LinkBuds S are the company’s newest wireless earbuds and they are designed to fill the mid-range gap between its entry-level LinkBuds ($178) and its flagship WF-1000XM4 ($280). Despite their name, however, the LinkBuds S share a lot more in common with Sony’s high-end buds than the basic model. The have noise-canceling and transparency modes, and they support Sony’s high-resolution (LDAC) audio files. A downside? They lack wireless charging.
Read our review of the Sony LinkBuds S here.
Bluesound Powernode Edge
Bluesound has announced a smaller, less powerful and more affordable version of its Powernode wireless streaming amplifier. The Powernode “Edge” works much the same way as its larger sibling; it connects to a pair of passive loudspeakers and allows you stream to them via a range of wireless options: Bluetooth aptX, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and Roon Ready. It also supports a number of wired connections, including HDMI eArc for a TV. The difference is that the Edge can deliver 40-watts per channel (compared to the Powernode’s 80-watts), and thus is better equipped for smaller loudspeakers.
Sonus Faber Omnia
Sonus Faber, an Italian high-end audio company, announced its newest all-in-one wireless speaker: the Omnia. It’s essentially a newer and more affordable of the company’s $10,000 SF16 that was released in 2016. The Omnia has a similar shape and wood-and-aluminum design as the SF16, but it’s smaller, less powerful (490 watts vs 1,400 watts) and lacks SF16’s fantasy motorized arms (aka wings) that widen the sound stage. The good news is that at $2,000, the Omnia is quite a bit more affordable. Plus, it packs a lot more wired and wireless connectivity options so you can listen to music basically however you want.
Marantz Model 40n
Marantz released a new integrated amplifier, the Model 40n, that’s designed to drive high-end loudspeakers — it can deliver 70-watts per channel at 8 ohms — and be the central hub of your new-age hi-fi system. The Model 40n supports most a wide variety of connectivities, both wireless (including Spotify Connect, AirPlay 2, Tidal Connect and Bluetooth) and analog (HDMI ARC, phono, optical and coaxial).
KEF announced its first pair of wireless headphones with active noise-cancellation — the Mu7 — and at $400, they’re designed and priced to compete with other flagship noise-canceling headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM5. The Mu7 sport custom 40mm drivers and support for aptX HD for high-end sound. They get their unique industrial design (made out of aluminum) thanks to partnership with Ross Lovegrove, who has helped KEF design a number of its super expensive loudspeakers. Available in two different shades of grey: silver or charcoal.
Pro-Ject E1 Turntable
The Austrian hi-fi maker has introduced a new entry-level turntables, named E1, which stays true to the company’s ethos of using high-quality components. Each model has a true sub-platter design, a solid MDF plinth and comes with the Ortofon OM5e cartridge (which costs roughly $70 on its own). Pro-Ject will offer the E1 turntable in three different configurations: one bare bones (E1, $349), one with a built-in phono preamp (E1 Phono SB, $399) and one with a Bluetooth audio transmitter (E1 BT, $499).
Beyerdynamic announced second-generation models of its Xelento Remote (pictured, $999) and Xelento Wireless ($1,199), which are wired and wireless (neckband-style) in-ear headphones, respectively. And they don’t come cheap. The two models pack the same 11mm dynamic drivers, gold-plated connectors and silver-plated cables. The Xelento Wireless support Bluetooth 5.2 and promise 14 hours of playtime.
Price: $999 (Remote); $1,199 (Wireless)
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II
Bose announced the second-generation models of its noise-canceling wireless earbuds. Compared to the 2020-released QuietComfort Earbuds, the new models have a completely new design that’s noticeably smaller, plus Bose has drastically improved the noise-cancellation and transparency modes; in fact, Bose claims that these have the “world’s best noise cancellation” of any true wireless earbuds.
JBL Bar 1000
The JBL Bar 1000 is a unique Dolby Atmos soundbar mainly because it has battery-powered side speakers that are designed to be detached — yes, detached —from the soundbar and used as rear-channel speakers. These are upward-firing rear-channel speakers, too, meaning they can create an even more immersive Dolby Atmos experience. In total, the JBL Bar 1000 is a 7.1.4-channel home theater system that’s packaged as a single soundbar. Pretty cool.
Bowers & Wilkins 700 S3
The Bowers & Wilkins 700 S3 is the company’s third-generation line of 700 series loudspeakers. The line includes a total of eight loudspeakers — including three floor-standing speakers, three stand-mounted speakers and two center-channel speakers — and they all borrow technologies of the company’s high-end line of 800 Series Diamond speakers, but deliver them in a slightly more accessible package.
Price: $1,500 (center-channel) — $7,000 (floor-standing)
The French hi-fi company released its first-ever soundbar, the Dione, and it’s a monster. It’s designed as an all-in-one 5.1.2-channel system, complete with 17 drivers (including two up-firing for Atmos), and packs a Death Star-looking “orb” in its center that — which is an active speaker — that can rotate and shoot audio in a more central direction. It’s one of the most premium Dolby Atmos soundbars out there.
Sonos Sub Mini
The Sub Mini is a smaller and more affordable version of Sonos’s existing Sub; it costs $429 and weighs 14 pounds, while the larger Sub costs $749 and weighs just over 36 pounds. The Sub Mini works much the same way as the Sub, adding bass to a Sonos home theater or speaker system, but it’s specifically designed to be paired with Sonos’s smaller soundbars and speakers, like the Beam (Gen 2), Ray or a stereo pair of Ones. The only downside is that you can only pair one Sub Mini with a Sonos soundbar, unlike the Sub which you can pair two with Sonos’s flagship soundbar, the Arc.
Marantz CD 60
Marantz is showing love to the true audiophiles who still adore the warm and rich sound of CDs. The company’s newest CD player blends a modern look with advanced circuitry, and it’s designed to integrate well with the other high-end components in your hi-fi system. It addition to playing CDs, it has a USB-A port (located on its front panel) that allows it to play of a vast array of digital files( including MP3, WMA, AAC and WAV, FLAC) from a connected USB storage device. Marantz is advertising it as the perfect partner for its Model 40n integrated amplifier, which it announced earlier this year.
Ultimate Ears’s second pair of wireless earbuds, the UE Drops, are significantly higher-end than the company’s 2020-released UE Fits. Like before, the UE Drops are custom molded to your ears to they provide a very secure fit. But the new wireless earbuds promise far superior sound quality thanks to their 9.2mm drivers (which are more on par with the company’s line of IEMs). And they have more premium features, such as a transparency mode (but no active noise-cancellation) and a wireless charging case.
Nothing Ear (stick)
The Ear (stick) the Nothing’s second pair of wireless earbuds, which are essentially a more budget-friendly alternative to the company’s Ear (1), which were previously $99 but as of today are now $149. The Ear (stick) lack the silicone eartips and a lot of the more premium features of the Ear (1), such as noise-cancellation and wireless charging, but they come with lower price tag and a fancy tubular charging case that you can more easily slip into your pocket.
Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2
The Cambridge Audio Alva TT V2 is the second-generation of the Alva TT, which was released in 2019, but the “V2” model has a few key upgrades, including an improved tonearm with a detachable headshell (in case you want to upgrade later on) and a switchable phono stage. Like its predecessor, the Alva TT V2’s standout feature is that it’s capable of wirelessly streaming high-resolution audio (up to 24-bit/48kHz) over Bluetooth to a compatible amp, speaker or headphone.
Focal Utopia (2022)
Focal announced an upgraded version of the super high-end Utopia headphones that it first released in 2016. The new open-back cans have an updated and more lightweight design (the earcups also have a new honeycomb pattern on them), but they also boast improved sonic performance thanks to new M-shaped drivers and M-shaped grills that, according to the company, enable “even clearer and more accurate musical reproduction.” The only real downside is the Focal increased the price of the new models by about a grand.
Denon PMA-900HNE Integrated Amplifier
The Denon PMA-900HNE is the company’s first integrated amplifier that has HEOS, Denon’s wireless multi-room streaming platform, baked right in. This allows the PMA-900HNE to wirelessly connect with any HEOS-enable wireless speakers or soundbars. Additionally, the stereo amp can deliver 85 watts per channel, is capable of high-resolution playback (up to 24-bit/192kHz), and supports Bluetooth and AirPlay 2 streaming as well.
Bose Music Amplifier
The Bose Music Amplifier is a straight-up competitor to the Sonos Amp. It works basically the same — designed to power two passive bookshelf speakers and then integrate them into your multi-room audio system with Bose’s (instead of Sonos’s) other wireless speakers and soundbars — and it costs the same delivers the same amount of power (125 watts per channel) as the Sonos Amp.
Bowers & Wilkins Panorama 3
The Panorama 3 is Bowers & Wilkins’ first-ever wireless soundbar that supports Dolby Atmos — and compared to its other high-end wireless speakers. it’s actually pretty affordable. At $999, the Panorama 3 is a direct rival to the likes of the Sonos Arc ($899) and Bose Smart Soundbar 900 ($899), and it has pretty much all the same features. It connects to your TV via a single HDMI eARC connection, supports Wi-Fi streaming (including AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect) and you integrate Alexa and turn it into a smart soundbar.
Pro-Ject Automat A1 Turntable
Pro-Ject, the Austrian hi-fi company is best known for its high-end yet affordable turntable, announced its first-ever fully automatic turntable: the Automat A1. It’s decked out with high-quality components — including an Ortofon OM10 cartridge, 8.3-inch aluminium tonearm, metal platter, wooden chassis and a built-in phono preamp (switchable) — but, because it’s fully automatic, it’s so simple that a vinyl neophyte can easily get it up and running.
McIntosh MDA200 D/A Converter
The McIntosh MDA200 is an audiophile-grade DAC. It features the same DA2 digital module that’s in McIntosh’s MA12000 integrated amplifier and C2700 and C53 preamps, but it gives you the freedom to have it in a standalone device. This makes it easier and cheaper (although if you’re shopping in this high-end realm money is probably not much of a factor) to upgrade your home’s hi-fi system later down the road.
Sennheiser IE 600
The Sennheiser IE 600 is the company’s newest audiophile pair of in-ear headphones. They’re extremely durable, made of an advanced metal (ZR01 amorphous zirconium, which is actually the same material that drilling head of the NASA Mars Rover is made out of), and have a similar shape and many of the same acoustic attributes as the company’s even higher-end IE 900 ($1,299).
Sonos Roam SL
The Roam SL is a microphone-less version of the company’s current ultra-portable speaker, the Roam. The downside of this is that it can’t hear your Alexa or Google Assistant voice commands. It also doesn’t support Automatic Trueplay, meaning it won’t optimize its sound for the space it’s in. The good news it’s exactly the same as the Roam in basically every other way, and it’s $20 cheaper.
Meze Audio 109 PRO
The Meze Audio 109 Pro is the Romanian hi-fi company’s first pair of dynamic open-back headphones. They’re designed to be super lightweight and comfortable, but yet they’re also made with premium materials — like wood, steel and leather — so they’ll feel pretty lavish. The 109 Pro are modeled after the company’s well-loved 99 Classics ($309), but they have an all-new beryllium coated dynamic driver that promises rich, detailed and accurate sound. At $799, they are open-back headphones for budding audiophiles looking to make the jump into the world of serious hi-fi.
Yamaha hasn’t been a big player is the high-end headphone market for some time, but it’s aiming to change that with then its new YH-5000SE. The company’s new flagship headphones are designed for true audiophiles (and people with deep pockets). They take design inspiration from the 1970s, but combine that modern acoustic technologies such super-thin and lightweight Orthodynamic drivers. And they even come with two types of earpads, suede or leather — so you can choose.
Pro-Ject Vinyl NRS Box S3
The Vinyl NRS Box S3 is a niche component for your turntable setup. It’s meant to go between your phono preamp and amplifier (or powered speaker). It then filters and reduces the noise (the crackles and skips) that a turntable picks up because the record is slightly damaged or warped. Available in black or silver finishes.
The Audioengine DAC3 is a tiny portable USB-C DAC/amp that’s designed to squeeze that extra quality out of your smartphone or laptop. It packs a ES9281A PRO DAC and supports high-end lossless audio (up to 32-bit/384kHz including MQA files); it looks to be a perfect and relatively budget-friendly option for people who like to listen to Tidal (or another lossless streaming service) and who have a pair of high-end wired headphones.
Polaroid is temporarily jumping out of the realm of instant film cameras and into portable Bluetooth speakers. That’s right, the company announced four different Bluetooth speakers — the P1 ($60), P2 ($130), P3 ($190) and P4 ($290) (from left to right: starting from the smallest and most affordable to the largest) — that each have a colorful-yet-retro flair. They work like most other portable Bluetooth speakers (although none are rugged) but the kicker is that each works with the company’s new companion app (Polaroid Music), which allows them to stream a number of different radio stations.
Price: $60 — $290
Astell&Kern A&ultima SP3000
Astell&Kern has announced its new flagship portable hi-fi player, the A&ultima SP3000, and it is luxurious. It’s made of high-end 904L stainless steel, just like a Rolex watch, and has gorgeous and large (5.46″) touchscreen. It is decked out with a new high-end DAC (AK4499EX) and should support pretty much any lossless audio codec (up to 32-bit/768kHz). It runs an Android operating system so accessing your lossless service —be it Qobuz, Tidal or Apple Music — should be a breeze.
Fluance Ai81 Floorstanding Speakers
The Fluance Ai81 is a powered floorstanding speaker system that has a built-in 150-watt amp and DAC, and it has several wired and wireless connectivity options. Thanks to built-in Bluetooth, you can stream music right from your smartphone or computer — no receiver required. You can connect an integrated turntable (has to have a built-in preamp) directly to the speakers via its analog inputs. And it has an optical connection so you can connect the speakers directly to your TV.
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
Sennheiser released the Momentum Wireless 4, its newest flagship pair of noise-canceling headphones. They have a new, lightweight and more-traditional design compared to their 2019-released predecessors (the Momentum Wireless 3). The boast improved sound quality and noise-cancellation, but maybe the improvement is battery life. The Momentum Wireless 4 have an incredible 60-hour battery life, which is roughly three times the battery life of most other flagship noise-canceling headphones.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
Sennheiser’s new flagship wireless earbuds, the Momentum True Wireless 3 (or MTW3 for short), have a pretty different design to their predecessors (the MTW2) — they’re less bulbous and look more similar to the company’s more affordable CX ($80) and CX Plus ($130) wireless earbuds. They promise superior active noise-cancellation and improved mics for call quality. They also now have a case that supports wireless charging.
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3
Ultimate Ears announced a new version of its tiny portable speaker. The Wonderboom 3 is basically identical to the 2019-released Wonderboom 2 in every way. It’s the same size and shape — it still floats, too. It has the same control buttons and the same tiny carrying strap. It still charges via micro-USB (unfortunately). And it still costs $100. The differences? UE improved the Bluetooth range (by about 30 feet) and battery life (by 1 hour).
Pro-Ject X8 Evolution
The Pro-Ject X8 Evolution is a new belt-drive turntable that the Austrian hi-fi company claims is a “true high-end solution.” It has many features that have been adapted from its existing audiophile-grade turntables, the Xtension 9 and Xtension 10, all of which are designed to create an isolated and stable hi-fi system. The X8 is available in one of three finishes: white, black or walnut. Pro-Ject also announced two high-end phono preamps, the Phono Box DS3B ($799) and Phono Box S3B ($499), as well.
Price: $2,399 (w/o cartridge); $2,699 (with Sumiko Blue Point NO. 3)
PSB Passif 50 Loudspeakers
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, PSB released the Passif 50. They are passive stand-mounted loudspeakers look similar and pay homage to the company’s Passif II loudspeakers that were first released in 1974. However, PSB completely updated the guts of the Passif 50 — new tweeter, new woofer and passive radiator — so that they meet the acoustics standards of PSB’s modern high-end speakers.
Klipsch ProMedia Heritage 2.1
Klipsch brought the vintage appeal of its famed Heritage speaker line to a set of desktop speakers. The company’s new ProMedia Heritage 2.1 is a 2.1 system that consists of a pair of powered speakers and a wired subwoofer, and they look like miniature versions of Klipsch’s iconic Heresy loudspeakers. They even have a real wood finish. It’s designed as a plug-and-play desktop system, but it also support Bluetooth for simple music streaming.