From headphones to speakers to home-entertainment sound systems, technology has improved the quality of sound and the way we listen. Tune in to some of the latest innovations.
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Focal Utopia headphones aren’t for the faint of wallet. But for aficionados aiming for the ultimate headset experience, these rival the sound quality of high-end home speakers. You can almost pick out every instrument in a symphony, thanks to beryllium speaker domes that deliver an astounding 50,000 vibrations per second. $3,999. (919) 649-5018; moon-audio.com.
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Primp my ride
How far you take the sound experience in your car is up to you and your budget. The Pioneer MVH-X370BT Digital Media Receiver cranks up your mobile music to the next level, outfitting your car’s sound system to work with your smartphone, with built-in Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming. $100. (800) 421-1404; pioneerelectronics.com.
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As televisions grow to the size of movie screens, the sound quality keeps pace, along with the pricing. The Klipsch Ebony RP-150 Home Theater System is on the lower end of premium systems, doesn’t require a movie-theater-sized room to house it and boasts sound enhancements that bring movie soundtracks to life. $1,915. (888) 250-8561; klipsch.com.
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Maybe you don’t have the space or the skills to install your own home-theater system, but you want the experience. Simplify matters with the Sonance SB46M Soundbar. You get full speaker sound in one sleek, small package. The width adjusts to match displays from 50 to 80 inches. $1,750. (866) 291-2915; abt.com.
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Speak to me
Any way you like it—wired to your old-school turntable, if vinyl is your thing, or streaming music from your computer, tablet or smartphone via Bluetooth—the Audioengine HD6 Premium Powered Speakers deliver a premium sound experience at an affordable price. $749. (910) 408-5557; audioengineUSA.com.
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Ring Video Doorbell Pro keeps the traditional ding-dong chime but transforms your hard-wired doorbell into a video-alert system. A built-in surveillance camera lets you see who’s at the front door without leaving your chair, and two-way audio lets you speak with visitors. Download the Ring app to get alerts on your mobile device, even from remote locations. $249. (800) 466-3337; homedepot.com.
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Loud noises get the attention of anyone within hearing range, and that’s exactly what you want when you feel your personal safety threatened. Sabre’s Personal Alarm with Key Ring looks as inconspicuous as a memory stick, but when you need it, it screams out a siren at 110 decibels (as loud as a car horn) to scare off aggressors. $10. (800) 325-9568; sabrered.com.
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Babies like lullabies. So do you, until you’re four songs in and there’s no sleepy in sight. Let the Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine soothe your little one to sleep with 12 different calming sounds, a soft-glow nightlight and an MP3 input-in for playing your child’s favorite songs. Power with batteries or AC plug-in. $45. (800) 345-4109; graco.com.
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Grownups sometimes need a little help drifting off to sleep or just screening out unwanted sounds. The Marpac Dohm-SS Sound Conditioner sends out just as much white noise as you choose to drown out a snoring spouse, loud apartment neighbors or the pesky thoughts in your head. $45. (800) 966-6546; walmart.com.
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The gentle trickle of moving water adds a serene element to indoor spaces. The Mini Moonshadow Tabletop Water Fountain fits nicely in any room without worrying about water spills or water bills. $110. (888) 839-3597; soothingcompany.com.