Best budget stereo speakers

At $279 for a pair, the ELAC America Debut B6 speaker offers excellent sound and fantastic value for money. No other speaker at this price can match its all-around capabilities.

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Best stocking stuffer

For only $35, the Chromecast Audio is one of the easiest and best ways to get streaming music services out of your phone and into your stereo. Buy a couple of these and you have a ready-made multiroom music system.

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Step-up streaming music

While speakers such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home have flashier features, the original Sonos Play:1 "smart speaker" combines excellent sound quality with the powerful Sonos interface. If you're feeling generous, you can get two of these for stereo sound.

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Best all-around receiver

The Sony STR-DN1070 is a talented all-arounder offering excellent home theater and music performance. It offers excellent value for money, and thanks to Google Cast support can be combined with the Chromecast Audio for a multiroom system.

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The LG SH7B is a wireless sound bar and subwoofer combo which offers excellent performance and wealth of connectivity options. While you can get cheaper sound bars, few sound this good.

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Best sound bar for music fans

It's not the prettiest-looking sound bar, but for $400 there's nothing that sounds as good as the Pioneer SP-SB23W. The included subwoofer is tiny and wireless, plus there's built-in Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming.
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Best midrange speakers

The ELAC Uni-Fi UF5 is a three-way loudspeaker that offers tremendous performance for the money. It has the best sound we've heard for under a grand.

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Best home theater receiver for cheap

The Yamaha RX-V481 is a 5.12 receiver that features four 4K-compliant HDMI inputs and multiroom streaming capabilities. It offers very good sound quality and costs less than $400.

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Surround sound for less

Buying a whole surround-sound speaker set can be expensive, but the Boston SoundWare XS 5.1 is relatively affordable for a 5.1 set. It's exceptionally compact and sounds great for its size.

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Great starter turntable

At $179, the U-turn Orbit Basic is a great beginner audiophile turntable. It offers striking good looks and is easy to set up and use.

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Editors' Rating

MSRP: $179.00

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Best software for music nerds

If you have a digital music obsessive in your family, then Roon offers the kind of tweaking usually reserved for vinyl record collections. It offers a staggering amount of features including seamless integration between, say, iTunes libraries and the Tidal streaming service. It's the best music software we have ever used. While a lifetime membership is a costly $499, a one-year subscription is a more-affordable and gift-friendly $119.

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Photo by: Screenshot: Ty Pendlebury/CNET

MSRP: $499.00

Membership: $499
or $199/year

Best high-end sound bar

The Definitive Technology W Studio system is a $1,200 sound bar that offers very stylish looks and excellent sound quality. The bar also uses DTS' Play-Fi for access to a wide range of streaming services and multiroom music capabilities.

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