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High-end Wi-Fi hi-fi

In recent years, the "high-end" wireless speaker category has blossomed in response to demand from cashed-up audiophiles craving the convenience of a "hi-fi in a single box".

Taking the lead from the likes of Sonos and the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin these models can cost anywhere from $500 to over half a million. They can support the most up-to-date standards including Apple AirPlay 2, Chromecast built-in, Bluetooth 5.0 and even voice.

The following pages feature some of the best, and also some of the most bizarre, high-end wireless speakers available today.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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McIntosh RS200

McIntosh has dipped its toes into wireless speakers before with the RS100 but now it's shouting "cannonball!" with the RS200. This $3,000 speaker offers not one but two VU meters and a pleasing "floating" design. It offers support for AirPlay 2, DTS Play-Fi and Bluetooth and also allows you to connect it to your TV via HDMI.

Published:Caption:Photo:Van Zandbergen Photography
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Klipsch The Three with Google Assistant

Klipsch's The Three with Google Assistant might be affordable by high-end standards at $500 but it offers some features the others can't. 

First it comes with a built-in voice assistant and Chromecast. And second... I mean, just look at it. It's got a beautiful mid-century modern look with a real walnut top and bottom and an old-school cloth grill. And it doesn't sound bad either.

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Sonus Faber SF 16

At $10,000 or so, the Sonus Faber SF 16 is definitely in the upper stratosphere when it comes to wireless speakers. But what makes it truly special is a unique pair of retractable arms which house the mid-range drivers and tweeters .

Published:Caption:Photo:Ty Pendlebury/CNET
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Cotodama Lyric Speaker

The $4,500 (£3,500) Cotodama Lyric Speaker is part karaoke machine, part wireless speaker. The Lyric Speaker offers a transparent front panel which can display lyrics for over 2 million songs. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Cotodama
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Master & Dynamic MA770

A wireless speaker made of concrete? You'd better believe it. Master & Dynamic's $1,600 speaker features both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity and was dreamed up by the designer of the National Museum of African History in Culture.

Published:Caption:Photo:Master & Dynamic
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Devialet Gold Phantom

The Devialet Gold Phantom is a high-end wireless speaker with a somewhat-crazy 4,500 watts of power. True to its name, it features 22-carat rose-gold flourishes and costs a cool $3,000 (£1,690 or about AU$3,050). We ran a brief demo in the CNET office and it sounded better than the previous Phantoms we've tested, including...

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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Devialet Silver Phantom

This Devialet Silver Phantom, which will set you back a cool $2,350. Like the Gold Phantom and the "vanilla" Phantom, the Silver one features a pressurized design that the makers liken to a bomb. It features a quirky setup routine -- "gently touch the Phantom" -- and streams Spotify Connect, and over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew / CNET
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Naim mu-so

The original Naim mu-so is a $1,500 tabletop radio with a drop-dead gorgeous design and high-end performance. While it could act as a sound bar for your TV, you wouldn't want to put anything on top of it due to its distinctive weighted volume-knob-come-control-panel.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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Naim mu-so Qb

The $1,000 Naim mu-so Qb is a is a cut-down version of the original. It features a lucite base, uniquely modern lines and a giant touchscreen with a volume knob on top.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless

Where the first Zeppelin was an iPod dock, this $700 Zeppelin Wireless has dispensed with proprietary connectors entirely in favor of a more egalitarian option. This high-end speaker comes with Bluetooth, AirPlay and Spotify Connect, and it sounds good to boot.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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Polk Audio Woodbourne

One of the original credenza-style wireless speakers, the Polk Audio Woodbourne debuted in 2013 for $600. Its Bluetooth-only design places it behind the more advanced Wi-Fi models, but it's comparatively reasonably priced at $300.

Published:Caption:Photo:David Carnoy/CNET
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Eclipse TD-M1

The wireless Eclipse TD-M1 is a wireless, desktop stereo speaker system worth $1,000. While it features Wi-Fi and AirPlay, you can also connect anything you like to its 3.5mm input.

Published:Caption:Photo:Ty Pendlebury/CNET
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OneClassic2

The OneClassic2 is a self-contained, fully wireless speaker. It's a stereo speaker pair that features an acrylic construction. While the company suggests the speakers are rugged and portable, at $3,680 you may be more comfortable leaving them on a side table.

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​Dynaudio Xeo 2

At $1,600 the wireless Dynaudio Xeo 2 isn't the craziest speaker here, but it's the performance rather than the price or design that makes the Xeo 2 stand out. CNET's Audiophiliac reckons they're "the sort of speaker a seasoned audiophile could love."

Published:Caption:Photo:​Dynaudio
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House of Marley One Foundation

The House of Marley One Foundation features a distinctive thick slab of oak and offers a number of different streaming and connectivity options.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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Sonos Play:5

While not as "fancy" as some of the other speakers here, the latest Sonos Play:5 brings with it the heritage that inspired many high-end wireless speakers. It isn't decorated with bits of gold, and it doesn't even have Bluetooth. But its performance is excellent performance and it's amazingly easy to use.

Published:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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McIntosh RS100

Another entrant in the $1,000 compact hi-fi speaker category, the McIntosh RS100 is based on DTS' Play-Fi standard. This standard makes it more compatible with other manufacturers such as Polk, Definitive Technology and even Rotel.

The McIntosh has a unique look with a typically macho VU meter and silver knobs.

Published:Caption:Photo:McIntosh
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HiVi MS-2

Looking more like a can crusher than a wireless speaker, the $4,600 HiVi MS-2 is truly one of the weirdest designs I've come across. It's a 2.1-channel system, somehow, and includes both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.

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​KEF LS50W

A wireless alternative to the well-received KEF LS50, this pair of $2,200 speakers adds onboard amplification in addition to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The KEF system offers a tightly integrated sound and its ability to serve directly from high-end Roon software makes it a 21st-century jukebox.

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Sonos for audiophiles

The Bluesound family of products is brought to us from the minds behind NAD and PSB and has a number of features Sonos doesn't. First is support for hi-res music. Second is a dedicated CD ripper and server called the Vault 2. 

Published:Caption:Photo:Bluesound
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Stairway to Bevan

No high-end wireless speaker roundup would be complete without this tower of ridiculousness: The AeroDream One from Jarre Technologies. 

This gleaming iPhone dock and aptX-Bluetooth speaker -- last valued at $560,000 -- requires a ladder to reach the top. This particular one is pictured with electronic musician and designer Jean Michel Jarre.

Published:Caption:Photo:Thomas Deron/Jarre Technologies
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