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Tech Gift Guide: Four audio components that make sound come alive

As much a piece of art as it is a speaker, the elegant BeoPlay A9 is a single speaker solution that can fill an entire room with sound.

jeppe sorensen

Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A9 ($3,000;

As much a piece of art as it is a speaker, the elegant BeoPlay A9 is a single speaker solution that can fill an entire room with sound. And because it can play music using your home wireless network, you don't have to worry about ugly cables dangling all over the place. The A9 performs as wonderfully as it looks. You change the volume by simply swiping your hand across the top of the circular speaker; muting occurs by resting your hand on top. If you don't have the floor space to accommodate the earthy tripod stand, just hang the speaker on a wall next to your other modern works.

Panorama 2 sound bar ($2,200;

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This sound bar from Bowers & Wilkins is a single speaker solution for your home entertainment system. The Panorama 2 has nine speaker drive units that give you a surround-sound experience without all the boxes. Three HDMI inputs mean you can plug in multiple devices, like a digital video recorder, Blu-ray player and video game console. The streamlined design is enhanced by its display, which stays dimmed and imperceptible until your hand approaches, when the front control panel slowly illuminates.

Samsung audio dock ($700;

Beautifully crafted with a sophisticated, cherry wood design, the DA-E750 uses old-school vacuum tube technology to eke warmer, more natural sounds from digital audio. A built-in subwoofer provides deep, resonant bass. It accommodates nearly any mobile devices with a dual-docking system, and wireless and Bluetooth connectivity means you can stream music from nearly anywhere in the house.

Sonos wireless hi-fi (

These simple and flexible devices are speakers and more. They connect to your wireless network, allowing you to place them nearly anywhere you've got a power outlet. They allow you to stream your entire music library from your computer. You can also access radio stations and other music services. The Play:3 ($329) can be oriented horizontally or vertically and the Play:5 ($449) includes a line-in. A wireless sub-woofer ($749) is also available. You can control the speakers independently, playing music in the bedroom while having talk radio on in the kitchen, for example. Best of all, you can manage the devices with your smartphone.

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