What’s old is new again — at least in the high-end world of hi-fi. Vinyl now outsells CDs, prompting a trickle-down effect to all manner of gear.
Today, audio components are capable of both analog and wireless playback. And while they may feature upgraded technology, their design stays true to their roots, embracing a vintage look and feel. Especially in speakers, a category where wood, cloth and foam have returned in force, along with large knobs that invite you to touch them.
Unlike the understated design of a Sonos speaker, which is meant to blend in to your home, these retro-inspired designs are meant to stand out — loud reminders of a time that’s come, gone and back again.
Sonus Faber Omnia
The Omnia is a luxurious all-in-one speaker that supports seemingly every type of playback, both wired and wireless. It’s designed as a more affordable alternative to Sonus Faber’s SF16, a $10,000 wireless speaker released in 2016. The Omnia shares a similar shape and gorgeous wood-and-aluminum design — both of which were inspired by the company’s Snail, an iconic system from 1980 that was made entirely out of solid wood — but comes in at a much more manageable price tag. You can think of this Omnia as a Sonos Five on steroids, and with a lot more visual appeal.
Ruark R5 Music System
Ruark Audio has a history that dates back to the mid-’80s and its newest line of speakers, the R Series, embraces the look and vibe of that time. The R5 is an all-in-one speaker that has a wooden veneer and a fabric grill, but maybe the most retro thing about it is its built-in CD player. Aside from that, it has a variety of wireless and analog connectivity options that make it a wonderful all-around wireless speaker that’s fit for a streamer and vintage audio lover.
Tivoli Music System Home (Gen 2)
Nobody pulls off the classic radio look like Tivoli Audio. Released in 2021, the second-generation Music System Home is an all-in-one wireless speaker that oozes old-school flair and boasts all the conveniences of modern streaming as well as a few other new tricks like AM and FM radios. It’s a speaker that truly looks like it’s from the ’60s. It’s available in three different wood finishes and has a fabric speaker grill. The only thing that doesn’t look vintage is the round screen that tells you what song is playing. Which, if we’re being honest, is a nice addition.
Marshall Uxbridge Voice
Marshall is well known for its guitar amps and speaker cabinets from the ’70s and ’80s and, in recent years, it has released more mainstream speakers that resemble its iconic amps. The Marshall Uxbridge Voice, for example, is basically Marshall’s take on the Sonos One. It’s a smart speaker that can work with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant (although you need to buy a specific model for each), but it has all the flair — woven silver grill, black body and golden accents — of a mini guitar amp. And yes, it rips.
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