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2006 Year-end Grab Bag

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Onkyo D-TK10 Guitar Speakers
Nottingham Space Deck Turntable
Bel Canto Design e.One PRe3 Preamp and e.One S300 Amp

Where has the year gone? It’s already time to review the past 12 months and choose a few interesting audio products we’ve somehow managed to overlook that can make the at-home jazz experience just a little more satisfying. It’s certainly a mixed bag of holiday toys this year: One employs an old idea in an entirely new context, another struts cutting-edge technology, while a third takes a treasured format closer to its zenith.

The Onkyo ( D-TK10 Guitar Speaker ($1995/pair; available only through Onkyo’s online store with a 30-day guarantee) was designed by Onkyo in conjunction with renowned guitar-maker Takamine, but don’t be misled: These are not intended to amplify a guitar. Rather, they are so named because the enclosure’s construction is more like an acoustic guitar than a typical speaker box. Instead of a thick, dense, acoustically dead cabinet, the Guitar Speakers sport thin mahogany walls, braced along the inside edges to provide strength-just as in guitar construction. According to Onkyo, the objective was to “reproduce the natural sound of an accomplished musical instrument.” The idea is that if an artisan-made guitar produces a desirable musicality and tone, then a speaker fashioned in a similar manner might produce music with similarly pleasing, organic musical qualities.

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