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AudioFiles: Gear of the Year

The best and boldest audio products released in 2016

Amazon Echo Dot II music streamer
Amazon Echo Dot II music streamer
Audeze iSINE 10 headphones
Audeze iSINE 10 headphones
AudioQuest DragonFly Black DAC/headphone amp
AudioQuest DragonFly Black DAC/headphone amp
Bose QuietControl 30 noise-cancelling headphones
B&W 804 D3 tower speaker
ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 bookshelf speaker
ELAC Uni-Fi UB5 bookshelf speaker
Fluance RT81 turntable
Fluance RT81 turntable
Micromega M-One 100 integrated amplifier
Polk BOOM Bit Bluetooth speaker
Polk BOOM Bit Bluetooth speaker
Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones

Audio experts may look back on 2016 as a turning point: the year an Internet company passed decades-old, legendary brands to become the biggest seller in audio. That’s right—Amazon is now the number-one speaker brand in the U.S., earning a 26-percent market share just two years after entering that market. Most of Amazon’s success can be attributed to its introduction of the first viable voice-command speaker, the Echo.

Time will tell if Amazon’s competitors can catch up, but for now, the storied audio brands can take pride in having packed 2016 with extraordinary products that deliver better sound quality, better value, more features or all three. Here are some of my favorites.

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