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.