2019 Top Picks of the Year Top Values

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Top Values

Top Value of the Year: JBL Stage A170 Loudspeakers
(June/July 2019) Read Review

The smallest tower model in JBL's Stage speaker lineup, the A170 sports a basic look highlighted by snazzy white woofer cones reminiscent of vintage JBL designs, and clear, dynamic sound that led reviewer Michael Trei to call it "a high-contrast transducer that conveys music in Technicolor." Needless to say, at around $600, the A170 is a big speaker bargain. $600/pair, jbl.com

Finalists:

Klipsch Reference R-41M Speaker System
(April/May 2019) Read Review

Priced at just under one grand, this 5.1 speaker package from Klipsch based around its $199/pair R-41M bookshelf speaker delivered dynamic, lively sound. A great option for anyone looking to assemble a compact home theater system on a budget. $996, klipsch.com

Klipsch R-100SW subwoofer
(April/May 2019) Read Review

While Klipsch's Reference R-41M Speaker System impressed us overall with its performance/value quotient, a highlight of the system was the R-100SW subwoofer, a model featuring a 10-inch version of Klipsch's distinctive spun-copper woofer powered by a 300-watt (peak) class-D amplifier. From deep bass drum thwacks to low bass rumblings in movie soundtracks, the R-100SW handled it all gracefully. $349, klipsch.com

Vizio 5.1.4 Atmos Soundbar
(April/May 2019) Read Review

While most movie fans want to upgrade for Atmos sound, not all may want to pay a high price for it. Enter Vizio's 5.1.4 Atmos soundbar, a high-value soundbar system that delivers powerful, immersive sound plus Chromecast built-in streaming, all for under $1,000. $999, vizio.com

Jabra Elite Active 65T Wireless Earbuds
(June/July 2019) Read Review

In our True Wireless earbuds test, the Elite Active 65T was singled out as being "comfortable buds with excellent sound." HearThrough pass-through mic tech for listening in on your environment without removing the buds, and an ability to connect to Apple's iOS Health app extend the 65T's appeal. $190, jabra.com

OSD Audio Nero Studio5 Bookshelf Speakers
(August/September 2019) Read Review

For a speaker that sells for $170/pair, the Nero Studio5 offers up substantial build quality, attractive looks, and good overall sonic balance. At that low price, you can't ask for anything more. $170/pair, osdaudio.com

OSD Audio Stream-XD Integrated Amplifier
(August/September 2019) Read Review

When we paired OSD Audio's Nero Studio5 speakers with the Stream-XD in our review, we found the combo provided an affordable alternative to high-end all-in-one wireless speakers. More important, the system delivered a proper stereo soundstage. Recommended as an inexpensive way to get Tidal and Spotify streaming in a bedroom, office, or den. $230, osdaudio.com

Fluance Ai40 Powered Bookshelf Speakers
(August/September 2019) Read Review

Yet another good-looking and very affordable bookshelf speaker option, the Fluance Ai40 further distinguishes itself by offering built-in 2 x 35-watt class-D amplification and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. $200/pair, fluance.com

JBL One Series 104 Powered Reference Monitors
(October/November 2019) Read Review

The clean, dynamic sound put out by JBL's compact 2 x 30-watt powered desktop speakers left an impression, and so did the convenience features that it offers such as a front-panel volume control and mini-jack headphone output. At this price, you can't go wrong. $129/pair, jblpro.com

JBL Live 650BTNC Bluetooth Noise-Canceling Headphones
(October/November 2019) Read Review

Though he found the 650BTNC's NC to be lacking in comparison with some of the other models in our Bluetooth noise-canceling headphones group test, reviewer Stewart Wolpin commented on its "lively sonics, pronounced bass, and wide soundstage." $200, jbl.com

ZVOX AV50 Bluetooth Noise-Canceling Headphones
(October/November 2019) Read Review

The first headphones to come from the soundbar- and base-maker proved to be a high-value model that, while short on battery life, offers up decent-quality noise cancelation. A good bet for anyone looking to take advantage of a TV or soundbar's Bluetooth audio output for private TV watching. $150, zvox.com

Vizio 36-inch 2.1-Channel Soundbar System
(February/March 2020) Read Review

Cheap soundbars get a deserved bad rap for not sounding good, but this $150 offering from Vizio deviates from the norm in providing surprisingly decent performance and includes a slim subwoofer module that can be positioned flat under a couch. $150, vizio.com

BenQ CinePrime HT3550 4K DLP projector
(February/March 2020)

How much for a 4K projector? Just under $1,500 in the case of this pixel-shifting DLP model from BenQ. While we found the HT3550's contrast to be just-average for the category, the top-notch detail, brightness, and color made us want to keep watching. $1,499, benq.com

Cleer Enduro 100 Wireless Headphones
(soundandvision.com, October 2019) Read Review

Bluetooth wireless headphones sure are convenient, but that convenience means having to regularly recharge a built-in battery. Our review confirmed that these headphones really do last for the 100 hours specified by Cleer. Another plus: the affordable price. $180, cleeraudio.com

Mixcder E9 Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones
(soundandvision.com, September 2019) Read Review

Need wireless, noise-canceling headphones but are low on cash? The E9s provide satisfying sound with effective active noise canceling for 80 bucks (or less) and are appealingly lightweight. $80, mixcder.com

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