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Building the Ultimate High-End Home Entertainment System

From special-edition turntables to cosmic speakers, this audiovisual equipment will take your home-listening experience to a whole new level.

A photograph of Beosound A5 Shop at Bang & Olufsen

AS SOMEONE WHO has spent most of his life obsessing over music and movies, it’s not surprising that I’m equally concerned about my home-entertainment gear — the speakers, headphones, turntables, and high-definition projectors that can make or break an experience. After years of trial and error, during which I have continuously rebuilt, reconfigured, and overthought my own audiovisual setup, I’ve come to realize that optimizing your home-entertainment system may be a little like chasing the horizon. As soon as you think you’ve reached the final milestone — say, finding the perfect soundbar and speakers that wirelessly link to your giant high-def television and receive Bluetooth transmissions from a turntable in another room — you are invariably confronted with something newer and better. That said, my current arrangement is as close to ideal as mortals can get. Here are the pieces that have taken my audiovisual experience to an entirely different level, all while transforming my space. Yes, something better may eventually come along, but this is the farthest spot on the horizon for now.

Shop at Bang & Olufsen

Beosound A5

Bang & Olufsen are the masters of marrying high-end design with ultimate audio fidelity. The new Beosound A5 is a portable speaker that just happens to look like a chic wicker basket. Cute as it may be, it packs a considerable punch in terms of volume and adaptability. The speaker scans the room to optimize its output and pairs seamlessly with other B&O products to create perfectly layered surround sound. In addition to a 12-hour battery life and a built-in charger for your other devices, the A5 is dustproof and water-resistant, which means you can (and should) take it with you. SHOP NOW

Shop at Bowers & Wilkins

Nautilus Speaker

Arguably one of the most famous speakers ever created, Bowers & Wilkins’ iconic Nautilus recently celebrated its 30th birthday. Equal parts art object and audio device, the speaker takes its name and form from the spiral-shaped mollusk and comes in three different shades. Every speaker is hand-built, is individually painted and polished, and looks like a true museum piece. Considered the holy grail of speakers by devoted audiophiles, the experience of listening to a favorite old record on one of these beauties is like nothing else on Earth. SHOP NOW

Shop at Sennheiser

Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar

The best pair of headphones I’ve ever owned were made by Sennheiser, which is why, when it came time to invest in a quality soundbar to go with our new television, I landed on the Ambeo. I wanted the experience of surround sound without actually having to pack my tiny Brooklyn living room with multiple speakers, so the Ambeo, which has eight separate speakers contained in one seamless object, was the obvious choice. The bar delivers deep bass without a subwoofer and is so powerful that I’ve never been able to turn it up more than halfway without alarming my downstairs neighbors. SHOP NOW

Shop at Epson

Epson Pro Cinema LS12000 Home Projector

As more people abandon traditional televisions in favor of home projection systems, there are now a dizzying array of high-end home projectors flooding the market. According to my filmmaker friends, this Epson is the next best thing to a movie theater. It’s capable of displaying a 4K picture with incredible brightness by utilizing an all-new “Laser Array Light Source.” While I don’t claim to understand what that means, I do know that this setup can make watching an old rerun of “90210” look like a million bucks. SHOP NOW

Shop at Linn

Linn Sondek LP12-50

Scottish audio company Linn is known for creating some of the world’s most exquisite turntables, but this year, they took things a step further with their collaboration with the tech design masters at LoveFrom. Individually hand-constructed in a limited run of 250 units, the Sondek LP12-50 is quite possibly the finest turntable ever made. Composed of a base assembled from pressure-treated beech and Linn’s signature hardware, it’s an object as beautiful as it is functional. And if you can’t get your hands on one of these limited editions, Linn’s other turntable offerings are no less sublime. SHOP NOW

Our Contributors

T. Cole Rachel Editor-at-Large

T. Cole Rachel is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and teacher with over 20 years of experience working in print and digital media. He is currently an editor-at-large at Departures.

Claire Jung Illustrator

Claire Jung is an Art & Design Intern at Departures. She is a New York-based creative that has a love for art and literature, and finds joy in endlessly browsing bookstores to find a good read or interesting cover design.

Departures and American Express do not provide, endorse, or guarantee any of the items, and the sale of such items is governed by the third-party seller’s policies, terms, and conditions.

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