We're listening to music wrong. Many of our home entertainment systems feature 5.1 surround sound speaker systems that make us feel like we're immersed in movies and games. But most music is created for stereo (left and right front speakers) only, and spreading out your tunes to the center and surround units only messes with the mix.

If you listen to music most, do yourself a favor and downsize your home theater – and upgrade your listening experience – with a pair of GoldenEar's Aon 3 stereo speakers. These bookshelf-sized units play music with such clarity that you'll immediately hear what you've been missing.

The Aon 3s provoke an emotional reaction to great music. You know speakers are special when they make the hair rise up on your arms. On a recent test session, this pair of stereo speakers reproduced the challenging vocal range of Luciano Pavarotti so realistically, we thought he was singing in front of us.

Just a bit larger than typical bookshelf models, the Aon 3s pack a lot into each unit: In addition to a tweeter and mid-bass woofer, the speakers include two separate bass woofers on the sides. These create rich tones throughout the spectrum of sound, from the crunch of distorted guitars to the warmth of the human voice. The speakers even have enough oomph to handle the hefty bass requirements of video sound better than some 5.1 surround systems. [$1,000 per pair; goldenear.com]