Best for the Design-Obsessed: Bang & Olufsen BeoPlay A9

Sure, some may think the A9 looks more like the spawn of a DirecTV dish and a bar stool than a speaker. But the fabric-covered, button-free device is designed to act as a piece of sonic furniture, a unique marriage of sound and sight (you can either stand the A9 up on its wooden legs or unscrew them and hang it on your wall). It delivers shimmering audio, with five speakers and amps cleaning up your tunes and polishing them to a high shine so you can hear subtleties. Though bigger and bolder than the McAire, the A9's sound is slightly less refined. Bonus: Its fabric cover is available in six showy colors. [$2,700; bang-olufsen.com]