A Starck Difference

    Speakers rank among the most derided of home furnishings?loved for their sound but hated for their look. Parrot’s Zikmu audio system is sure to earn greater affection, though. The $1,500 speakers, designed by Philippe Starck, exude a simple elegance no bulky wooden box could achieve. Key to the system’s appeal is its wireless design: Each speaker has only a power cord. An iPod or iPhone can be docked atop one of the speakers, and music from a computer can be streamed from the iTunes application to the Zikmu through a Wi-Fi network. Music from other cell phone brands can be streamed using Zikmu’s built-in Bluetooth wireless technology. Each of the slim, self-powered speakers contains an NXT flat-panel driver that emits sound both forward and back, plus a downward-firing woofer in each speaker delivers surprisingly deep and satisfying bass. A molded carrying case allows you to carry Zikmu on vacation. (248.354.5400, www.parrot.com)

    —Brent Butterworth

    As digital audio formats become more challenging to navigate, here are some key factors to consider…
    The creator of some of the world’s most beautiful speakers adds to its 3-year-old Venere series…
    Digital audio has become increasingly complex, but the new dCS player and DAC epitomize ease of use…
    With captivating colors and hyper-rich resolutions, these top TVs put on quite a display…
    The multidisciplinary dream team at Constellation Audio has done it again…
    The state-of-the-art converter plays nearly any audio format…
    The sleek amplifier utilizes proprietary circuitry to ensure the cleanest possible sound…
    The distinguished audio manufacturer has put big amplifier technology into a small package…
    The new Bluetooth music pod stands out as an innovative leader of compact luxury audio systems…
    The N100H incorporates two different hard drives for improved sound playback…