Headphones, speakers, and soundbars: the best audio tech we heard at IFA 2019

(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

IFA is always a great time to check out the latest in headphones, speakers, soundbars (and just about any other audio gadgets you can think of), and IFA 2019 was no exception. 

We didn't see much in the way of groundbreaking, never-seen-before innovation; instead, the pervading trend at IFA 2019 was for brands big and small to build on their existing technology, making their products better than ever before.

So, without further ado, here's the very best audio technology we saw at Europe's biggest tech show this year. 

(Image credit: Future)

The best speaker: Sonos Move

Sonos has everything from soundbars to imposing architectural wireless speakers, but until now, it's never released a portable Bluetooth speaker. 

Having waited this long, Sonos needed to release something really special to fill this gap in its range, and it has – the Sonos Move impressed us with its flexibility, ranging from on-the-go portable playback to being part of an in-the-home multi room set-up.

Read our hands on Sonos Move review

(Image credit: Anker)

The best soundbar: Anker Nebula Soundbar – Fire TV Edition

Not content with being embedded into smartphones, tablets, web browsers and your home's smart speakers, Amazon is continuing its push into televisions – and surprisingly, soundbars

The Anker Nebula Soundbar – Fire TV Edition comes with Fire TV built-in, so that means you can use it to watch Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, and more. It also contains the smarts of Amazon's voice assistant Alexa, so you can navigate your TV with your voice alone. 

Sound-wise, it's got dual built-in subwoofers, so it should sound pretty bassy, while a 2:1 channel design means you get room-filling sound.


(Image credit: Audio-Technica)

The best turntable: Audio-Technica AT-LP5x 

We’ve had only the briefest of sessions with the AT-LP5x, but even at this early stage it’s hard to find fault – there’s a commitment to good materials, the ability to digitalize your records, and a flexibility for adding other audio components of your choice that makes for a turntable that will grow along with your love of vinyl.

The lack of Bluetooth connectivity may put off those who want to avoid frustrating their speaker setup with annoying cables, but even so, that wired connectivity is usually seen as a plus within the audiophile community, many of whom believe it offers a higher level of audio quality.

Read our hands on Audio-Technica AT-LP5x review

sony headphones

(Image credit: Sony)

The best headphones: Sony WI-1000XM2

Sony has a fantastic reputation for creating outstanding noise-canceling headphones, and the brand is hoping for another win with its new WI-1000XM2 wireless neckband earbuds. 

The new headphones build on the class-leading design of their predecessors, packing in an updated noise -cancelation processor – the same one that's used in our all-time favorite true wireless earbuds, the Sony WF-1000XM3s. 

Noise cancelation is excellent, and the sound quality on offer appears to be very good indeed based on the short time we spent testing them – battery life could be better, though. 

Read our hands on Sony WI-1000XM2 wireless headphones review

(Image credit: Future)

Special mention: Philips OLED+984 TV

You may be surprised to find a TV in an audio round up, but the Philips OLED+984 is like no other, sporting the most advanced sound system ever fitted to a television.

The OLED+984 immediately sets itself apart from your average set thanks to a protruding tubular tweeter enclosure that nestles above a hanging soundbar-style main driver array – created in partnership with British audio specialist Bowers & Wilkins.

That unique design means that you don't need to shell out for an additional soundbar, making it easier than ever before to achieve a fantastic home cinema setup in your living room.

Read our hands on Philips OLED+984 review

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.