Everyone—not only gamers—should have an exemplary audio system set up, whether it be a solid TV speaker or the very best mixer for content creators, it’s guaranteed that you’re going to feel the difference after a good upgrade.
This year’s audio market had some amazing additions from all sectors of technology developers, and esteemed brands like BEACN, Raycon, RODE, Bluesound, and Sonos even made their way into our best audio solution 2023 list; a worthy selection of nominees and a great opportunity for you to quickly snag the winner of this year—the best of the best—right now.
Here are CGMagazine’s nominees for Best Audio Solution 2023
Writer: Brendan Frye
The Sonos Arc feels like the evolution of all their experience, bringing some of the best TV audio you can experience without diving into some truly expensive offerings. While the Sonos Beam is a great option for smaller rooms, the Arc brings a cinematic experience to the living room in a minimal package, making the onboard TV speakers seem truly horrible in comparison.
While the Sonos Arc is amazing at delivering audio, it is built to listen as well. With more living rooms becoming the centre of entertainment and the smart home, Sonos has wisely integrated both Alexa and Google Assistant (Although you will need to choose one) and Siri via AirPlay. Using your voice, you can do many fun commands, including turning off your TV, changing the volume, or adjusting playback as needed.
Delivering great audio, clean look, and Dolby Atmos, if you are looking for the best audio experience you can find in a soundbar, look no further than the Sonos Arc.
Writer: Brendan Frye
The Bluesound Node has a range of connections to bring your media into the system. On the back of the device, you have the option for Mini TOSLINK/3.5 mm Stereo combo, and HDMI eARC input. The Node also outputs into a range of connections, including RCA, coaxial, optical, subwoofer, and 3.5 mm, so you should be able to configure the system in a way that works best for your gear and needs. There is also the option to connect and send audio via Apple AirPlay 2 and aptX HD Bluetooth should you hate the thought of wires at all.
Audio sound quality on the Bluesound Node sounds heavenly, with the help of their next-gen 32-bit/384kHz DAC that supports 24 bit/192kHz audio processing plus MQA decoding. The DAC delivers fantastic audio no matter what you feed in, it is even better at cleaning up lower-quality audio, making some internet radio and streams sound listenable where they would be painful on many other players on the market. The Node can manage a much wider range, taking on audio all the way up to 192kHz, making for some truly fantastic listening experiences provided you have the music to push the multiroom system.
The Bluesound Node is the perfect evolution of their product range, bringing new features and performance to an already amazing device.
Rodecaster Pro II
Writer: Joe Findlay
On the surface of the Rodecaster Pro II, you have a beautifully updated LED display that is tilted up a bit for better viewing. It is also a touchscreen with haptic feedback, six faders with mute and solo buttons along the bottom and menu buttons along the top, an 8 button, 8 bank sound pad with page buttons to navigate, a record button for recording to the device, volume controls for the headphones, and what I choose to call the magic knob that controls a number of different functions in the settings, but also controls three virtual sources.
Recording on the Rodecaster Pro II is as easy as hitting the record button. Settings can be changed to make the second press of the button a pause rather than a stop, so you don’t have to stitch multiple files together if you take a break during your recording session. What’s more, the sound pad is capable of multidirectional MIDI controls, so any device that has MIDI control capability can be controlled via one of these buttons.
The Rodecaster Pro II is the single biggest leap between two generations of any piece of content creator gear that I have ever laid my hands on. It is of the highest build quality. There is so much that you can do on this machine that, at worst, matches up to some of the leading audio devices on the market with the added bonus of being one of only a handful with XLR capability. The only thing that it won’t give you is buyer’s remorse.
Raycon The Power Boombox Speaker
Writer: Clement Goh
Raycon delivers nothing less for a smooth listening experience. On paper, dual three-inch speakers blast audio. The Power Boombox Speaker is complimented by two punchy woofers on the size. This design feels classic, but does wonders for giving hardware its own space to breathe. Users can quickly piece together vocals and treble. Bass lifts tracks up on their own without overpowering. The Power Boombox Speaker pulls this off with a budget-friendly standard 20W speaker.
There’s a certain attention to detail in every corner. From the damn clean audio over Bluetooth 5.0. A large handle that makes the speaker lightweight. Down to the number of ways to use it without a phone. Existing users can find plenty of reasons to upgrade to the Power Boombox Speaker. While Raycon delivers on a surprise hit listeners never knew they needed it.
The Power Boombox Speaker by Raycon delivers exactly what users want from a highly portable Bluetooth audio product, complete with wonderful quality-of-life features that surpass its budget-friendly asking price.
WINNER: Best Audio Solution 2023 BEACN Mix Create
Writer: Joe Finday
The BEACN Mix Create is the very best of the GoXLR meeting the very best of the Elgato Wavelink. There are few creators out there who would have to sacrifice any aspect of their content by making the change. It packs all the punch of the larger mixers, but its design is compact, roughly the size of the Stream Deck XL. This is a tool that should find its way into the hands of every content creator out there.
It is also worth noting that you can control everything from within the app, not just the Mix Create. You can mute, control the faders and everything else that you can do on the hardware. To some (especially those used to software like the Wavelink), operating on the software may help you acclimate to the BEACN device.
In their first try, BEACN has created what could very well be the best mixer for content creators with the Mix Create. It has the aesthetics, the customizability, and the power to make anyone happy to own it. There was a lot of anticipation online for these devices and I am thrilled to tell you that they live up to the hype.