The 2002 Products of the Year Amplification
Halcro dm58 monoblock power amplifier (review) ($25,000/pair; reviewed by Paul Bolin, Vol.25 No.10, October 2002)
Runners-Up (in alphabetical order):
Boulder 2008 phono preamplifier (review) ($29,000; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.25 No.7, July 2002)
Boulder 2010 line preamplifier (review) ($36,000; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.25 No.7, July 2002)
Connoisseur Definition 4.0 line preamplifier ($16,000; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.25 No.10, October 2002)
Manley 250 Neo-Classic monoblock power amplifier (review) ($9000/pair; reviewed by Paul Bolin, Vol.25 No.9, September 2002)
Manley Steelhead phono preamplifier ($7300; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.24 No.12, December 2001)
McIntosh C2200 preamplifier (review) ($4500; reviewed by Sam Tellig, Vol.25 No.5, May 2002)
Unison Research Unico integrated amplifier ($1295; reviewed by Sam Tellig, Vol.25 No.9, September 2002)
In this year's contest, the voting was extremely close in every category but one. With its Stygian noisefloor, vanishingly low levels of distortion spuriae, and "intelligent" power supply, the Australian Halcro dm58 shifted the race into warp drive to give us a look at the future.
Paul Bolin had the pleasure of reviewing this revolutionary solid-state design, and could describe its merit only in terms of science-fiction and magic. To quote from his findings: "The dynamics, purity, and tonal transparency were beyond anything in my prior experience....Detail retrieval bordered on the supernatural....Soundstaging was superb....Depth was little short of incredible....The Halcro offered dynamic performance that mere mortal amps cannot manage...."
PB went on to declare that "the revolution has arrived," and called for decisive action on our part: "The Halcro dm58 is a paradigm-destroying component that could well justify the creation of a 'Class A+' amplifier category in 'Recommended Components.'"