The 2003 Products of the Year 2003 Budget Product of the Year
Apple iPod (See "Digital")
Runners-Up (in alphabetical order):
Atoll Electronique IN 100 integrated amplifier ($1075; reviewed by Sam Tellig, Vol.26 No.4, April 2003)
Benchmark Media Systems DAC1 D/A processor (review) ($850; reviewed by John Marks, Vol.26 No.7, July 2003)
Meadowlark Swift loudspeaker (review) ($995/pair; reviewed by John Marks, Vol.25 No.11, November 2002)
Monitor Audio Silver S2 loudspeaker (review) ($749/pair; reviewed by John Atkinson, Vol.26 No.8, August 2003)
Music Hall MMF-9 turntable (see "Analog")
Naim Nait 5 integrated amplifier (review) ($1550; reviewed by Art Dudley, Vol.26 No.8, August 2003)
NHT SB-3 loudspeaker (review) ($600/pair; reviewed by Robert J. Reina, Vol.25 No.11, November 2002)
Polk LSi7 loudspeaker (review) ($820/pair; reviewed by Robert J. Reina, Vol.26 No.3, March 2003)
Pro-Ject Perspective turntable ($999; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.26 No.1, January 2003)
Rega P3 turntable (see "Analog")
Everyone was surprised by this one.
Holding tight to their audiophile morals, Wes Phillips and John Atkinson did the unthinkable dirty deed: They went on a run with the fashionistas and rubbed shoulders with the beautiful people to get to know Apple's sexy white box a bit better. Someone had to do it. Could true audiophiles take this cute little gadget seriously?
JA found that the iPod's measured performance was better than that of many CD players, while WP was most impressed by its ease of use and lack of a single playback standard, allowing it to support even hi-rez digital files.
JA: "Excellent, cost-effective audio engineering from an unexpected source."
WP, channeling a different Apple: "Baby, you're a rich man!"
Stephen Mejias: "I still can't afford it."