The 2004 Products of the Year Digital Source Component
Linn Unidisk 1.1 multichannel universal player (review) ($10,995; reviewed by Kalman Rubinson, Vol.26 No.12, December 2003)
Runners-Up (in alphabetical order):
Arcam FMJ CD33 CD player (review) ($2499; reviewed by John Atkinson & Art Dudley, Vol.27 Nos.7 & 11, July & November 2004)
Benchmark DAC1 D/A headphone amplifier (review) ($975; reviewed by John Marks & John Atkinson, Vol.26 No.7 & Vol.27 No.5, July 2003 & May 2004)
Burmester 001 CD player (review) ($14,995; reviewed by Brian Damkroger, Vol.26 No.12, December 2003)
Krell SACD Standard SACD player (review) ($4000; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.26 No.12, December 2003)
Lavry Engineering DA2002 D/A processor (review) ($8500; reviewed by John Atkinson, Vol.27 No.8, August 2004)
Marantz DV8400 universal player (review) ($1694; reviewed by Kalman Rubinson, Vol.27 No.5, May 2004)
McIntosh MDA 1000 D/A processor ($8000; reviewed by Sam Tellig, Vol.27 No.7, July 2004)
Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista SACD player (review) ($6495; reviewed by Michael Fremer, John Atkinson, & Sam Tellig, Vol.26 Nos.5, 7, & 12, May, July, & December 2003)
Primare D30.2 CD player (review) ($2250; reviewed by Brian Damkroger, Vol.27 No.6, June 2004)
Simaudio Moon Equinox CD player (review) ($2000; reviewed by John Atkinson, Vol.27 No.9, September 2004)
Sony SCD-XA9000ES SACD player (review) ($2999; reviewed by John Atkinson & Kalman Rubinson, Vol.26 No.12 & Vol.27 No.5, December 2003 & May 2004)
Confession: I, Stephen Mejias, am not an audiophile. I don't know how the audiophile brain works, until I started writing this feature I didn't know what kind of sandwich the audiophile eats for lunch, I don't know where the audiophile rests his tweeter at night. This is why I have John Atkinson.
JA just came over to my desk, as a matter of fact, to let me know that he'd soon be going out for a sandwich—"Curried chicken in a hero. Alert the media."—and noticed that I was working on the entry for "Digital Source of 2004." In his usual fortune-cookie-like manner, he shed some wisdom on the topic: "It's not that the Linn is necessarily the best-sounding product among this year's contenders, it's that it's a one-box solution for all of our audiophile needs." Ah-ha, sensei. The audiophile craves ease, efficiency, value, quality!
Just ask Kal Rubinson: "The Linn Unidisk 1.1 does everything that a player can be asked to do, and does it all superbly....If you just want a player that will play all stereo programs, regardless of format, with great sound, this is it."
So, as it turns out, what the audiophile desires most is not so different from what any of us desires most; that is, happiness. Happiness is exactly what the Unidisk 1.1 brought to many of our writers.