Stereophile's Products of 2007 2007 Product of the Year
Ayre Acoustics MX-R monoblock power amplifier
Runners-up (in alphabetical order)
Chord Choral Blu CD transport & Choral DAC64 D/A processor
Focal Electra 1037 Be loudspeaker
JL Audio Fathom f113 subwoofer
Krell Evolution 600 monoblock amplifier
Logitech Slim Devices Transporter WiFi D/A processor
Pioneer S-1EX loudspeaker
Shindo Masseto preamplifier
Simaudio Moon Evolution P-8 preamplifier
Simaudio Moon Evolution SuperNova CD player
Sonus Faber Guarneri memento loudspeaker
Wilson Audio Specialties WATT/Puppy 8 loudspeaker
This year's "Product of the Year" category found an extraordinary nine products winning first-place votes, spanning nearly the entire spectrum of prices and component categories, from the JL Audio Fathom f113 powered subwoofer ($3400) to the Krell Evolution 600 monoblock power amplifier ($30,000/pair). One very special piece of kit, the Shindo Masseto preamplifier, actually received three-and-a-half votes. I'm not sure if that's even possible, but there you have it. It all goes to show that what makes a product "high-end" is its devotion to meeting the needs of audiophiles and music lovers, an undeniably diverse bunch. Indeed, there is hi-fi component out there to be had for each and every one of us.
This year's prestigious winner might even be the amp that all audiophiles can love. Eight of our 15 reviewers placed their bets on the sexy, powerful Ayre MX-R monoblock. Perhaps what makes the Ayre most extraordinary is the way it obliterates the usual audiophile distinctions separating solid-state from tube designs. Said Wes, "it was fast as the dickens" while also being "unusually clean in its retrieval of detail." It was "free from added color," but was also "capable of delivering convincing stereo solidity." It appeals to the inner audio geek, it has that certain lust factor, and it makes beautiful music. It's our 2007 Product of the Year. Congratulations to Charlie Hansen and everyone at Ayre Acoustics, and thank you.