Stereophile's Products of 2012 Accessory of the Year
Audio Desk Systeme record-cleaning machine ($3895; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.35 No.6)
Like the Grace m903 in our "Headphone Components" category, the Audio Desk Systeme record-cleaning machine mopped up the competition, receiving nothing but first-place votes (6) to secure a decisive victory.
Though I first saw the Audio Desk Systeme at the 2011 Munich High End Show, it was shortly after the 2012 New York Audio & AV Show that this clever accessory really gained popularity in the US. Ultra Systems, Audio Desk's US importer, had a demonstration unit at that show, and invited attendees to clean their own LPs. Stereophile's Ariel Bitran gave his entire record collection a bath. Things bubbled up from there.
For months after the New York show, it seemed that everyone I spoke to was buying an Audio Desk.
"I bought one," a speaker manufacturer told me.
"I think I'm going to get one," Stereophile's Robert Baird joined in. "Are you going to get one?"
"Do I look like Michael Fremer?"
The Audio Desk may be too expensive for meI'll stick with my tired old VPI HW-16.5but I can certainly understand why so many people have taken the plunge. The Systeme is handsome, compact, blissfully quiet, and fully automatic. Just slip an LP into its top slot, push a button, and watch it go. The Systeme uses ultrasound and millions of microscopic vacuum bubbles to clean LPsjust as an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner does for jewels. Best of all, the Systeme works on both sides of an LP at once, and the whole cleaning-and-drying process takes only six minutes. That means you have more time to listen to records.
Mikey called the Audio Desk Systeme "the most effective, easy-to-use record-cleaning machine I've ever tried." And he's tried them all. "I've never had so much fun cleaning LPs. I bought the review sample."
Of course he did.
Runners-up (in alphabetical order)
Acoustic Geometry Curve System Room Treatments (from $245.99; reviewed by Erick Lichte, Vol.35 No.2 Review)
Dayton OmniMic measurement system ($349.99; reviewed by Kal Rubinson, Vol.34 No.11 Review)
Kimber Kable 4PR, 8TC, 8VS speaker cables (from $150/10' pair; reviewed by Stephen Mejias, Vol.35 No.7 Review)
Kimber Kable PBJ interconnect (from $110/1m pair; reviewed by Stephen Mejias, Vol.35 No.6 Review)
MSR Acoustics Dimension4 Spring Trap ($909 each; reviewed by Kal Rubinson, Vol.35 No.9 Review)
Shunyata Research Hydra Triton AC conditioner ($4995; reviewed by Michael Fremer, Vol.35 No.1)
Skylan speaker stands (from $285/pair; reviewed by Sam Tellig, Vol.35 No.5)
XTZ Room Analyzer II Pro