The 2006 <I>Stereophile</I> Products of the Year have just been revealed in the December issue. What is <I>your</I> product of the year?
Vandersteen Quatro. More like product of the decade.
Plinius SA reference
The Slim Devices Squeezebox 3. As I write this, I'm listening to the Minnesota Public Radio classical station, KSJN, streaming through my main two-channel system. Does it sound as good as an SACD or an LP? Of course not. But, for the time being anyway, the Squeezebox has really brought back the pure enjoyment of just listening to music, which somehow got lost in the audiophile quest for sonic perfection.
Denon 3930CI DVD-V/DVD-A/SACD/CD player.
I haven't heard anything new this year. Even the equipment I have purchased is from years past. I am enjoying the new headphones that just arrived five minutes ago. But I know the Sennheiser HD 280 Pros have been out for a while. If we can count equipment that came out at the end of last year, though, I would certainly have to say the Ray Samuel's Audio Emmeline The Hornet headphone amp is one of the best pieces of gear I have ever owned.
Bellari VP126 tube phono preamp. I got one for my birthday and it's sweet. But then I said, "No! I asked for a Fer-arri not a Bel-arri." Nobody laughed. Hi-fi humor.
Didn't buy anything last year. Did I say that? What the heck, who am I and what did I do with myself?
V-Cap by Chris VenHaus. Moves audio forward in time.
The iPod; it is a device that has reached critical mass like no other portable device that came before. It is a device for the music lover (but it's not nearly exotic or expensive enough to appeal to many sound lovers).
The Legacy Audio Victoria LE speakers, which are large monitors with plenty of bass, incredible ribbon tweeters, and 94db sensitivity.
AUDIO RESEARCH REFERENCE 11O AMP.
Audio Research LS26 preamp.
I vote for the Bellari VP-129.
How could anyone who isn't a reviewr come up with a product of the year? Who else has enough contact with what's actually out there? Not me, that's for sure.
Black Diamond Racing's Jombo Pucks. Makes my $4000 tube amps sound like $14000.
ASR mini Basis phono.
Acoustic Zen Adagio speakers.
My product of the year is the 20th Anniversary Legacy Victoria. I heard these within the past year and no other speaker has satisfied me; I even prefer them to their big brother Focus speakers). They provided the largest soundstage and most effortless listening I have experienced.
Anthem Statement D2 Processor.
Naim Audio CDS555 CD playerludicrously expensive but it takes CD replay to an unimaginable new level.
Nuforce Reference 9 SE.
The Halcro amp, of course. I've heard this thing, and believe me, there's no turning back from it. Another small problem is that I'd have to mortgage my house to buy one. So, fellow audiophiles, I don't recommend that you audition this magnificent piece of audio architecture unless you have the disposable cash to buy it.
Wilson Audio Sophia 2. Remarkable all around. Has all a music lover like me ever wants. A bit long delivery though.
My product of the year is the Eico HF-81 integrated amplifier (reviewed in June 2006). This is far and away the best value for the money, and possibly the best sounding amplifier at any price ever made--What? This isn't 1957?