Stereophile's Products of 2016 Overall Component of 2016

Overall Component of 2016

Wilson Audio Specialties Sabrina loudspeaker
The Wilson Audio Sabrina impressed RD with its seriously good bass, its ability to create a soundstage that's "wide and deep, with images on it precisely defined," and its ability to sound far larger than it is—and impressed the rest of us for offering Wilsonian levels of quality at a price that, while not exactly cheap, is a lot more affordable than we might have expected. That the entry-level Sabrina can travel via UPS instead of freight truck is icing on an already very nice cake.


Notes on the vote: Again, we see a first-place winner garner almost twice as many votes as the runner-up—and again, we see the DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/93 take second place! (Remembering that it took Ronald Reagan a number of tries to win the Presidency, I can only wonder if 2017 will be the O-rang's year.) The third-place winners, with only one point fewer than the O/93, are the far smaller but no less animalistic AudioQuest DragonFly D/A headphone amplifiers. Also notably, the DragonFlys were the only winners that placed in three categories. (The Wilson Sabrina, DeVore O/93, and Elac Debut B6 loudspeakers each placed in two.)

Finalists (in alphabetical order)

Audeze LCD-4 headphones
AudioQuest DragonFly Red & Black D/A headphone amplifiers
AudioQuest NightHawk headphones
Bowers & Wilkins 802 D3 loudspeaker
Chord Hugo TT D/A processor
DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/93 loudspeaker
Lyra Etna SL phono cartridge
Marten Coltrane 3 loudspeaker
Nordost Valhalla 2 Reference interconnects & speaker cables
PSB Imagine T3 loudspeaker
Simaudio Moon Evolution 780D D/A processor
T+A Elektroakustik DAC8 DSD D/A processor ($3995, reviewed by Jon Iverson in October 2016, Vol.39 No.10 Review)
TotalDAC d1-tube-mk2 D/A processor
Vandersteen Model Seven Mk.II loudspeaker
VTL TL6.5 Series II Signature preamplifier
YG Acoustics Carmel 2 loudspeaker

Staxguy's picture

While the Devialet Expert 1000 (1000 watts at 6 ohms) didn't hit my mind while thinking huh to ...

"The Mark Levinson No.585 integrated stereo amplifier's 200Wpc into 8 ohms—more powerful than any integrated amp other than the 300Wpc Bel Canto Black"

Jeff Rowlands Daemon (1500 watts at 8 ohms) Integrated Amplifier certainly did.

Looking, I see that indeed Stereophile has covered it (I seem to remember it)...

200 watts is certainly power-amp power-amp territory, and no slouch, but is not knocking on the Analogue Domain Apollo (4000 watt at 8 ohms) power amplifier territory, or the mind-numbing 160,000 watts of Pievetta Opera Only, which one could consider an integrated amplifier.

Or Music-in-The-Round (Kal) amplifier at least.

It's nice to see a number of excellent products this year.

Did you try driving loudspeakers (high efficiency) with the AudioQuest Dragonfly Red's headphone out?

Many headphone enthusiasts use the Devialet Expert 1000's speaker outputs to drive their headphones, as an aside. :)

Love to see coverage of the Daemon.

Lucidear's picture


A little shortsightedness, on the part of staff perhaps, in copying Larry Greenfield's actual comments from his review of the 585:

"...Mark Levinson's No.585 is the most expensive integrated amplifier I have reviewed. At 200Wpc, it's more powerful than all but one of the integrateds listed in our "Recommended Components"—the Bel Canto Black."

And I think as of his writting's date the Musical fidelity 800, with a tad more power, was not on the RC list yet...
***Now if someone could comment whether this (the 585 or even the MF800) has enough juice to drive a pair of larger Maggies ie 3.7i or 20.7, it'd be much appreciated...

tonykaz's picture

I have to hand it to you lads, well done!!!

Seems like $5,000 builds a pretty darn good system ( digital, of course ).

Back in 1985 it would've taken well over $10,000, if I remember correctly.

Conrad-Johnson MV-45a & Electrocompaniet Ampliwire ( 50 watts ) were my all time favorite Amps, I no longer own either. Maybe I should arrange for a First Watt. You lads are part of a large group that love these Amps.

It seems, after 30 years of digital we have a tiny little device ( $200 ) to replace our record players, hmm. ----- Of course, it's not as good as a $10,000 Phono cart., $10,000 VPI, $??,??? Arm plus cabling and a "proper Pre-amp with a nice RIAA"

Nice cheap speakers ( costing less than LS3/5a in 1980 dollars ), get-outa-here. more hmmmmmms. And Wilsons for less than the price of a KIA Soul? get-outa-here sum-more

I love your work, OK, I'll subscribe to the print version ( if you still have one ).

Tony in Michigan

John Atkinson's picture
tonykaz wrote:
I have to hand it to you lads, well done!!!

Thank you.

tonykaz wrote:
OK, I'll subscribe to the print version ( if you still have one).

Yes we do!

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

tonykaz's picture

About $13, seems a bargain.

Tony in Michigan

AaronGarrett's picture

Just subscribed as well. Had lapsed for quite a few years. This has become a lot more than a hifi mag. It's clear that the love of music is what really drives Stereophile and its reviewers.

dalethorn's picture

I've found some interesting music through the reviews here - music I would have otherwise missed.

jporter's picture

Dale, I finally agree with you on something...Cheers!

dalethorn's picture

You may occasionally read where I say that I agree with what someone said, but you won't read where I say that "I agree with you."

Allen Fant's picture

The ML No. 585 integrated amp is on my short-list as well.

Atlet's picture

My impressions of the latest magazin review of the new PL300 II was Deutsch new reference. Shouldn't that make the PL300 II loudspeaker of the year and not the Wilson Sabrina?
Just confused..

rschryer's picture

Products for POTY consideration had to have been "covered in our November 2015 through October 2016 issues". The PL300 appeared in November's edition.

Atlet's picture

I guess the PL300 II would have become the winner if it had been reviewed before November if I have red and understood the review in the latest(Nov) issued Stereophile magazine..

rschryer's picture

Perhaps the more pertinent question is: How will the PL300 fare in 2017's POTY? *insert suspenseful music*

rschryer's picture

Keep in mind: The POTY system is consensus-based. RD's is but one opinion, as trustworthy as it may be.

mrvco's picture

Thank you for validating my recent J2 purchase. LOL. It's a great pairing w/ my single-driver Omegas. And yes, I'm a print subscriber. Can I get a badge?