Stereophile's Products of 2023 Editors' Choice

Editors' Choice

MoFi Electronics Sourcepoint 10 Loudspeaker
I have had so many loudspeakers pass through my listening room in the past 40 years that it is rare for one to stick in my mind for more than a couple of months after it had been returned to the manufacturer or distributor. But my memories of this relatively affordable standmount—it costs $3699/pair, plus stands—which was designed by veteran speaker engineer Andrew Jones, have outlasted those of many much more expensive speakers. As I wrote in my review: "When you consider the clean, superbly well-defined low frequencies, the natural-sounding midrange, the high sensitivity, the easy-to-drive impedance, the ability to play loudly without strain, and the affordable price, the SourcePoint 10 gets a thumbs-up from this reviewer."—John Atkinson

CH Precision C1.2 D/A Processor
Of all the digital sources that I've had in my system—not so many, actually—the CH Precision C1.2 proved the most satisfying. Why? It's hard to put my finger on, but I think it boils down to a rare, near-paradoxical combination of relaxation and surprise. There is nothing off-putting about the sound: It welcomes close listening—then rewards it with great contrasts of texture and color, when those things are captured on the recording. I wish this level of performance were available at a significantly lower price. Perhaps it is—I've only listened closely to a small fraction of the available digital processors—but if it is, I haven't yet encountered it.—Jim Austin

Benchmark AHB2 Power Amplifier
This is the closest thing to a straight wire with gain that I have ever heard. If the purpose of a power amplifier is to faithfully reproduce the source signal, with gain to drive the loudspeakers, then this is as close to perfection as the state of the art now stands.—Tom Fine

Klipsch La Scala AL5 Loudspeaker
When I reviewed it, I expected the Klipsch La Scala AL5 to sound dynamic as all get-out, but what surprised me was its high resolution, delicacy, and ability to honor all genres. A pair of these fully horn-loaded speakers will properly energize even the largest rooms, though you may find yourself needing more power than the sky-high sensitivity rating suggests. The big La Scala is also uncommonly good at making musical sense of recordings and engaging the emotions, making it a fine candidate for lifetime duty—at what is still a very competitive price.—Alex Halberstadt

AVM Inspiration CS2.3 CD Receiver
A truly outstanding "all-in-one" integrated. The price ($6995) may not be strictly budget, but when you add up all the features, and how well executed they are, I challenge you to find a better value out there. With lovely sound, this covers my three bases: CD, Phono, and Streaming. A fine smartphone app controls things. Just add speakers—banana plugs are best—and a turntable. Germany-based AVM is on a roll.—Sasha Matson

VPI Avenger Direct Turntable with Fatboy Gimbal Tonearm
It may sound like hyperbole to say a turntable changed my life, but when referring to the VPI Avenger Direct, that comment is anything but fantastic. The 68lb Avenger Direct, paired with the 12" FatBoy tonearm, rejuvenated my system by the sheer boldness of its audacious sound. The 21lb aluminum platter provided excellent low-end stabilization, pitch stability, and deep-sea–black backgrounds, while the FatBoy tonearm, along with the optional Signature Weight and Periphery Ring Clamp, comprised a system that tracked every record with assured precision. Harry and Mat Weisfeld: long may they reign.—Ken Micallef

HiFi Rose RA180 Integrated Amplifier
This full-featured, all-analog amplifier's steampunkish aesthetic is only part of the picture: It deploys gallium nitride transistors (as opposed to traditional silicon types) said to deliver a faster slew rate. Sonically, this means quicker rise times, speedier responsiveness—leading-edge transients quick and clean on the attack and an easy way with dynamic swings, providing power with effortlessness and discretion. I experienced a few app-based quirks, but it was a joy to interact with overall: a tactile, outsized volume control, old-school toggle switches, etc. A capable, quiet onboard MC/MM phono stage and remote control complete the cool package.—Julie Mullins

Heretic AD614 Loudspeaker
Choosing Heretic's AD614 loudspeaker as my personal Product of the Year was easy: It's new, innovative, and sounds like a high-rez studio monitor on magic mushrooms. It is at its best sitting right up against the wall. It uses a series crossover and a 97dB-sensitive, Italian-made, 12" coaxial driver to make it equally happy with low-power, single-ended tubes or high-power, class-A solid state. It loved the First Watt SIT-3, it was cozy-comfy with Elekit 300Bs, and it came explosively alive with Parasound's Halo A 21+ amplifier. The Heretic AD614 is the first speaker since the Falcon LS3/5a Gold Badge that I've wanted to use every day for the rest of my life.—Herb Reichert

KEF LS60 Wireless Loudspeaker
This is a landmark product that leverages advanced practices in transducer design, materials research, and DSP to offer outstanding sound and value. It's balanced, transparent, and powerful (with its built-in multiple power amps). The LS60 is worthy of challenging speaker systems, larger and higher-priced, without consideration of its compact and sleek stature. With an added subwoofer or two, its performance is stunning. Finally, the LS60 is more than a loudspeaker, as it incorporates power amps, wireless links, and streaming, and requires only a source of music to satisfy the most critical listener.—Kal Rubinson

TAD CE1TX Loudspeaker
Gorgeous to look at, built like fine furniture, and, most importantly, able to deliver ravishing sound, the made-in-Japan TAD is a standmount to make you not miss floorstanders. I've heard this big-sounding, three-way design on only a few occasions, but each time I walked away scheming to find a way to buy them. One caveat is their sensitivity, which, at 85dB, combined with a nominal 4 ohm impedance, means you'll probably need robust amplification if you're a headbanger. Otherwise, hook them up and you'll be rewarded with the fruits of a design whose measured performance John Atkinson deemed "superb," and which reviewer Herb Reichert called "the finest example of speaker engineering I've ever encountered. Absolutely Class A." And absolutely my Editor's Choice.—Rob Schryer

Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia V Loudspeaker
In the year since I reviewed the Alexia V, I've had the opportunity to challenge it with some of the most complex music I've ever played on my system. No matter how many different musical lines I've thrown at it—no matter how wide the frequency extremes and dynamics—it has rendered everything cleanly, with clear timbral differentiation between musical instruments. It has also honored music with a depth of expression, nuance, and dynamic range previously unheard from my system. As I've upped the performance of my front-end components and amps, the Alexia V has unfailingly reached into the heart of the music at hand and displayed it with a veracity that would make many speakers of less quality blush. I also love looking at it; its aesthetics make me feel good. Wilson's Alexia V is one superb loudspeaker.—Jason Victor Serinus

SME Model 60 Turntable
SME rarely introduces new models, and when they do, it's always an event. The Model 60 is only the second flagship turntable from SME in over 30 years, building on the strengths of its predecessor, which remains in production. SME is one of the only turntable manufacturers that makes almost every mechanical part in house, right down to the tiniest screws and washers, and this attention to detail shows in its unsurpassed quality of fit and finish. The performance is reference quality, with an uncanny ability to extract more music from the grooves of a record than pretty much anything else.—Michael Trei

HiFi Rose RS520 Streaming Integrated Amplifier
The HiFi Rose RS520 provides more fun per cubic inch than any other single audio box I can think of. My Naim Uniti Atom, an understated rival, wins on minimalist looks, but the Rose has a giant touch display that can mimic the fascia of a standalone tuner or the dancing VU meters of a bevy of vintage amps. Powerful, great-sounding, user-friendly, and unabashedly entertaining, the RS520 is a relative bargain to boot. What's not to like?—Rogier van Bakel