Stereophile's Products of 2023 Joint Overall Products of the Year

Joint Overall Products of the Year

dCS Vivaldi Apex D/A Processor
($46,500; reviewed by Jason Victor Serinus in Vol.46 No.3 review)

Wilson Audio Specialties Alexia V Loudspeaker
($67,500/pair; reviewed by Jason Victor Serinus in Vol.46 No.1 review)

Finalists (in alphabetical order)
Abyss Diana TC Headphones ($4495–$5995; reviewed by Herb Reichert in Vol.46 No.5)
AudioNote Meishu Phono 300B Tonmeister Integrated Amplifier ($15,740; reviewed by Ken Micallef in Vol.46 No.2 review)
dCS Bartók Apex D/A Processor ($20,950–$22,950; reviewed by Herb Reichert in Vol.46 No.8 review)
HiFi Rose RS520 Streaming Integrated Amplifier ($3695; reviewed by Rogier van Bakel In Vol.46 No.7 review)
Klipsch La Scala AL5 Loudspeaker ($13,198/pair; reviewed by Alex Halberstadt in Vol.46 No.4 review)
SME Model 60 Turntable w/Series VA Tonearm ($71,900–$85,900; reviewed by Michael Trei in Vol.46 No.8 review)
TAD CE1TX Loudspeaker ($32,500/pair, plus stands; reviewed by Herb Reichert in Vol.46 No.6 review)
VPI Avenger Direct Turntable w/12" Fatboy Tonearm ($36,000; reviewed by Ken Micallef in Vol.46 No.6 review)

I quoted Jason Victor Serinus's conclusion in his review of the Wilson Alexia V in the text for Loudspeaker of the Year. But he also wrote in that review that "The Wilson Alexia V isn't just excellent, it's superb. Within the limitations of the scale and reach of speakers their size, their ability to deliver the range, color, texture, detail, nuance, dynamics, visceral impact, and emotion—all central to musical greatness—is among the finest I've ever experienced. They can thrill you to the core and make your heart sing." Enough of the magazine's team of reviewers agreed with him to vote the loudspeaker into joint first place.

When Jason reviewed the Apex update of dCS's flagship Vivaldi D/A processor, he auditioned it with the dCS Upsampler Plus and Master Clock. "Every month, I welcome fresh opportunities to find the right words to convey what I feel when I sit before my system, close my eyes, and listen to great music. But there are times when reactions are so extreme, the awe so overpowering, that eloquence cedes to one-word (or even nonword) exclamations," he wrote. "Recorded music has never sounded as full, rich, flowing, rewarding, and natural as with the Vivaldi Apex. It is rare, in a home listening room, to experience anew the full impact of great orchestral music heard in a concert hall. But the Vivaldi Apex DAC, Vivaldi Upsampler Plus, and Vivaldi Master Clock together have made that possible, repeatedly. ... The finer and more concentrated an artist's focus, the finer the Vivaldi Apex system sounds. It conveys inspiration and genius like no other equipment I've heard."

I was impressed by the dCS Vivaldi Apex's superb measured performance. It offered vanishingly low levels of harmonic and intermodulation distortion, very high channel separation, excellent rejection of datastream jitter, and very high resolution: at least 20 bits.

Notes on the vote
It came as no surprise that the Wilson Alexia V was one of the winners in this category, but it was a surprise that the dCS Vivaldi Apex, which lost out to the dCS Bartók Apex in the Digital Product category, was the joint winner for the overall Product of 2023. The Wilson and dCS both got three first-place votes; the Alexia V got one more second-place vote than the Vivaldi, but the dCS made it up in third-place votes.