Recommended Components

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Stereophile Staff  |  Sep 16, 2021  |  17 comments
Every product listed here has been reviewed in Stereophile. Everything on the list, regardless of rating, is genuinely recommendable.

Within each category, products are listed by class; within each class, they're in alphabetical order, followed by their price, a review synopsis, and a note indicating the issues in which the review, and any subsequent follow-up reports, appeared. "Vol.44 No.9" indicates our September 2021 issue, for example. "WWW" means the review is also posted online.

Stereophile Staff  |  Mar 16, 2017  |  14 comments
The ratings given components included in this listing are based entirely on performance—ie, accuracy of reproduction—and are biased to an extent by our feeling that things added to reproduced sound (eg, jitter, distortion, colorations of various kinds) are of more concern to the musically oriented listener than are things subtracted from the sound (eg, deep bass or extreme treble). On the other hand, components markedly deficient in one or more respects are downrated to the extent that their deficiencies interfere with the full realization of the program material.
Stereophile Staff  |  Mar 15, 2018  |  20 comments
We try to include in "Recommended Components" every product that we have found to be truly excellent or that we feel represents good value for money. Bear in mind that many different tastes are represented. The listing is compiled after consultation with Stereophile's reviewing staff and editors, and takes into account continued experience of a product after the formal review has been published. In particular, we take account of unreliability and defects that show up after extended auditioning. The fact that a product received a favorable review cannot therefore be regarded as a guarantee that it will continue to appear in this listing.
Stereophile Staff  |  Mar 14, 2019  |  9 comments
Components listed here have been formally reviewed in Stereophile and have been found to be among the best available in each of four or five quality classes. Whether a component is listed in Class A or Class E, we highly recommend its purchase.

Each listing-in alphabetical order within classes-is followed by a brief description of the product's sonic characteristics and a code indicating the Stereophile Volume and Issue in which that product's report appeared. Thus the May 2018 issue is indicated as "Vol.41 No.5."

Stereophile Staff  |  Sep 19, 2019  |  32 comments
Products listed here have been formally reviewed in Stereophile, and we have determined them to be among the finest available in each of four or five quality classes. Whether a component is listed in Class A or Class D (or E), we consider it to be a genuinely recommendable product.

Each listing, in alphabetical order within classes, is followed by a brief description of its performance characteristics and a note indicating the issue of Stereophile in which its review, and in some cases its Follow-Up reports, have appeared—ie, "Vol.41 No.6" indicates our June 2018 issue. And so forth.

Stereophile Staff  |  Sep 15, 2016  |  13 comments
We try to include in "Recommended Components" every product that we have found to be truly excellent or that we feel represents good value for money. Bear in mind that many different tastes are represented. The listing is compiled after consultation with Stereophile's reviewing staff and editors, and takes into account continued experience of a product after the formal review has been published. In particular, we take account of unreliability and defects that show up after extended auditioning. The fact that a product received a favorable review cannot therefore be regarded as a guarantee that it will continue to appear in this listing.
Stereophile Staff  |  Sep 14, 2017  |  15 comments
Components listed here have been formally reviewed in Stereophile and have been found to be among the best available in each of four or five quality classes. Whether a component is listed in Class A or Class E, we highly recommend its purchase.

Each listing-in alphabetical order within classes-is followed by a brief description of the product's sonic characteristics and a code indicating the Stereophile Volume and Issue in which that product's report appeared. Thus the May 2017 issue is indicated as "Vol.40 No.5."

Stereophile Staff  |  Sep 13, 2018  |  5 comments
Components listed here have been formally reviewed in Stereophile and have been found to be among the best available in each of four or five quality classes. Whether a component is listed in Class A or Class E, we highly recommend its purchase.

Each listing-in alphabetical order within classes-is followed by a brief description of the product's sonic characteristics and a code indicating the Stereophile Volume and Issue in which that product's report appeared. Thus the May 2017 issue is indicated as "Vol.40 No.5."

Stereophile Staff  |  Sep 25, 2020  |  19 comments
All products listed here have been formally reviewed in Stereophile. We consider all the products listed, regardless of rating, to be genuinely recommendable.

Products are listed in alphabetical order within classes, each followed by a brief description of its performance characteristics and a note indicating the issue of Stereophile in which its review, and in some cases Follow-Up reports, appeared; ie, "Vol.42 No.6" indicates our June 2019 issue.

John Atkinson  |  Mar 14, 2004  |  First Published: Oct 01, 1998  |  0 comments
"There, that's where you should put the microphone, 5' from the end of my bow."
John Atkinson  |  Dec 10, 2007  |  First Published: Apr 01, 1994  |  0 comments
The very first "Recommended Components" listing appeared in Vol.1 No.5; this is the 16th time I've put the listing together since I took over the task from J. Gordon Holt in the November 1986 'phile. No other Stereophile feature seems to be as popular, or as misunderstood. While it might inform, it never fails to offend, particularly when it involves the dropping, or—horrors!—the not listing at all, of components that the magazine's readers own.
Larry Archibald  |  Jun 17, 2014  |  First Published: Oct 01, 1989  |  5 comments
Though it's Stereophile's most popular single feature, "Recommended Components" has many problems. The biggest is that you readers use it—but then, if I didn't want that, why would we publish it? More accurately, problems come from uncritical use, as if only products that "make" "Recommended Components" are worth buying. Alternatively, it's concluded that products which drop out have somehow been consigned to an outer darkness.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 14, 2004  |  First Published: Apr 01, 1998  |  0 comments
It's a beautiful drive, considering you're on a freeway. You take I-25 north out of Albuquerque, Sandia Peak to your right and the Jemez Caldera and Mount Taylor dimly visible in the distance to your left. As you broach La Bajada hill south of Santa Fe, the Sangre de Cristo range—the "Blood of Christ Mountains" described by Paul Simon in "Hearts & Bones"—appears before your windshield. You take the Old Pecos Trail exit to the City Different, but before you reach town you bear to the left, then take another left opposite St. Vincent Hospital. There, in a cul-de-sac, you peer up at the street sign: "Stereophile Way," it says (footnote 1). "Not just a street, but a philosophy," I kidded Larry Archibald when the city told him that he could name the road where the magazine's headquarters would one day be situated.
George Reisch  |  Jul 01, 1998  |  0 comments
In a dark, smoky office, a desk lamp beams a cone of light onto papers, books, pipes, and notepads. A theoretical physicist hunches over his desk, half-illuminated, visualizing the world inside his equations.
Jon Iverson  |  Jun 12, 2013  |  10 comments
Stereophile is pleased to announce the availability of the free 2013 Recommended Components iPad app.

This is not an update of our previous app but a completely new app. Products listed in Recommended Components change from year to year, so we are creating a new app annually so readers can collect both new and past rankings.

Available Now
The app is available right now for free download to your iPad in the iTunes store. In iTunes, search for "Stereophile Recommended Components" or follow this link to the iTunes store from your web browser.

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