EAR MC 4Price: $2195

Website: www.ear-yoshino.com

Garrett said: The EAR MC 4 step-up is one fine analog instrument. If rich timbral colors, tonal weight and impact, and rhythmic tightness are what you listen for in music, it should be high on your audition list. Add to those characteristics its flexibility in providing multiple gain options, its small size, and its handsome looks, and I think it’s a no-brainer: one of the best values in audio.

Read the Ultra Audio review.

The gist: If you need one, this is a good choice.