Jason said: Solid-state lovers would like it. Tube lovers would like it. But where it would hit a home run, I believe, is with two groups: those who would like to try a tube amp but are leery of doing so because of the perceived downsides of tubes, and tube aficionados who might be getting tired of unreliable, soggy-sounding tube amps.
The gist: An amp that expertly straddles the tube/solid-state line.
Jeff said: With V2 of the Aura Note music system, April Music has produced a versatile, adaptable, complete home-audio system in a single box.
The gist: The centerpiece of your new living-room entertainment system.
Uday said: As of today, the AX-5 is not only, overall, the finest-sounding amp I’ve ever heard, it ranks as one of the finest components I’ve heard of any type. Or, to put it another way while emphasizing one of its strongest suits: This is the best damn integrated I’ve never heard. The AX-5 is truly a Goldilocks amp: not too hot and not too cold, it’s just right.
The gist: Might be the best integrated you can buy.
Hans said: The Devialet 120 is a state-of-the-art piece of hardware, an inspired design marked by deep originality and a thorough understanding of how humans actually interact with modern technology.
The gist: Simply groundbreaking.
Price: $17,495 per pair
Jeff said: In some ways, buying a Devialet is like replacing your ancient flip phone with an iPhone 6: you won’t believe everything it can do, how it performs every function, and how it looks and feels in your hand while doing it all. It’ll seem kind of like magic. The question is: Are you ready for it? If you’re like me, once you hear the Devialet 400, there will be no going back. I’m as surprised as you that I’m saying this, but the Devialet 400s produced the best sound I’ve ever heard.
The gist: The state-of-the-art amplification device.
Roger said: For $2000, the H80 is a great option for anyone looking for a cost-effective, single-box way to build a high-performance audio system.
The gist: The minimalist’s perfect match for a small pair of bookshelf speakers.
Sid said: With its effortlessly fluent musical flow, the Line Magnetic 216IA integrated amplifier more than made up for its minor shortcomings of providing not quite the ultimate levels of control and refinement. Factoring in the 216IA’s outstanding build quality and its low price of $1850, its ratio of value for money is right up there with the best.
The gist: High-value tube amp not of the cookie-cutter variety.
Hans said: Monitor’s Airstream A100 is a honey of an amp that makes a compelling argument for never having to buy into traditional hi-fi of yore. With analog, digital, and wireless connectivity, an accomplished class-AB amplifier -- something its competitors can’t boast -- and sound quality that reaches well past its $499 price, it comes highly, highly recommended. $500 never sounded so good.
The gist: If you thought Monitor only made speakers, this component will make you think twice.
Thom said: The Musical Fidelity V90-AMP is an admirable little piece of gear and proof of the old adage: Good things come in small packages. It can be the perfect basis for a great computer- or iPod/smartphone-based system in an office, study, or bedroom.
The gist: High-value little amplifier from a well-respected British company.
Colin said: Once the D 7050 is set up properly, the convenience of its wireless ability is undeniable and is, after its terrific sound, its main selling point. It’s so convenient, and sounds so good, that this member of the Direct Digital family is staying put.
The gist: NAD really has something with Direct Digital.
Price: $8600 (USB DAC, add $1000)
Uday said: But, really -- gorgeous Italian design coupled with solid engineering and world-class sound? An internal DAC option to boot? If I were in the market for a one-box integrated-DAC for $9600, here is where I’d start. Don’t need the DAC? No matter. Buy the Revo IPA-140 without DAC, and $1000 worth of music to play through it. You won’t regret it.
The gist: Italian beauty with classically good sound.
Erich said: Simaudio’s Moon Neo 340i is an excellent example of just how good today’s integrated amp-DACs can be. It’s attractive, well built, easy to use, very easy to listen to for extended periods of time, and can provide nuanced sound at modest or high volume levels.
The gist: Mid-priced integrated with all the right attributes.
Hans said: Hardcore audiophiles may scoff at such a product, but I’m confident that the Intuition 01 will resonate with far more potential buyers than the average integrated amplifier. Well played, Wadia.
The gist: Daring industrial design wrapped around a really good-sounding product.
Sathyan said: In the mINT, Wyred 4 Sound has packed into a small package surprising amounts of features and quality. From the variety of input (and output) options to the room-filling amplification, I can imagine few scenarios in which the mINT could not find a place.
The gist: Functional and small, but with good sound, too.