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2018 SoundStage! Network Equipment Buying Guide

Price: AU$46,650

Website: www.absolare.com

Josh said: While it may be considered for some to be expensive, its performance capabilities in so many areas frankly exceed what could be achieved in preamplifier-amplifier separate combinations at far loftier price points, therefore making it an attractive proposition as a statement amplifier for those slightly short of space or for those demanding electronics capable of the very highest standards.

Read the SoundStage! Australia review.

The gist: Sound that is said to strike a near perfect balance between tube and solid state.

Price: $249.99

Website: www.acousticresearch-hifi.com

Brent said: The industrial design is great, the sound is very good, and the ergonomics are excellent. I wish more of the products I review were this well executed.

Read the SoundStage! Solo review.

The gist: All the features you want and great sound too.

Price: $599.99

Website: www.acousticresearch-hifi.com

Brent said: What I love about them is that there’s nothing spectacular or exaggerated about their sound -- just as there’s nothing spectacular or exaggerated about the sound of a great violin, tenor saxophone, or singer. If you want something spectacular, that’s fine -- but if you want headphones you can enjoy day after day with all kinds of music, I strongly recommend the AR-H1s.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: One of an elite group according to Brent.

Price: $299.95

Website: www.akg.com

Rad said: The more I listened, the less I liked AKG’s N60 NC Wireless noise-canceling headphones.

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: These pretty much sucked.

Price: $199.99

Website: www.akoustyx.com

Brent said: Most of the focus with the R-220s is on the mids and treble, which are clear and largely uncolored. There is some bass -- and it’s precise, well-defined bass -- but it’s low in level relative to the rest of the sonic spectrum.

Read the SoundStage! Solo review.

The gist: Treble-heavy and bass-shy pretty well sums it up.

Prices: $1750 per 4’ pair for speaker cables and 766 per 0.5m pair for interconnects

Website: www.analysis-plus.com

Roger said: You could spend even more on cables from some other manufacturers, but in my system, Analysis Plus’s Silver Apexes provided absolutely stellar sound.

Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

The gist: Competes with the best for less.

Price: $4499

Website: www.anthemav.com

Roger said: I can’t overstate how impressed I was by the execution of its overall design. In my years as an audio reviewer, the STR Integrated is one of the most impressive examples of a fully fledged audio product I’ve come across.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

The gist: Anthem Room Correction puts this powerful integrated over the top.

Price: $899

Website: www.audeze.com

Brent said: They have a full, natural tonality, lots of detail, and a gorgeous, enveloping sense of space.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Solo review.

The gist: Heavy and bulky is the only real drawback in an otherwise stellar product.

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