Sponsors

(2018) Stereo Integrated Amplifiers and Receivers

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: $1995

Website: www.cocktailaudio.com

Al said: Cocktail Audio’s Swiss-Army-knife approach to designing the X35 music system has resulted in a winning proposition for those looking to reduce their systems’ footprints without compromising their performance.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Simplifi review.

The gist: A list of features a mile long.

Price: $700

Website: www.control4.com

Al said: The Triad One is an affordable way to enter the world of Control4, a leading platform for home automation and A/V system control.

Read the SoundStage! Simplifi review.

The gist: Enter the world of the Smart-home hi-fi amplifier.

Price: $2000

Website: www.hegel.com

Sathyan said: Including the SoundEngine technology of upmarket Hegel models, the H90 punches well above the level you might expect from a DAC-integrated at its price -- Hegel’s attention to dynamics, detail, and transparency shone through. The Hegel H90 is well worth hearing.

Read the SoundStage! Access review.

The gist: Solid way to spend two grand on your hi-fi.

Price: $10,000

Website: www.mcintoshlabs.com

Jeff said: When the fit’n’finish that McIntosh has lavished on the MA9000 is factored in, the result is the most easily recommendable product I’ve reviewed in years -- a Reviewers’ Choice with a bullet, and an early leader in our 2018 race for Product of the Year.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

The gist: Retro looks, super sound, and impressive functionality . . . and it has blue meters.

Price: $5999

Website: www.musicalfidelity.com

Al said: The main attraction of Musical Fidelity’s M6 Encore 225 is its outstanding sound quality -- in this case, performance lives up to price. And with built-in CD ripping, Tidal and Spotify streaming, and a pledge from Musical Fidelity to introduce future software updates and enhancements, the M6 Encore 225 is a solid bet for an all-in-one music system.

Read the SoundStage! Simplifi review.

The gist: Audiophile-oriented all-in-one-type product.

Price: $549

Website: www.nadelectronics.com

Thom said: If you’re not someone who fiddles with tone controls, if your listening room is of reasonable size and your speakers are of at least moderate sensitivity, I recommend the NAD C 328. It’s a superb integrated amplifier-DAC.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Access review.

The gist: Unbelievable amount of quality for the money.

Price: $1199

Website: www.peachtreeaudio.com

Al said: Peachtree Audio’s decco125 Sky is packed with useful features, including a built-in phono stage and Wi-Fi streaming. It also offers impressive sound quality for an $1199 integrated amplifier-DAC, sounding great with everything I played, from LPs and streamed playlists to “sad church music” on CD.

Read the SoundStage! Simplifi review.

The gist: A few operational quirks keep it from being a knockout product.

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