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Reviewers Choice

  • KR Audio VA340 Mk.IIPrice: $9750

    Website: www.kraudio.com 

    Vade said: The VA340 Mk.II integrated amplifier was one of the best-sounding amplifiers I’ve heard in my system. Powerful yet delicate, it had a complex tonal palette and that legendary SET palpability. It doesn’t have a lot of features, but it has the ones that matter most.

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    The gist: Beefy-sounding tube integrated from the Czech Republic.

  • lamm_lp2_300w

    Price: $7290

    Website: www.lammindustries.com

    Marc said: Don’t let [its] longevity lull you into overlooking the LP2 Deluxe if you’re on the hunt for a truly state-of-the-art phono stage. “New” doesn’t always mean “improved.”

    rc_70x80

    Read the SoundStage!review.

    The gist: Expensive but ultimately satisfying.

  • lamm_ll21_300wPrice: $5990

    Website: www.lammindustries.com

    He said: Perhaps the highest compliment I can pay the Lamm LL2.1 Deluxe is to say that, after I came to know it, I didn’t want to review it -- I just wanted to hear music through it. By the end of my listening sessions, the audiophile words tended to fall away.

    rc_70x80

    Read the SoundStage! review.

    The gist: Vladimir Lamm improves on a classic.

  • Lamm LL2.1 DeluxePrice: $5990

    Website: www.lammindustries.com

    Doug said: What I thoroughly enjoyed about listening with the LL2.1 Deluxe was that my attention didn’t dart from one performance parameter to the next, as it does with many audiophile components. Instead, the Lamm presented music so cohesively and convincingly, with so exceptionally natural and thoroughly engaging sound, that I easily lost myself in the music, largely ignoring the nitpicky things that so worry audiophiles -- and especially reviewers. Not many components can do this for me.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fireview.

    The gist: There’s just something intrinsically right about Lamm gear.

  • 201006_legacy_frontPrice: $1385 per pair

    Website: www.legacyaudio.com

    Ron said: Never once did I find the Legacys fatiguing, or the information they presented distracting. Instead, they took me places I’d never been before. I enjoyed the ride every step of the way.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! review.

    The gist: The littlest Legacy makes a big splash.

  • LessLoss FirewallPrice: $4686

    Website: www.lessloss.com

    Colin said: The Firewall is an ultra-high-performance device that makes everything about my system sound substantially better and nothing worse. It’s not inexpensive, but it will surely find a home with those who are sure they’ve found the right amplification, source, speakers, and cables, but can’t help wondering if there isn’t something more to be had from them. It’s a pretty safe bet that the LessLoss Firewall will prove to them that there is something more -- and perhaps a lot more than they might think possible.

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    Read the Ultra Audioreview.

    The gist: Expensive but, according to Colin, worth it.

  • Liberty Audio B2B-100Price: $2499

    Website: www.libertyaudio.com

    Tim said: I have no doubt the B2B-100 will make waves in the audiophile world. The qualities of sound and build and the low price make the B2B-100 an outstanding value. The Liberty B2B-100 is a great example of why it’s a great time to be an audiophile.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Access review.

    The gist: Lots of hardware for the money, and good sound to boot.

  • Logitech S715iPrice: $149.99

    Website: www.logitech.com

    Rad said: For its size, the Logitech S715i is an amazing-sounding product that raises the performance bar for portable speakers. If you need a speaker for your iPod, are more concerned with good sound than with bells and whistles, and can put up with or are unaffected by the docking and remote-control limitations mentioned above, the S715i might be the portable speaker and docking station for you.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: Doesn’t sound like most iPod docks.

  • 201008_logitechPrice: $299.99

    Website: www.logitech.com

    Rad said: At $299.99, the Logitech Squeezebox Touch is a bargain. It gives audiophile results with high-quality music files, offers superb Internet Radio with a choice of hundreds of stations, and has a bright, impressive, responsive touchscreen.

    rc_70x80

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: Wireless music for everyman.

  • Luxman C-900uPrice: $19,900

    Website: www.luxman.com

    Doug said: I absolutely loved the Luxman C-900u. In my estimation, it’s a preamp for the ages -- and perhaps in a decade or two, it will have proven to be another classic from Luxman that will still be outperforming whatever’s new in 2024 or 2034.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

    The gist: Doug’s favorite preamp to date.

  • Price: $7490

    Website: www.luxman.com

    Tom said: In a previous review, I urged readers to search for audio components that would stand the test of time. Such components should be relentlessly musical, gorgeous to look at, easy to use, reliable, and provide state-of-the-art sound quality that’s unlikely to be significantly bettered for years. The Luxman checks all of those boxes.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

    The gist: The vinyl lover’s dream component.

  • luxman_l509u_300w

    Price: $10,000

    Website: www.luxman.co.jp

    Uday said: The Luxman L-509u is a versatile, full-featured integrated amplifier, complete with a MM/MC phono section and a headphone output, and it offers sonic performance that easily outclasses my current reference.

    rc_70x80

    The gist: Luxman is back with a vengeance.

  • Price: $9450

    Website: www.luxman.com

    Jeff said: The Luxman L-509X is a beautiful component that produces beautiful sound.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

    The gist: Styling and sound this good will never get old.

  • Luxman L-550AXPrice: $4990

    Website: www.luxman.com

    Hans said: The Luxman L-550AX is the best-sounding integrated amplifier for under $5000. Its classic design and high-quality materials set it well apart from its peers, and grace it with an inherent coolness and sophistication that smack of gear retailing for far, far more.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

    The gist: Who knew 20Wpc could sound so good?

  • Luxman M-900uPrice: $19,900

    Website: www.luxman.com

    Doug said: The M-900u is the best-sounding power amp I’ve ever heard. While its price of $19,900 might seem high if you look only at the specs, it isn’t when you examine how the M-900u is built, or -- especially -- when you listen to it. The M-900u is one of the best values in high-end amplifiers.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

    The gist: Doug’s favorite amp.

  • Magico Q1Price: $26,500 per pair including stands

    Website: www.magico.net

    Pete said: In reducing Magico’s Q series to its essence in a two-way stand-mount, the Q1 performs its own magic trick, unfolding what in lesser monitors remains miasma. Almost shocking in its ability to exceed expectations, it left agape the mouths of a string of visitors to my listening room. The visceral results ranged from tormenting to thrashing to unexpected, beckoning depths, but were most notable when the Q1s reproduced bass passages, from orchestral crescendos to hard-rock drum kits. My time with the Magico Q1s is over, but they are not forgotten. They have left on my ears an indelible mark.

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    Read the Ultra Audioreview.

    The gist: Perhaps the best stand-mount speaker in the world.

  • Magico Q3Price: $38,950 per pair

    Website: www.magico.net

    Jeff said: The Magico Q3 is a standard setter that liberates music from the impediments inherent to typical loudspeakers. It is for those of you who don’t like speakers but do love music. The experience of hearing the Magico Q3 is something truly unique. Folks, the Q3 is a bona fide state-of-the-art loudspeaker -- one that doesn’t cost a hundred grand a pair, or even close to it. Magico might just take over the loudspeaker world after all.

    Select Component

    Read the Ultra Audioreview.

    The gist: Super-speaker performance without the super-high price.

  • Magico Q7Price: $165,000 per pair

    Website: www.magico.net

    Jeff said: For right now, we all have to live with these facts: The Q7 is very expensive. It’s very big. It comes only in black. And it’s the best loudspeaker available today.

    Select Component

    Read the Ultra Audioreview.

    The gist: If you want the best, buy these.

  • Magico Q7 Mk IIPrice: $229,000 per pair

    Website: www.magico.net

    Jeff said: What’s not debatable is that, in every area I value as an audiophile and music lover, the Q7 Mk II comes closer to perfection than anything else I’ve ever experienced.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

    The gist: The best just got better.

  • Price: $16,500 per pair

    Website: www.magico.net

    Hans said: With its immaculately lifelike sound, sterling midrange neutrality, and soaring top end, Magico’s S1 Mk.II revealed an incredible amount of low-level musical detail without sounding clinical, and was engaging without resorting to artifice. Most impressive, it produced a good portion of the tight-fisted, concussive bass you’d expect from a small three-way design, and in that sense is the first two-way speaker I’ve heard that doesn’t sound like a two-way.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

    The gist: The best two-way speaker Hans has heard.

  • Magico S3Price: $22,600 per pair

    Website: www.magico.net

    Ryan said: The Magico S3’s uncolored sound and virtually nonexistent sins of commission have made it one of the easiest products to review in my experience.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

    The gist: Magico’s least-expensive three-way is a resolution monster.

  • Magico S5Price: $29,400-$32,500 per pair

    Website: www.magico.net

    Doug said: For those who are shopping for speakers in this price range and who value strict neutrality, high definition, prodigious output capability, awe-inspiring build quality, and don’t mind a pair of speakers that weigh 195 pounds each, the Magico S5 is likely the best available, and among a handful of great-sounding speakers at any price.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

    The gist: The best speaker at its price point, period.

  • magico_v2_300h

    Price: $18,000 per pair

    Website: www.magico.net

    Doug said: It may carry a five-digit price tag, but the V2 is more than a mere status trophy -- it’s a true audiophile-grade performer with an overall sound quality that makes it the best passive loudspeaker I’ve ever reviewed.

    rc_70x80

    Read the SoundStage! review.

    The gist: Magico’s entry level is no entry-level speaker.

  • Marantz AV7005Price: $1600

    Website: www.marantz.com

    Wes said: Enter Marantz, makers of the game-changing AV7005, the new middleweight champeen of the home-theater-processing bouts.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperiencereview.

    The gist: Like the man said, the new champ at its price point.

  • Marantz Reference MA-9S2Price: $11,999.98 per pair

    Website: www.marantz.com

    Howard said: Being the offspring of Marantz’s classic Model 7 preamplifier and Model 9 amplifier, the Reference SC-7S2 and Reference MA-9S2 have some rather large shoes to fill. By my account they do just that, and the folks at Marantz appear to be worthy stewards of the historic company name. If you’re looking for a pair of amps and/or a preamp anywhere near or even above these models’ asking prices, you’ll want to head to your local Marantz Reference dealer to give them a listen.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fireview.

    The gist: The Model 9 improved.

  • Marantz Reference SC-7S2Price: $6499.99

    Website: www.marantz.com

    Howard said: Being the offspring of Marantz’s classic Model 7 preamplifier and Model 9 amplifier, the Reference SC-7S2 and Reference MA-9S2 have some rather large shoes to fill. By my account they do just that, and the folks at Marantz appear to be worthy stewards of the historic company name. If you’re looking for a pair of amps and/or a preamp anywhere near or even above these models’ asking prices, you’ll want to head to your local Marantz Reference dealer to give them a listen.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

    The gist: Classic company produces an updated Model 7.

  • Marantz SR7008Price: $1999

    Website: www.marantz.com

    Wes said: The Marantz SR7008 is a frontrunner in every way. The double nature of its front panel is a perfect metaphor for what lies inside: You can keep it simple, like the two-dial front, or you can flip down the panel and go as deeply into setup as you want. It’s also very good looking, not like the industrial boxes of most of its competition.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: Strong contender in the AVR wars with cut-above looks.

  • Price: $269

    Website: www.marshallheadphones.com

    Rad said: The Marshall Mid A.N.C.s have a beautiful semi-retro look, are comfortable to wear for long periods, and their sound is great: even, tonally balanced, and focused throughout the audioband.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Solo review.

    The gist: Just what Rad was looking for at the price point.

  • MartinLogan BalancedForce 212Price: $3999 (Perfect Bass Kit, add $100)

    Website: www.martinlogan.com

    Kevin said: The BalancedForce 212 is in a class with the best subs available to the home-audio enthusiast. The BF212 is one for the short list -- it’s required listening for anyone who’s dead serious about the low end. Highly recommended.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

    The gist: Very capable subwoofer in every important parameter.

  • MartinLogan EthosPrice: $6495 per pair

    Website: www.martinlogan.com

    Jason said: Despite the fact that $6495/pair sounds to me like a fair chunk of change, I’d have to put the MartinLogan Ethos at the "reasonable" end of the price spectrum. Considering that the Ethos is one of the most musically satisfying speakers I’ve heard in my room, I also have to say that, at $6495, it’s a flat-out bargain.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fireview.

    The gist: Cohesive sound from a hybrid speaker.

  • Price: $6495 per pair

    Website: www.martinlogan.com

    Roger said: After listening to and thoroughly enjoying the nearly flawless performance of the Classic ESL 9s in my system, I can’t imagine living without them.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

    The gist: Roger's new reference.

  • MartinLogan Motion 10Price: $3010.75

    Website: www.martinlogan.com

    Kevin said: When you get a superb movie system on top of a pair of excellent, affordable stereo speakers, you've captured the very best of both applications. Not only has MartinLogan stepped audaciously outside their comfort zone, they've produced an affordable line of pretty nifty speakers, each of which performs excellently.

    Great Buy

    Read the SoundStage! Access review.

    The gist: MartinLogan sound at a new price point.

  • MartinLoganPrice: $1199 per pair

    Website: www.martinlogan.com

    Jeff said: What I look for in a speaker is one that not only makes the full range of music I listen to sound as good as it can, but that also looks good in my home, occupies as little space as the laws of physics allow, and represents supreme value for the money. All of that is offered by the MartinLogan Motion 35XT, in addition to a natural-sounding integration of tight, truthful bass and graceful highs. I believe I’ve found what I’ve been looking for.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Access review.

    The gist: High value, exotic touches, and great sound.

  • MartinLogan SpirePrice: $8495 per pair

    Website: www.martinlogan.com

    Roger said: MartinLogan's Spire is a visually stunning loudspeaker with a big, open sound to match. It did not, however, sound exaggerated or over the top in any way, and had few sonic compromises. If you think a hybrid electrostatic loudspeaker isn't for you, give the Spire a listen. In fact, anyone considering spending around $8495 for a pair of speakers should hear just how great the Spire actually is.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

    The gist: Re-perfecting the hybrid electrostatic loudspeaker, yet again.

  • ml_summitx_300h

    Price: $13,995 per pair

    Website: www.martinlogan.com

    Howard said: The Summit X is the latest step in MartinLogan’s ongoing quest for electrostatic perfection. They’ve improved on the technology’s stunning strengths -- transparency, speed, immediacy, midrange presence, soundstaging -- while minimizing its shortcomings, particularly in the integration of the outputs of the woofers and upper-range panels.

    rc_70x80

    Read the SoundStage! review.

    The gist: X marks the sweet spot.

  • Price: $99

    Website: www.massdrop.com

    Brent said: The Massdrop x NuForce EDC3s delivered the best sound I’ve heard for under $100 -- not just from earphones, but from any audio product I can think of.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: Best way to spend 100 bucks on audio.

  • 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.

  • McIntosh MC452Price: $7500

    Website: www.mcintoshlabs.com

    Jeff said: It’s super-quiet in operation, immensely powerful, gorgeous to look at, built like a tank, and sounds like silk. If you buy one, you can be assured that you’re getting a long-lasting component from a company that has been making power amplifiers for longer than many of us have been alive.

    Select Component

    Read the Ultra Audioreview.

    The gist: Super amp for the real-world audiophile.

  • Meitner MA-1Price: $7000

    Website: www.meitner.com

    Uday said: When a SoundStage! Hi-Fi reviewer evaluates an exceptional component, it receives the accolade of Reviewers’ Choice. I love the Meitner MA-1 so much that I’m putting my money down and making it mychoice for my new digital reference.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fireview.

    The gist: Awesome DAC from a certified digital guru.

  • Meridian ExplorerPrice: $299

    Website: www.meridian-audio.com 

    Doug said: The Explorer clearly sounded better, overall, than the DragonFly v1.0. But it’s surprising that the Wavelength Proton, a very good DAC that costs three times as much as the Meridian, wasn’t obviously superior in sound. That’s what makes the Explorer a bona-fide high-end bargain. Highly recommended.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

    The gist: Who knew a $300 DAC could sound this good?

  • Price: $16,500 per pair

    Website: www.mola-mola.nl

    Pete said: Twenty years ago, Bruno Putzeys professed that “The future is class-D!” Having heard his Mola Mola Kaluga monoblocks, I suppose we can declare that that future has become the present. Welcome to the 21st century.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

    The gist: Probably the best class-D amp yet.

  • Monitor Audio Airstream A100Price: $499.99

    Website: www.monitoraudio.com

    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.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Access review.

    The gist: If you thought Monitor only made speakers, this component will make you think twice.

  • Monitor Audio Bronze 6Price: $1099 per pair

    Website: www.monitoraudiousa.com

    Hans said: To my ears, Monitor Audio’s Bronze 6 is near faultless. Its build quality and appearance punch above the asking price, while its exciting, dynamic sound makes every listening experience memorable.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Access review.

    The gist: Forget the small bookshelf speakers you were considering and get Bronze 6es instead.

  • Monitor Audio GX100Price: $2195 per pair

    Website: www.monitoraudiousa.com

    Philip said: Not only does the GX100 look like a piece of fine furniture, it sounds superlative from top to bottom. Based on my experience, it is a true reference product; that is, someone will have to spend significantly more for only small improvements in performance. I found its sound highly engaging, and capable of holding my interest. I was able to sustain my utter enthusiasm for its sound for long periods without ever getting fatigued.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fireview.

    The gist: Superbly finished ribbon-based minimonitor.

  • Price: $14,495 per pair

    Website: www.monitoraudiousa.com

    Aron said: The speaker’s fit and finish are exquisite, its build quality is exemplary, and the science behind its design and development is as beyond reproach as its sound.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

    The gist: Thoroughly updated model in Monitor's premium series of loudspeakers.

  • Monitor Audio PL200Price: $8999 per pair

    Website: www.monitoraudio.com

    Jason said: The PL200 is an intensely satisfying and very musical speaker. And while we’re all about sound first here, I don’t think I’d be out of line in saying that the PL200’s appearance factored into my experience. There was something innately elegant about the way the speaker’s materials and proportions have been combined to form something part functional device, part object of art.

    Select Component

    Read the Ultra Audio review.

    The gist: Looks as good as it sounds.

  • Monitor Audio Silver 6Price: $1500 per pair

    Website: www.monitoraudiousa.com

    Philip said: This is a speaker for the long haul -- one that you can set up and forget. After living with them for a while, I can say that this British speaker is the perfect solution for someone who cares about good sound, but who views a stereo as a means to an end -- music -- rather than an end in itself.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Access review.

    The gist: Philip really liked the Silver 6es.

  • Monoprice 10585Price: $89.50

    Website: www.monoprice.com

    Rad said: The 10585s have killer good looks, fit amazingly well, fold up compactly, can be used wirelessly or wired, come with a nice storage case, run incredibly long on a single battery charge, and are that rare headphone model that can do double duty as a serious listening device and as a portable that can be used anywhere: at the gym, on the bike, at home. And they cost a third of anything comparable.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: And you thought Monoprice was only about cheap cabling.

  • Price: $149.99

    Website: www.monoprice.com

    Brent said: For someone stepping up from mass-market closed-back headphones, the M650s are a great choice, and a window into a level of audio fidelity they may not have realized even exists.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Solo review.

    The gist: The value quotient is off the charts.

  • Moon by Simaudio Evolution 760APrice: $8000

    Website: www.simaudio.com

    Aron said: During my time with Simaudio’s Moon Evolution 760A, I was reminded of what an exceptionally well-engineered and -constructed amplifier can provide, aesthetically and sonically. The finesse with which the 760A consistently balanced power, transparency, dynamics, tonal colors, and dimensionality, all against near-silent backgrounds, was spellbinding.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

    The gist: Don't let its compact dimensions fool you -- it’s a powerhouse.

  • Price: $15,000

    Website: www.simaudio.com

    Aron said: To say that I like Simaudio’s Moon Evolution 780D would be a gross understatement. I’m enchanted by it. It’s the best-sounding DAC I’ve heard in my system, and quite possibly the best-sounding DAC I have heard, period.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

    The gist: Simaudio’s best DAC is the best Aron has heard.

  • Price: $30,000

    Website: www.simaudio.com

    Jeff said: In short, and even taking into account its exalted price of $30,000, nothing about the Simaudio Moon Evolution 850P disappoints. If you’re an audiophile of means who wants a traditional analog preamp, this could be the perfect choice to anchor that magnificent system you’ve been dreaming of.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

    The gist: One of the best solid-state preamps you can buy.

  • Price: $4300

    Website: www.simaudio.com

    Erich said: Its combination of high-quality electronic parts, high precision of construction, manufacturer reputation, ten-year warranty, sexy looks -- and, most important, its beautiful reproduction of every recording I played through it, regardless of musical genre, pace, or playback volume -- easily exceeded all of my needs.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

    The gist: The littlest Simaudio amp is a force to be reckoned with.

  • Price: $14,700-$15,350 per pair, depending on finish

    Website: www.muraudio.com

    Doug said: Muraudio’s latest isn’t just one of the best-sounding speakers at the price -- I’d wager it can knock the socks off many speakers costing considerably more.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

    The gist: Don’t let the weird look fool you – this speaker is the real deal.

  • Music Culture MC 701Price: $4495

    Website: www.music-culture.com

    Uday said: You may or may not have that problem, but if you’re in the market for a new integrated amplifier, I strongly urge you to consider the Elegance MC 701. It’s just that good. Even if you’re not in the market, check out this paradigm-shifting component, which achieves outstanding sound at a real-world price. Value just got redefined.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fireview.

    The gist: MBL for the masses.

  • Music Culture RL21Price: $3495 per pair

    Website: www.music-culture.com

    Doug said: It does this unassuming gem of a speaker from Germany something of disservice to call it one of the best two-way, stand-mounted speakers I’ve ever heard. At anywhere near its price, it’s one of the best speakers I’ve heard of any type.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

    The gist: Robust minimonitor from Germany.

  • Musical Fidelity M1ViNLPrice: $1199

    Website: www.musicalfidelity.com

    S. Andrea said: I was thoroughly impressed with the performance of the Musical Fidelity M1ViNL. It’s the cleanest, clearest phono preamplifier I’ve heard in my system. Those qualities allowed me to hear more fine detail than I could have imagined from records I thought I knew well. If you’ve ever had any doubts about vinyl’s potential for being a high-resolution medium, the M1ViNL should help to dispel them.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fireview.

    The gist: Excellent phono-stage performance and an even better value.

  • Musical Fidelity M6 500iPrice: $6999

    Website: www.musicalfidelity.com

    Hans said: In aggregate, the M6 500i has qualities that I think would appeal to an array of listeners: superfluous power, musicality and warmth, resolution befitting a $6999 asking price, a proud lineage. Really, there’s a lot to like.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fireview.

    The gist: Beast of an integrated.

  • 201008_titanPrice: $30,000

    Website: www.musicalfidelity.com

    Jeff said: The Musical Fidelity Titan kicks butt. It is competitive in every sonic category you could name, and moves ahead of the competition in some. One thing that should give prospective owners confidence is the notion that they can choose whichever speakers tickle their fancy, with no regard for their power requirements.

    ultra_sel_120x80

    Read the Ultra Audioreview.

    The gist: Big bass, big power, for a big system.

  • Musical Fidelity V90-DACPrice: $299.99

    Website: www.musicalfidelity.com

    Thom said: If you’re looking for a good, solid, reasonably priced, well-designed and -engineered, high-performance outboard digital-to-analog converter, I can’t think of a better buy.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Access review.

    The gist: Couldn’t get this digital performance for three bills even five years ago.

  • Price:$1995

    Website:www.mytekdigital.com

    Vade said:It’s an excellent DAC with a host of other relevant features.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

    The gist: Does it all for two grand.

  • 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: $649

    Website: www.nadelectronics.com

    Sathyan said: The NAD C 338 is an excellent value, especially for those interested in using Chromecast.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

    The gist: Not your father’s little NAD integrated.

  • Price: $899

    Website: www.nadelectronics.com

    Al said: NAD’s C 368 is a highly competent, great-sounding integrated amplifier that in itself represents an excellent value at $899.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Simplifi review.

    The gist: Classic NAD integrated reborn for the modern audiophile.

  • NAD C375DACPrice: $1599

    Website: www.nadelectronics.com

    Sathyan said: The C 375DAC breathed new life into my speakers, headphones, and recordings. The DAC is a welcome addition that will allow many to forgo the expense of a standalone DAC. As the audio industry seems to be moving toward computer-based playback of hi-rez audio, the NAD C 375DAC should find a place in many listeners’ audio racks.

    Great Buy

    Read the SoundStage! Accessreview.

    The gist: A good foundation for a high-end system.

  • NAD C 390DDPrice: $2599

    Website: www.nadelectronics.com

    Colin said: It’s likely the most sophisticated amplifier available at its price. In this ever-changing world, sophistication and modularity are good things, and the C 390DD offers both. That it’s also a superb music-reproduction device and sounds invisible is a major achievement, and, at its price, a phenomenal one.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

    The gist: Much more than just an integrated amp with a built-in DAC.

  • NAD C 510Price: $1299

    Website: www.nadelectronics.com

    Thom said: The C 510's reproduction of recorded sound was as nearly perfect as I’ve heard in 50 years of serious listening. And the higher the resolution of the signal fed to it, the better it sounded -- as you’d expect, of course, but even better than you might expect!

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Access review.

    The gist: The perfect hub for an affordable all-digital system.

  • nad_c565bee_300w

    Price: $799

    Website: www.nadelectronics.com

    Doug said: The NAD Classic C 565BEE is a CD player that’s close to the state of the art while being something regular people can afford. For many, it will be the last great CD player they’ll ever need to buy; in fact, it’s so good it might tempt even those who are convinced that they’ve already bought their last CD player.

    rc 70x80

    Read the SoundStage! review.

    The gist: NAD’s mega-bargain CD player.

  • Price: $399

    Website: www.nadelectronics.com

    Sathyan said: As was its ancestor the 3020, the D 3020 V2 is an affordable entry to the audio hobby, and is well suited to powering a small system for very little outlay.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Simplifi review.

    The gist: Adds Bluetooth and phono capabilities to a classic design.

  • NAD D 7050Price: $999

    Website: www.nadelectronics.com

    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.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Access review.

    The gist: NAD really has something with Direct Digital.

  • NAD Masters Series M27Price: $3999

    Website: www.nadelectronics.com

    Roger said: In the Masters Series M27, NAD has succeeded in delivering a practical, cost-effective implementation of Hypex’s excellent-sounding Ncore amplifier technology. If you’re looking for a powerful, extremely high-quality, seven-channel amplifier that won’t break the bank, I can’t recommend the M27 highly enough. In fact, I can’t think of a comparable product in this price range.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: A whopping seven channels of good sound in this compact amplifier.

  • Price: $3999

    Website: www.nadelectronics.com

    Hans said: From packaging to build quality to connectivity to, most important, sound quality, the M32 is an outstanding example of how audiophiles don’t necessarily have to spend top dollar to get top-shelf performance.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Access review.

    The gist: Call it Devialet light.

  • nad_t747Price: $1200

    Website: www.nadelectronics.com

    Colin said: The T 747’s look might be new, but this latest NAD creation adheres to the company’s founding philosophy: that high-quality sound doesn’t have to come at a high price.

    rc_70x80

    Read the Home Theater & Sound review.

    The gist: Budget HT in the classic NAD tradition.

  • NAD T 787Price: $3999.99

    Website: www.nadelectronics.com

    Wes said: I can tell you this. The T 787 is a magnificent surround-sound receiver. NAD’s design team has another winner on its hands.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: Powerhouse receiver with sound that an audiophile would love.

  • NAD Viso 1Price: $600

    Website: www.nadelectronics.com

    Colin said: The NAD Viso 1 is an astonishing sound machine, and an epic achievement for its product category: It offers a purity of sound that no reasonable person could have expected from an iPod dock. Its digital innards, born in a $6000 technical marvel, perform amazingly well in this $600 version, and, mated to PSB’s overachieving drivers, offer tight, almost unreasonably deep bass, sparkling but never overblown highs, and a clarity that must be heard to be appreciated.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperiencereview.

    The gist: May be the iPod dock to beat.

  • Price: $399

    Website: www.nadelectronics.com

    S. Andrea said: The HP70s’ materials and build quality are a substantial step up from the HP50s’, and their sound is notably more solid and focused. Whether in passive mode, via Bluetooth, using noise canceling, or connected to a computer, the HP70s delivered a wealth of musical detail while remaining on the warm and comfortable side of neutral.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Solo review.

    The gist: Most feature-rich of NAD headphones.

  • Price: $999

    Website: www.naimaudio.com

    Al said: At $999, the Mu-so Qb isn’t cheap, but its combination of good looks, solid features, and sound and build quality make it a winning all-in-one for someone wanting to fill a small space with big sound.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Simplifi review.

    The gist: It may be small, but all those drivers indicate a real hi-fi component.

  • naim_unitiPrice: $3795

    Website: www.naim-audio.com

    Jeff said: Sure, it plays CDs and plays them well, but the Uniti’s real benefits -- its integration with the Apple iPod and its ability to stream Internet Radio -- render everything else redundant at best, and at worst, obsolete.

    rc_70x80

    Read the SoundStage! Xperiencereview.

    The gist: Naim defines a new product genre.

  • NHT SuperZero 2.0Prices: $99 each (SuperZero 2.0), $349 (Super 8)

    Website: www.nhthifi.com

    Roger said: The pristine sound quality of these speakers satisfied the audiophile in me, and their ability to play loud and low made them, together, a system that I could enjoy and live with over the long term. If you’re looking for a speaker system in the neighborhood of $500, the NHT SuperZero 2.0 with Super 8 is a real find. I’ll be buying the review samples to use as my reference real-world speakers.

    Great Buy

    Read the SoundStage! Access review.

    The gist: The model that continues to stand the test of time.

  • Nordost Norse FreyPrices: $979 per 1m pair (Frey interconnects), $2059.99 per 1m pair (Nordost Frey speaker cables)

    Website: www.nordost.com

    Jason said: . . . after listening to the Norse Frey cables in my own system, researching their construction, and examining them firsthand, I have no hesitation in recommending them for either upgrade approach: all at once or one at a time.

    ultra_sel_120x80

    Read the Ultra Audioreview.

    The gist: Jason gets Nordosted.

  • 201011_nordost_tyrPrice: $1079

    Website: www.nordost.com

    Garrett said: The Tyr both tutored me and transformed my listening experience. Supremely balanced and natural, its sound is something I won’t do without anymore.

    rc_70x80

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fireview.

    The gist: Little things can make all the difference.

  • NuForce DAC-9Price: $1695

    Website: www.nuforce.com

    Graham said: The NuForce DAC-9 is one of those all-too-infrequent products that is a true giant-killer, and whose performance must have put a collective smile on the faces of those who designed and built it. At its full retail price of $1695, I think NuForce offers consumers a stonking good deal.

    Select Component

    Read the Ultra Audioreview.

    The gist: A great DAC need not cost five grand.

  • NuForce Reference 18Price: $7600 per pair

    Website: www.nuforce.com

    Tim said: To be sure, the Reference 18 has some worthy competitors at its not-insubstantial price level of $7600/pair, but they had better bring along their “A” game in any shoot-out with this outstanding class-D amp. Biases be damned.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fireview.

    The gist: Reference amps at a real-world price.

  • NuPrime Audio IDA--8Price: $995

    Website: www.nuprimeaudio.com

    Roger said: I love the NuPrime IDA-8. It sounds fantastic, has plenty of power to drive any reasonably efficient loudspeaker to room-filling levels, it’s compact, and, best of all, it costs less than $1000.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: Considering the excellent built-in DAC, this little gem is great value.

  • Octave Audio V70 SEPrice: $7000

    Website: www.octave.de

    Vade said: It’s quiet, and easy to set up, use, and maintain. It portrays music with great transparency, letting you appreciate the musicians’ intent and phrasing. Its ability to use a wide variety of power-output tubes adds flexibility for those who want to experiment with the different sounds of different tubes. Its sound equaled or surpassed that of a highly regarded amplifier and line stage costing more than twice as much, and it produced enough power to drive a wide variety of speakers.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

    The gist: Flexible performance from this tube-based German machine.

  • Price: $349

    Website: www.us.onkyo.com

    Thom said: I believe the Onkyo A-9010 is a screaming bargain for anyone looking for a flexible, affordable, moderately powered integrated amplifier that will offer a lifetime’s worth of music enjoyment.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Access review.

    The gist: Hard to believe this kind of sound quality costs under 400 bucks.

  • Onkyo TX-NR5010Price: $3000

    Website: www.onkyousa.com

    Wes said: Bottom line: Onkyo has a real winner here, one capable of standing proudly between two winners of the coveted SoundStage! Network Reviewers’ Choice award. The TX-NR5010 deserves that award as well. A job well done by all involved.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: Big, bad HT receiver with all the bells and whistles.

  • Oppo BDP-103Price: $499

    Website: www.oppodigital.com

    Wes said: Using an Oppo, I stop thinking about my electronics and start looking for more movies to watch. The Oppo BDP-103 is a Reviewers’ Choice product -- and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it mentioned next January, when the 2013 SoundStage! Network Product of the Year awards are announced.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: The BD player to get priced under five bills.

  • Oppo Digital BDP-105Price: $1199

    Website: www.oppodigital.com

    Roger said: At $1199, the BDP-105 is an easy recommendation as a state-of-the-art Blu-ray Disc player and basic media player/server. When you consider that it’s also a very good DAC and digital preamp, its value is off the charts.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: Simply the best Blu-ray-enabled source on the market.

  • oppo_bdp83_300w

    Price: $499

    Website: www.oppodigital.com

    Roger said: I can’t think of another Blu-ray player at anywhere near its price that I would rather have in my system than the Oppo Digital BDP-83. It features excellent audio and video performance, state-of-the-art video processing, above-average build quality, and playback of both SACD and DVD-Audio.

    rc_70x80

    Read the Home Theater & Sound review.

    Read the SoundStage! A/V review.

    The gist: The Blu-ray player to buy. Period.

  • Oppo BDP-93Price: $499

    Website: www.oppodigital.com

    Wes said: Oppo has created another front-runner. When I reviewed the BDP-83, I wrote, “Oppo has come up with so many winners over the last five years that it’s starting to resemble a dynasty.” Let’s just go ahead and affirm that the transformation is now complete: Oppo is a dynasty.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperiencereview.

    The gist: Another knockout disc player from Oppo.

  • Oppo Digital HA-1Price: $1199

    Website: www.oppodigital.com

    Uday said: The HA-1 functioned beautifully in all of the roles I asked it to play in my system, and its sound quality was first rate. Its build quality is fantastic, it’s very user friendly, and it works as advertised. If you’re looking for a one-box headphone amp, preamp, and DAC, your search should begin and end here.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: Oppo seems to only make winners, and the HA-1 is no exception.

  • Oppo Digital HA-2Price: $299

    Website: www.oppodigital.com

    Hans said: It’s incredibly well designed, with the build quality and feel of a modern iPhone, and the style and flair of something that will look at home in any setting. Factor in ruler-flat neutrality, flexibility of use with a wide variety of devices, and a fast-charge feature that you’ll never want to be without, and I can’t think of one area in which the HA-2 comes up short.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: High-style, great-sounding headphone DAC-amp for a very reasonable price.

  • Oppo Digital PM-1Price: $1099

    Website: www.oppodigital.com

    S. Andrea said: Oppo Digital’s first headphone model proves itself a strong competitor in the very demanding premium-headphone segment. The PM-1s’ warm balance pairs wonderfully with voices, offers enough extension to capture the essence of all manner of instruments, and grants an enjoyable listening experience with almost any recording. Their bass reaches authoritatively into the bottom octave and can deliver a firm punch, but always remains clear and controlled.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: Well-built, stylish, and great sounding.

  • Oppo Digital PM-2Price: $699

    Website: www.oppodigital.com

    Hans said: Their build and appearance are beyond reproach -- every detail has been assiduously attended to -- and whatever concessions the PM-2s make to the PM-1s on the luxury front are, to my mind, unimportant. Discriminating consumers take note: Oppo’s PM-2s sound every bit as good as they look and feel -- and they look and feel superlative.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: Maybe the sweet spot in Oppo's knockout line of headphones.

  • Price: $299

    Website: www.oppodigital.com

    Rad said: The Sonica had the most tonally even sound, from top to bottom of the audioband, that I’ve heard from a speaker its size. The sound was transparent, focused, and without coloration. A single Sonica was impressive enough; I imagine a stereo pair would be even better.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: Oppo gets all the details right on their first speaker.

  • Price:$1299

    Website:www.oppodigital.com

    Roger said: I’ll end by saying that Oppo Digital has once again succeeded in producing a state-of-the-art universal BD player at an incredibly reasonable price.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Access review.

    The gist: Still the company to shop with for your next BD player.

  • Optoma NuForce DDA120Price: $699

    Website: www.optomausa.com

    Roger said: The NuForce DDA120 sounds every bit as good as the DDA-100 that it replaces, which means that it’s a great-sounding integrated amplifier-DAC. Although it costs $150 more than its predecessor, it adds some key conveniences, including Bluetooth connectivity and an analog input.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: Flexible connectivity and a great price make this a prime candidate for your next desktop system.

  • Orb Audio Mod1Price: $239 per pair

    Website: www.orbaudio.com

    Rad said: If you don’t spend that much time at the computer, the Classic One might entice you to do so. You can’t judge Orb speakers by their sizes. They have a lot to offer, and at prices most people can afford. It’s champagne on a beer budget. A big thumbs up!

    Great Buy

    Read the SoundStage! Accessreview.

    The gist: Better than your average computer speaker.

  • Outdoor Tech PrivatesPrice: $99.95

    Website: www.outdoortechnology.com

    Rad said: The Outdoor Tech. Privates are stylish, can be used wired or wirelessly, fold up for easy packing and conveyance, and sound like much more expensive headphones. They’re the best on-ear headphones in their price range that I’ve heard.

    Reviewers' Choice

    Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

    The gist: Totally cool in an outdoorsy, adventurer sort of way.

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