Having auditioned many products over the years, I am often asked which product was/is a standout. Technology and music have merged to give us excellent playback material.
2015 has been a year where many innovative and excellent products were launched. I have compiled a short list of the products I have auditioned in 2015 and believe them to be punching above their weight. Please view contents available on the site for more information on these products or give me a call.
OK, so in no particular order, here we go –
Audioquest Nighthawk Headphones
Let me state at the outset, that I am not a headphone person, and normally only use them when travelling. However these are very special as they are regarded as THE most comfortable in the world and rank in the top 10 for sound quality. No matter how good a pair of headphones sound, you will stop using them if they are uncomfortable.
AR M2 Media Player
There are many such players on the market, but for sound quality and value for money, the M2 must rate with the best
Audioquest RJ/E Diamond Ethernet Cable
Whoever said all Ethernet cables sound the same? Be warned once you try these cables, you will not go back to your average CAT 5, 6 or 7.
Auralic Aries/Aries LE/Aries Mini
Considered to be one of the best and most versatile streamers on the market today, there are 3 models to choose from, depending on budget and system suitability. The latest model Aries Mini, represents outstanding value, can have a SS Hard Drive inserted making it a complete package.
Chord Mojo, Chord 2 Qute, Chord TT
The Chord range of DACS/Preamps have to be the success story of 2015. They have wiped the floor clean with all the awards in the UK. There is a Chord to suit all budgets right upto the new D.A.V.E which is due into Australia in December and which I cannot wait to get my hands on.
Curios USB Cables
Once again if you believe all USB cables sound the same, think again.
Curios cables are manufactured in Queensland, by Rob Woodland. For those not familiar with the name, you might remember Eichmann Bullet Plugs, Cable Pods, Strips, cables etc. Rob was the designer of those famous products and he is at it again with the Curious USB Cable.
They are excellent value for many products and outperform imports costing twice as much. In addition to the USB Cable, their Regen Link and Hugo Link, are a must for any audiophile (more of this to follow)
There is inherent noise in USB Cables and without going into too much detail, the Regen eliminates this noise. Think of it as a PS Audio P10 Power Conditioner for USB Cables at a fraction of the cost. Combine the Regen and the Audioquest JitterBug and you will have a perfect signal going into your DAC via your Curious Regen Link. At this stage Regens are only available ex USA.
At a very modest cost the Audioquest JitterBug, reduces noise and the ringing that effects both the data line and power line of USB Ports. This in conjunction with the Regen/Curios Link will result in a cleaner more compelling sound.
Axis Voicebox S
Having sold quite a few of these babies now, they continue to floor me each time I demonstrate them. In a nutshell they are a high end small speaker, that thinks it’s a high end large speaker. In my listening room, 10 metres by 6 metres, they produce a huge soundstage, pinpoint imaging, impeccable tonal balance and bass that would put a lot of floor standing speakers to shame. Needless to say they are excellent value for money.
Kimber Select KS 2436 USB Cable
Earlier I spoke of the Curious USB Cable as being excellent value for money with superb performance. Introducing Kimber Select KS 2436 – on a revealing system this cable would have to rate as one of the best in the world, certainly the best I have auditioned, though not for the budget conscious audiophile.
PS Audio BHK300 Mono Amplifiers
I have saved the best for last. Let me start by congratulating Bascom King, Paul McGowan and his team for manufacturing this fantastic amplifier, at a price point that represents excellent value for money, when compared to others costing twice as much, and considered as reference quality. This is the best amplifier I have had the pleasure and I mean pleasure of auditioning in my system. Most amplifiers have trade-offs, but I am yet to discover any such trade-offs with these BHK300s. As I am not a reviewer, I will not go into detail – I will leave that to the professionals. Let me just say that they are musical, involving, without losing bass control, have micro and macro detail, without sounding hard or bright, have a beautiful midrange with bloom, without losing detail and sounding thick and muddy, have enough bass control and dynamics to satisfy me and I do listen at realistic levels. And this does not mean that they do not satisfy when played at low levels. They have incredible resolving power without sounding slow and have power in reserve to drive inefficient speakers without losing control or dynamics.
If ever there was/is a perfect amplifier, for me, this is it. Obviously these BHK300s are my new reference.
When hooking up these amplifiers in a single wired configuration, it is important to use the two extreme binding posts on each amp. In my system there is a distinct improvement in sound quality. I have no explanation for this.
I would indeed be surprised if these amps are not credited with the highest possible awards by the leading HI Fi magazines. They thoroughly deserve it.