I received my absolute sound 2014 high-end audio buyer’s guide today. Sure it was mostly stuff priced like new cars, but as always I was pleased to see so many reasonably priced components from my brands on the list.
GoldenEar Technology Aon 3 $999
“.. agile, detailed, nuanced mids when serving up bass that matches the quality of the speaker’s midrange and trble. …Those listeners willing to sacrifice some of the Aon 3’s extended low range performance may find GoldenEar’s slightly smaller Aon 2 offers even more compelling three-dimensional imaging.”
GoldenEar Triton Two $2998
” … an elegant full-range floorstander that sounds astonishingly refined, delivers spectacular 30-D imaging, and provides robust full-bodied dynamics.”
Gallo Acoustics Reference 3.5
Sadly discontinued, and all sold out. But the new Strada 2($1998) pair) has the same midrange and tweeter, so using a pair of subwoofers makes a system amazingly close to the 3.5. And one reviewer whose personal reference is the Ref 3.5 reviewed the Strada 2 with two Gallo subwoofers to the Ref3.5. He does a thorough comparison of Strada 2 w/subs to Ref 3.5 w/sub amp at this link
Marantz PM8004 integrated amp $999
70 wpc “…tonally neutral, clean, clear, transparent…phono stage with all-discrete circuitry…bass, treble and midrange tone controls… build quality is superb.”
Vincent Audio PHO 8 phono preamp $400
“…Operation is quiet the sound liquid, the soundstage liquid, the soundstage vivid and dimensional wth just a hint f warmth … A joy to use .. you’ll need a much bigger wallet to beat it.”
Marantz SA8004 Two channel SACD/Redbook player$999
“…Tonally neutral authoritative and natural with just a hint of warmth…a music lover’s dream. “
Marantz Reference Series Universal players SA 11S ($3999) and UD9004 (5999)
Both are marvelous but at these prices nobody even asks how good a deal they could get on a special order.
Channel D Pure Music $129 software
I don’t sell this, but it’s such a deal that everyone who uses iTunes should get it ASAP.
Grado Prestige Gold cartridge $220
“…dynamically expressive midrange…presentation is lively and conveys an engaging sense of openness…”
Ortofon cartridges at $2199, $2599, $3899 and $8495.
So many and so expensive that I got too lazy to put in the quotes. I stay with the 2M series, all under $500 my price.
Analysis Plus interconnects at $875 and speaker cables at $1350
Sure they are wonderful but if by chance there are audiohiles in S. Louis who would buy these even if they were half price I have yet to meet them. Maybe they shop at Music for Pleasure, St. Louis Stereo, or even The Sound Room, all of which exude a higher-end aura. I suppose my penchant for “affordability” doesn’t help.
WireWorld Equinox 7 interconnect $200
TAS compared the sound to the Cardas Light that costs three times as much. Now that’s a compliment!
WireWorld Equinox 7 speaker cable $$870/3 meter
TAS says it’s very similar to the Cardas clear Sky and similar in price, too so it’s fine cable but not a bargain.
WireWorld also got recommendations for their Electra 5.2 power cable, Platinum Starlight USB ($599), and Silver Starlight USB ($275).
Grado SR60 and PS1000 headphones , at $79 and $1695 were listed as well.