YG Acoustics Anat Reference II speakers, $107,000
This professional speaker set is far from the most expensive in the world, but it might be the best-sounding. Stereophile magazine's Wes Phillips goes gaga over it.
You'll get no argument from me that $107,000 seems like a lot of money for a pair of speakers.
But the YG Acoustics Anat Reference II Professional is a lot of speaker. Stereophile magazine's Wes Phillips delved deep into the flagship speaker's build and sound quality in his review. It was a tough assignment, but somebody had to do it.
While $107,000 is definitely out of my price range, that doesn't mean there's not a market, albeit a very small market, for products. Great, but who buys these things?
Answer: rich people. You probably know some of their names. Rock icon Bruce Springsteen just signed a new $110,000,000 contract. The Boss could and should buy these things (maybe he'd make better-sounding records). And the last time I checked, Tom Cruise is still getting upward of $20 million to appear in a movie. A pair of YG Acoustics Anat Reference II Professionals would be a nice start for his home theater.
In addition, sports superstars are still signing megamillion contracts, and big-business CEOs are still eating at fancy restaurants. Even now, the rich aren't hurting; luxury markets are holding steady.
The Anat Reference II Professional is a three-piece modular loudspeaker. It is, shall we say, on the statuesque side of large; the Reference Main Module sits atop the Studio passive subwoofer, which, in turn, rests upon the Professional powered subwoofer. Each three-module array weighs 440 pounds.
Most of each module is made of aircraft-grade aluminum; the front baffles are a machined "ballistic grade" alloy of aluminum and titanium. The speakers are shipped in six custom aluminum flight cases.
This is an audiophile speaker, designed to deliver exacting performance. Think of the YG Acoustics Anat Reference II Professional as a sound instrument, a precise transducer that replicates signals sent from the amplifier with absolute fidelity. No wonder Phillips went gaga over the sound: "The first thing I noticed about the Anat References was how completely effortless music sounded--all music, whether chamber music, large orchestral showpieces, or kick-ass rock 'n' roll."
I've never heard the Anat Reference II Professional, but I did get to check out some of YG Acoustics' more affordable models at a trade show. The sound was really something special, with truly staggering levels of clarity, detail, and resolution.
It's also worth noting that today's uberhigh-end audio technology eventually trickles down to products with prices that are somewhat more real-world. Phillips makes his living listening to the very best stuff, and even he was awestruck by these speakers: "The YGAs were so adept at presenting dynamic details that, instead of simply making the music come alive, they presented living, breathing musicians making music in my living room."
I assume that a few lucky Audiophiliac readers could write a check for these things without blinking. To those lucky devils, I say that if you want to hear The Beatles, Duke Ellington, or Luciano Pavarotti sound like they're in the room with you, you need something at least as good as the YG Acoustics Anat Reference II Professional Speakers. Check the YG Acoustics site to locate a dealer.