It wasn't that long ago that
the best sounding audio gear wasn't much to look at. The designers focused
almost exclusively on the sound, but in the early 2000s the engineers started
to lavish attention on the way these things look. That makes sense: we live
with the gear, so purposeful style and build quality can only add to the
products' allure. Take for example the Devialet 120 digital amplifier.
It does it all: it has turntable and analog
line inputs, USB, Ethernet, and digital coaxial, plus the new Devialet AIR
Universal Streamer. Oh, and it also sounds phenomenal!
Woo Audio WA7 headphone amplifier
The Woo Audio WA7 ($999) is a high-performance vacuum
tube headphone amplifier-digital converter. It's a pure tube design, utilizing
6C45 tubes, and I think it's one of the most exquisite designs that still comes in at an
Aedle VK-1 Legacy headphones
The VK-1 Legacy sounds sweet and weighs
7.5 ounces, a little lighter than average for this type of headphone.
The US price is $500, which I don't consider expensive for a hand-crafted
The Avantgarde Acoustic Zero 1 wireless speakers come with built-in digital converters and power amplifiers. And since they're horn speakers, they deliver extreme dynamic range and razor-sharp stereo imaging.
Abyss AB-1266 headphones
The Abyss AB-1266 is arguably the
most extreme headphone in the world. The Audiophiliac thinks it is, by a
large margin, the best-sounding headphone you can buy.