Welcome to Newsletter #23 and Season’s Greetings to you all. Since the last Newsletter in November we have had awards season here at HF&MS. They were the first awards given by HF&MS after 9 years, and several hundred reviews and they were celebrating both the Best of 2022 and the Best Ever pieces of equipment. We have deliberately not chosen products by category as it was really meant to be a celebration of all things HiFi and the Best Ever was just an acknowledgement of fabulous products, before this year.
Best of 2022
In case you’ve missed them, the winners of the Best of 2022 were:
Chord MoJo 2 DAC
Cambridge Audio EVO 150 all-in-one system
Meze Audio ADVAR IEMs
Cyrus CDt-XR CD transport
Vertere MG-1 turntable
Kudos Cardea Super 20A loudspeakers
Meze Audio LIRIC headphones
iFi Zen DAC – DAC!
Exposure 3510 integrated amplifier
Earmen CH-Amp headphone amplifier stack
These products were joined in the last couple of days by the Atlas Hyper 5.0 loudspeaker cable; the review was published after the awards season.
It felt appropriate to celebrate some of the best products ever heard at HF&MS and these awards went to:
Moor Amps Angel 6 power amplifier (and the Angel preamplifier)
Tellurium Q Ultra Black II loudspeaker cable (and the XLRs)
PMC Twenty 5 26i loudspeakers
Auralic Vega G2.1 streaming DAC
Rega Io integrated amplifier
Chord Hugo 2 DAC
Of course, some of these brilliant products came out before 2022 but they are awarded this year as they passed through HF&MS’s review bench this year. The Best Ever section may represent a terminus on this audiophiles journey, but the good stuff in life, I now know, is the journey and not the destination (..discuss…). I mentioned in the Best Ever awards there were three ‘Night and Day’ moments, two of which are listed at the top of the Best Ever list. These were moments when you realise something important is happening in the listening experience. They made me stop and almost punch the air. I hear you ask what was the third ‘Night and Day’ moment. Well, that was the Naim XPS Power Supply to my Naim NAC-N 272 preamplifier. I’m hoping for moments like these three in the coming years and that is the joy of the journey.
Reviews in the last Month
It has otherwise been a busy month with reviews of the brilliant Nessie VinylCleaner that coincided perfectly with the arrival of the Pro-Ject X2 B, a turntable with a balanced cable output to their balanced MM/MC phono stage. Other reviews this season have included a review of the Atlas Hyper 5.0 Achromatic loudspeaker cable. These cables snuck into the Best of 2022 selection.
Looking forward to the New Year
It will be a very exciting start to the new year with reviews coming of the iFi Zen CAN, their headphone amplifier that compliments the HF&MS award-winning Zen DAC. There will also be a look at the Zen CAN Air, the stripped-back Zen CAN.
Another review coming will be of the Auralic Altair G1.1, which features a new high-mass satin silver base that affords greater stability for the streaming platform and improved performance. This product is a staple at the moment, particularly following the departure of the Pro-Ject turntable.
Other reviews coming include an early look at the T+A Solitaire T Bluetooth headphones, which are glorious so far. A bit of a plot spoiler here, but with all of the Focal Bathy noise at the moment these headphones demand a close look. There will also be a look at the Bluesound Edge and the new Cyrus Classic integrated amplifier. These reviews will be followed by the review of the beautiful Kudos Titan 505 loudspeakers, which have their new liquid amber veneer finish.
It has been a fantastic month with New Music from Ryan Adams who has released a cover of Springsteen’s Nebraska. It is available on Adams’ record label PaxAm for free. It has been joined at Christmas by another cover, this time of Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, which is also free for a limited time.