Leading US monthly hi-fi magazine Stereophile has just announced its Products of the Year for 2015.
Among the “seven products that kicked righteous wads of ass and made it worthwhile to be an audiophile” is Magnepan’s Magneplanar 0.7 loudspeaker, which is both a finalist for Loudspeaker of the Year and outright winner of the Budget Component of the Year category, while Miyajima’s top-of-range Madake phono cartridge is a finalist for Analog Component of the Year.
“Who needs more than this?”
This is the first time a panel speaker has won in Stereophile’s Budget Component of the Year category. The list of finalists included a little of everything – an amp, a cartridge, a computer-audio accessory, a portable music player (Neil Young’s Pono), two turntables and four other loudspeakers.
Reviewer Herb Reichert wrote that he could very happily live with the two-way, planar-magnetic 0.7, whose only concession to thrift had to do with size, not quality: “With every recording, I thought: Who needs more than this?”
Standing apart from the crowd, Magnepan’s loudspeakers (‘Maggies’ to their many fans) are tall, slender flat-panel designs which, unlike most standard cabinet speakers, do not rely on conventional cone and dome drivers. The Magneplanar concept is similar to an electrostatic speaker in that both produce sound by moving a thin film membrane. But in the Magneplanar design, the force is magnetic rather than electrostatic, generated by an array of closely spaced permanent magnets.
The 0.7 (‘point seven’) is a scaled down version of Magnepan’s award-winning 1.7 model, designed with the smaller listening room in mind. Hailed by the audiophile press as a landmark design, the 1.7 was described by CNET reviewer Steve Guttenberg as “one of the greatest speakers of our new century”. Looks like its ‘baby’ sibling is set to cause a similar stir.
Read more about the Magneplanar 0.7 in our earlier press release: Big on performance, smaller on space: the new Magneplanar 0.7
“the clue lies in its name”
Also a finalist, in the Analog Component of the Year category, is Miyajima’s top-of-range Madake cartridge.
The clue about what makes the Madake special lies in its name: Madake is the Japanese term for a particular species of bamboo, Giant Timber Bamboo, often used in various types of traditional Japanese craftsmanship but now quite rare.
The Madake’s cantilever, rather than being made from the usual metal (aluminum, boron) or crystalline solid (ruby, sapphire, diamond), is fashioned from this specific bamboo. Why? Bamboo is light in weight but extremely rigid. And, unlike metals and stones which contain small inherent resonances, bamboo has excellent natural damping properties.
Read more about the Miyajima Madake in our earlier press release: New top-of-range Madake cartridge from Miyajima
See Stereophile’s Products of 2015 in full.