Aesthetix Mimas integrated amp and DS Audio’s DS-E1 optical phono cartridge in Hi-Fi News Yearbook 2019

Every issue, Hi-Fi News delivers in-depth reviews of high-end audio equipment. And every December, the magazine’s Yearbook showcases the best of the best products reviewed throughout the year. It’s the music enthusiast’s go-to guide for the world’s most outstanding hi-fi.

“This year’s annual is a festival of the most awe-inspiring turntables, digital players, amplifiers, headphones and loudspeakers launched across the globe,” writes editor Paul Miller. “It’s also where we pause to reflect on the technologies and materials that drive hi-fi’s evolution.”

Two companies who aren’t afraid to push the ‘technologies and materials envelope’ are Californian Aesthetix and Japanese DS Audio, both of which are featured in the 2019 Yearbook.

Aesthetix Mimas integrated amplifier

Californian creator of very-high-performance audio, Aesthetix, created its Mimas integrated amplifier to bridge the gap between ultra high-end separates and mass market components. “For years, our customers begged us to combine our Calypso linestage and Atlas power amplifier,” says chief engineer and company head, Jim White. “We listened, and got to work.”

The Mimas is intended for high performance audio and home cinema systems, and is hailed by Hi-Fi News as “Mimastonishing”. Capable of 150W into 8 ohms, and nearly double that into 4 ohms, it is a hybrid design with a valve input stage and a solid-state output stage. A key part of the renowned Aesthetix sound is the company’s devotion to overbuilt, advanced technology power supplies. The Mimas incorporates seven fully regulated power supplies, in which the 800VA power transformer is designed and manufactured completely in-house by Aesthetix.

“What you get in this compact box, offered in silver or black, is music to a purist’s ears, especially when you discover that off of its five inputs are available on both balanced XLR and single-ended RCAs.”

“The execution of this fabulous sounding amplifier means that the Mimas is a triumph, and must be added to any shortlist of sub-£10k all-singing/all-dancing amps.”

Find out more and track down your nearest dealer at

Aesthetix Mimas integrated amplifier in silver

DS Audio DS-E1 optical phono cartridge

DS Audio is breaking new ground with its unique optical phono cartridges, borrowing technology developed in various scientific, industrial and medical applications. The DS-E1 is the company’s entry level model, “but so good is this LED/photocell cartridge that it begs the question: why pay more?”.

“What the DS-E1 achieves is a multitude of triumphs, not least in closing the gap between the affordable and the unobtainable. Being offered this level of performance at a fraction of the cost of what came before from the company is a godsend. So if the thought of a radical change in technology doesn’t scare you, the DS-E1 provides the chance to hear your LPs sounding as you’ve never imagined them.”

Find out more at and track down your nearest dealer via UK distributor

DS Audio DS-E1 front view in play


Read the full reviews, and discover the complete pick of 2019’s superlative hi-fi, in the Hi-Fi News Yearbook 2019.