“Call it what you will – the very best of the best, the cream of the crop, top of the list, head of the heap, king of the hill,” says Hi-Fi Choice editor Steve Sutherland. Either way, the magazine’s Yearbook is packed with ideas for either tweaking your system or seeking a whole new change of direction – or simply fantasising about ideal setups.
Clearaudio Concept Active turntable
Clearaudio’s Concept deck must surely be one of high-end audio’s most awarded products, and the fact that Clearaudio continues to evolve its editions and options means that the awards just keep on coming over the years.
The Concept is an elegantly styled turntable package (including tonearm and cartridge) that sports a level of technology and craftsmanship usually only found in higher-end decks. Its latest iteration is the Concept Active, aimed at music lovers who crave the benefits of a high-performing system without the hassle of endless black boxes. It features a built-in MM/MC phonostage and preamplifier and an integrated headphone amp – so whether you want to plug it into a power amplifier or an active speaker system, or simply pop on a set of cans, you’re good to go.
“Clearaudio has made a fuss-free and superbly built and specified package that makes music in a consistently compelling and entertaining way,” write reviewers. “When you also consider the upgrade potential it offers, this is a mighty fine concept that’s fully deserving of our enthusiastic recommendation.”
Dan Clark Audio Aeon 2 headphone
While Dan Clark’s original Aeon was designed as a full-size headphone for listening at home or on the move, the Aeon 2 makes it easier than ever to take audiophile quality music wherever you go. A clever folding gimbal system not only makes portability a breeze, but also improves the clamping, fit, feel and structural integrity of the entire headphone.
“The most immediate characteristic is the pinpoint and detailed soundstaging,” and “for those who like lower frequencies, the bass extension is a real boon,” write reviewers. “At the price this deserves to be high on any serious audition list.”
Discover the full complement of 2020’s best of audio in the Hi-Fi Choice Yearbook.