Twittering Machines Favorite Gear of 2022

In the pursuit of hifi happiness, many people consider only the latest and greatest kit to come down the pike. As if newer is always better. I, on the other hand, am a big fan of classics. Stone cold classics.

Reviewers, yours truly included, can make it seem like the pursuit of the new is the only route to take when putting together a hifi, and year-end “Best” lists help support this fiction.

Let’s redefine high fidelity as being faithful to the passion for and discovery of music. This means that the best hi-fi is the one that perpetually fans the flame of this passion.

I wrote that in 2005 for an article in Stereophile and I’ve been saying the same thing, more and less, ever since.

And here’s how I began and ended my “Best of 2005” for 6moons:

Looking over the past nearly-a-year with 6moons at all that’s changed and all that hasn’t; and picking up a few pieces to dust off and highlight reminds me of Hans Castorp. Just like good ol’ unsuspecting Hans in Thomas Mann’s Magic Mountain chugging up the Alps on that little train that could, Hans was soon filled with ideas and opinions of all shapes and sizes by a colorful assortment of fellow inmates (at the sanitarium at Davos). In the end, Hans did not end up where he thought he would. He didn’t even end up who he thought he was. But that’s another story. “…though it must needs be borne in mind, in Hans Castorp’s behalf, that it is his story, and not every story happens to everybody…”

“Space, rolling and revolving between him and his native heath, possessed and wielded the powers we generally ascribe to time”. Just like Hans’ journey, our little hobby can take us rolling and revolving. I know I’m enjoying one hell of a great ride with no end in site. All aboard.

Without further ado, here’s my favorite gear of 2022. You may notice they all have a few things in common—they’re not new designs, they are all things I own, and they make listening to music on the hifi an unending journey of delightful discovery.

Twittering Machines 2022 Products of the Year

DeVore Fidelity O/96 ($13,200/pair) | More Info

I’ve been living with loudspeakers from DeVore Fidelity for the better part of 15 years. The DeVore O/96 are my daily drivers and they remain my favorites in every way. If you like your music delivered with heart and soul, hear ye a pair of O/96, which first hit the hifi high street in 2011.

Leben CS600 Integrated Amplifier ($7995) | More Info

The Leben CS600 is my favorite integrated amplifier. I love it so much, I bought it again! The first Leben CS600s appeared in 2005.

Michell Audio Gyro SE Turntable/Technoarm 2 Tonearm ($5498) | More Info

Poetry in motion. The Michell Gyro SE was on my ‘Want List’ for decades and it ranks among the classiest of classic hifi designs of all time. The Michell GyroDec, which the Gyro SE is based on, has been around since the late 1980s.

totaldac d1-tube DAC/Streamer (appx $8000) | Review

I’ve been living with one totaldac or another for more years than I remember. Even though the d1-tube DAC/Streamer sits on the lower end of the totaldac price list, it turns digital music into sweet dream streams.

Honorable Mention

Devon Turnbull/OJAS at Lisson Gallery | More Info

HiFi as something more than an accumulation of gear that makes sound is near and dear to my heart. Devon Turnbull’s HiFi Listening Room Dreaam No. 1 exhibit at the Lisson Gallery last summer was a physical embodiment of a life-long dream I didn’t really know the limits of until Devon showed the way.

And I thought of my father, the MSEE, and how our relationship largely flourished in and around listening to music on the hifi. A place where we shared our enjoyment of the art of music reproduction and of greater importance, the music itself and the people who made it, albeit from different perspectives, differing aspects of interest informed by his education and work as an electrical engineer, and my education and work as a visual artist.

These thoughts came over me like a wave as Devon played record after record from a collection of Tone Poet Blue Note LPs and a few from analog tape, protection copies made about 50 years ago to carry on from where the original 70-year old tapes would eventually leave off, slowly morphing into decay. It was in the listening, which was among the most moving and enriching experiences I’ve had, where the seemingly separate worlds of my father and mine merged in a more meaningful union.