When we pick a best as hifi reviewers, we’re really picking a favorite. A seemingly subtle difference, but a world of difference in terms of attitude.
I don’t know of a single reviewer who has listened to everything, so the notion of best automatically gets whittled to “the best of what I’ve heard”. If we add in the fact that omniscience is not a quality found in humans, perhaps contrary to some popular beliefs, best shrinks down to a human-sized favorite.
adjective: favourite; adjective: favorite
preferred before all others of the same kind.
Here are a few of my favorite things in the form of hifi gear. I have taken some liberties with “2021,” stretching time just a bit to include products I really wanted on this list — because I really like them. To my mind and in my experience, every product on this list stood out from the crowd because it offered exceptional performance when it comes to converting recordings into sound, turning thoughts into dreams made of music.
Riviera Labs Levante Integrated Amplifier ($16,500) review
“As Mozart’s movements filled the barn and I got deeper and deeper into Die Zauberflöte, my reviewer brain suddenly kicked in and presented me with one word, like a gift, to add as another important attribute of the Levante’s performance: Finesse. The Levante moves with the music like Fred Astaire in zero gravity.”
Denafrips ARES II DAC ($780) review
“The ARES II is one of a few DACs that adds a bit of musical magic into the mix, turning bits into living breathing waves of analog richness”
Perlisten S7t (starts at $18,000) review forthcoming
The Perlisten S7t defy appearance and preconceived notions by delivering a mesmerizing life-like embodiment of what ever music you care to pass through them.
DeVore Fidelity O/96 ($13,200/pair)
GoldenEar BRX ($1598/pair)