The Best Audiophile Gear (2022): Headphones, Speakers, Amps, DACs

The Best Audiophile Gear (2022): Headphones, Speakers, Amps, DACs Leave a comment

Your first speaker buy ought to be a high quality pair to your desktop. It is, in spite of everything, the place you in all probability spend numerous your time at dwelling. For listening at my desk, I like the iLoud Micro Monitors ($350). They’re a small pair that sound distinctive for his or her dimension, and so they have some surprisingly superior bass response.

As far as bookshelf audio system go, my favourite pair is the KEF LS50 Wireless II ($2,126 per pair). They have the most important, most detailed sound I’ve ever heard from a pair of audio system their dimension. The cheaper KEF LSX ($950 per pair) mannequin are additionally nice, as are the wired KEF LS50 Meta ($1,600 per pair).

The KEF and iLoud fashions I simply talked about are powered. They have amplification built-in, and so they draw their energy from a wall socket, to allow them to be used with out a devoted amplifier. If you have already got an amp (or in case you plan to purchase one), a pair of passive audio system is the easiest way to go. Those hook up with common speaker cables, and you will not want to fret about plugging them into the wall.

Some passive bookshelf fashions I like are the ELAC Debut 2.0 ($400 per pair) and JBL 4309 ($2,000 per pair). The ELACs are an amazing entry-level speaker that may simply take you into audiophile territory with the precise amp, the place the 4309 kind of sound superb with something powering them. I’m a fan of enjoyable, energetic sound when I’m listening on audio system, and each of those fashions ship that, however with sufficient element that you just will not really feel you are sacrificing something.

Moving away from bookshelves and onto passive floorstanding audio system, I’ll spotlight two very totally different fashions. The Paradigm Monitor SE 6000F ($1,000 per pair) are an amazing pair of audio system for many who like issues a bit extra scientific and exact—they’re superb for classical music, jazz, and people, due to their unbelievable element. Some audiophiles want the kind of tight precision you get from audio system just like the Paradigms. The Klipsch Forte IV ($4,998 per pair) are extra full of life. In reality, they’re completely tuned, mid-century–impressed masterpieces. They include hand-made picket cupboards and beautiful horn tweeters, and the 15-inch passive bass radiators on the again of the sealed audio system make them punch deeper and with extra authority than an expert boxer. If you are on the lookout for essentially the most enjoyable you have ever had listening to Hendrix at excessive quantity, audio system like these are the best way to go.

Your style could differ from mine! The greatest strategy to discover your favourite high-end audio system is to make use of your ears. Find a neighborhood seller and go take heed to a number of fashions before you purchase. For reference, different manufacturers that make wonderful audio system as of late embody Yamaha, Bowers & Wilkins, Focal, Bang & Olufsen, and Polk Audio, amongst many different extra boutique manufacturers. 

You’ll by no means know the way a pair of audio system really sounds in your room till you get them there, so attempt to take a look at them at dwelling. Most high-end sellers permit some type of this, however big-box retailers could not, so verify the return coverage on something you purchase.

Digital-to-Analog Converters

The Chord Mojo ($500) is a DAC with a headphone amp built-in.

Photograph: Chord Electronics

Digital-to-analog converters (DACs) take the digital audio sign out of your audio recordsdata and convert them to analog audio sign you could ship (by way of an amplifier) to headphones and audio system. Every piece of digital know-how you personal that comes with a headphone jack already has a DAC chip inside it, nevertheless it’s normally a reasonably low-cost one. If you route your sign via a devoted DAC—one with higher elements and the next construct high quality than no matter’s in your telephone or pc—you then’ll get increased constancy out of your digital recordsdata.

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