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The Hi-Fi+ Top 100: Schitt to Zanden

The Hi-Fi+ Top 100: Schitt to Zanden

Our final round of the best products from the finest brands of the last 20 years, covering products made from early 1999 to 2019. Please note, this feature was in celebration of Hi-Fi+ twenty years of high-quality audio reviews and accompanied our 170th printed issue. Audio is a fluid, dynamic market, and reviews published after Hi-Fi+ Issue 170 are also relevant!

Schitt Yggdrasil/Ragnarok

Reviewed in Issue 134

https://hifiplus.com/articles/schiit-audio-yggdrasil-dac-and-ragnarok-headphoneintegrated-amplifier/

The Schiit flagship personal audio rig comprises the ‘Yggy’ DAC with Ragnarok headphone amp; a formidable performer, capable of driving the most demanding headphones with ease and playing music with insight!

Reviewed by Chris Martens

Sennheiser HD800

Reviewed in Issue 65

https://hifiplus.com/articles/hi-fi-plus-sennheiser-hd-800-headphones/

With the HD800S and HD820 getting the attention today, never forget the HD800 is where it all started; this leading-edge detail-driven headphone is still one of the world’s best. 

Reviewed by Alan Sircom

Shunyata Research Denali D6000/T

Reviewed in Issue 162

https://hifiplus.com/articles/shunyata-research-denali-d6000t-power-distributor/

Shunyata’s excellent Denali power conditioner is designed to sit next to your rack; this can quell noise, smooth out the sound, and really open out the soundstage on any system! 

Reviewed by Alan Sircom

SME 20/12

Reviewed in Issue 50

The combination of SME’s no-compromise build quality and 12” arms is irresistible. The SME 20/12 turntable platform is large, heavy, and fantastic; the matching 312S arm delivers the goods too.

Reviewed by Roy Gregory

Warwick Acoustics Model One

Reviewed in Issue 148

https://hifiplus.com/articles/sonoma-acoustics-model-one-electrostatic-headphone/

An ambitious complete electrostatic headphone project based on Japanese high-resolution technology meets British university smarts. The result is a lean, mean detail-resolving machine (originally tested under the previous Sonoma Acoustics brand).

Reviewed by Chris Martens

Sonus faber Guarneri Homage Tradition

Reviewed in Issue 151

https://hifiplus.com/articles/sonus-faber-guarneri-homage-tradition-stand-mount-loudspeaker/

Named after one of the great Cremona violin makers, the Guarneri needs little introduction, but the latest Homage Tradition version brings the design sonically and stylistically bang up to date.

Reviewed by Alan Sircom

Soulution 520

Reviewed in Issue 136

https://hifiplus.com/articles/soulution-520-preamplifier/

The full-function line-and-phono preamp is rare today, but Soulution’s 520 preamplifier is a welcome exception to the rule. This minimalist middleweight (by Soulution’s standards) packs a hell of a punch!

Reviewed by Alan Sircom

Spendor D1

Reviewed in Issue 126

https://hifiplus.com/articles/spendor-d1-floorstanding-loudspeaker/

Designed to work close to the rear wall, the high-spec two-way stand-mount loudspeaker took the performance of the popular Spendor SA1 from the 2000s and transformed it in the process.

Reviewed by Roy Gregory

 

Stax SR-009/SRM-007tII Kimik

Reviewed in Issue 112

https://hifiplus.com/articles/stax-sr-009-srm-007tii-kimik/

Combine Stax’ flagship electrostatic ‘earspeaker’ with a cryo-treated and tuned high-grade energiser from the brand, and you get perhaps the most revealing sound you’ll ever hear from an audio system.

Reviewed by Alan Sircom

Sugden A21SE

Reviewed in Issue 39

The 30W pure Class A A21SE (now in Signature guise) is an evergreen product in the audio world, as it derives from the original A21 amplifier circuit designed by Jim Sugden more than 50 years ago. This minimalist masterpiece still sounds as good as it ever did.

Reviewed by Jason Kennedy

Totem Sky Tower

Reviewed in Issue 162

https://hifiplus.com/articles/totem-sky-tower-floorstanding-loudspeaker/

Montreal-based speaker manufacturer Totem Acoustic has always kept a keen focus on the nexus between value and performance, as evidenced by the remarkable performance of the Sky Tower floorstanding loudspeaker.

Reviewed by Buzz Hughes

Townshend Allegri

Reviewed in Issue 115

https://hifiplus.com/articles/townshend-audio-allegri-autotransformer-preamplifier/

The autoformer-based passive preamplifier is one of many audio products pouring out of Townshend Audio. The Allegri has a striking ability to get out of the way of the music.

Reviewed by Alan Sircom

Triangle Magellan Duetto

Reviewed in Issue 95

https://hifiplus.com/articles/triangle-magellan-duetto/

As the baby of Triangle’s flagship Magellan range, it would be easy to dismiss the Duetto as being just another ported two-way stand-mount loudspeaker design, but it’s so much more.

Reviewed by Alan Sircom

Vertere MG-1, SG-1, PHONO-1

Reviewed in Issue 146

https://hifiplus.com/articles/vertere-acoustics-mg-1-turntable-sg-1-arm-and-phono-1-phono-stage/

The MG-1 and SG-1 are a wholly successful attempt to make a more affordable version of Vertere’s Acoustics top deck and arm. The PHONO-1 phono stage is a star too.

Reviewed by Alan Sircom

Vertex AQ Kinabalu

Reviewed in Issue 25

The labyrinthine Kinabalu equipment platform combines with its couplers and decouplers acted to steer mechanical energy out of a component. The ideas still hold even if the product has gone.

Reviewed by Paul Messenger

Vienna The Kiss

Reviewed in Issue 80

https://hifiplus.com/articles/vienna-acoustics-the-kiss-loudspeaker-hi-fi-80/

Vienna Acoustics’ top Klimt series features this distinctive stand-mount that allows an extraordinary degree of fine-tuning, making for an enigmatic yet wonderful loudspeaker, for those who prefer tone over bandwidth!

Reviewed by Roy Gregory

Vitus RI-101

Reviewed in Issue 165

https://hifiplus.com/articles/vitus-ri-101-integrated-amplifier/

Replacing the RI-100 of 2010, this 300W solid-state integrated powerhouse amp can be supplied with a built-in DAC or streamer, is built like a tank, and sings like an angel.

Reviewed by Chris Thomas

 

Vivid Audio Loudspeakers Giya G3

Reviewed in Issue 114

https://hifiplus.com/articles/vivids-giya-g3/

If the vast Vivid Giya G1 is too large for you, the Giya G3 is the waist-high room-friendly alternative. This four-way, five-driver design has recently received a Series 2 update. 

Reviewed by Jason Kennedy

VPI Prime Signature

Reviewed in Issue 146

https://hifiplus.com/articles/vpi-industries-prime-signature-turntable/

The top of VPI’s popular Prime range, the Signature builds on the strengths of the Prime, with the added mass and isolating feet making a big difference to the performance.

Reviewed by Alan Sircom

VTL TL7.5 SIII/MB450 SIII

Reviewed in Issue 97

https://hifiplus.com/articles/vtl-tl75-series-iii-line-stage-preamplifier-and-mb450-series-iii-mono-bloc-amps-hi-fi/

In the upper-middle of VTL’s range of valve electronics, this combination of line preamp and mono power amplifiers is a subtle, graceful, detailed, and dynamic powerhouse that delivers excellent imaging.

Reviewed by Roy Gregory

WBT 0110 Cu Next Gen

Reviewed in Issue 37

Yes, it’s a RCA plug! WBT helped champion the notion that the ubiquitous phono plug can make a difference to the sound and this locking plug sets a high bar!

Reviewed by Roy Gregory

Westone W80

Reviewed in Issue 144

https://hifiplus.com/articles/westone-laboratories-w80-universal-fit-earphone/

Top of Westone’s impressive range, this eight-driver in-ear monitor earphone with detachable cable is a subtle yet impressive performer, which combines pace and sonic honesty with midrange and treble air.

Reviewed by Chris Martens

Wilson WAMM Master Chronosonic

Reviewed in Issue 145

https://hifiplus.com/articles/wilson-audio-wamm-master-chronosonic-loudspeaker/

A loudspeaker that truly redefines what is possible from audio, the last audio statement from Dave Wilson and the design skills of his son Daryl make the WAMM a triumph.

Reviewed by Alan Sircom

Wilson Benesch Cardinal

Reviewed in Issue 96

https://hifiplus.com/articles/wilson-benesch-cardinal-hi-fi/

https://hifiplus.com/articles/wilson-benesch-cardinal-hi-fi-part-2-of-2/

Wilson Benesch’s Geometry Series combines sophisticated product design with next-generation materials science, and the Cardinal is the flagship design for those with real-world rooms. Set-up and ancillary equipment are crucial.

Reviewed by Roy Gregory

YG Acoustics Sonja XV

Reviewed in Issue 145

https://hifiplus.com/articles/yg-acoustics-sonja-xv-multi-cabinet-loudspeaker-system/

The flagship of the YG Acoustics range, the four-enclosure XV is a tribute to the art of the loudspeaker maker, and one of the best loudspeakers you will ever hear.

Reviewed by Chris Martens

Zanden Model 3000 mk 2 and 9600 mk 2

Reviewed in Issue 161 and 163

https://hifiplus.com/articles/zanden-model-3000mk2-line-preamplifier/

https://hifiplus.com/articles/zanden-audio-systems-model-9600mk2-mono-power-amplifier/

The Japanese valve amplifier specialist has two outstanding pre-power systems; this pair being the best. They are some of the best amplifiers we’ve heard, redefining grace, imaging, and effortless dynamics

Reviewed by Alan Sircom

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