This is my short list of sweet components, and trust me, I’ll keep it short. I write plenty in my reviews, and you can find most of my thoughts regarding these products in my reviews. Without further ado, here is the list for 2015!
Sweetest Budgetary move: I spent two years seeing how far I could take a budget server, a stock Mac Mini and iTunes. The answer – unbelievably far! I let the DAC do the heavy lifting, and with the right DAC the results can be glorious. However, this would not have transpired had I not found HQPlayer software, which up converts lowly PCM files to 32 bit and whatever frequency a DAC can handle. This software is credited with making a two-bit front end an audiophile worthy source. I use it in conjunction with Splashtop, an inexpensive app for iPad, which allows me to use HQPlayer on the iPad as a basic media catalogue and remote control. If you do not have money for a dedicated server, software such as Splashtop and HQPlayer can be file playback’s sonic salvation.
Sweetest DAC: The Exogal Comet does not simply alter the digital signal, it replaces the signal entirely. I’m a believer; for the past six months no matter how much I refine the signal (Remember the HQPlayer software? I have it feeding the DAC now with 32 bit/6.1MHz!) the Comet DAC turns it into golden sound. The Comet even makes streaming music from Rhapsody, processed at 16bit/44.1kHz, more than acceptable for casual listening. The preamp section of the Comet is stupendous, so clean and robust it will complement the most gorgeous amps. I have used both extremely high power and low power amps with it, both with outstanding results.
Sweetest Cables: They are sui generis because they use a liquid conductor! The TEO Audio Liquid series of cables (interconnects and speaker cables; they do not make power cables as might be expected) is super-pristine, endlessly revealing and harmonically soothing. Relative to their performance the interconnects are priced as a steal, and the speaker cables are outrageously expensive, but both have laid claim to the most perfect sound in all my review systems. I must also give a shout out to Verastarr Cables; the Nemesis USB was the winner of a shootout of about one dozen cables and I’m still using it.
You may have noticed that I just gave you the front end of my best system of 2015. Early on in 2016 watch for the reviews of the amplifier and speakers associated with these sweet products. They are also part of my most profoundly beautiful system ever.
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