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Searching for equipment for a home audio system is a fascinating process, because modern equipment is gradually overgrown with new functionality and offers more and more advanced characteristics. We continue to sum up the results of the year and have selected the best stereo components for 2022-2023.
Founded in 1910, Denon is considered one of the main ideologists of the modern Hi-Fi market. Starting its activity with the production of gramophones and records, the company caught all the main milestones in the development of the audio industry. In accordance with current trends, the brand introduced a stereo receiver DRA-800H, which combines excellent sound and useful functionality. At our service - built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, support for AirPlay2 and multi-room HEOS, as well as a whole scattering of digital inputs, including HDMI. In addition, there is a built-in phono corrector for connecting a vinyl player. The 100W per channel amplifier easily and effortlessly rocks even large floor speakers. Meanwhile, support for 4K/60Hz, HDR10, HLG and BT.2020 allows you to watch videos with high image quality.
The company Marantz has proven itself in audiophile circles, because first-class audio equipment has been produced under this brand since 1953. Along with expensive uncompromising equipment, the manufacturer does not forget about the budget segment, offering reliable and balanced solutions - such as the integrated amplifier PM6007. The model is made in a specific Marantz design, which will be relevant for many years. In addition to five analog inputs, subwoofer output and a built-in MM phono corrector, we have optical and coaxial inputs, as well as the ability to select the mode of operation of the digital filter. The output power reaches 45 W per channel (8 ohms), and reliable gold-plated terminals allow you to connect two pairs of speakers.
Rotel equipment has been produced since the beginning of the 60s, and having combined its efforts with Bowers & Wilkins in 1981, the company entered a new round of its development. Fans of the brand appreciate both the invariably original approach to the design of equipment, and the combination of true audiophile solutions with the most modern technologies. So, developed in collaboration with Ken Ishivata, the A11 Tribute amplifier is a recognizable corporate design and informative LCD display, class AB and 2x50 W output power, line inputs and input of the built-in MM-phono corrector for connecting a vinyl player, as well as an integrated Bluetooth module with aptX support for playing audio from mobile gadgets. In addition, two pairs of terminals for connecting acoustics allow you not to be limited to one model of speakers and thereby diversify your everyday audiophile experience.
Scandinavian design performed by Primare is the quintessence of sophistication and minimalism, balance and practicality. And it is not surprising that the technical stuffing of the equipment from the Swedish brand fully corresponds to its outer shell. In front of us is a high-end CD player and a network streamer "in one bottle", which is able to cope with all the actual tasks of playing digital audio. At the service of listeners - not only AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Bluetooth, Roon support, but also a first-class DAC on the AKM AK4490 chip, as well as carefully thought-out analog circuitry. Thus, CD15 Prisma is a universal digital source for all occasions, with true audiophile sound quality.
Nad (New Acoustic Dimension) seems to prefer not to be unfounded and is really opening up new dimensions of quality sound. Founded in 1972 in London, the company became part of the Lenbrook Group and became Canadian in the 90s, but retained the best traditions of producing practical audio equipment. By the way, if we are talking about a network player NAD C 700, then this is also an impressive functionality. A stylish aluminum corps, a 5-inch color display showing album covers, a 2x80W amplifier, Ethernet, Wi-Fi and a network streamer based on the BluOS operating system. In addition to the two analog inputs, there are coaxial and optical digital interfaces, and HDMI eARC port. And in addition to the output terminals for connecting speaker systems, there is an output to the active subwoofer. In addition, there is a two-way Bluetooth connection with aptX HD, which means that you can listen to music through wireless headphones, and transmit audio from mobile gadgets.
Yamaha has been “on the road” since 1887 and is considered to be one of the most experienced manufacturers of musical instruments and audio equipment. As for the stereo receiver R-N303, this is the very case when the price is pleasant, and the functionality that is needed. In the bowels of the case - expected high-quality amplifier, with a discrete output stage and a maximum power of 140 W per channel. Meanwhile, the integrated MusicCast system allows you to listen to music from your smartphone, computer or NAS server. In addition, there are optical and coaxial connectors for connecting digital sources, as well as traditional analog inputs and built-in Bluetooth. At the same time, all the possibilities are in the palm of your hand, thanks to the proprietary application MusicCast CONTROLLER.
Audiolab was founded in 1983 and is widely known for its successful combination of reasonable price, high quality and truly British character. The laconic and spectacular body of the Omnia model is made of precision processed aluminum, and the design is developed taking into account modern realities. In fact, we have a jack-of-all-trades: a CD player, an amplifier, a streamer, a DAC based on the ES9038Q2M chip and an amplifier for headphones "in one bottle". In addition, there is a built-in MM-phono corrector for connecting a vinyl player, as well as Bluetooth with aptX. The picture is complemented by a color IPS display, which clearly displays all the necessary information about the audio playback process.
Norway is famous not only for its harsh climate and breathtaking scenery, but also for its first-class audio equipment from Hegel, whose history began in 1988. Among the most balanced products of the Scandinavian brand is the popular "integral" H95. This is not only an amplifier with a capacity of 2x60 watts, but also a full-fledged streaming solution with AirPlay support. There are both traditional analog and 6 digital inputs for all occasions. H95 software is updated "over the air", which means that the current software will be available without unnecessary problems and additional costs. It is worth noticing the patented soundEngine2 technology, which can significantly reduce distortion, provide a high damping factor and maximum control when playing low frequencies. The result is an articulated, detailed and large-scale sound.
The British company Quad was founded in 1936 and not only remains true to its own traditions, but also successfully masters the most advanced technologies. The real confirmation of this is the Artera Solus Play CD receiver. First of all, the design is extremely concise, with a minimum number of control elements. On the front panel there is a slot for loading CDs, a relatively small display and a couple of control keys. On the sides there are decent area radiators, and on top - durable tinted glass. On the back side we find balanced XLR inputs, optical and coaxial inputs and outputs, USB and Ethernet, as well as analog RCA connectors and terminals for connecting speakers. Of course, there's Bluetooth as well. Thanks to the DTS Play-Fi platform, you can listen to streaming music in high resolution: download a mobile application and get access to tracks and podcasts. In addition, you can connect nas storage and listen to audio from your own collection. The power amplifier has discrete circuitry and a system for stabilizing the quiescent current, which is practically independent of the temperature of the output transistors. In the power circuit there is a toroidal transformer and capacitors with a capacity of 2 x 15000 μF per channel (in total - 60,000 μF). The output power reaches 75 watts per channel (at 8 ohms) - a good margin, which is enough in most cases.
Leak Audio used vintage styling in its Stereo 130 integrated amplifier for a reason. First of all, it is a tribute to tradition, because the English brand has been offering audio equipment since 1934. As a result, in Stereo 130 we see a curious fusion of new digital technologies and appearances from the past. The front panel of the amplifier flaunts large, symmetrically located volume knobs and source selection, as well as adjustment of low and high frequencies, balance. There is also a "Direct" key to bypass the timbre block and shorten the path of the signal. Of course, the headphone output is also there. Well, a nice bonus is the built-in Bluetooth with support for aptX and AAC. There are 2 line inputs and a phono corrector input on the back side of the case, a preamp output, a USB input, as well as a whole scattering of optical and coaxial connectors. Responsible for the conversion of the digital signal chip ES9018 Sabre32, capable of working with PCM up to 384 kHz and DSD256. The output power of the amplifier reaches 45 watts per channel (at 8 ohms) or 65 watts per channel (at 4 ohms), which is quite acceptable for most shelf and many floor speakers.
Shanling has been producing audio equipment since 1988, and more than 30 years of experience allows the brand to offer truly non-trivial audio solutions at a reasonable price. A prime example is the EA5 streamer amplifier. It is based on a digital player with access to streaming services and local music storage. So, just insert a microSD card into the slot, connect a hard drive or connect the EA5 to Wi-Fi - and you can listen to music. There are two amplifiers in the bowels of the EA5 case. First, a headphone amplifier, with an output power of up to 570 mW at a headphone impedance of 32 ohms. Second, there is an amplifier for speakers, with an output power of 2x50 W (at a load of 4 ohms). Thus, EA5 is a good choice for desktop setups, where you may need both headphones and speakers. At the same time, EA5 can work as a full-fledged DAC - with a computer and other digital sources. In addition, there is a Bluetooth module that works both as a receiver (with mobile gadgets) and as a transmitter (with wireless headphones).
Pioneer supports the trend of introducing the latest technology and offers the optimal combination of characteristics in its stereo receiver SX-10AE-B. In addition to the stylish appearance and the ability to connect a CD player or network audio player, there is a built-in Bluetooth module, which allows you to easily and easily listen to music from smartphones and tablets. The discrete end amplifier with a capacity of 100 W per channel inherited the design of premium Pioneer AV receivers and is distinguished by accurate, detailed sound. Thus, we have a simple and affordable solution for home stereo systems, with an attractive design and up-to-date functionality.