Best Sound:I heard great sounds from the Wilson Sasha, the refrigerator-like Dynaudio Consequence Ultimate and even the new and smaller two-way YG Carmel. But anchored by the superlative Vandersteen 7 and assisted by Aesthetix electronics, a Clearaudio Innovation/Goldfinger analog front end, this system couldn’t have sounded more organic, and natural with an unrivaled vocal and piano sound.
Greatest Bargain: “Bridge” devices (see significant new products and trends) that create source players from personal computers or servers. It opens up the high-end to a world of possibilities.
Greatest Technological Breakthrough: Blu-ray 3D for the home. Huh? No. it’s not there yet, but that will change. What this will mean for high resolution multi-channel music and the high end has yet to be determined but my guess is that these two cultures–built upon perceptions of dimensionality–will grow closer and inspire buyers into superior audio.
Most Important Trend: The number of CD players sporting USB/DAC inputs is indicative to me that the rumored takeover by servers is stalling–meaning, there’s still a lot of life left in the venerable old compact disc.
Most Significant New Product or Company: The growing number of “bridge” products (High Resolution Technologies, Stella U2, Weiss, Lindemann and Resolution Audio’s Pont Neuf USB to Ethernet-see pictured image- among them) that link computers via USB to SPDIF or Ethernet input sources.