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2020 Golden Ear Awards: Anthony H. Cordesman

2020 Golden Ear Awards: Anthony H. Cordesman

Avantgarde Acoustic Loudspeakers
I have not been a fan of horn loudspeakers over the years, although I recognize they could have exceptional life and dynamics. Too many colorations and too many problems integrating the horn with the woofer and subwoofers. I also have never had an Avantgarde speaker in for review and have to make this recommendation on the basis of listening at shows and dealers. I do, however, think that Avantgarde has made major progress in blending horns into fully integrated speaker systems that are truly competitive in their price range. If you. too. have not been impressed with horn systems in the past, you should make a real effort to listen—particularly at the top of the line.

2020 Golden Ear Awards: Anthony H. Cordesman

Meitner-EMM Labs Preamplifiers and Power Amplifiers
$25,000/$130,000
Another case where I’m using the flexibility of the Golden Ear Awards to praise products I have listened to more under show conditions than review conditions, but I’ve been impressed by both the EMM Labs preamps and power amplifiers. Exceptionally clean and neutral, and monoblocks with the power to handle just about any speaker.

2020 Golden Ear Awards: Anthony H. Cordesman

Legacy Wavelet DSP Processor
$4950
I’ve been using for several years the Legacy Wavelet as a DAC, a preamp, and a DSP system that provides both room compensation and a wide range of adjustments to a speaker’s sound quality. It is now a “universal” unit that can be used with most speakers other than Legacy’s, and if like most audiophiles you don’t have the perfect listening room or speaker, it can treat a remarkably wide range of problems, as well as improve the soundstage and imaging in virtually any stereo system. It also offers one of the best ways I’ve found to integrate a subwoofer into a system. There is still a good competitive case for audio purism, and the simplest and cleanest approach, but for most audiophiles with real-world budgets and listening rooms, and any audiophile interested in what modern DSP system can do, I feel this is an exceptional way of fine-tuning and improving the sound quality of your system.

Anthony Cordesman

By Anthony Cordesman

I've been reviewing audio components since some long talks with HP back in the early 1980s. My first experiences with the high end came in the 1950s at the University of Chicago, where I earned part of my tuition selling gear for Allied Radio and a local high-end audio dealer, and worked on sound systems for local night clubs, the Court Theater, and the university radio station. My professional life has been in national security, but I've never lost touch with the high end and have lived as a student and diplomat in Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, NATO, Asia, Iran and the Middle East and Asia. I've been lucky enough to live in places where opera, orchestras, and live chamber and jazz performances were common and cheap, and to encounter a wide range of different venues, approaches to performing, and national variations in high-end audio gear. I currently hold the Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and my open source analyses are available at that web site. What I look for in reviewing is the ability to provide a musically real experience at a given price point in a real-world listening room, and the ability to reveal the overall balance of musical sound qualities that I know are on a given recording. Where possible, I try to listen on a variety of systems as well as my own reference system.

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