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2021 Golden Ear Awards | Matt Clott

2021 Golden Ear Awards | Matt Clott

Timbernation Racks

Price varies

Chris from Timbernation is a down-to-earth guy, who knows how to build a solid product customized to your exact needs at a fair and reasonable price. He utilizes thick shelves of solid maple to reduce resonance and incorporates brass spikes when the customer requests them to create a functional, great-sounding, and beautiful piece of audio furniture. There is no state-of-the-art, constrained-layer-damping tech or suspended isolation implemented—just good ol’ high-quality carpentry and hand-built quality. I had Chris make me a custom-designed two-tone equipment rack (from tiger maple), and he knocked it out of the park (around $4k retail for my build). I chose Timbernation for its sonic performance, value, quality, and Chris’s willingness to customize. To augment the sonic performance of my rack, I utilize Symposium Ultra shelves and double-stack Rollerblocks. So, my first Golden Ear this year goes to Timbernation. Chris also built an LP rack I designed to perfectly match the audio rack ($750). No, it does not provide the levels of isolation of Critical Mass Systems, HRS, or a full-on Symposium rack. But I wasn’t willing (at that time) to invest the massive amount to acquire what I needed from those exceptional companies.

Magnepan LRS Loudspeaker

$650

These speakers have been reviewed and raved about ad nauseam. So, I’m going to make you more nauseam! My office system consists of a simple Hegel all-in-one integrated and a pair of Magnepan LRS speakers, along with an old sub I’ve had since college (and my kids are now in college). For $650, the LRS simply gets me to the music, and that’s just crazy! With a massive stage, articulate and well-defined presentation, and the speed of a McLaren, the LRSes get out of the way and leave behind just what I want to hear. Add my rave to the pile. 

 

Pilium Electronics Alexander PreamplifierPilium Electronics Alexander Preamplifier and Achilles Power Amplifier 

$50,000/$50,000

I was exposed to Pilium Electronics when I visited Rhapsody Audio in NYC and reported on it in the blog section of our website. I have been back several times to Rhapsody since then to hear various and sundry other components (Bob is always a terrific host), and the Pilium always impressed—like really impressed. Eventually, I requested a home audition and was even more impressed. The Pilium Achilles (300Wpc stereo amp) and matching Alexander two-chassis preamp have since become my ultra-references. Unlimited power combined with the finesse of a neurosurgeon, the dexterity of a magician, the accuracy of a NASA astrophysicist, and the majesty of the entire Himalayan mountain range about sums it up. No-brainer Golden Ear Award!

Tags: GOLDEN EAR AWARDS LOUDSPEAKERS POWER AMPLIFIER PREAMPLIFIER RACK STANDS

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