The RME ADI-2 DAC FS and NAD Masters M23—Transparent Sounding, State-of-the-Art Measurements, and Rich Feature Sets for Real-World Prices

It’s natural to assume that a more expensive product is better than a cheaper one, which is why many people use the price tag to determine quality. If it sells for more, it must cost more to make, right? And that alone should make it superior. But with many products—hi-fi and otherwise—that’s simply not the case. Price can be a ruse.

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The Two Most Impressive Speakers I Heard During 2022

In 2022, I traveled to more countries to visit more hi-fi companies and hi-fi shows than in any previous year. I went to the Netherlands and England twice, three times to Germany, once to Poland, all the way across Canada, and to several places in the United States. In doing so, my purported “standing” with a couple travel-related companies blossomed—I regained Silver Elite status on Air Canada, and achieved Gold Elite status at Marriott for the first time.

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The 2022 SoundStage! Network Awards for Outstanding Achievement and Products of the Year

We’ve presented our awards for Products of the Year annually for more than 20 years. But new for 2022 is our Outstanding Achievement award, which we created to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the hi-fi industry. From now on, at least one Outstanding Achievement award will be presented every year, to coincide with the announcement of the Products of the Year.

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The Best of Warsaw's Audio Video Show 2022

About two years ago, I became quite critical of hi-fi shows. We were in the middle of the pandemic, there hadn’t been a hi-fi show in over a year, yet most companies were selling more products than they had sold in years.

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Not Quite a Vinyl Epiphany, but Close—My Brief Encounter with a DS Audio Optical Cartridge

Around the middle of last month, I was at SoundStage! Hi-Fi writer Jason Thorpe’s place, which is in Toronto, Canada, helping him take photos of a Kuzma turntable he had in for review. While we were shooting photos, Jason was rattling on about me having to hear his system before we left for supper.

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Bryston, Simaudio, EMM Labs, and Meitner Audio—Homegrown Hi-Fi Heroes of Made-in-Canada Electronics

A hot topic among today’s hi-fi consumers is whether it matters where a company’s products are made. This topic can veer off in myriad directions, but the elephant in the room is China. Labor rates are low there, but ethics and human rights are a concern—yet it’s where many European and North American companies offshore manufacturing, either to third-party manufacturers or factories they own there.

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Summer Music Lessons—Mobile Fidelity's Digital LP Scandal and PMC's Dolby Atmos Demo

Mobile Fidelity’s failing grade

The biggest story in hi-fi so far this year was the Mobile Fidelity “digital step” scandal, which broke in July. You can find numerous videos on YouTube about it, including one by me, so I’ll skip most of the details, though I will reiterate the basics.

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Past, Present, Future—How Monitor Audio and PSB Speakers Are Celebrating 50 Years

I can’t help but wonder what was going on in 1972 that prompted so many entrepreneurs to launch hi-fi companies that year. The two companies featured in this article—Monitor Audio and PSB Speakers—were founded in 1972. Many others were, too, and likewise have stood the test of time: The famous American brand Mark Levinson was established in 1972, as was Taiwanese speaker maker Usher. Germany’s Canton, another speaker maker, also started operating that year. NAD Electronics was born in London, England, in 1972. Then there’s Polk Audio, one of the most successful and influential speaker manufacturers of all time—Matthew Polk, George Klopfer, and Sandy Gross established that iconic brand in 1972 in Baltimore, Maryland. The legendary Japanese firm Accuphase Laboratory also began 50 years ago, and I’m sure there are many more.

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The Best of High End 2022

After two years when hi-fi shows have been few and far between, 2022 saw them return in force. First, the Florida Audio Expo in Tampa, Florida, in February; then Canada’s Montreal Audiofest in March; in April, AXPONA in Chicago; and then, the focus of this article, High End in Munich, Germany, in May. No one from our team attended AXPONA, but I was at Florida Audio Expo with fellow-writer Jason Davis and then at Montreal Audiofest on my own, with the express purpose of providing coverage of those events for our SoundStage! Global site.

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Monitor Audio's 50th Birthday Celebrates the Ordinary and the Extraordinary

At the end of last month’s article, “The Best of Montreal Audiofest 2022,” I wrote that I would highlight my picks for the standout products at High End 2022 for this month’s column. We had a team of four at the show—held from May 19 to 22 in Munich, Germany—to produce coverage for our SoundStage! Global site, which we put online as the show was happening. I decided to put my picks on hold, however, because I felt that what Monitor Audio displayed in Munich had to take precedence.

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