Dec 152013
 

For the complete 10th Annual Positive Feedback Writers’ Choice Awards for 2013 click here.

As an excerpt, here’s my Awards for 2013:

It is time once again for the Annual Positive Feedback Online’s Writers’ Choice Awards, which means that it is time once again for yours truly to sift through my past year of reviews and identify 3 items among those worthy contenders for awards.

I very carefully vet each and every item I accept for review so that I can bring you some glimpses into the very best of what is being offered in high-performance audio today, and as my time for writing and reviewing is limited, pretty much everything that I have written about for Positive Feedback Online in 2013 was something that I thought had the potential to be a ‘winner’ in its own right, so picking 3 Writers’ Choice Awards out of a group of winners that all deserve special mention, is never an easy task.

Since the 9th Annual Positive Feedback Online’s Writers’ Choice Awards were published in Issue 64, November/December 2012, I have written six reviews, which made up my list of nominees for 2013:

  1. The ASR Emitter II Exclusive Version Blue Amplifier – Issue 66 (March-April, 2013).
  2. The ASR Basis Exclusive Phono Equalizer – Issue 67 (May-June, 2013).
  3. The Sablon Audio Corona Family of Power Cords: The Petit Corona, the Gran Corona, and the Quantum Gran Corona – Issue 68 (July-August, 2013).
  4. The Acoustic Revive Chronicles, Chapter 10 – Issue 68 (July-August 2013).
  5. New Valve Order SPA one Phono Equalizer – Issue 69 (September-October 2013).
  6. The Duelund-WRSE Crossover Project – Issue 70, Part 1 & Part 2 (November-December, 2013).

2013’s reviews consisted of three reviews of electronics (the ASR Emitter II Exclusive Version Blue amplifier, the ASR Basis Exclusive phono equalizer, and New Valve Order SPA one phono equalizer), one review of wire products (the Sablon Audio Corona Family of Power Cords), one review of audio accessories (The Acoustic Revive Chronicles, Chapter 10), and one loudspeaker review (The Duelund-Westminster Project). They are all ridiculously good products!

However, after careful consideration, and without further ado, my three Writers’ Choice Awards for 2013 from this group of winners are:

1-ASR-Emitter-II-Exclusive-Version-Blue

ASR Emitter II Exclusive Version Blue Amplifier ($31,220 USD)

The ASR Emitter II Exclusive Version Blue amplifier that is hand crafted in Germany by Friedrich Schaefer’s ASR Audio Systeme is simply the finest amplifier I have ever encountered. Whether the ASR Emitter II Exclusive Version Blue amplifier was powering my Tannoy Westminster Royal SE loudspeakers, or the Tannoy Kingdom Royal loudspeakers that I had in for review during that time, it was hands down the most musically satisfying amplifier I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to—period. As I mentioned in the review, in terms of sheer musicality the Emitter II Exclusive Version Blue bested both the vacuum tube and solid-state amplifiers I am familiar with, and if I could have afforded its rather formidable price tag, I would have purchased it in a second! If you can afford to purchase it I recommend you do so!

In North America please contact Mr. Zed Husain of Musical Sounds, LLC, for more information about ASR products, or to arrange for a purchase. For information worldwide about where to purchase the ASR Emitter II Version Blue, please contact Dr. Friedrich Schaefer.

You can read the whole story about this magnificent amplifier in Issue 66 (March-April, 2013) of Positive Feedback Online.

2-SPA-one-front-open-top

New Valve Order SPA one Phono Equalizer ($4250 USD)

Andreas Hadjiminas is an extremely talented fine audio constructeur working out of Nicosia, Cyprus, and is one of the brightest new lights in the firmament of vacuum tube circuit design. I enjoyed listening to music more Andreas’ New Valve Order SPA one phono equalizer than any other phono equalizer I have heard to date. With the SPA one’s 13 glowing vacuum tubes lighting my darkened listening room, every single record I listened to became a musically involving event! As I said in the review, in my experience very few components can create a emotional connection to the music at the level of the SPA one – and no other phono equalizer that I am aware of can match it musically – making it a very special device indeed. I haven’t come across anything that can come close to its combination of sonics & musicality, and it plays music with a verve that’ll light up your heart, thrill your senses, and keep you up late at night listening to music!

New Valve Order products are available through Steven Klein at Sounds of Silence in North America. To find out about availability in other parts of the world please consult the New Valve Order website or contact Panikos Kontemeniotis directly (who is the exporter of the New Valve Order electronics).

You can read the full story about the New Valve Order SPA one phono equalizer in Issue 69 of Positive Feedback Online.

3-Duelund-Cast-components

The Duelund-WRSE Crossover Project ($12,402 USD) 

Frederik Carøe and Magnus F. Pedersen, the principals of Duelund Coherent Audio, are building the highest quality audio capacitors, inductors, and resistors possible without any consideration for cost constraints. Personally, I believe that Frederik & Magnus’ Duelund Coherent Audio CAST product line of capacitors, inductors, and resistors are the finest being made in the world today for audio applications, and each one of them is an impressive work of audio artistry.

4-Duelund-CAST-Close-up

Every single CAST component is handcrafted in an extremely labor intensive many-week process using the finest quality materials to give the optimum reproduction of the recorded music signal. Whether you are building an external crossover for your personal loudspeakers, like I did with my Tannoy Westminster Royal SEs, or whether you are looking for the very best capacitors, inductors, and resistors being made today for the statement products of your loudspeaker company, the Duelund Coherent Audio CAST components are available in either copper or silver, depending on your needs and budget. Custom orders for unique applications are also possible, and you should consult Frederik & Magnus directly for details.

5-Duelund-WRSE-external-crossover-closeup

The Duelund Coherent Audio / Tannoy Westminster Royal Special Edition Project was the most exciting audio activity I have ever been involved with. Designing and building the pair of external crossovers for my Westminster Royal SE loudspeakers using the ultra-premium Duelund Coherent Audio CAST capacitors, inductors, and resistors was an audio adventure that I’ll never forget, and the performance enhancement to my Westminster Royal SE loudspeakers was absolutely spectacular!

Duelund Coherent Audio products are available through Parts Connexion in North America. To find out about the availability of Duelund Coherent Audio components in other parts of the world please consult the Duelund Coherent Audio website, and to inquire about special applications or custom orders for specific projects you can contact Frederik Carøe directly at Duelund Coherent Audio for more information.

In you want to read in detail what all the fuss is about with the Duelund Coherent Audio CAST capacitors, inductors, and resistors, and my step-by-step documentation of building Duelund CAST external crossovers for my Tannoy Westminster Royal Special Edition loudspeakers, you can read all about it in Issue 70 of Positive Feedback Online.

6-Duelund-external-crossovers-with-WRSE

As always, it is a privilege and delight to be able to write about enthusiast audio for all of you at Positive Feedback Online, and at my blog Jeff’s Place. I hope you have enjoyed reading about all of these fine audio products in their respective reviews during the year, and I hope you’ll join me in congratulating Friedrich Schaefer of ASR Audio Systeme for his magnificent Emitter II Exclusive Version Blue amplifier, Andreas Hadjiminas of New Valve Order for his superb SPA one phono equalizer, and Frederik Carøe and Magnus F. Pedersen of Duelund Coherent Audio for their amazing line CAST product line of capacitors, inductors, and resistors.  Congratulations to one and all for being selected for the 10th Annual Positive Feedback Online’s Writers’ Choice Awards!

 Posted by at 6:52 am

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