The High End
Only components that are so unarguably good and free of compromise, that they elicit a positive response from almost all who critically listen can be considered ‘High End’. It’s about performance that closely approaches the ideal, that is clearly and demonstrably better than the majority of ordinary consumer products. You should also note that while prices often reflect the huge research, development and manufacturing effort that goes into many High End products, there are gems of design that stand out, being beneficiaries of heritage, inspiration and sometimes even the economies of scale.
For instance, when a reviewer says of the Quad ESL loudspeakers that ‘I know of no other speaker I’d rather own, regardless of price’, you will understand there is the clear implication that high end aspirations can be accommodated in real world budgets.
The Italian company Audio Analogue prove that you can have full sized high quality hand made products that just get better and better, yet are affordable. The build quality and style is immaculate and the sound of the new Revision 2 versions is compelling.
With the new PrimaLuna Vacuum tube amplifiers it's all about the music. Tubes do fantastic things for sound – any style or type of music and in just about any system too. The Dutch company Prima Luna design and manufacture tube amplifiers for the 21st century. They are reliable, easy to use and compatible with a broad range of both input sources and speakers. And at their entry level, they are supremely affordable. You owe it to yourself to investigate the new Prima Luna models – there is no substitute for simply hearing what they can do – imagine lush, room filling sound.
At companies like Sonus faber, their entry level models are produced alongside their very best – the same designers, the same people handcrafting the cabinets. So you are assured of the benefit that expertise and know that even the most affordable model will share family characteristics.
The best High End companies have substantial track records. Meridian have been at the forefront of digital design since the inception of CD. Audio Research are almost single–handedly responsible for the concept of the high end. They are instrumental in the renaissance of vacuum tube amplification and really are at the forefront of state of the art, no compromise sound quality.
The Wadia 121 Decoding Computer is a high performance DAC/digital preamplifier with a complete set of digital inputs, balanced analog outputs, digital volume control, and a headphone output section. The Wadia will make almost any system sound dramatically better. Which is a bold claim, but one that we can back up because there is a lot to the Wadia and have been spending quality time with this very special machine.
Forget what you’ve heard of the ‘law of diminishing returns’. Abandon any preconceptions as to what you can or can’t hear or appreciate. Real High End componentry produces music in a way that everyone can enjoy to the fullest. The work that goes into the design also ensures longer lasting, more reliable and more deeply satisfying components and systems that will give a lifetime of pleasure.