BLOG: 2018 Awards – Lieven’s Selection

7. Best Headphone


Best Headphone (Best Value): Hifiman Ananda

The Ananda is great and looking purely at sound quality and the level of technicalities it is the best headphone of the Edition X series.The Ananda is very easy to like and I’m sure most of you will love its smooth delivery, musical mids and engaging bass. For $999 you get a lot in return and if the Edition X V2 at $1299 got an award then you just know how special the Ananda at $999 is. Ananda is an incredibly nice headphone with an excellent price-quality ratio.

Best Headphone (Price no objection): Meze Audio Empyrean

The headphone of the year award maybe is the one people are looking forward to most and this year it goes to the Meze Audio Empyrean! What a headphone Meze Audio have come up with! A new King is born and this is a headphone everyone will still be talking about in 20 years. The Empyrean just is incredibly good and it checks all my boxes, and then some. We’re pretty spoiled when it comes to good gear and good headphones, but this is one is extra special. Just listen to it with a good amp at home or in your office and I bet a lot of you will join #TeamEmpyrean right away. What a masterpiece.

8. Best Accessory

Best Accessory: Xduoo X10T

The Xduoo X10T is a portable source that delivers the best possible digital signal to the external DAC of your choice. It’s a niche product for professionals and for the audiophiles who want the very best digital signal/sound. At this price point it is very easy to recommend the Xduoo X10T as a digital transport to everyone. The successor to this version only just arrived last week and so it’s to early to take into account for the 2018 awards.

9. Best Streamer

Best Streamer: ProJect-Audio Stream Box S2 Ultra

Its full review still needs to be published on Headfonia but this box has brought me so much pleasure already. Hook it up to your local network by cable or wifi, connect it to the DAC of your choice and enjoy your music from anywhere in the house. DLNA, Media streamers and TIDAL are all included. And then there’s the ROON integration. It’s perfect!

You can find out all about our fav streamer right here:

10. Most Popular

Most Read & recommended: AudioQuest DragonFly RED

It kind of has become a joke with the guys when I make the monthly and yearly stats of the most read articles, as the AudioQuest DragonFly is as good as always in the top 3. At the same time it’s no surprise as it offers great sound in a small package for an excellent price. Everyone should own one!

11. Best Innovation

Best Innovation: Ultimate Ears (Live, 18+PRO, True Tone, Superbax, IPX)

Ultimate Ears is the first company getting our new award for Best Innovation. Not only have they released two excellent new monitors featuring True Tone Drivers, they have also launched the IPX connector together with the stock SuperBax cable. And then there’s their excellent design department.

End Words

Congratulations to our winners! May it motivate the competition to do even better next year 😉

If you have questions or suggestions about how we’re doing things, head over to the comments section and we’ll do our best to make even better in 2019!

Happy New Year!

3.9/5 - (42 votes)

Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.


  • Reply December 25, 2018

    Phong Ngo

    Can’t wait to see what 2019 brings us! Thanks, Lieven!

  • Reply December 25, 2018


    google search: dragonfly red seller
    urge to buy increases

  • Reply December 25, 2018


    Thank you Lieven for compiling this 2018 list of recommendations.

    Have you been able to try the Xduoo MK1 with the AK Acro L1000? Wondering if the AK is a compatible DAC/amp, according to their website specs compatibility is/could be limited.

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

  • Reply December 27, 2018


    I’d like to see best portable headphone. Something that doesn’t cover an entire side of your head like the Hifiman Ananda lol.

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