Christmas has already passed and another new year is coming up, time has flown by. Champagne bottles are being chilled as I type and we’re ready for another year!
Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about last year, at all. I’m actually rather happy cause 2012 was a good year for me personally and it brought us a lot of new great products and I feel like we’ve grown quite a bit. Not only did we add a lot of new products to our resume and did we help hundreds of our readers, we also introduced the interesting concept of “Guest Reviews”. On a side note, if you think you have what it takes to be a guest writer and have something interesting to share, do contact us!
Last year we at Headfonia chose The Fiio E10 as product of the year but as the team is expanding I’ve asked each writer to announce their biggest discovery themselves. However before getting to that I asked our Facebook readers about their favorite product of last year and we got a list of a lot of different products which proves there simply is no best product, it’s more of a personal favorite/best. On the other hand some products were mentioned quite a few times. Most nominated was the DT770 AE, followed by the Fostex HP-A8, the DX100, Alo’s PanAm, Heir 4ai, Topping D1, FitEar 334, TH900 and COP. Other mentions were: BHA-1 by Bryston, Sennheiser’s HD700, Matrix Mini, Altmann Tera, UE900, Phonak 232, ODac, Dragonfly and the Wyred4sound Microdac.
I’m happy to see we covered most of those products and we promise to do even better next year! I’m not going to keep you waiting any longer, here they are: our Product(s) of the Year 2012!:
Valentin: ALO PanAm
“Customizable sound and purpose to suit the user. Works with both easy-to-drive IEMs and demanding full-size-headphones. Built-in high-quality DAC. Minuscule. More than reasonable pricing considering all the goodness!”
Edd: SoundMAGIC HP100
“I was tempted to chose the Fostex HP-A8 for this, but with a really high price tag you rather expect it to be great. The HP100 seems like incredible value to me. A really revealing closed back with amazing quality bass that doesn’t color the mid-range. I prefer it with a warmer amp, but some will like it just as it is. Triple the quality of the V-Moda M-100 for about half the cost!”
Erik: O2/ODAC combo
“I have heard and seen more gear in 2012 than in all the years before combined. For me, the rise, and subsequent disappearance, of NwAvGuy has probably been the most prolific event this year. Like it or not, the release of his maximum-value Objective2/ODAC combo (designed in 2011 but properly distributed in 2012) really shook up the scene and therefore deserves it’s place as my personal Product of the Year 2012. Runner up is the UD100, the tiny little DIY Sabre DAC by Stoner Acoustics that could.”
Julius: ClearTunesMonitors CT200
“My Selection would definitely be the ClearTunesMonitors CT200 Customs ( $350US ) with the runner up being the Hisoundaudio Wooduo 2 Iem. If you are looking for a portable powerhouse while on a strict budget, the ClearTunesMonitors CT-200 Custom IEMs ( $350 ) are calling your name. This model was designed to provide a fun and very spacious experience on the go. It features a prominent low end that is both yummy and vibrant. The wallet-friendly CT-200 Custom screams Hi-Fi clarity!”
Mike: The Altmann Tera Player
There were a lot of great products being released in 2012. Most mind blowing to me is definitely the Fostex HP-A8C desktop DAC. Then the ALO PanAm. The new Cypherlabs Solo -dB (I love the sound of the new Solo), the Beyerdynamic DT770 32Ω which L and me both love, the Astell & Kern AK100 (though I didn’t like the sound, overall the product deserves two thumbs up), and lastly the HD700. Lieven who’s in charge of this article has asked me for the past several weeks to submit my choice and I had a really hard time choosing. Then it occurred to me that my choice should go to the Altmann Tera player. Yes, that controversial product that brought me a lot of heat when I published the review. Over time, people who have listened to the Altmann all agree that the sound is among the best (I think it’s the best). With the Altmann, I don’t even worry about what headphone/IEM to use, as long as the relatively puny headphone out can drive it. It can be a $1,400 FitEar 334 IEM, or an average Shure SE215, or even a lowly Sennheiser PX100-II. This is the player that never fails to deliver music to me, regardless of what headphone I plug into it. All with the convenience of having a true pocket-able sized device. I just love this player.
“I was genuinely impressed with this (closed) headphone and that doesn’t easily happen. Not only is this DT770 AE a collector’s item, it is also the best sounding DT770 and one of the very best closed headphones on the market at the moment. It makes me smile to see that so many people who we recommended this headphone to, really enjoy it and in the end that’s one of the reasons we’re doing what we do. The DT770 AE was also the most nominated headphone on Facebook, that says enough. This is one of the headphones that will accompany me in the afterlife”
If you feel we forgot to nominate a certain product, please do let us know in the comment section. I’m looking forward to reading that!
In 2013 we first of all want to keep our loyal readers happy and bring you even more qualitative reviews and surprises. Next to that Mike and myself are brainstorming about a couple of new things but I won’t give away too much about that yet…
That finally leaves me with thanking you for being loyal readers and so I wish you and your family a Happy New Year, a musical 2013 and may all or some of your wishes come true.
All the best for 2013!