It’s time for the 2nd part of the 2019 Awards now. After Lieven and Linus, Nano and I now reveal our selections!
2019 Awards – Year Overview
Wow, what a year that was! I can’t quite believe that my 3rd year with the Headfonia crew is already wrapped up. Time goes fast, and I’m grateful to continue and share my experience with our audience.
Before sharing my 2019 awards, I would like to thank the companies that work with us. They trust and value our opinions and years of experience. I also would like to thank the beautiful people that I’ve met this year, mostly at CanJam London 2019. So overall it was a great year and I can’t wait to see what 2020 has to offer us. Last but not least, BIG THANKS to our readers and followers for making our hobby a lot more meaningful.
It was a year that saw a new addition to our crew as well (Matty), and Nano stepped up his game after joining in 2018. I’m very happy to see the work they’re doing, which I don’t think people realize enough how difficult it is to post quality content on this page week in and week out. We have an excellent squad here and I’m very happy to be a part of it.
Now, let’s get to the real thing; here are the 2019 awards. Smaller Pockets = Budget and Larger Pockets = High End.
Best Universal IEM
Large Pockets: Earsonics Purple
This is simply one of the best products Earsonics have ever released to the market, there’s no doubt about that. I think every audiophile around should give it a go if they have the opportunity. For Earsonics fans though, it’s a MUST to listen to this monitor.
Good build quality, a great fit with a small footprint considering the technology and the driver sizes inside, and a great sound in all tuning options. That is what the Earsonics Purple is all about.
Smaller Pockets: FiiO FH7
The FH7 is the company’s most sophisticated and successful IEM, therefore I decided to include it in our Best Universal IEMs recommendation page.
FiiO have finally managed to create an IEM that sounds correct, coherent and high quality this time around. And with its 450 $ price tag, it’s a wonderful IEM in the Mid-Fi area. Considering the rich package content, build quality, fit and sound, the FH7 deserves great attention in the portable audio market.
Best Custom IEM
Smaller Pockets: LEAR LCM-Skyline
I strongly recommend the Lear LCM-Skyline to anyone who are looking for a low-cost solution for their Custom IEM purchase, and also for everyone who are looking for a strong performance and quality under 300 $ mark.
Solid State (Portable): iFi Audio xCAN
The iFi xCAN provides you a big power, a BAL setup for your BAL system, a great BT DAC/Amp performance with good quality, very nice build quality and a design which is very portable and light.
This is an option for the folks who don’t need the DAC section of the xDSD.
Hifiman Ananda BT
I was never a fan of Bluetooth earphones/headphones. This Hifiman Ananda BT however, changed my perception about wireless sound. This easily is the best wireless headphone I’ve ever listened to and it’s not even close. Together with the sound, the general user experience is very pleasing and simple.
Maybe the direct competitors of Hifiman will release these types of headphones in the future. But for now, the Ananda BT is the star of the wireless show.
Dethonray DTR1 Prelude
The Dethonray DTR1 is easily the DAP of the year in my book. If you want a device that can just play your music archive, there’s not a better option that I can give you. There’s nothing else better for this price tag. It’s as simple as that.
So if you’re on the lookout for a pure DAP, just get a high capacity MicroSD card, put your archive on it, and hit play. You will not be disappointed. This is surely an incredible value.
Best IEM Cable
Brise Audio STR7-Ref
The STR7 does not change the overall presentation apart from that slight supplement of bass. Yet you gain technicalities beyond the price like dynamism, texture, timbre, cohesiveness and separation. The cable is built to last and I think I will use it for many years to come. The Japanese craftsmanship is really something else and the attention to detail in this cable’s structure is simply excellent.
Based on my experience, this is one of the best cables you can get. It has a fantastic build quality, a very thoughtful design with high quality materials, and most importantly a great sound.
iFi Audio Gemini 3.0 USB Cable
The Gemini is a very unique USB cable, even on first sight. The most outstanding feature of it is the split lines. The power and data lines for this cable are completely separated, creating the best possible signal transportation environment. Build quality-wise it is exceptionally good and it can last many years as a reliable accessory in your audio chain.
In the end, these cables can be overkill for your rig/system, or they can be nice additions for getting that last drop of performance gain. It all depends on your decision to pay this money for a USB cable.
And now on to the personal 2019 Awards of NANO on the next page! CLICK HERE