BLOG: 2019 Awards – Part 1

2019 Awards

Lieven – Editor in Chief

1. BEST IEM

Hors Catégorie: Effect Audio King Arthur

It’s expensive, it’s luxurous, it’s crazy. But it’s not only about the prize and package with the King Arthur. The EA and Empire Ears cooperation IEM actually sounds incredibly good, speaker-wise in fact. It’s something new, it’s refreshing, it’s the Effect Audio King Arthur.

First Look Sunday – Effect Audio King Arthur

Wireless: Beyerdynamic Xelento Wireless

We already were convinced that the Beyerdynamic Xelento is an excellent sounding universal IEM, but now they’re also available in a wireless configuration. Even though not TWS, the Xelento Wireless by far is my favorite wireless product of 2019, especially when you pair it up with Beyerdynamic‘s MIY app. It’s one of the very first wireless products which actually impresses me.

Review: Beyerdynamic Xelento Remote – Anthem

Large Pockets: Meze Audio Rai Penta

Meze Audio has released awesome gear over the years and they still keep doing so. Their TOTL universal IEM, the Rai Penta, is one of the only universal IEMs I really like, and that means it’s very good.

Review: Meze Audio Rai Penta – A Star

Smaller Pockets: Cayin YB04

Cayin Audio keeps surprising the audio market both with desktop as well as personal audio gear. We at Headfonia mostly focus on their portable units and this year Cayin Audio released their first universal IEM, the Cayin YB04. It’s not often a company wins an award with their very first IEM, so this means it’s really special.

Review: Cayin YB04 – Up in there

2. BEST CIEM

Large Pockets: Vision Ears Elysium

Vision Ears has been producing excellent sounding custom monitors for both professionals as well as audiophiles for years now, and they just keep getting it right time after time. This year they win the head-prize with the excellent sounding Elysium Hybrid CIEM.

Review: Vision Ears Elysium – Purity of Sound

Smaller Pockets: Shozy & AAW Pola39

The original Shozy & AAW Pola already was really good but the second generation Pola39 is even more impressive. Available in both universal and custom form, the POLA39 will please many audiophiles with smaller pockets.

Review: Shozy & AAW POLA39

3. BEST AMPLIFIER

Tubes: Feliks Audio Euforia AE

I’m a big fan of tubes and tube amps and if they come from Feliks Audio you know you’re going to get a lot of value for money. If you’re looking for a really good do-it-all amplifier, then the Feliks Audio Euforia AE is an excellent choice.

Feliks Audio Euforia AE Review

Solid State: Niimbus Audio US4+

I’ve always been a sucker for the German Violectric gear and it’s no different with the high end Niimbus Audio series of the LakePeople company. The Niimbus Audio US4+ without any doubt is the best solid state headphone amp I’ve had the pleasure to listen to this year.

Review: Niimbus Audio – US4+

4. BEST DAC/AMP

Portable: AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt

The AudioQuest DragonFly portable units have been popular ever since they first were released and they just keep getting better and better with each revision. This year AudioQuest surprised the worl with their latest Cobalt version, and for me it’s the very best so far. Incredible quality an value in a very small package.

Review: AudioQuest DragonFly Cobalt – For The Win

Desktop: Flux Lab Acoustics Atlas

A lot of people probably never heard of the Ukranian Flux Lab Acoustics company but they in the meantime have released several excellent sounding units. My favorite is the desktop sized ATLAS which I use as my reference DAC with a whole series of amplifiers.

Review: Flux Lab Acoustics Atlas – For the love of music

5. BEST HEADPHONE

Rosson Audio Design RAD O

I didn’t review as much full sized headphones as I would have liked in 2019 and I have several listed for review in the beginning of 2020. The one that impressed me most was the RAD-O by Rosson Audio Design, and as such it deserves this year’s reward.

First Look Sunday – Rosson Audio RAD-O

6. BEST DAP

Cayin Audio N6ii

No you’re not reading this wrong. Cayin Audio didn’t only win an award for their YB04 IEM, they’re also winning one for their latest portable player, the N6ii DAP. With its modular design it’s going to be a DAP that will last years with its endless possibilities.

Review: Cayin Audio N6ii – Moduled

7. BEST ACCESSORY

Xduoo X10Tii

This year I chose the Xduoo X10Tii as best accessory of the year. It’s a digital transport only that send a high quality digital source to your favorite DAC. Xduoo calls it a portable turntable, but to me it’s the best transport of the year.

Review: Xduoo X10Tii – Digital Evolution

 

And now on to the personal awards of LINUS on the next page! CLICK HERE

 

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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.

4 Comments

  • Reply December 25, 2019

    Mahir

    👏👏👏 nice idea as your reviews are enlightening.

  • Reply December 26, 2019

    Phong Ngo

    Thank you for another great year of reviews!

  • Reply January 8, 2020

    Enlarge

    Been checking this site for almost ten years, love you and keep up the great work!

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