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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
7. BEST ACCESSORY
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.
And now on to the personal awards of LINUS on the next page! CLICK HERE