It is that time of year again: we’re all on holiday enjoying Christmas and New Year with our families and friends and we hope you’re doing just the same.
As you probably noticed we’ve been really busy this last year: we posted around 70 articles! I found that very impressive knowing Headfonia.com is still a hobby for all of us. We hope you enjoyed reading all, or at least some, of them. Looking at the comment sections I do think that is the case and in the end that’s what it is all about, helping you guys out and getting some appreciation back in the process.
We haven’t had that many guest reviews this year (if any at all), something I will surely try to get back going again in 2014. If you feel like you’re up to the task, you can always contact us by using the form.
Like every year I asked our readers about their fav products of the year and the most nominated products were: Paradox, Hifiman HM700, iBasso DX50, The Abyss, Audez’e, KRK8400, Mad Dog, Vsonic GR07 MKII and Fiio’s X3. But surprise surprise, those aren’t in any of our lists.
I asked our main Headfonians (yes, I just invented that name) to share their top 2013 products with you as well, and this is the result:
* La Figaro 336 Classic
I loved this amp. Although it is actually a few years old, it was new to me. Dark, warm, and when paired with my HD650, a fantastic amp for classical, which makes up 90% of my musical diet. The great build quality and excellent price add greatly to the value. This amp never seems to have gotten the love it deserves, and sadly, seems to have been discontinued. I can only hope that its replacement is able to improve even further on what the LF 336c did, because that would be an amazing amp. I also hope they let me review it.
*ALO’s the Island
It’s a spacious, dynamic, slightly dark dac/amp that is also pretty easy on the wallet. The bass impact on the Island is quite addictive, and its build quality is first rate. Pair it with a nice, balanced set of cans, and you will have yourself a great little setup for at home or on the go. The only thing I love more than great sounding gear is inexpensive, great sounding gear. The Island is just that.
* Mr. Speakers upgrade policy
Being a headphone enthusiast can get expensive. For those people without a lot of money, it can be a challenge, with new gear and upgrades coming out, besting your last purchase. That’s why I love with all my heart the upgrade policy they have over at Mr. Speakers. For those that don’t have the money for their flagship Alpha Dogs, they can simply buy their very nice Mad Dog phones, and then, when they have the money and feel like upgrading, they can get the Mad Dogs upgraded for simply the price difference between the two headphones. This lets us upgrade our headphone collection without losing any money on our prior purchase. This is a truly classy move that I hope they never stop doing.
* Philips Fidelio L2
* RSA Intruder
Despite me not writing a review on it, the RSA Intruder. Ray asked me to do a review on it. I don’t think the review ever happened. But I have some at the store and every time I listened to the Intruder being paired with different headphones and IEMs, the sound captured me. It’s a very easy one to review: thick full sound, full mids and bass, clean background. It’s my sort of a sound, personalized. It manages to top the ALO International which was my favorite prior and also the legendary RSA SR-71A which I also loved. The RSA Intruder. Yeah.
* Cypherlabs Solo -R
To me the best product of 2013 by far is the CypherLabs Solo -R for the simple reason that prior to that I did not use any DAC for portable use.
* Alpha Dog
The only new headphone I bought in 2013 (what else?) and the only one I have listened to since I received it. It’s just that good!
My top products might be a bit weird but I only use an iMac, iPod Classics and iPhones. I don’t believe in standalone DAPs other than my iPod Classics. (See article).
Simply the best tube amplifier I have listened to. If you do get the chance to listen to, or even own one, you really should. Top quality, sound and looks-wise.
* Alpha Dog
Mr. Speakers did it again. While I’m not a fan of the stock Fostex, I really love his latest creation. The 3D printed Alpha Dog sounds incredibly good, and together with the TH900 it is the best closed headphone on the market for me. We will certainly be reviewing it as soon as it gets here.
I’ve always been a fan of the Cypherlabs gear but the latest dac/amp unit they released is really the best so far. Incredibly good DAC with a gorgeous amp, all in one unit with excellent battery life. I never leave home without it.
I realize my top 3 aren’t the cheapest of products but to me those 3 were the highlights of 2013. I wasn’t sure about selecting the Cosmic Ears BA4 or the Alpha Dog, but I think the Dog is the most impressive one. I’m sure that CE will be in next year’s top 3 with the BA5 or maybe even BA6. Another non product related highlight of course was the invitation and trip to Philips.
It was an awesome year! Do share with us in the comments what your products of the year were or that you would like to see on Headfonia in 2014. We appreciate the feedback.
I don’t want to spoil too much about our 2014 plans yet but I will share with you right now that I have managed to arrange a new contest with a unique, one of a kind prize with an estimated value over $500. We’re still working out the details so keep checking Headfonia soon for all the details…
Thanks again for the continued support and enjoy the holidays. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year everyone!