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Amir's Recommended List

pozz

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#1
Date Updated: 28 October 2019

This list comprises @amirm's product recommendations. Outside of performance, there are plenty of reasons to buy, like convenience, ease of use and features, so the pros & cons tend to get convoluted. Just because a product doesn't show up here doesn't mean you shouldn't go for it. Still, the focus here is on quality audio-focused engineering.

The categorization matches that of the master review thread. I'll need help here with listing the correct prices (original MSRP, not the latest sale price) and entries.

* indicates that the item is recommended but that the price is higher than what you could otherwise pay. Sort of a marker of luxury.

Portable
DAPs
Cellphones
Portable DACs/Amps
“Thumb Drive” DACs
Headphone Dongles (USB-C to 3.5mm Adapters)
Non-Portable
AV Receivers/Processors
Blu-ray Players
Big DACs
Bareboard DACs/Streamers
Dedicated Desktop DACs
Desktop DACs/Headphone Amps
Desktop ADCs/DACs
Headphone Amps
Integrated Amps
Power Amps
Preamps
Phono Stages/Preamps
Streamers & Servers
Miscellaneous
Audio Analyzers
Car Receivers
Cable Tweaks
PCI Soundcards
USB Converters (to S/PDIF, TOSLINK, AES/EBU, I²S, etc.)
 
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Daverz

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#2
"Both Topping A30 and Schiit Magni 3 are recommended for budget friendly choices in headphone amplifiers"
 

Veri

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#3
Awesome, we finally have the well sought after and referenced 'recommended list' ;) awesome.

One nitpick, about inclusion of Spectra X I don't really see amir really recommending it but maybe I'm missing it.
 

pozz

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#4
"Both Topping A30 and Schiit Magni 3 are recommended for budget friendly choices in headphone amplifiers"
Added.
One nitpick, about inclusion of Spectra X I don't really see amir really recommending it but maybe I'm missing it.
Maybe I should add a * or something to indicate "recommended but expensive"? It holds for a bunch of items.

Edit: Added some *s just as placeholders for now.
 
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Hugo9000

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#5

pozz

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#6
The SMSL M100 was accidentally placed in the "Desktop DAC/Amp" category, but it's just a desktop DAC. No volume control, no headphone or speaker output. (I've owned one for six months and love it, by the way, so I recommend it as well haha!) @pozz ! :)
Fixed. I wonder if I screwed it up in the other thread, too.
 

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#7
Thanks @pozz. Should this thread be linked to home/review page? If so, we need a widescreen graphic to go with it. Any suggestions? A bunch of panthers together??? :)
 

Daverz

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#9
Added.

Maybe I should add a * or something to indicate "recommended but expensive"? It holds for a bunch of items.

Edit: Added some *s just as placeholders for now.
Also, perhaps, "recommended with reservations", though that is a judgement call.
 

pozz

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#10
Also, perhaps, "recommended with reservations", though that is a judgement call.
Yea, it's something I considered but that category will include many more entries than "recommended but expensive". I'd be compelled to add individual notes like "recommended, but don't use TOSLINK".
 
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#11
How about recommended CD Players. Frankly I believe that the multiple box solution to playing RBCD is very poor engineering. Why introduce a connectivity layer? Other than of course to sell more boxes and generate more cash flow. Regardless - any SINGLE BOX RBCD players - don't care about streaming, playing digital memory sticks, et cetera. Just want to pop in a RBCD and hear "GOOD" digital pour forth to the rest of my kit.
Thanks.
 

pozz

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#13
How about recommended CD Players. Frankly I believe that the multiple box solution to playing RBCD is very poor engineering. Why introduce a connectivity layer? Other than of course to sell more boxes and generate more cash flow. Regardless - any SINGLE BOX RBCD players - don't care about streaming, playing digital memory sticks, et cetera. Just want to pop in a RBCD and hear "GOOD" digital pour forth to the rest of my kit.
Thanks.
They would have to be measured first before a recommendation can be made. If you have one you would like to send to @amirm he can do it.
 
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#14
Amirm, thank you for your kind reply. Unfortunately I have no spare units I want to volunteer. Though I would recommend - based on purely subjective "listening" - and ONE A-B comparison - the Cambridge Audio 840C. A now no longer manufactured component.

In the one direct comparison, on an "audiophile" friends rig - MBL speakers with VTL mono-block amps no less - we compared the CA unit against a "Mod Wright" tweaker device - based on a Denon player with the tweak being a tube follower driver unit and a tube power supply for those drivers. The CA CRUSHED THE MODWRIGHT - it was not even close. The Modwright was still harsh, hash laden, with lots of those flat nasty distortions that so many early CD players manifested. The CA by comparison was much smoother and far more musical.

Not much - entirely subjective but a unanimous observation. We had planned to play 10 tracks of a variety of musical genres - but one play was sufficient to audibly demonstrate a night and day difference in the play back.

I have heard that the CA follow on device - the 851C - lost the fox and sounded like the typical RBCD player - harsh, flat, tizzy, all of the sound effects of early CD players.

Something is going on with digital playback - not sure what - my bet is on Gibb's oscillations attributable to the "rectangular function" reconstruction filter (pre and post ringing as Gibb's predicted back in the 1870s (?)). However in the modern era I "think" there are many good playback units available. The PS Audio box - and I am no fan of PS - seemed very smooth - or at least it shed most of the bad sound of early digital. Don't know because my audiophile friend wants no more direct comparisons - too easy to have an expensive nothing be exposed.
 
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#16
OK - sorry Pozz - the title was YOUR thread not Amirm. So thanks for the great thread and the compilation. Would still love to see some RBCD players - SINGLE BOX - rated/compared/measured/vilified/praised.
 
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