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Top 3 hi-fi brands (and "honorable mentions")

Jan 9, 2019
My list:

1. Revel Speakers - the speaker company for objectivist
2. Bryston - can't believe no one listed Bryston yet - even in honorable mentions.
3. Yamaha - quality products at good prices across the entire spectrum.

Honorable mentions
Classe - great products, but only at premium prices
Outlaw Audio - gateway drug for budding audio enthusiasts
Paradigm - see Revel
Cambridge Audio
Magnepan - not my thing, but their fans are fanatics
NAD - despite my own personal mixed experience, can't deny the legacy and they continually innovate
Dec 22, 2016
Co. Durham, UK
2: Magnepan. For the music I like to listen to I haven't heard any speakers I could actually afford I like more.
My experience with Magnepan for service and durability has been excellent.

My MG1s are still going strong - they'll be 40 years old this year - x-over caps replaced and that's it. Now doing duty as surround speakers.

My MG2.5rs are 31 years old and have had the ribbons replaced once ($120 including shipping from US) and wires rebonded at top and bottom of panel - all DIY. They are active these days (an easy mod) and used as mains in my 5.1 system together with CC2 centre speaker.

I think Magnepan can still repair any speaker they have ever made.


Addicted to Fun and Learning
Jan 8, 2019
My personal praise in no particular order is first for Peter Walker of Quad, for his revolutionary electrostatic speakers and his contributions to the developement of modern amplifier technology that was and remains as good as a 'straight wire with gain', as he used to put it.
Second to the Philips/Sony team that developed the CD. To add some info about the Philips part of the story, see here: https://www.philips.com/a-w/research/technologies/cd/beginning.html At the time Philips had a massive physics lab where all kinds of fundamental research were done without too much concern about the immediate benefits. In some ways the Hypex technology is the last fruit of this Philips audio research tradition.
Third, I want to mention the research into speaker design at the BBC, producing not only some memorable designs, but also the methodological groundwork for speaker research, and the launch pad for the Harbeth brand of speakers.

So my list is equaly divided by innovation in electronics and speakers. In those early days amplifiers were not good enough to be transparent, and people like Peter Walker made them become that. Similarly, analogue sources were not really good enough, and the CD changed all that. Ever since, sources and amplifiers can be better than human hearing acuity, so subsequnet innovation can only be about manufacturing technology. Speakers and their interaction with the room remain the weakest link, hence my praise for, again, Peter Walker and for the BBC and Harbeth's Alan Shaw.

However, the list is not complete without a reference to the esthetically and functionally most memorable designs, those by Dieter Rams for Braun.
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Patreon Donor
Jul 30, 2019
I think my first system came from one of these...

A plastic rack system, tape deck, graphic eq, and receiver, may have weighed as much as a box of cracker jacks. hey it worked though.

Dad had a Pioneer - that was pretty cool with the Led Zep frisbees. We didn't get to play with it much as that was sort of - off limits to the kids.

I wish I could contribute to this with a laundry list of experience and first hand knowledge but alas nope. I have been doing a lot of reading and some researching though.

Accuphase has a short vid out on their factory. Very modest - blue collar and what "felt" sincere, genuine and honest. In a take over for purchase power and expense efficiency world of today, it appeared Accuphase was resolved to their craft. Really made me want to root for them and based on all I read, also really made me want one of their 2 channel amps.

Luxman also crossed my screen a lot. Other than you tube vids (there are some wtf ones out there oh boy) I haven't seen or heard them or the aforementioned amplifiers. Though these look nice and apparently also receive many kind words as well.

Couldn't be more subjective I suppose other than the science of the new Benchmark - which doesn't have Big VU's!


Major Contributor
Beer Hero
Dec 8, 2016
Seattle Area, USA
Luxman also crossed my screen a lot. Other than you tube vids (there are some wtf ones out there oh boy) I haven't seen or heard them or the aforementioned amplifiers. Though these look nice and apparently also receive many kind words as well.
Luxman gear is very nice, a great blend of modern and old retro craftsmanship.

I've been thinking of getting one of these to use as a headphone amp / bedroom system:

At $2800 it's less than some equivalent top end tube headphone / speaker amps from more boutique audiophile brands.


Active Member
Mar 13, 2019
1. Schitt, for puling the wool over most people's eyes.
2. Beats, for overpriced mediocre headphones and great marketing.
3. Apple, for the iPhone and wireless earbuds. Who needs a great music system when you can be a mobile phone zombie.

Runner up: Bose
Schiit - for creating crap products.
Beats - for selling Schiit products.
Apple - for selling Schiitloads of crap products.


Major Contributor
Sep 12, 2018
Auckland, New Zealand
For me, in terms of what I've had experience with, the following:

The Harmon Kardon group of companies (specifically Revel, Infinity, and JBL) for their profound R&D - Speakers

Yamaha, as they seem to be more honest than most, if the recent WXA-50 performance analysis here is a reliable indicator, and at reasonable prices - Amplifiers

Google, as Chromecast was/is a game changer - Streamers

Honorable mention: SMSL, as their DACs, and ICEpower based amplifiers, seem to be worth the money.

Boutique brands? I wouldn't touch them with a ten foot pole... :rolleyes:
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