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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.


Active Member
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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