Best of the Best 2007: Audio

The Ferrari Art.Engine music system (435.649.3458, www.dwvartengine.com) might represent the most radical rethinking of the high-end audio system. It incorporates 16 carbon-fiber woofers, 200-watt digital amplifiers, and a wireless interface that allows you to play your favorite music or Internet radio station from any WiFi-equipped computer running iTunes. With all of its speaker drivers mounted in a single unit, the Art.Engine cannot produce enveloping stereo, but its tone is remarkably natural—thanks in part to its rigid, nonresonant, 107-pound enclosure, which is machined from solid aluminum billet. Only 1,000 of the $20,000 Art.Engines will be made. The Ferrari system is available in black, silver, dark gray, and, of course, red.

Ayre Acoustics MX-R power amplifier (303.442.7300, www.ayre.com) maintains a sleek, compact appearance because its entire machined-aluminum chassis serves as a heat sink. Other similarly powerful amps look huge because they cool themselves using space-consuming rows of aluminum fins. Despite the amp’s prodigious 300 watts of power, its chassis barely becomes warm. The MX-R ($16,500 per pair) uses state-of-the-art transistors and many internal parts manufactured specifically for this amplifier. Few, if any, amplifiers sound smoother, more powerful, or more detailed.

And like a supercar, their performance is world-class…
Old-school audio engineering comes alive with this modern wonder of two-channel music reproduction…
Delivering 300 watts per channel, the high-fidelity dual-mono amp can power just about any speaker...
Sony’s latest effort to revitalize its Walkman brand caters to the discerning listener on the go…
But the level of musical nuance they deliver is well worth the investment…
Photo by Luke Milnes
With a carbon-fiber cabinet and an array of 28 drivers, the new speakers look and sound beautiful…
Photo by Jonathan Beer
The camera features wireless technology along with other significant upgrades…
Photo by Malena silva
Among the finest conduits for playing music from an untethered digital device are the KEF X300A...
Photo by VZPhoto
The world’s top hi-fi manufacturers take personal listening to new levels with these small but...
Peter Luehr
Bob Ludwig has perfected recordings by some of the greatest artists of the last 40 years...