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Best of the Best: Sound Decisions

Ken Kessler

Sound Decisions
Components that will make your music collection sing true.


An audio system is only as good as the music’s source, and in the minds and ears of many audio purists, the best sound comes from vinyl. The component best suited for making contact with the LP is the Lyra Titan moving-coil cartridge ($4,500). As its name suggests, the Titan is machined from titanium, making it ultrarigid.

To ensure that the Titan’s signal is handled with precision, feed it into the matching Lyra Connoisseur 6-0P phono preamp ($6,000). Because Lyra specializes in moving-coil cartridges, the 6-0P is tailored to these low-output devices.


The turntable/tonearm, the Work of Art from Basis Audio, is the most arresting we have ever seen. This behemoth, priced from $49,000 to $53,000, consists of a massive acrylic slab for its subbase, a thick acrylic platter, and a suspension that can be described only as serious heavy metal.

For playing the various disc formats, we recommend the Theta Compli ($4,500), which can play more than 15 audio, video, and computer formats. Connect the Lyra and the Theta to the Hovland HP-200 stereo preamplifier ($7,500). It glows blue, and the tubes deliver a warm, pleasing sound.


Its natural partner is the Hovland Radia ($9,500), a solid-state amp that is equally attractive and can provide the necessary 125 watts per channel for the system’s speakers, the Sonus faber Stradivari Homage ($40,000 a pair). This is not only the best-looking speaker on the market, it is also the best sounding of this year, and likely for many years to come.


Basis Audio

Hovland Co.


Sonus faber

Theta Digital

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