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

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...
Photo by Jeff Dorgay
The speakers’ powerful response belies their diminutive size…
The recent release of the Limited-Edition Linn Sondek LP12 ( celebrates the 40th...
High-definition content looks better than ever on these cutting-edge 4K displays.
Photo by Berlyn Photography
Going to the movies is a treasured pastime for many American families. But for celebrities and...
Photo by VZPhoto
Harnessing the control and clarity of digital audio…