Best of the Best 2007: Audio

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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.

German engineering from Leica meets Italian styling from the legendary coachbuilder Zagato…
As digital audio formats become more challenging to navigate, here are some key factors to consider…
The creator of some of the world’s most beautiful speakers adds to its 3-year-old Venere series…
Digital audio has become increasingly complex, but the new dCS player and DAC epitomize ease of use…
With captivating colors and hyper-rich resolutions, these top TVs put on quite a display…
The multidisciplinary dream team at Constellation Audio has done it again…
The state-of-the-art converter plays nearly any audio format…
The sleek amplifier utilizes proprietary circuitry to ensure the cleanest possible sound…
The distinguished audio manufacturer has put big amplifier technology into a small package…
The new Bluetooth music pod stands out as an innovative leader of compact luxury audio systems…