2017 was a big year for hi-fi. Portable high-resolution music was a huge industry focus as consumers begin to rely more on their phones and pocketsize media players to listen to tunes. But that’s not to say that traditional audio gear was under represented; a torrent of traditional high-end stereo componentry like amps, preamps, receivers, transports, and loudspeakers kept us busy all year round.
So, without further ado, we present Robb Report’s top 10 audio stories of 2017, listed in reverse order.
10. Wilson Benesch’s New $70,000 Loudspeakers Turn Heads at U.S. Launch
We first heard a demo of the Resolution speakers at the Los Angeles Audio Show, and we were captivated. And it looks like our readers were as well.
9. McIntosh Launches Its First Hybrid Integrated Amplifier
If the technical capabilities of McIntosh’s Hybrid Integrated Amplifier weren’t enough to pique our reader’s interest, the unit’s beautiful, green-LED-lit vacuum tubes certainly were.
8. Redefining Home Entertainment with 4 Best of the Best Options for Audio and Video
Our ever-popular Best of the Best Electronics section honored three audio products this year: the HiFiMan Shangri-La, the Burmester Phase 3 all-in-one system, and the Devialet Gold Phantom.
7. Sony Introduces its Newest Hi-Res Walkman Music Player
The Sony Walkman is back. But make no mistake; this isn’t the Walkman you were playing Flock of Seagulls on in high school. The new Walkman NW-ZX300 is a portable media player capable of playing hi-res digital files—and our readers fell in love.
6. The New McIntosh MCT80 Gives You a Reason to Dust Off Your Old CD Collection
While regular folks’ old collections of CDs are gathering dust in the garage, our audiophile readers ate up the news of the new McIntosh MCT80 CD/SACD Transport.
5. Bang & Olufsen Introduces Its Answer to the Apple AirPod
Readers searching for wireless earbuds with tried-and-true audio quality without the goofy looking dongles on the AirPods had their wishes answered when Bang & Olufsen released its E8 truly wireless earbuds.
4. 10 of the Best Portable Speakers that Put Music First
These days, portable music players are a dime a dozen. And while many look great, they just don’t have the audio quality to match. That’s why we rounded up the best sets of portable speakers that sound as good as they look.
3. The Most Expensive Music of Today Is Recorded on Mediums from the Past
Break out your vinyl and reel-to-reel tapes; audiophiles are turning to mediums you might not expect in the pursuit of that ever-elusive perfect sound.
2. Naim Uniti Nova Makes Life Easier for Audiophiles
U.K. manufacturer Naim revamped its line of all-in-one music players—introducing the Core, Atom, Star, and its top-of-the-line Nova over the course of the last year and a half—and our readers were smitten. Check back soon for a hands-on review of the Nova.
1. 10 of the World’s Most Expensive In-Ear Headphones
Nowadays, nearly everyone walks around with smartphone in his or her pocket capable of digital audio playback (putting aside the questionable quality of said playback), so it’s no surprise that our readers were intrigued to find out just how expensive humble earbuds can get.