Audio bling

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There are three primary means of judging audio equipment: reviews/recommendations, auditioning, and the quality of the casework and connector jewelry. Often, it’s all three.

Let’s imagine we read a positive review—or our dealer, friend or trusted colleague, recommends something to us. We’re excited. We get the new piece of kit, and what’s the first thing we do? Ogle over the build quality. How heavy is it? What’s the fit and finish? Quality connectors?

This is absolutely normal. I do it. You likely do as well. Aside from test reports and the product’s reputation, how else might we evaluate a piece of gear? If the designers put enough love and care into the unit’s guts, isn’t it likely to be echoed in the chassis build quality?

Not necessarily. If you’ve been in this industry for as many decades as I have, you’ve run into the extremes. Beautifully crafted chassis sculptures that sound…meh. And the opposite. Gorgeous sounding products in simple unadorned boxes.

Perfect products combine both beauty and sonic excellence within their budgetary constraints—one area isn’t sacrificed to feed the other.

The best products are rare, but we know them when we find them.