1. Synergistic Research AC Master Coupler
2. Cal Audio Labs (Most of their CDP's)
3. Mark Levinson Amps
4. Quad ESL 63
2. Cal Audio Labs (Most of their CDP's)
3. Mark Levinson Amps
4. Quad ESL 63
Linn LP12 - Most influential TT ever.
Quad ESL 57 - Most influential early ESL.
Denon DL103 MC Cartridge - most influential MC design ever.
Rega RB250 tonearm - 1st real High-end arm at low price.
Berning ZOTL amp-Made SET OTL possible for the 1st time ever
Stax Headphones - Set the world standard for many years.
ReVox B77 - Long time World standard for Open Reel Tape decks.
Futterman and Atma-Sphere for pioneering OTL design
Marantz 8B for it's amazing longevity
Koetsu for truly High-end MC cartridges
1. The various Vandersteen 2C speaker models have become classics, as have 2. McCormack DNA.5 and DNA-1 amplifiers. These are both very high value products that have stood the test of time. I also agree with the 3. Syn. Res. Master Coupler power cord as a classic. It's certainly one of the power cords that started the high quality "power cord revolution", and is still a standard of sorts. Cheers. Craig
I like TWL's list, almost without exception.
Jasman's list too resonates with me.
Some others mentioned, or not:
KLH Model ? electrostatic speakers
the AR ES turntable
Dynavector 10x cartridge, low cost high output mc still in production I think. Longevity here.
The Mission Cyrus One integrated amp.
BBC LS3/5a minimonitors (whether Rogers, Spendor, etc.)
Current production Harbeth HL Compact 7 speaker, the first to eliminate material coloration in a dynamic driver.
The first Mission cdp.
The JVC XLZ 1010, the first mass produced cdp to actually sound good.
The Sony XA7ES - never owned it, but it sounded more than good, actually satisfying.
On faith, the Carver Lightstar Reference II amplifier, said by REG in TAS to be the first perfect amplifier. (Having heard other Jim Croft designs and tested REG's views on other products, I believe him.)
A personal favorite, among all the KLH and AR speakers considered classics, the one that actually performed the best if you had enough power, the KLH Model 5.
I could think of others that I believe warrant mention over many of the components listed in Stereophile's Top 100, and might disagree with one or two mentioned above, but some of mine are pretty weird too.
Here are my "top-5" favorites of all time (and yes..... some of the components I'm going to mention will be repeats..... so sue me (not literally now)).
(01). Vandersteen 2 Speaker System (My most favorite speaker of all time. The classic "Vandy" may not have been the last word in absolute resolution, but every time I listened to this speaker, the music that I have played through it has always sounded "right". It just delivers the music to my ears in its "unadultrated" form and lets all of the notes of the said piece rise and/or fall on their own merits. It truthfully served the music well. The fact that they were always reasonably priced has also helped it caused considerably. Twenty-five years later, these classics are still in production (though in a much later incarnation). That alone speaks volumes about their ability to continue to stand the test of time. In my humble opinion, they are the most influential components to hit the audio scene since the vaulted Linn Sondek LP-12 Turntable bursted onto the audio scene some 30 years ago. I view these speakers in the same light as my first love all the way from high school. And that is, this is the same as the girl you first fell in love with when you were in high school, and then, later on during your adulthood, you loved this girl so much that you've wanted to be married to her and bear children with her, but she didn't feel the same way about you (well bad analogy...... but that's close enough to what I am trying to say), and thus, she went on and had a life without you. To me in audio terms, that means these were the speakers that I always wanted to own, but because of the size of my living quarters, I had to settle for bookshelf monitors instead (i.e.-- the KEF Reference 102's). So now, if that's not a glowing endorsement, then I really don't know what is).
(02). Nakamichi ZX-9 Cassette Deck (In my opinion, the VERY first deck Nak has ever made to have a high performance direct-drive mechanism that actually sounded good. With exception of the automated tape calibration systems, the "ZX-9" was the deck that has inspired the creation of my "BX-300" two years later).
(03). Magnum Dynalab FT-101 FM Tuner (The first good sounding FM Tuner that was attainable without breaking the bank on a classic secondhanded McIntosh).
(04). Adcom GFP-750 Active/Passive Line Stage Preamplifier (In my opinion, the first "TRUE" high-end preamplifier that was actually affordable and delivered great sound. As with the Magnum Dynalab Tuner listed above, I own this piece as well, and now, I am wrestling with the fact that I may have to part with it before I get married. And the reason for me possibly parting with it is because I have a need to integrate both of my systems, and I would like to accomplish this feat with the least amount of componentry possible. If I decide to hang onto the GFP-750, then I will have to buy me a standalone S/S Processor and a matching Multi Channel Power Amp to compliment my GFA-545 MkII/GFP-750 Stereo Setup, whereas if I get either an Outlaw Pre/Pro and their matching Multi Channel Amplifier or a Rotel Pre/Pro and their matching Multi Channel Amplifier, then I will have all the functions I need to have in two boxes instead of the four I am likely to have should I choose to hang onto my GFP-750. Again, it's going to be awfully hard for me to give up this piece).
(05). NAD 3020 Integrated Amplifier (Never owned one. But I do know this. It was the first amplifier that was available in the late 1970's to early 1980's to actually be affordable and sound good at the same time (at that time......... AND NOW actually.......... a feat that can often be difficult to achieve). High-End sound at a mass market price. Need I say more).
My honorable mentions include the following:
(01). Mark Levinson No.26 Preamplifier (1986-1995).
(02). Mark Levinson No.20 Class A Mono Power Amplifier (1986-95).
If I was rich and could afford these beauties back in the day, then I would've owned these. But since I couldn't and I didn't, then I guess one could only dream a little bit. Right????
1. Spectral DMC-10
2. ARC SP-3
3. Avalon Radian
4. Magnepan MG-3a
5. Spectral DMA-100
6. Acoustic Research AR-3a
7. Dynaco PAT-4
8. JBL Hartsfield
9. the original Monster speaker cable
10. ARC D79a
No particular order, but the ones that had the most initial
impact for me. I could not nominate the Linn or Quads
because neither grabbed my attention at the time I listened
Lists are always a recipe for a good thread.
1) Power amplifier - Marantz 8/8b. Look up classic tube sound in the dictionary, you'll find a picture of this amp. Still lusted over
2) Integrated amplifier - NAD 3020. Provided a lot of enjoyment, smooth, musical, nice. Before things got crazy. Honorable mention to Advent receiver
3) Pre amplifier - Mark Levinson LNP2. Dawn of a new era. How things got crazy; caused three different audio paths - faceplate more important than what's inside?, exotic parts quality, and  heart stopping prices(no longer did we spend more than our friends, we spent more than our friend's car. Audio equipment as jewelry
4) Tuner - Marantz 10. Zenith(no pun intended) of tubes, plue gadgetry and measurements before they became ridiculous
5) Cassette player - Nakamichi Dragon. Made with the expert skill that produced samurai swords
6) Turntable - AR ES. Lives on in the Linn
7) Digital - CD player/separates - Wadia. "I thought all CD players sound alike.?. How much does it cost?!?"
8) Digital - High Resolution - Sony SCD-1. Will SACD become Beta/DAT/MiniDisc or is this the player that will make CD the 78 of digital?
[a]Infinity IRS Beta. Seeing them in a room is the audiophile's version of visiting the Taj Mahal. WAF?, you know your woman really loves you if she allows them. I have personally hear these speakers(modified) sound better than live in a precious fleeting moment.
[b]Klipsch CornerHorns. Most people still have their speakers in the corners. The postwar audio industry is born
[c]Quad ESL57. Like owning a real dog, not a stuffed animal. Yes, they are work, but everything else is fake
[d]Vandersteen 2 speakers. The Bruce Jenner of loudspeakers. Difference? The speakers have not aged, no plastic surgery
10) Cable, speaker->tie
Yes, Monster Cable started the ball rolling by having us pay more than $0.89 for our wire, but these cables made us view cable as a component. No use comparing the three, they all sound the same. Wire is wire
11) Cable, interconnect - Cardas. Oh no! You mean interconnects sound different too? Honorable mention to gold plated RCA plugs/jacks
12) Cable, power cord - Synergistic Research AC Master Coupler. Well, we did forget one cable in the system...
Many fond memories.The Well tempered TT.
ARC SP3 until my Spectral DMC 10 moved in.
Quicksilver 60 watt mono amps. The original 1980 version.
Loved my Celestion 600s. So much so that I sold my Snell type A.
The original CLS. Had a love hate relation with this speaker. Apogee Duetta. CJ PV5. Very colored but very enjoyable.
The first Electrocompianet 25 watt amps. Wonderful sound when they weren't blowing up. No digital was allowed at that time. I wonder what I would think of this gear today?
Right back at you Trelja. Thanks so much for your Email that I will forever treasure. As always, I'm in your debt.
Garfish post is dead on. Can you do any better than what Garfish has suggested, especially considering so little $$$ and such big rewards. I would like to add one more. The van Den Hul Cartridges years ago. bet their still great today.
Someone mentioned the KLH 5. Well, I had a pair of KLH 12.
These had the same drivers as the KLH 5, but mounted in a much larger floorstanding cabinet, and with a very sophisticated external crossover network with four contour controls (looked like a preamp). I also had one KLH 5 that I used for center. Although it was an excellent speaker, and blended well with the KLH 12's in my application, it was clearly inferior overall.