My list contains the following gear that I was lucky enough to end up purchasing, after home auditions, that signficantly raised the quality of the sonics of my system: 1) Pass LabsX-350.5 2) Acoustic Arts DAC1-MK3 3) Stealth Varidig Sextet digital cable 4) Acoustic Zen Absolute IC's and speaker wire. Yes, it was a very good year in my home for upgrading towards sonic pleasures.
It's been a good year...
1. Rives Level 1 design
2. Realtraps Mondotraps--less bass was definitely more
3. Bow ZZ-8
Eastern Electric Minimax pre-power, plus a pair of the Anti-Cables (frighteningly good for the money).
Paul Speltz Anti-Cables, Exemplar 2900, Gallo Nucleus Reference 3's and Onix SP3 Integrated all have thrilled me in the past year.
Oh- almost forgot- Oritek Interconnects as well.
It's also been a good, albeit VERY expensive, year for me.
1. Von Schweikert VR-9s
2. Jena Labs Dreamdancer speaker cables & Fundamental One PCs
3. Walker Reference Hi-Def Links
4. Rowland Concerto integrated
5. Arcam DV-29 DVD/CD player
6. ASC panels
7. MAYBE the new DarTZeel preamp (likely January 2006, unfortunately)
Whew! My wallet is smoldering in my pocket!!!
Purist Audio Venustas interconnects.
APL Denon 3910 Output Transformer upgrade.
My speakers, JMlabs Micro-Utopias. I never knew monitors could sound this good!
No hype at all because these are "underground" even within the "underground" high end audiophile/lunatic fringe community, but anyway, it's the Intuitive Design Summit PSL 624 loudspeakers. I've reviewed them here on A'gon. That review reads like a blatant shill. It isn't, I swear.
I am a man of modest desires and even more modest means. Yet and still, I am happy.
Music Hall MMF-7
Custom Built Osprey Center Channel
All used, but hope they still count.
My top 5:
1. Tannoy Berkeleys (HPD385A) - $40 pair
2. Fisher SA-16 - ~$25
3. Toshiba SD-4960 - $60
4. Sony PS-X500 - $40
5. Grado Gold - $65
All were very much worth the money and lived up to the hype.
without question, the vector tonearm.
i have had it only a couple weeks but
"WOW WOW WOW"
Yes, used equipment absolutlely qualifies. I should have said so. Sorry. And I suppose, now is a good time to add my choices:
Two items tie for first place. One analog, one digital. These two items qualify for my "beyond the hype" award:
1.) Transfiguration Temper W, moving coil cartridge.
2.) Aural Symphonics Optimism V-2, glass fiber-optic ST cable.
These two pieces definitely live up to the hype:
3.) Purist Audio Design Venustas speaker cable.
4.) Purist audio Design Dominus power cord.
Zyx Airy3 LO
Silverline Grande La Folia
Good thread. Best of my '05 upgrades : Speltz anti- cables, Cary 303-300 , Prima-Luna pro-2 , Jolida tuner and Tungsram NOS tubes.
Speakers that still amaze me: Green Mountain Audio Callisto
Amplifier: Cary Rocket 88R
Cardas: Power Cords, IC and Speaker Cable
Something old--EVS Millennium DAC II
Something new--Auricle Audio Signature Encore Digital IC
Together these two bring me the same pleasure I experienced listening to my ideal, the Reimyo setup I could not afford.
And, don't laugh--Brilliant Pebbles and Clever Little Clock (my wife already did the laughing for you). Note I am still waiting for the promised upgrade which will actually provide a new feature, flashing the correct time like the dumb conventional clocks in my house:>)
I upgraded from stock power cords to Harmonic Tech. and one Electraglide. My only regret is that I didn't do this sooner. The funny thing I would tell my friend about it & he would run away every time he saw me. He decided to give it a try and all I hear from him is how well his systen sound with good powercords. Makes an audiophile feel warm & fuzzy all over.