The Best Components of 1994:

- Audio Artistry Dvorak Loudspeaker
- Rotel 970 BX Integrated Amplifier
- Wilson Audio WATT/Puppy System 5 Loudspeaker

Thomas O. Miller
the abso!ute sound, December 1994, Issue 100. Reprinted with permission

This has been such a rich year for High End audio that it is more difficult than ever to select the Best of the Year. With orders to choose only three, I resort here to the Honorable Mention fiction. The Honorable Mentions are also the "best," but for the limitation imposed from on high. In their honor, then, I list the Honorable Mentions first:

The Micromega Trio 3CD compact disk transport: More information equals more music, and you get both from the Trio 3CD.

The MIT Terminator 3 Digital interconnect: A breakthrough in the coaxial transmission of digital music signals.

The Audio Technica ATML-150 moving magnet phono cartridge: We came to know its stablemate, the ATML-170, too late. No sooner had we discovered its pleasures than it was gone, forever. Now comes the "replacement" ATML-150; it's the same cartridge except for the cantilever material, which is now made of beryllium rather than boron. If anything, the 150 is slightly warmer in the lower frequencies. Gain some warmth, lose some resolution; it's still a steal even if it's no longer grand theft.

Compatible with all types of ampliers, the Transparent Audio Laboratory MusicWave Reference speaker cable is the most harmonically complete and accurate speaker cable I have heard (circa October, 1994)

And, now, the Products of the Year:

The Audio Artistry Dvorak Revised loudspeaker: Reviewed in Issue 99, this bi-amplified dynamic dipole speaker system opens a door to a new world in loudspeaker design and introduces a company that will become a major player in the years to come. The Revised version has changes in the main speaker's passive crossover that address the shortcomings discussed in the Issue 99 review. The Dvorak now stands as nothing short of a revelation; a landmark in audio history. Look for a Further Thoughts, soon. Audio Artistry will update all speakers sold before the change with the Revised version, at no charge.

The Rotel RA 970BX 60 watt stereo integrated amplifier: This small miracle is probably the best value of the year. (It just hit these shores in September, 1994.) Although a little dark, it has staggering dynamic focus, bass extension, and control. The resolution from the midrange down is remarkable for a product of its price, or any other price for that matter. This is not some cruel joke like the execrable Optimus CD-3400 CD player. It's the real deal.

The Wilson Audio WATT/Puppy System 5 loudspeaker: A speaker for the ages. A classic. (See Review, this issue.)