Best Audiophile Tools: Headphones, Speakers, Amps, DACs

As far as the speakers on the shelf go, the two I really like are KEF LS50 Wireless II ($ 2,800 per pair). They have the loudest, most clear voice I have ever heard from speakers of all sizes. Cheap KEF LSX ($ 1,250 per group) models are also good, as are the KEF LS50 Meta wires ($ 1,600 per pair).

The KEF and iLoud models I just mentioned are powerful. They have a built-in amplifier, and pull their power from the wall panels, so they can be used without a dedicated amplifier. If you already have an amp (or if you want to buy one), speaker speakers are the best way to go. Those who connect to the communication cords regularly, and you will not have to worry about connecting them to the wall.

Some of my favorite types of bookshelf are ELAC Debut 2.0 ($ 280 per pair) and JBL 4309 ($ 2,000 per pear). ELACs are intermediate speakers that can easily take you to the audiophile section with the right amp, where the 4309 sounds amazing with anything that motivates them. I’m a fun-loving, strong voice when I listen to speakers, and both types offer this, but it’s detail enough that you won’t feel like you’re giving anything away.

Going from the bookshelves to the stand-alone speakers, I point out two very different types. The Paradigm Monitor SE 6000F ($ 1,000 per pair) They are two good speakers for those who love medical and accurate things — they are amazing in classic music, jazz, and folk, because of their detail. Some audiophiles love the kind of accuracy you get from speakers like Paradigms. The Klipsch Forte IV ($ 4,998 pairs) they are alive. Instead, they are finely tuned, masterfully crafted mid-year. They come with wooden cabinets made of handmade and beautiful horn tweeters, and the 15-inch passive bass radiators on the back of the printed speakers make them hit harder and with more power than a professional boxer. If you are looking for the most fun you have ever heard of Hendrix with high-pitched voice, speakers like this are the way to go.

Your taste may be different from mine! The best way to find your favorite speakers is to use your ears. Find a local dealer and go listen to a few examples before you buy. Ideally, other brands that make good speakers today include Yamaha, Bowers & Wilkins, Focal, Bang & Olufsen, and Polk Audio, among many other boutique brands.

You do not know what the speakers sound like in your room until you find them, so try them at home. Most high-end retailers allow some form of this, but big box retailers will not, so check out the return policy on everything you buy.

Digital-to-Analog Switches

The Chord Mojo ($ 500) and DAC with built-in headphone amp.

Photo: Chord Electronics

Digital-to-analog converters (DACs) take digital audio audio from your audio files and convert them into analog audio that you can send (via an amplifier) ​​to headphones and speakers. Every piece of digital technology you have that comes with a headset already has a DAC device inside, but it is usually very cheap. If you send your signal through a dedicated DAC, which has better hardware and interface than your phone or computer, then you will get great reliability from your digital files.

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