Recommended Components 2012: Part 4

The last installment of our Stereophile Recommended Components series highlights on speakers, power line accessories, signal cables and audio rack systems:

Speakers (full range): Class B

Audio Note AN-E/SPe HE – … the AN-E/SPe HE was “a remarkably good retriever of detail,” said Art. Compared to the more expensive Lexus Signature, the SPe HE was less coloured and had a better sense of musical flow. “It does a better job than most of really connecting the listener with the dramatic, intellectual, and emotional intensities captured in every groove,” AD concluded. “Class A!!!” he recommends, with all three exclamation points. JA felt the Audio Note sounded cleaner and better defined in the bass than the Harbeth M40.1…







Power line Accessories

Audience powerChord – “The wonderfully flexible powerChord, too, was a winner, significantly cleaning up the sound by lowering the noise floor, opening up the space between instruments, and significantly improving the system’s resolution of low-level and inner detail.”









Shunyata Research Hydra Triton – The Hydra Triton power conditioner is the first Shunyata Research product created using the company’s new Dynamic Transient Current Analyser, a low-impedance power source that simulates the power grid and measures the effects of power line accessories on a hi-fi system. With the Triton in MF’s system, music sounded louder and cleaner and was more transparent, spacious, and detailed. “There’s no trade-off,” said MF.







Loudspeaker Cables & Interconnects

Audience Au24e Interconnects – With a tonal balance that fell midway between the cool-sounding Nordost Valhalla and the warmer Nirvana SL, the Audience Au24e had a powerful and immediate sound, with huge, fast, clean dynamics and transients. Compared to the original Au24, the “e” version had greater transparency and resolution, said BD.








Audience Au24 Interconnects – “The Au24s had a neutral, relaxed sound,” said BD, “with good extension at the frequency extremes and a wide, deep soundstage.” “The Au24s were no slouch; just a bit off the standard set by the very best I’ve heard.”

Audience Au24 speaker cables – “It was as a speaker cable that the Au24 really shone.” BD actually preferred the Au24 to his reference Valhalla in terms of tonal balance, imaging, resolution of inner detail, and sound staging.








Stands and racks

Grand Prix Audio Monaco equipment stands – Despite their stylish, lightweight design, a four-shelf Monaco stand can carry up to 150 lbs per shelf, for a maximum total load of 500 lbs. PB: “More than anything else, the Monaco brought a sense of focus and a difficult-to-explain sense of calm” to the sound of everything he placed on them.











Harmonic Resolution Systems SXR component rack – The SXR frame system comprises solid, heavy aluminium struts and rigid shelves of cross-braced aluminium. Each joint is damped with a thick donut of polymer. Circular holes in each of the cross-brace’s four corners accept the base’s feet, which support its weight with an elastomer suspension that isolates in both the vertical and horizontal planes; each foot of a component whose weight is unevenly distributed can have a base with an elastomer of different compliance. “Adding the HRS SXR improved my system’s focus and low-level resolution, and lowered its level of background noise,” said MF.


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