Wise Men From the East, Bearing Gifts! (Part 2)

q-markPart 1 covered recorded media (CD boxed sets, and an SACD/CD hybrid). Part 2, concerning recommendable hardware gifts, will be short and sweet… three buy-them-once-and-buy-them-right pieces of audio gear.

To learn their identities, though, you will have to click through to the jump page.

Merry Christmas!

Grace m920 for TTG


1. Grace Design m920 Digital-to-Analog Converter, Headphone Amplifier, and Line Stage

At under $2000, it is very hard to beat the Grace m920’s combination of virtues. For me, chief among the m920’s virtues is that its digital-filter options include a Minimum Phase filter. When I was asked to specify compact stereos for some executive offices at Steinway & Sons’ Global Headquarters in NYC, the m920 was an easy pick. My previous coverage is here. And if the Steinway connection is not enough, Grace Design microphone preamplifiers and analog-to-digital converters were used in recording the Boston Symphony/Andris Nelsons Shostakovich symphony 10 release that won the Grammy® for Best Orchestral Performance last time around.

ALUXM200 cropped2. Luxman M-200 Stereo Power Amplifier

This lovely amplifier’s form factor was a bit large for the office systems at Steinway’s offices, but, at $2000, the sweet, petite M-200 is a great bargain that will easily fit into most home listening setups. My previous comments here.





3. Harbeth P3ESR Monitor Loudspeakers

Hardly an unendurable surprise. Starting at $2000 the pair (with upcharges for premium wood veneers), I think that this is the most successful descendant of the 1970s BBC remote location monitoring speaker the LS3/5A. Still made in the UK, with furniture-grade woodworking, and fatigue-free (but detailed) listening. My previous comments here.

I know that $6000 for a home system is a non-trivial amount of money. But, that figure is also only about a third of what the average reader of Stereophile magazine has spent on a home stereo system.

I also understand that a system needs cables and perhaps loudspeaker stands, and that some people might want a CD player as a disc transport, and/or want a wi-fi connection. So, we are then talking about more like $7500 total—but that is still less than half the average. I have great confidence that these are buy-them-once-and-buy-them-right bits of audio gear, from long-established companies with enviable track records of standing behind their products.

Any questions, please start the process by leaving a comment. I see all comments, because comments are 100% moderated. So, if you write in with a question and say that you don’t want your question posted, I will reply directly by email.

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One Reply to “Wise Men From the East, Bearing Gifts! (Part 2)”

  1. Thomas Higgins

    Upon your recommendation I ordered the three cd Steinway version of A String Quartet Christmas. FYI disc three has a very high level of rumble that interferes with listening.

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