Best product 2021 – 2022
Hi-Fi PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR
26 Dec 2021
EVERY YEAR, A PANEL OF JUDGES FROM THE EXPERT IMAGING AND SOUND ASSOCIATION CONVENES AT SOME EXOTIC LOCALE TO HEAR PRESENTATIONS BY COMPANIES VYING FOR THE AWARDS IN A RANGE OF CATEGORIES—HOME THEATER (AUDIO AND VIDEO), PHOTOGRAPHY, MOBILE DEVICES, IN-CAR ELECTRONICS, AND HI-FI—TO LISTEN, AND TO VOTE. IT’S A GATHERING OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MOST IMPORTANT SPECIALIST PUBLICATIONS WORLDWIDE, FROM THE UNITED STATES, EUROPE, INDIA, JAPAN, AUSTRALIA, RUSSIA, CANADA, AND HONG KONG.
Except that this year, just like last, COVID-19 rendered international travel unwise and often impossible. So, for the second straight year, we all stayed home, and the contending components came to us. Manufacturers delivered their product presentations over Zoom—often, due to time-zone differences, at absurd hours. We listened, deliberated, and voted. The results are presented here.
Several of these products have already been reviewed in Stereophile and recognized in our list of Recommended Components, which appeared in print last month and can be viewed online at bit.ly/3BhohaO. Reviews of other EISA Award winners will appear in future issues. The EISA awards, though, reflect the collaborative verdicts of an international panel of hi-fi experts. We share much, and yet each participant—every member of the Hi-Fi Expert Group—offers values and approaches that are usefully and refreshingly different from our own. Those differences make our deliberations both useful and enlightening, even over Zoom.
These past few difficult months have been good for our industry. They have demonstrated just how important hi-fi is. Even as the economy tanked, the industry has thrived, because more people came to realize what it has to offer: the profound pleasure of great music experienced in the privacy of our own homes.
We owe this luxury to the people who design and make our speakers, amplifiers, players, and so on, so there’s no better time than now to honor them. Congratulations not just to the winners but to all the people whose hard work and talent bring the pleasure of music into our homes.—Jim Austin