Accessory of the Year
Joint winner: Townshend Seismic Podiums
Townshend Audio has been concerned with low-frequency resonance in audio systems for years, but the company’s previous attempts at a ‘fix’ have been difficult for domestic installation. Now, by placing the company’s adjustable Seismic pods at the four corners of a custom-made loudspeaker platform, all the teething troubles are resolved. You get the advantages of Townshend’s isolation concepts that can be applied to any loudspeaker, without the hours of adjustment required of the company’s earlier products. The Podiums simply reduce resonance at the 50Hz and 100Hz regions dramatically, as well as eliminating micro-tremors from the ground. The result is greater sonic precision, definition and articulation, especially in the bass. The Editor and two other Hi-Fi+ reviewers already use Podiums under their loudspeakers, and speaker companies are taking note, too. This is a real loudspeaker game-changer and could spell the end of loudspeaker spikes for many listeners. (Reviewed in this Issue).
Joint winner: AudioQuest JitterBug
One of the cheapest audio gizmos in a long time, the £39 JitterBug is ostensibly a USB filter that works in series or in parallel. The little AudioQuest box is proving absurdly popular among people who use computers in audio, which is – let’s face it – almost all of us. Whether hanging off the end of a network storage drive or in line between your PC and your DAC, the results speak for themselves – more authoritative, better controlled, and more natural sounding music and voices. The effects are cumulative, so many people who start with one end up with as many JitterBugs as will fit in every spare USB socket. As currently these little JitterBugs are in such short supply, if you try one and for some inconceivable reason don’t like it, you’ll make more than your money back selling it on eBay, what’s not to love? (Reviewed in Issue 130).
Joint winner: GiK Acoustics Room Kit 3
Room treatment is perhaps not the sexiest component in the audio signal chain, but bass traps, absorbers, diffusers, and reflectors can revolutionise the sound of a system. However, choosing the right room treatment can seem daunting at first. GiK Acoustics has simplified the task: by seeing repeatedly what is most commonly used to help resolve the sound of audio, GiK assembled four off-the-peg kits that cover most of the problems encountered in virtually every room. The company’s Room Kit 3 comprises four Toblerone-shaped ‘Tri-Trap’ corner bass traps, three 242 Acoustic panels for side-wall absorption, and one Monster trap, best used on the wall behind the listener’s head. These are broadband traps that cover most basic room problems. You will be surprised at how fine your system will sound, no matter how humble or how exotic that system might be! (Reviewed in Issue 108).
Power Conditioner/Distribution Product of the Year
IsoTek EVO3 Mosaic Genesis
UK audiophiles never took to power regenerators, until recently. In part, the reason for the change in stance is we are now swimming in EMI ‘backwash’ from phone chargers and computer power supplies, but it also comes down to high performance products like the £5,995 IsoTek EVO3 Mosaic Genesis. This product features technology pulled from IsoTek’s top EVO3 Genesis regenerator and Super Titan conditioner, but brings the cost down by designing the Mosaic Genesis specifically for smaller systems. This is the ideal regenerator for someone who doesn’t use big and beefy mono power amps, but wants the benefits of what regeneration and conditioning bring to the noise floor of a system. The five output (including two ‘high’ power outputs) regenerator uses a full Class AB amplifier to rework and rebuild the power waveform to deliver pure power to within 2% of the ideal in your country. (Reviewed in Issue 123).