TONEAudio Posts Year-End Awards, Publishes New Issue

Monday, December 29, 2008

TONEAudio has published its 2008 Product of the Year and Exceptional Value Awards, as well as its December issue. The new issue includes the following hi-fi equipment reviews:

  • Old school: MartinLogan CLS floorstanding speakers ($2,995/pair in 1984)
  • ACI Emerald XL bookshelf speakers ($800/pair)
  • Vintage cartridges: Shure M91, Empire 999, Denon DL-160
  • Meridian DSP7200 speakers ($32,500/pair) and 808.2i CD player ($15,995)
  • Musical Surroundings Phonomena II phono stage ($600)
  • Lyra Skala moving coil cartridge ($3,200)
  • MartinLogan CLX floorstanding speakers ($22,000-30,000)
  • PS Audio Digital Link III DAC ($995)
  • Shunyata Hyrdra V-Ray power conditioner ($3,995)
  • Spiral Groove SG-2 turntable ($15,000, without arm)
  • Clearaudio Maestro Wood moving magnet cartridge ($1,000)
  • Pro-Ject Tuner Box tuner ($249)

Also included are a variety of articles and record reviews. Download the entire issue (50MB PDF), or check out the 2008 awards list.

I was surprised to see the $22,000 MartinLogan CLX speakers get an Exceptional Value award, but everything is relative, I guess. I heard the CLXs with McIntosh electronics and was not crazy about their upfront sound. At 1/10 the price, I’d be interested to hear the CLSs Jeff liked so much in the old days. Sounds like they are tough to find used, though.

jeff dorgay December 31, 2008 at 11:27 am

If you heard the CLX’s with the McIntosh gear and without a pair of Descent i subs, you only heard about a third of what they are capable of…

I wasn’t terribly overwhelmed with that sound either…

The CLS is still an awesome pair of speakers if you can find a nice used pair, but they too will need at least one sub to really be able to play a wide range of music.

I found it interesting that both Jonathan Valin of TAS and Roy Gregory of HiFi + both thought the CLX to be one of the most transparent and tonally neutral speakers they’ve ever heard at any price. Also having had my share of seat time with the best of the best, that’s why we gave the CLX and Descent i combination the award (it did not go to the CLX alone), when compared to money no object speakers, the CLX/Descent i combination does deliver the goods.