2021 Gear in Review Part 1

ListenUp looks at some of the top equipment of 2021.

Cambridge Audio Evo Streaming Amp

The new Cambridge Audio Evo delivers stunning high-fidelity sound from a compact, convenient all-in-one system. Proprietary StreamMagic technology optimizes playback for every current format, from Roon to MQA-powered TIDAL Masters, Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay 2 Chromecast and Qobuz, and is ready to adapt to whatever the future may bring. By combining streaming smarts and high-class amplification in one box, Evo only needs a pair of speakers connected to serve up thrilling sound quality. Streaming music from Evo means saying goodbye to yards of cables, and hello to intuitive, straightforward functionality in one sleek, good-looking box. There are two versions available: the Evo 75, which offers 75 watts per channel, and the Evo 150, which features 150 watts per channel plus a built-in moving magnet phono stage.

Monitor Audio Silver Series 7G Speakers

Now in its 7th generation, the Silver Series embodies Monitor Audio’s decades of audio expertise. Thanks to a choice of real-wood veneers or beautifully painted and finished cabinets, these speakers have a refined, understated look – the perfect counterpoint to their bold, powerful sound. And with class-leading performance through Monitor’s C-CAM tweeters  and latest metal coned drivers with Rigid Surface Technology II, the music you love is more precise, with less distortion than ever. So even with the volume pumped right up, the sound you hear couldn’t be clearer. The series includes three bookshelf models, three floorstanders, a center channel, a surround and a Dolby Atmos height module. Mix and match to create your perfect system or check out one of our specially priced packages.

Bluesound NODE and POWERNODE 2i Music Streamers

Bluesound (BluOS) was the first wireless multiroom system to let you play Hi-Res, audiophile-grade music in any and every room of your home. The Bluesound ecosystem uses your home wireless network to stream music and communicate with other BluOS-enabled players on your network. Designed to connect traditional HiFi systems — including powered speakers — to the expanding world of streaming audio and internet radio, the Bluesound NODE breathes new life into your old stereo equipment. It comes complete with Apple AirPlay 2, two-way Bluetooth, a 32-bit/192kHz DAC, and dual-band Wi-Fi. The high-performance DAC allows the NODE to decode and stream Hi-Res music files, including MQA files (used by Tidal), in all their lossless glory. The Bluesound POWERNODE 2i adds 60 watts x 2 channels of power, so just add a pair of speakers and you’re ready to enjoy all the music on earth.

Definitive Technology Descend Series Subwoofer

To experience all the heart-pounding thrills of your music and movie soundtracks, check out Definitive Technology’s Descend Series subwoofers. Descend’s unique 3XR Architecture provides triple the bass-producing radiating surface area of a traditional ported subwoofer, moving more air for thunderous, impactful bass. And because 3XR doesn’t use ports, it also provides crystal-clear sound with no port noise distortion. The DN8 and DN10 are equipped with 500W peak custom Class D digital amplifiers, designed to get the most out of 3XR architecture, while the DN10 and DN15’s advanced 1500W peak Class H digital amplifier delivers continuous power to cleanly reproduce powerful, sustained bass.

Sony Noise-Canceling Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM4 intelligent noise-canceling headphones with premium sound elevate your listening experience with the ability to personalize and control everything you hear. Industry-leading noise cancellation technology means you hear every word, note, and tune with incredible clarity, no matter your environment. These noise-canceling headphones feature additional microphones that assist in isolating sound for a reduction of even more high and mid frequency sounds.

Technics SL-1500C Turntable

The Technics SL-1500C is a complete high-performance direct-drive turntable with a built-in phono equalizer and highly acclaimed Ortofon 2M RED moving magnet cartridge. Just plug it into your system and play! The aluminum die-cast chassis is rigidly integrated with a special material consisting of ABS mixed with glass fiber to achieve a two-layer construction, and the static-balance universal S-shape tonearm is another Technics tradition. Vinyl is back in a big way, and this ‘table will bring new life to all your records.

McIntosh C12000 Preamplifier

The C12000 Preamplifier is the next generation of McIntosh’s acclaimed two-chassis preamplifier design, which allows the audio section to be completely separated from the control and power sections. Splitting these primary purposes of a preamplifier up into two separate chassis delivers the purest sound reproduction possible. All power control, data ports, and external control connections are located in the C12000 Controller module, while the C12000 Preamplifier module houses the audio connections and circuitry. There are 12 analog inputs: six balanced, four unbalanced, and two unbalanced phono inputs which are configurable as either Moving Coil or Moving Magnet. The C12000 Preamplifier module offers both vacuum tube and solid-state output, allowing you to decide which to use based on the music being played, the audio components in the rest of your home audio system, and your sound preferences. Call or chat with us if you'd like to learn more about the C12000.

Sony HT-A7000 7.1.2 Channel Dolby Atmos Soundbar

The Sony HT-A7000 is Sony’s flagship soundbar. With two upward firing speakers that bounce sound off the ceiling, Dolby Atmos and DTS:X lend a more realistic, three-dimensional sound to your content. Vertical Surround Engine and S-Force Pro Front Surround provide a wider sweet spot, enabling everyone to have the best seat in the house. Sound Field Optimization calibrates the HT-A7000 to your room environment to provide the best sound. Even if you move the soundbar from the main room to a bedroom, the HT-A7000 will personalize the sound for you!

Sonos Beam Gen 2 Soundbar

The latest generation of Sonos’ compact soundbar, the Sonos Beam Gen 2 now features Dolby Atmos for thrilling 3D surround sound. A 40% faster chip pushes the limits for a soundbar of this size, and the new precisely perforated grille elevates the elegant design and blends artfully into your home. Oscar-winning sound engineers helped fine-tune Beam to make sure you hear every word and can always follow the story. For even greater clarity when characters whisper or the action intensifies, turn on Speech Enhancement in the Sonos app. It’s made for music, too —stream from all your favorite services with detailed stereo sound and feel more dimensions of the song with support for the highest-resolution formats, including Dolby Atmos Music.