One of the – if not the most important events in British hi-fi was upon us last night – and we there, front and centre, to see which of our favourite products were deemed the cream of the sound and vision crop – and to report straight back to you, with the news from the front line. It certainly felt like a battle getting there – the roads to London were flooded and treacherous and visibility was poor. We’ll probably get the train in 2015 – just to make sure we get there in one piece!
But once we got there, the majesty of Park Lane’s Hilton Hotel was enough to blast the terrible journey from memory. This was a considerable upgrade from Park Lane’s Dorchester from the year before. Upon stepping into the room, we knew that this must have been the biggest awards yet. With a bigger, beautifully decorated room, a bigger guest list and more tables, giving us a great chance to catch up with friends from all parts of the hi-fi and AV industry. We were guests of our good friends Yamaha this year (thanks for the invite Yamaha!), and the view from their table was pretty good, as you can see!
The atmosphere was a very jovial and positive one and the affair was very nicely done; with excellent food and very nice wine – which was in plentiful supply…
But don’t worry, we kept our heads straight enough to stay sharp for the announcements of both the categories and their winners. And there were some changes this year…
Some changes came in the form of some brand new categories! There were 99 awards this year, with 24 main categories – which means there were 24 Products of the Year! Two for each month. These new categories were brought in to cover the ever broadening range of products and the growing popularity of certain subcategories. For instance ‘In Ear Headphones’ have their own category now rather than sharing a category with headphones due to the huge popularity of higher quality earphones now, the Yamaha EPH100s being a particularly prominent example.
This year’s host was Editor Simon Lucas in conjunction with the Digital Editor Joe Cox and all the winners had the chance to get their photo taken as each award was given out. Also new for this year, they were giving out the awards issue at the end of the show as there was a no news embargo on the results. We were delighted to make all the winners we sell available to buy online last night at 2am. Yes, it was a bit of a late one, but we think we were the first UK retailer to make all of the winners available as winners online. And if we weren’t, it was very close.
A huge congratulations to all of the winners.
Here is a brief rundown of the winners that we have in stock, and what they have won.
- Q Acoustics Media M4 – the new Soundbar of the Year. A superb soundbar – every bit deserving of this honour
- Yamaha YSP-2500 Digital Sound Projector – Best Soundbar £600+. It’s good to see Yamaha back in this category with a well deserved win for the YAMAHA YSP-2500, the successor to the hugely popular Yamaha YSP-2200
- Arcam A19 Integrated Amplifier – Stereo Amplifier of the Year. For the second year in a row too – welldone Arcam!
- Pro-Ject Essential II – Best Turntable up to £400. Well done Pro-Ject for winning another award for the spiritual successor to the original and accalimed Pro-Ject Debut turntable and great value for money.
- Wharfedale Diamond 220 – Best Stereo Speakers up to £200. One of the newest pairs of speakers out there – definitely arriving in style
Q Acoustics Concept 20 – Best Stereo Speakers £200-£400. Another win – and very well deserved. And Don’t forget the Q Acoustics Concept 40s – the floorstanding versions of these multiple award winners
- Q Acoustics 2050i –Best Floorstander up to £600
- Ruark MR1 – Best Desktop Speaker.ne of our favourite desktop speakers, especially as it features Bluetooth AptX!
- Arcam irDAC – Best DAC £300-£500. Welldone Arcam!
- Audiolab M-DAC – Best DAC £500-£700. Still hugely popular, a well deserved win
Home Cinema Speakers
- Dali Zensor 1 5.1 – Home Cinema Speakers of the Year. Clearly an unbeatable choice for both home cinema sound and music
- Q Acoustics 2000i 5.1 – Best Traditional Package up to £700. Another win for Q!
- KEF R500 5.1 – Best Traditional Package £2500+. And it’s not the first time…
- Tannoy HTS 101 5.1 – Best Style Package Up to £700. It isn’t a new model, but a well deserved win as one of our solid favourites, a stylish 5.1 system with a big sound
Home Cinema Amplifiers
- Pioneer SC-LX58 9.2 AV Receiver – Best Home Cinema Amplifier £700+. Pioneer have pulled a hat trick as this is the successor to last year’s winner – the SX-LX57
- Yamaha RX-V377 AV Receiver – Best Home Cinema Amplifier up to £350. Another hat trick, as this is also a successor to last year’s winner – the RX-V375
- Naim Mu-so Wireless Speaker System – Best Wireless Speaker £750+. Estasblished hifi brand Naim Audio have proven to any naysayers that wireless speakers can be truly hifi, scooping the award in this category. We are currently back ordered for weeks, but with the product landing in a few days time – we recommend coming in to order now to avoid disappointment!
- Geneva Model S Wireless DAB+ Speaker System – Best Wireless Speaker £300 – £500
- Dali Kubik Free + Xtra Wireless Active – Best Wireless Speaker £500 – £750
- Grado SR325e- Best Home On Ears £150-£300
- Beyerdynamic T51i – Best Portable On Ears £200+
- Cyrus Stream XP2 QX – Best streamer £1500+. Cyrus have done it again!
- Cyrus Stream Xa – Best streamer £1000-£1500… and again!
- Naim Uniti Qute 2 – Best Music System £800 – £1500
- Cyrus Lyric 09 – Best Music System £1500+. Looks stunning in person, and sounds even better
- Arcam MiniBlink – Best Wireless Streamer. By far one of our favourite products. A great value streamer which, like the Naim Mu-So proves that wireless speakers are real hi-fi, and mobile
- devices with Bluetooth AptX can be real hifi too
- Atacama Evoque Eco 60-40 – Best Equipment Rack
- Atacama Moseco 6 – Best Speaker Stands. Last year won by the Custom Design FS104 Signature Speaker Stands
- Roksan Caspian M2 CD Player – Best CD Player £1500+
- Cyrus CDi – Best CD Player £500-£1500. Scooping the award from last years winner, the Naim CD5si
- Roberts Radio Stream 93i – Radio of the Year
- PURE Evoke D2 DAB Radio – Best Buy up to £100. And it’s not the first time!
- Revo SuperConnect – Best Buy £200+
KEF LS50 Speakers 50th Anniversary – Readers Award 2014. As chosen, by you! One of lour favourite speakers – and one of the world’s favourites too.
Remember, you can view these and all of the other winners (complete with full write-ups!)
Thats it for this year – well done to all the brands and the winners! Audio Affair are on hand to offer expert advice on all of the winners we sell and guarantee the best prices too. We’re already counting down to October 2015…