What’s a reference?
It’s an excellent question, isn’t it? Glad you agree. So, lemme explain where I’m coming from. What I’m not saying about a reference is that this product is the be-all, end-all of its type or in its class. What I am saying is, rather, that a particular product is familiar and one that I can use as a reliable barometer to judge other products.
My targets for references tend to be high-performers, but I’m under no illusions that they couldn’t be bettered. In some cases, bettered significantly. Just wanted to put that out there.
Some of this stuff is very expensive. I get that. Some of it may be too expensive. I get that too. But this is the stuff I’m most familiar with because, well, this is also my stuff. Yes, I own it all. I think it’s important for a review to own his reference gear.
Note that this is different from my Most Wanted List. There’s stuff on both, to be sure, but if I had the dough, the lists would be closer to “unified”.
- TIDAL Audio Contriva Diacera SE ($64,190/pair)
- Joseph Audio Pulsar ($7,000)
- Magnepan 3.7 ($5,500)
- Rythmik Audio F12G subwoofers (pair) ($650 each)
- Luxman L-505u ($4,100)
- Odyssey Audio Kismet Extreme monoblocks (in Khartago casework) ($4,000/pair)
- Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum integrated ($2,195)
- Miniwatt N3 integrated ($400)
- Wyred4Sound STP SE preamplifier ($1,995)
- TW-Acustic Raven phono pre-amp ($9,000)
- Rogue Audio Ares phono pre w/ Cinemag Blue step ups
- Luminous Audio Axiom II “Walker Mod”
- TW-Acustic Raven AC-3 w/ Raven tonearm and Ortofon Windfeld cartridge ($30,000)
- Accuphase DP-85 SACD player ($16,500)
- Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC Series 2 w/ Alpha USB converter ($7,000 for the pair)
- HRT Streamer II+ ($495)
- Analog Research Technologies Legato ($495, included custom USB and S/PDIF cables)
- Silver Circle Audio Tchaik 6 ($10,000)
- Shunyata Research Hydra Triton ($5,000)
- PS Audio Juice Bar
- PS Audio Ultimate Outlet (both HC and “regular” version)
- WyWires (mix Silver and Gold)
- MG Audio Designs Planus 3 and Planus AG interconnect
- Black Cat Silver Star 75 BNC/RCA digital cable and Morpheus! interconnects and speaker cables
- Assorted Alan Maher Designs Scorpion & Infinity Strings power cables
- Wireworld Electra 5-2
- Clarity Cable Vortex
- PS Audio AC-5
Rack, Isolation, Platforms, &c
- AudiAV Zirconia
- Eden Sound Audio Terrastone platforms