What’s your pick for top product of 2017? Tell us by Dec. 16 and qualify to win an AudioQuest DragonFly Red


The crew members here at Part-Time Audiophile are busy making their lists and checking them twice. Rather than picking out toys, sweaters and bad ties, however, we’ve been selecting the audio components that jingled our bells in 2017.

In a few weeks, we’ll share our selections with you. But we thought this year we’d add something new. We want to know about the most outstanding gear that you, dear readers, heard this year.

So, in the comment section of this specific post, either on the PTA website or PTA’s  Facebook page, tell us the one best component you heard all year. This should be a piece of gear introduced in 2017. A sentence or two (no essays) explaining your choice would be nice, too, if you like.

Much to our delight, AudioQuest is making this write-in opportunity even more fun by providing PTA with an AQ DragonFly Red USB DAC/headphone amp (a $199 USD retail value) to give away to one lucky reader. Here’s the spec sheet of what the winner will receive:

  • USB stick-sized digital-to-analog converter
  • Plays all music files: MP3 to high-res
  • Compatible with Apple and Windows PCs, as well as iOS and most Android mobile devices (requires Apple Camera Adapter or Made for Android/OTG adaptor)
  • Drives headphones directly
  • Fixed output feeds preamp or AV receiver
  • Asynchronous transfer ensures digital timing integrity
  • High output (2.1 volts) drives almost all headphones, including power-hungry models
  • 32-bit ESS 9016 DAC with minimum-phase filter
  • Bit-perfect digital volume control

Pretty cool, huh? A random drawing will be held to select the winner of the DragonFly. To be eligible, simply submit your component of the year pick as described above. Everyone who does so by the deadline will be entered in a random drawing. We must be able to notify you through your comment ID or through Facebook. Only comments with a single pick will qualify. No multiple entries.

Read the official rules and submit your pick by 11:59 p.m. CST Saturday, Dec. 16. We’ll tally up the responses and reveal the reader favorite, along with our own pick for product of the year and selections of other top gear for 2017, based on our in-home reviews, show visits and other auditions.

How will the picks match up? Will there be any consensus between you and PTA’s editors and writers? Will Santa bring you your selection? We can’t answer that last question, but we’re looking forward to sharing the results for the other two, as well as selecting a winner of the DragonFly Red.

About John Stancavage 196 Articles
Contributing Editor for Part-Time Audiophile


  1. I’d vote for the KEF LS 50 wireless speakers. Gives the masses an entry into audiophile territory without breaking the bank. Just what our hobby (obsession) needs!

  2. KEF LS50 Wireless. For me, hifi is integrated into the living room, and these speakers allow me to share in the music experience. They look good, are flexible, and sound fantastic. A modern, high tech version of the stereo console, plop them down, and enjoy!

  3. KingKo Audio KA-101 integrated amplifier.
    Heard it driving a pair of “difficult” ATC passive speakers in confrontation to far more powerful, famous and expensive amplifiers and the result was a big embarassment to the big brothers.
    This is a WoW! product at any price!

  4. Andrew Jones’ continued results to drop the expense threshold of great music… Adante AF-61. $20K sound for $5K… I’m weak in the knees

  5. Oppo BDP-205: I know, not a strictly audio component, but for those of us that have to share our music hobby with the same room and limited budget as our movie hobby, this is a great product that allows us to combine the best of both worlds into one box and sounds great while doing so

  6. LS50 Wireless biggest flaw is internal DAC limitations. Passive LS50’s for under $1000 + external DAC that handles up to 192kHz PCM plus DSD files offers audiophiles more versatility with their large digital libraries. Otherwise a really nice small standmount within the limitations imposed by its size.

  7. While not an audio product per se, my vote for 2017 favorite has to be the new periodical “the occasional”. Yes, there’s only been one issue released, but the first edition was so completely well done (editorials, reviews, photography, timeliness of meaningful content, etc.) that I am eagerly looking forward to the second installment being released any day now. Congrats to the entire Part-time Audiophile team on their superb new publication.

  8. Shunyata Denali 6000T and 2000T power filter. The first system I have tried that doesn’t suppress dynamics or compress sound stage, while increasing clarity and musicality.

  9. my pick would be the wharfdale diamond 225 loudspeakers…a great ..great loudspeaker and for the price gives u alot a speaker for the money..

  10. The KEF LS50 Wireless shifts the paradigm for what is necessary to achieve (very) high performance. In essence, it is making convenience a high-end attribute and throwing in elegance and affordability to get the attention of more consumers. If enough people get used to this product or to the many like it that will surely follow, sound quality will once again become a market driver, perhaps fueling a renaissance in grown-up, purpose-built audio. Excellent sound and the variety and convenience of streaming together lead people to appreciate more kinds of music, improving the quality of one’s life. Whether in the living room, beside the TV, in the bedroom, on the desk, or in a dedicated listening room, this impressive systems surpasses what at least 99.9 percent of the population has ever heard.

  11. Wilson Alexia 2. I wish I could point to something that I have even the faintest glimmer of hope of owning but … but the impression they made on me at RMAF is too big to ignore.

  12. KEF LS50 wireless loudspeakers- an audiophile product that “normal” people also love. It’s hard to argue with the quality and ease of this game changer.

  13. my choice is the Schitt Loki, a tiny graphic equaliser. I’m using it to bass boost my system occasionally when the valves just don’t get enough to play with. So very subtle, I have to use the bypass switch after a while to rmind myself of its’ virtues. A knock-out, $199 absolute bargain!

  14. NAD M50.2 Digital Music Player. Pretty much will do everything you might need in a music player and store to your NAS. Supports MQA, too

    • Mr. Knox. You are the winner of the random drawing for the AudioQuest DragonFly Red! Please send you name and complete mailing address, along with an email and phone number to: John@parttimeaudiophile.com. Congratulations.

  15. While the world of digital music is improving at a tremendous rate, I would hesitate to focus on any of these products as the technology is advancing constantly. Rather my pick is the latest Tekton speakers, the Double Impacts, which offer an all around taste of true high end at a price many could afford.

  16. Not a product but, a shift in focus to acknowledge today’s consumer market – Integration, Simplification, Approachability –
    Traditional hi-fi with python thick cables behind a rack of cherry picked separates and tweaks with sky high prices… simple, approachable and cost effective they are not. The number of middling priced one or two box integrated hi-fi systems announced and released in 2017 shows a remarkable shift for the hi-fi industry. It’s a long overdue acknowledgement that today’s consumer wants, and will pay for a premium product, but that it has to align with today’s consumer zeitgeist; the most possible gain for the least possible involvement.

    Expecting the mass market consumer to buy into today’s traditional hi-fi world is akin to telling them they need to buy a 5 car garage of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Bugattis with a personal mechanic to tweak and fettle them. What they want is the premium, powerful, reliable, do it all one car garage filled with a German saloon.

  17. My vote is for the Focal Clear Headphone, introduced at $1,499.00 it bests the HD800S in dynamics, tone, PRAT, bass, clean and clear treble. The Clear is the new King of dynamic headphones, the King is dead, long live the King.

  18. Resolution Audio Cantata Music Center 3.0 – 3.0 upgrade has made a super DAC and player dramatically better. The information that this new version pulls form any media is breathtaking.

  19. The Ultrarendu really showed that yes, a dedicated USB is a quality factor for HiFi

  20. I’d go with the new Rega RP6 Turntable, as the vinyl records are getting back into market, the turntable manufacturers are stepping up their game, which is good for the customer.

  21. The Sennheiser HD 660 S. Finally a musical alternative to the analytical-sounding high-end phones of the last few years. Continues and expands upon the tradition of the HD 600 and 650.

  22. The KEF LS50 wireless loudspeakers for redefining what a system will likely look like going forward. $2,100 for a high-end loudspeaker, amplifier, pre-amplifier, and DAC will become the new benchmark for an industry still stuck offering $3,000 power cords and $50,000 power amplifiers. That it delivers such much (and sounds great with both music and films) for so little is the most encouraging thing of all.

  23. Niagara 1000: A significant solution to clean up the noise from your system at the front end with this low cost power product.

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