To celebrate another spectacular year in hi-fi, the veteran reviewers at Stereophile (the world’s highest-circulation domestic audio magazine) have once again put their heads together to announce the 2018 Products of the Year.
The annual awards are now enjoying their 27th running year and have become a trusted staple for audio enthusiasts and readers across the globe – a responsibility that Stereophile Deputy Editor Art Dudley does not take lightly, noting the global rise of fake news, reviews and even fake awards in recent years:
For an award to mean anything, the person or people dispensing it must be well known and well regarded.
In the world of perfectionist audio, ours is the publication of record, and our Product of the Year awards follow suit.”
Art Dudley – Deputy Editor, Stereophile
Stereophile’s Product of The Year Awards are split into multiple categories focused on loudspeakers, amplification products, analog and digital components, headphone products, accessories and even best performing budget price-point products.
In-line with their comprehensive nomination process, all Stereophile colleagues are asked to pick and score products on a grading curve to narrow down a year’s worth of audio innovations to a handful of worthy finalists. No product that has received an award in previous years may be eligible for nomination.
For an even more in-depth look at Stereophile’s nomination process, check out the PotY 2018 Award article.
Beyond the main product categories, Stereophile also reserves a special place for the Editors’ Choice Awards, hand selected by the magazine’s senior writers as 2018 products of particular significance.
This year IsoAcoustics was enormously proud to be presented with an Editors’ Choice award for the GAIA range of loudspeaker isolators.
“Do you own floor-standing loudspeakers whose sound you’d like to improve? If so, I have a recommendation: Install IsoAcoustics GAIAs.”
Robert Deutsch, Editor – Stereophile
Robert Deutsch originally reviewed the GAIA range in February of 2018 and put the isolators to the test using Monitor Audio PL300 Platinum floor-standers paired with a McIntosh MC275LE tube amplifier. The MC275LE is not (according to the review) a model well known for accuracy across bass frequencies, and yet in partnership with the GAIAs the bass was noted to have earned a more neutral and clear character.
Deutsch also made a point of outlining the GAIA’s uniform benefit to the vast majority of hi-fi listening configurations:
[By] replacing whatever footers your speakers came with – in every instance I’m familiar with – the GAIAs produced a marked improvement in overall clarity.