L'European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) has awarded the 2020-2021 awards for the Home Theater Audio and Hi-Fi categories. We remind you that EISA is an association that includes multiple European newspapers specialized in various technological fields (photography, audio, video, etc.). The other types of award-winning products are as follows:
- Home Theater Video & Display (TV and Projectors)
- Photography (cameras and lenses)
- Mobile Devices (smartphones and mobile products)
- In-Car Electronics (automotive)
To follow the list of all the prizes.
The award-winning loudspeakers are the Arendal Sound 1961 Series.
The new entry-level line from Arendal Sound takes advantage of the technology of the flagship series, the 1723, but also adds subtleties of its own, such as the house's first elevation speaker and the new Avalanche IQ amplifier platform with parametric equalizer found in the subwoofers in closed case and reflex. System builders will be satisfied by the wide choice of floorstanding speakers, stands, center channels, monitors and "TriAxial" surround, and the performances offered by the whole series reveal a detailed character, vigorous but always neutral, which is well suited to to the roar of the soundtracks as to the nuances of the musical pieces. Also notable are the design and build quality: this new series is worth more than its price.
Winning the prize are the Triangle Borea Series loudspeakers.
For its new line of multi-channel speakers, Triangle has crafted cabinets with a simple and elegant aesthetic, while keeping an affordable price firmly in the sights. And performance is not a secondary objective: custom speakers are used throughout the series, including the Efficient Flow System silk dome tweeter and the mid-bass with cellulose cone, starting with the floor systems BR09, BR08 and BR07 , the BR03 and BR02 stand speakers, as well as the BRC01 center channel, and all these models work together in perfect harmony. The performance of the Borea Series is striking for its tonal balance, the ability to reconstruct the sound stage and for its musicality. Anyone who wants to build a wallet-friendly home theater system can't go wrong with this system.
The soundbar of the year according to EISA is the LG SN8YG, launched in Italy in June.
The SN8YG shows LG's evolution in the soundbar sector, thanks to sophisticated processing techniques and new intuitive features. This 3.1.2-channel model with wireless subwoofer and two upfiring speakers for Dolby Atmos and DTS: X encodings, is a truly powerful soundtrack performer but packaged with an elegant aesthetic, suitable for any living room. The AI Sound Pro system developed by LG, which analyzes the input signals, and the AI Room Calibration allow an optimal tuning of the performance, while the digital processing offered by Meridian Audio takes care of the soundtracks and tracks music. There is no shortage of Google Assistant and Chromecast for voice control and wireless streaming, while a pair of optional wireless rear speakers elevates the involvement of listening to that of a 5.1.2 system: a very versatile soundbar.
The premium soundbar award goes to the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage, available from Fall 2019.
Designed to match screens from 55 '' and up and featuring the premium build quality and aesthetic the house is well known for, the soundbar that marked Bang & Olufsen's debut in this industry was well worth the wait. Each of the eleven transducers (including the 4 4-inch woofers) that equip the Beosound Stage has its own amplifier and the resulting performance is simply massive, well-blended and engaging: Dolby Atmos content is precisely addressed and well presented in elevation, while the music benefits from a wide and defined sound front. Make connections, via HDMI, Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2 or Chromecast, and get ready to get carried away.
The "smart" soundbar for the year 2020 – 2021 is the Harman Kardon Citation Multibeam 700.
The Citation MultiBeam 700 stands out in the crowd of soundbars thanks to the clever mix of elegant design, intuitive functionality and sound quality. The presence of the integrated Google assistant adds the voice control and convenience of wireless music typical of a smart speaker, while the seven-speaker matrix developed by Harman Kardon and its DSP know-how ensure a refined, airy rendering. and visceral. The icing on the cake is the color touch interface, which makes it a breeze to make EQ adjustments and input selection, while displaying album art during Chromecast streaming. This soundbar combines style with substance.
Receiving the award is the TCL TS9030 Ray-Danz, officially announced last fall.
The TCL TS9030 soundbar offers a mix of convenience, ease of use and quality of performance that will please everyone. It is Dolby Atmos compatible, supports multiroom in Google Home and is equipped with a wireless subwoofer; to optimize the performance of its speaker array, it uses the proprietary technology of the RAY · DANZ acoustic lens. The result is a wide 3.1-channel sound field, capable of reproducing dialogue with clarity thanks to the central speaker, an ideal system for any living room. This soundbar is also packed with features that extend its versatility, including playback through the USB port, Chromecast wireless streaming, Apple AirPlay and Bluetooth, or HDMI connectivity with 4K HDR. A TV audio upgrade with considerable appeal.
The home cinema amplifier of the year is the Denon AVC-X4700H, one of the recently announced models from the Japanese manufacturer.
Support for 8K / 60Hz and 4K / 120Hz standards makes this mid-range receiver ideal for next generation sources. But it's the nine-channel power section, 11-channel processing capabilities, and wide variety of supported formats that make it a safe choice in any home theater setup. Soundtracks will benefit from the well-balanced response, dynamic and engaging performance, thanks also to the calibration assisted by Audyssey's MultEQ XT32 platform, now also with the double preset option. The numerous connection functions, including HEOS multiroom streaming, MM phono input and support for Bluetooth headphones, increase its versatility, as well as its competitive price.
The choice of the high-end home cinema pre / processor fell on the products of the Trinnov Altitude family.
Rapid technological developments in the home theater world can make a product obsolete in a few years. Not so for Trinnov's Altitude series, where upgradeability is written in the DNA of its 16 and 32 channel processors. More recently these premium models have added DTS: X Pro support to their arsenal of 3D audio encoding and a revised HDMI card to improve connectivity and streamline operations. Performance is also confirmed as the best in its category, thanks to professional speaker calibration and low frequency management, while system designers will benefit from remote access and control functions. Cutting-edge today, but designed to grow with your needs tomorrow, the Altitude platform deserves great praise.
The Emotiva XPA Gen3 are EISA's choice for the power amp category.
Designed around 300-watt mono and 65-watt stereo modules, the range of third-generation Emotiva power amplifiers is divided into configurations from 1 to 11 channels, all based on high-current switching power supplies and class H amplifiers. this versatility we find the attention of the manufacturer to the quality / price ratio, here really evident. The performance of the XPA Gen3 amplifiers is characterized by the depth of the low range, the width of the sound stage and the dynamic capacity, making these devices well suited to power hungry speakers and private cinemas. These endings bring to mind the expression "American muscle" …
The best home cinema headphones are the JVC Exofield XP-EXT1.
The innovative JVC XP-EXT1 system is an alternative to traditional speaker systems, offering immersive 7.1.4-channel audio through a wireless headset. Able to decode Dolby Atmos and DTS: X content, as well as virtualize stereo or multi-channel tracks in 3D thanks to the proprietary EXOFIELD technology, it makes home entertainment individual. The supplied wireless transmitter, with HDMI 4K connections, acts as a bridge between sources and TV and provides various audio presets suitable for different genres. The smartphone app allows you to set up to 4 individual calibrations, so that all family members can enjoy the immersive sound of the XP-EXT1 headphones' 40mm speakers. This is the reinvented home theater.
The award went to the SVS SB-2000 Pro subwoofer.
SVS has drawn on the technologies of its larger, more expensive models and lavished it on this new compact subwoofer. With high performance at an affordable price, the SB-2000 Pro combines a custom 12 "transducer with a 500 watt" Sledge DSP "amplifier and acts as an entry point to the line of app-based models for function control. and the parametric equalizer. If air-suspended furniture may seem "small", its performance is something else entirely. This sub is a refined performer, who knows how to highlight both the nuances and the dynamics of the soundtracks, with a spectacular rendering and deep bass, while remaining fast and controlled.
The winner is the Zappiti Pro 4K HDR.
Zappiti's top-of-the-range media player has been designed with those home theater enthusiasts who own huge movie and music collections in mind, to replace the traditional disc library with an eye-catching graphics system that provides easy and immediate access to any single content. The device, characterized by the full-width frame, has two slots for as many hard drives, for a total storage capacity that can reach 32 TB, to which are added the inputs for external USB drives and, via the local network, the ability to connect to NAS and computers. Support for audio / video formats includes 4K HDR, Dolby Atmos and DTS: X for movies, plus high resolution for music up to 192 kHz / 24-bit. To further strengthen this rich equipment is the flexibility of the Pro 4 HDR – from the 4K multiroom system management to the possibility of customizing the GUI, this is a device with a winning approach.
The best value for money Hi-Fi speakers are the Focal Chora 826.
Drawing on its extensive experience, ranging from transducer manufacturing to final assembly, Focal has developed this floorstanding speaker capable of sounding well both in demonstrations and at home. The heart of the Chora 826 is the new “Slatefibre” loudspeaker, fast and with deep bass; the sound of this system, polished, extended in the low range and transparent in the highs, will ensure that you don't want to stop listening to it. Easy to install and place, it also pairs well with less powerful amplifiers and will sound great in any environment. This speaker offers a lot for what it costs, in every respect.
EISA chose SVS Prime Pinnacle speakers.
Located at the top of the SVS Prime range, this classic style floorstanding speaker has a simple design and construction, yet offers a transparent rendering, which will please everyone and the credit is also the trio of 16.5 cm woofers, with accord rear. These speakers derive from the flagship model of the house, the Ultra Tower, and ensure a reproduction rich in bass, with exciting percussion, as well as the mids and highs are sweet and precise. In practice, Prime Pinnacles are slim enough to fit into any environment except perhaps the smallest; if you want a warm and full sounding system, then these towers will make your system happy.
The Monitors Audio Bronze 100 are the bookshelf speakers chosen for the quality / price ratio.
Monitor Audio has built an enviable reputation for its excellent small speakers, earning an EISA Award for a stand model last year and further improved its performance in the sixth generation of 2020. They are remarkable performers with all genres of music, thanks to the sensational combination of prestige in the low range and softness of the treble offered by the Ceramic-Coated Aluminum Magnesium (C-CAM) loudspeakers that the house has developed internally and by the “rifled” reflex duct that guarantees a flow of air without turbulence. The modern design and their ease of driving increase the appeal of these really refined little speakers.
For the wireless speaker category, the System Audio Legend 5 Silverback were awarded.
The Danish System Audio has followed an extremely rational approach in its legend 5 silverbacks: they are active speakers, with an amplifier dedicated to each single speaker and that turn wireless if you add the complete Stereo Hub or a third-party transmitter. The operation is based on WISE technology to avoid interference and carry music signals up to 192 kHz / 24 bit; the system can connect to a wide range of sources, from a digital connection to a computer to TV audio. It also offers various options for streaming, from DLNA / UPnP to GoogleCast, from AirPlay to Bluetooth. A wonderfully elegant and well sounding wireless audio solution.
The "smart" stereo amplifier of the year is the NAD Masters M33.
Last year NAD took the prize in this category with the M10, not just a compact amplifier but a complete streaming system of the "plug in the speakers and go!" Series. The Masters M33 presented this year is a profound evolution of this concept, where the cutting-edge Class D amplification technology of Purifi Audio is combined with the know-how of the house for streaming. The result is more or less the amplifier anyone would want, with lots of power, transparency and precision combined with remarkable connectivity, streaming capabilities and DIRAC ambient acoustic correction, all accessible through the large front touchscreen display. Without a doubt a product for the third decade of the 2000s.
The prize is awarded to Arcam SA30.
With this integrated, its flagship, Arcam follows the current trend of "all in one" amplifiers with streaming capabilities. Inside a refined but solid container, the SA30 contains the class G amplifier developed in-house, equipped with power and precision, together with a large number of digital technologies. In addition to streaming, it is possible to connect any source, from the TV to the turntable, with the addition of the DIRAC ambient acoustic correction that optimizes the performance, using a computer and the supplied microphone. Not only is it a remarkable profusion of technology, it is also a vigorous amplifier: Arcam may have streamlined its product range, but it has not lost sight of its objectives.
The winner is the Musical Fidelity M8xi.
Musical Fidelity has always designed legendary great amps, with the firm belief that power is never too much. Now under Austrian ownership, in stable with Pro-Ject Audio Systems, he has churned out the M8xi, which offers a whopping 550 watts nominal, which it easily surpasses thanks to the dual mono construction. The supply of inputs offers the possibility of choosing between digital and analog, but it is not only like a massive boxer: it is also agile and fast, able to reproduce music with precision combined with speed, not to mention the amount of detail it manages to return. If you want an amplifier in one chassis and capable of unparalleled performance, the M8xi is the one to buy.
EISA has awarded the combination of the Michi P5 and S5, available in Italy from December 2019.
Rotel's high-end sub-brand is back, about thirty years after its first appearance and the pair formed by the Michi P5 preamp and S5 power amp bring a pleasant breath of substance, grandeur and good sound to the audio industry. excellence. Featuring an eye-catching black livery and extraordinary build quality, the duo proves to have many talents in a wide range of musical genres. The Michi embody the emotion and spirit of music, transmitted on a human scale. Versatile devices, the preamp offers a wide range of analog and digital inputs, the quality of which is ensured by a scrupulous manual assembly, from the basic components up. A truly great return.
The Thorens TD 1601 is the turntable of the year.
The Thorens brand has been associated with turntables for at least 120 years and while the TD 1601 is reminiscent of the classics of the past, under the skin it is totally new. Retains the three-point spring suspension of the TD 150 from the 1960s, but features the house's latest decoupled asynchronous motor that ensures speed accuracy, an electric lift arm and automatic stop to make use comfortable it's pleasant. A completely manual version of this turntable is also available, the TD 1600. All this, together with a balanced output in addition to the usual one to further reduce noise, gives rise to a turntable that combines tradition with an excellent and current sound performance.
Winning the award for the best value for money turntable is the Pro-Ject T1.
Pro-Ject has been making turntables for nearly thirty years, starting with the original Pro-Ject 1 and, along with subsequent Debut series models, has more or less reinvented the budget turntable market. The T1 is the newest product embodying this philosophy, an affordable vinyl playback machine with audiophile quality, great sound for the price. The manufacturer has also introduced versions with built-in phono stage and Bluetooth connection! Thanks to the machining of the base, the high precision bearing, the glass platter and the aluminum arm in one piece, this turntable offers a solid and detailed performance; with the Ortofon OM 5E MM cartridge pre-installed, it's truly a plug and play device.
The award went to the iFi ZEN DAC, launched on the market in October 2019.
Explaining why the iFi Audio ZEN DAC is so appealing is simple: the pleasing appearance, versatility, solid design foundation, and mature sound make this entry-level DAC a great deal for the hi-fi enthusiast. And it is the demonstration that desktop audio should not be the poor relative of the "real" one and is really what is called a "giant killer", whether it is used as a headphone DAC or as a simple digital preamp. Buy it to improve the sound of your computer and you may find yourself listening to it all the time. And what's more, it does all this at a very low price, its quality / price ratio is amazing.
EISA awarded Volumio Primo.
This unassuming little black box is a very affordable solution for all your digital streaming needs, because it will not only allow you to play content stored on your home network, but it will also allow you access to a myriad of services. music online. Controllable via a browser or app, or directly on the screen from the HDMI output, the Primo has digital outputs to drive any DAC and also allows you to play music saved on a USB memory. Compatible with all formats up to DSD, whether you use Ethernet or Wi-Fi, this little wonder is the ideal way to start the streaming adventure.
The award went to the Pro-Ject VC-E.
Having spearheaded the vinyl relaunch with its excellent and very affordable turntables, Pro-Ject has now turned its attention to looking after your precious vinyl collections with the compact VC-E record washer. Not only is it small, but it is also cheap and fast: spinning the discs at 30 revolutions per minute allows them to be cleaned with a few rotations. In fact, according to Pro-Ject, one turn in one direction and one in the other is sufficient, while the clamp keeps the label dry and the suction arm effectively cleans the surface of the disc. The result? Less noise, less stylus and record wear and even better sound from your favorite LPs.
The best product of the year in this category is the Primare R15.
Housed in a compact case, only 35 centimeters wide, the Primare R15 phono preamplifier offers two levels of gain for the use of MC and MM cartridges, with further possibilities for adjusting the resistance and capacity to optimize the interface with the cartridge used. . Built with the house's care for its amplifiers, it incorporates the same low noise design as the flagship R35 model, as well as its signature “Primare” mix of body and substance paired with resolution and detail. It is the ideal interface between a high quality turntable and the line input of your amplifier.
The winner is the Fiio M11 Pro.
This portable audio player packs best-in-class features into a high-quality chassis with a bezel-less touchscreen display. Support for various formats and listening options are unrivaled: the M11 Pro can be used as both a Bluetooth receiver and transmitter, as a USB DAC and USB audio player (with native DSD output), or can play directly from the built-in memory ( expandable up to 2TB) or via streaming services. A hexa-core Samsung Exynos SoC ensures seamless music management and a responsive user experience. Two AK4497EQ DACs with Velvet Sound architecture support 384kHz / 32-bit High-Resolution Audio as well as MQA format decoding. The trio of headphone outputs benefits from powerful low distortion amplification. In one word: exceptional.
The headphones of the year for listening to music are the Dali IO-6.
Many loudspeaker companies have diversified into headphone production, but none have done so as spectacularly as Danish manufacturer DALI. The IO-6 not only features a wireless design, it also includes excellent active noise cancellation, adding three cancellation modes to its 'closed' design. As if that weren't enough, it also adds better-in-class battery life, to keep you listening longer – up to 30 hours between charges. Add to that an extraordinarily powerful, yet open and information-rich sound, and you'll have no less than a sensational debut.
The headphone and DAC amplifier of the year is the Audioquest Cobalt, available in Italy from September 2019.
The latest addition to AudioQuest's DragonFly range is the best ever. The Cobalt model not only converts a wide range of audio formats from your computer, it also features a high quality headphone amplifier, as well as being able to deliver great sound to a hi-fi system, all in one package no more. large than a USB stick. It is an ideal portable audio complement: a simple USB port on your computer or a 'smart' device will provide it with power and music. Now plug in your favorite headphones and you'll have everything you need for great music wherever you are.