Based on the opinions published on all the hi-fi and home theater equipment in our catalog, we were able to establish a ranking for this year 2021. Like every year, this list includes nine distinct categories to represent the most popular sections in the world of hi-fi and home cinema.
Nice presence of Sony whose personal music players are still as popular as ever, with perfectly accomplished devices, especially with the Sony WM1Z and Sony WM1A DAPs. Congratulations to the French manufacturer Atoll with the 32-bit / 384kHz DAC Atoll HD120 and especially the network drive Atoll ST200 Signature which brings great satisfaction to its users, as evidenced by this review:
The sound is already amazing, lots of space and details even at low volume. The use is very pleasant and seamless.Bruno – Atoll ST200 Signature
Of course, the unstoppable manufacturer FiiO is also present in this ranking with its FiiO M11 Pro DAP which benefits from the best quality / price ratio in its category, as well as its very high-end model FiiO M15 . Finally, Chord is still the benchmark for processing and converting digital signals with the Chord Electronics QuTest , a high-performance 32-bit / 768 kHz and DSD512 compatible DAC.
Congratulations to the Danish manufacturer Dali who dominates this ranking with theDali spektor 1 compact speaker, as well as theDali oberon 5 and Dali Oberon 7 floorstanders. Replacing the now completed Zensor range, the Dali Oberon range has indeed again met with great success, in particular thanks to a particularly trendy design and excellent musical performances.
“Beautiful design, very crisp highs but never overly bright, the mids are present, precise and the bass is very deep. A fair balance, in bit perfect mode, we realize that not a single frequency register seems to be placed forward! A real treat !”Mika70 – Dali Oberon 7
Congratulations also to the French manufacturer Elipson for the Elipson Prestige Facet 8B 80th Anniversary loudspeaker which manage to sublimate the performance and esthetics of the Elipson Prestige Facet 8B classic. For this, the anniversary edition adopts a nice matte black and gold finish and also benefits from an upgrade of the speaker crossover filter, with more high-end audiophile components than on the standard version. The French manufacturer thus promises more energy and impact in the lows, more detailed highs and increased accuracy with the high harmonics.
With multiple lockdowns and movie theaters shutting down, home theater amplifiers are more popular than ever. However, the competition has been very unever this year, with the absence of Sony, Onkyo and Pioneer who are suffering from severe supply shortages drastically impacting their production since the beginning of the pandemic. However, the winners deserve their ranking. It is particularly true with Yamaha with four top ranked models, including the Yamaha MusicCast RX-A680 , a 7.2 model compatible with Ultra HD 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision. NAD also continued to appeal to enthusiasts with amps designed to deliver great musical and cinematographic performances, such as the NAD T758 V3i , successor to the AV receiver NAD T758 .
With the arrival of the PS5 and Xbox Series consoles, support for UHD 8K, 4K at 120 fps, as well as VRR, QFT, QMS and ALLM functions that guarantee an optimal gaming experience have landed on many many models of A/V receivers. Denon was the first to pioneer these new functions, in particular with the Denon AVC-X4700H, which has become the benchmark for this year and has received many laudatory reviews:
The sound quality is clearly there, far above my old Onkyo amp. Absolute perfection !!! ”,“ A big thank you to Denon for its amp, magical sound, good distribution for each speaker, all the necessary decoders are present.Trakemort – Denon AVC-X4700H
This year again, Sony remains the most efficient in the professional image sector with the Sony VPL-VW270ES 4K video projector andSony KD-65AG9 OLED TV. The first in terms of sales, however, remain LG OLED TVs and Samsung QLED screens whose performance closely resembles OLED TVs.
Nice entrance of TCL in the arena, as the brand really positioned itself as a major challenger thanks to models offering unbeatable value like the TCL 55C815 , a 139 cm QLED 4K model marketed at less than € 800. The same goes for Optoma which competed with BenQ in this year’s entry-level projectors category, notably with the Optoma UHD30 , a DLP model compatible with UHD 4K HDR10 and HLG.
Delighted with my purchase, excellent value for money: beautiful image, very good input lag, not too noisy, quickly installed and configured, I couldn’t be happier with it!Soulmat – Optoma UHD30
Atoll remains a safe bet for hi-fi electronics. Cherry on top, this is a French brand! The Atoll IN200 Signature hi-fi amplifier notably stood out with its symmetrical layout and colossal power reserve enabling it to drive the most demanding loudspeakers on the market.
There is also a good presence of English manufacturers with Cambridge , Roksan and Rega which always remain ranked among the best stereo amplifiers worldwide. Naim offers the best money can buy when it comes to high-end connected amps with the Naim Uniti Atom HDMI , just like Marantz in the mid-range with the Marantz PM7000N . Finally, Cayin remains the leader when it comes to tube amps, which we constantly praise for their timeless charm. The Cayin CS-55A KT88 remains the model which guarantees the bast value for money as your feedback proves it:
Warm, detailed, ample, alive … this little tube amplifier is in my opinion one of the best value for money on the market for those who want to get started with tube amps. I highly recommend it !J_16 – Cayin CS-55A KT88
AKG remains the leader when it comes to headphones for mixing and mastering with models such as the AKG K712 Pro which guarantee a very precise and balanced sound throughout the entire sound spectrum. Grado has always been acclaimed for the simplicity, vintage design, as well as the manufacturing quality of its headphones which are all made in the USA. The manufacturer was also at the heart of a small revolution in 2020 with the Grado GW100 , the first open-back Bluetooth headphones.
Over the years, the French manufacturer Focal has become a staple in the production of hi-fi headphones, including the Focal Utopia which is one of the best high-end headphones on the market. The Japanese manufacturer Final has also established itself with its very design headphones with stainless steel earpieces. Finally, Sony and Bose focused on noise cancellation headphones once again this year, with the two best headphones on the market in this category: the Sony WH-1000XM3 and the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 .
The noise reduction is very effective – on the train seated in a four people square, the conversation of my two (very chatty) neighbors was imperceptible, even with a very low level of music. The same thing was experience in the car on the highway, at 130 km/h as a passenger, you can almost completely block out traffic noise.Eyrystheus – Sony WH-1000XM3
This year, manufacturers have shown their ability to design well made and efficient connected speakers. Naim won over many users with its Naim mu-so Qb and Naim mu-so 2 Aluminum loudspeakers which ideally combine sleek design and great musical performances. The British manufacturer KEF, on the other hand, remains the leader in connected speakers with the iconic KEF LSX Wireless and the KEF LS50 Wireless 2 latest generation.
The sound is remarkable, a real pleasure for the ears. The sound quality is striking even for a hi-fi enthusiast like me. It is pure pleasure with every use. I hesitated because of the price but ended up going for it and have no regrets, they are well worth it.Skyvadore – KEF LSX Wireless
On the side of portable Bluetooth speakers, Bose still remains the major player, especially with the Bose Portable Home Speaker , but Dali is following closely with the Dali katch . Congratulations also to Audio Pro for making a name for itself so quickly with many references that have become essential such as the Audio Pro Addon T3 + .
Turntables have enjoyed an unprecedented resurgence in popularity in recent years. Audio-Technica and Elipson have somewhat shaken the market with the performance of their latest generation models, including the Audio-Technica AT-LP3 Black and the Elipson Alpha 100 RIAA . The French brand also stands out by producing Bluetooth turntables to open the doors of wireless technology to this medium. The Elipson Chroma 400 RIAA BT Bluetooth turntable is a reference in this field, as pointed out in the numerous customer feedback messages:
Very beautiful turntable which exudes quality and robustness. Very easy to use after removing the transport protections. The bluetooth connection is also simple. And after a few years of rest my old vinyl records have come back to life with a rendering that fully satisfies me, especially connected via RCA but the Bluetooth connection does a great job too!ThierryM – Elipson Chroma 400 RIAA BT
Austrian manufacturer Pro-Ject also remains a force to be reckoned with in the world of vinyl, with many models offering great value for the money. Across the English Channel, Rega continues to be acclaimed for its ever more successful turntables, as demonstrated by the Rega Planar 3 .
Elipson hit hard this year by placing three of its subwoofers in the list of best subwoofers 2021. The brand is highly acclaimed for the performance of theElipson Prestige Facet Sub8 and Elipson Prestige Facet Sub10 , but also for the design and the excellent size / power ratio of the Elipson Planet Sub .
The American manufacturer Klipsch is still as much adored by home theater enthusiasts for its very energetic copper cone subwoofers like the Klipsch R-115SW , capable of reaching 18Hz thanks to its 15″ woofer. In addition, SVS is starting to compete alongside specialized manufacturers such as REL . Finally, the B&W PV1D subwoofer remains the most beautiful and impressive sub. It is capable of reaching 7.5Hz, despite being extremely compact and discreet, as evidenced by this review:
The subwoofer that I have been looking for a long time to accompany my speakers! Perfect in a hi-fi setting and excellent in a home theater configuration, it is small, easy to place, heavy for its size, powerful and economical when it comes to electrical consumption. This is a much more complete option than most subwoofers. It emits no vibration even in full action so no cabinet noise, no coupling with the floor, crisp and clean bass that goes down very low. This is an incredible subwoofer! It deserves the praise of professionals!Domin – B&W PV1D