I thought after the crazy year that was 2012, that it could only slow down from there. Obviously that hasn't been the case at all--the pace of new product development in the world of high-end personal audio has only intensified. So many new and exciting products have come out this year, some of which we included in this winter update to the gift guide. (And, as always, everything in this guide is something we've actually used and liked.)
Of the many new products added in this update, there were some I found especially exciting. First among them is probably the JH Audio Sirens Series Roxanne, JH Audio's new flagship custom IEM, and one of the best headphones I've heard in quite some time. The Meridian Prime DAC/amp was a big deal, because I think the Prime represents the first full Meridian piece by them specifically in our space. (Meridian's Explorer, though very nice, was more like a dipping of their toes in our pond--the Prime was them jumping in). The new Audeze LCD-X became one of my top choices in Summit-Fi headphones. The Sennheiser HD 26 Pro hasn't gained traction yet, being so new, and with its pro market focus, but I know it's only a matter of time. The KEF X300A Wireless loudspeakers give me great hope for wireless hi-fi (like the Sennheiser RS 220 headphones did a couple of years ago). Again, these are just a few examples of a big bunch of exciting, new products added to this update.
Thanks to joe (Joe Cwik) for all the work he does to support Head-Fi, and that he did to help pull this guide together. Thanks to warrenpchi (Warren P. Chi) for the fun holiday theme he designed. And, as always, thanks to the community members who contributed reviews, and also to those who gave us permission to use their quotes in the guide. It's always a privilege to be able to quote you guys, as you, the members of the Head-Fi community, are my favorite audio reviewers in the world.
P.S. Some products were submitted for consideration for the Guide too soon before the deadline for us to have a chance to listen to them in time for this update's launch. We're going to be adding some of those late entries soon, so please check back in to see them.