1. HiFiMan HE-6
2. Harmon-Kardon HK 670 receiver
3. The Fisher X-101-B integrated amp
1. BitPerfect is simple and cheap and does what it says on the tin, and more audiophile accessories should be like that.
2. Building my own cables is surprisingly easy with a little planning, and regardless of what one thinks about the audible value of bespoke cables, there's no denying the pleasure of having things connected in exactly the ways you want them to be.
# For the most part, though, I don't really indulge much in audio tweaking.
1. Heathkit AR-1500 receiver (free!)
# After free anything else would be a distant second, but in January managed to score an auction lot of 10 random Sennheiser products, mostly store returns. Included was a HD 25-1 II in brand new condition with everything in the box and an MM-50 that is now my regular out-and-about IEMs. The remainder are mostly now in the hands of other happy owners or, in the case of the telephone headsets, have been donated to a charity organization. All cost me a fraction of a typical used price for the HD 25-1 II alone. Hooray for that.
1. Calling All "Vintage" Integrated/Receiver Owners because without this, most of the above entries on this list wouldn't be, and I'd still be on the hunt for a decent amp for the HE-6.
2. my little pony appreciation thread without which I wouldn't have finally been convinced to give the show a try. Hey, when I was a school kid, I used to participate in the fan press, pre-Internet, and in the years since have seen a lot of popular obsessions come and go. If a cartoon intended to sell merchandise to girls can incite this much attention outside of its target market, it's either transcendently bad or unexpectedly good. Try not to judge the cartoon by its fans', uh, occasionally excessive expressions of enthusiasm. You're allowed to watch the cartoons and leave it at that.
Best New Music:
Since much of my winter and spring was spent archiving and cataloging all the CDs we had in the house, and then we moved house, whatever music buying I've been doing has been mostly to fill gaps in the collection, and I haven't paid a lot of attention to what's going on now. However, among the few 2011 albums that I've bought, one is a monster: Colin Stetson's New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges. Calling it 44 minutes of mostly solo bass saxaphone and spoken word might not win you over, but this would easily make my list of top ten albums of any year. It is challenging music, intimate and massive and emotionally wrought all at once. And hey, that's Laurie Anderson doing the speaking. There's some footage on Vimeo of Colin performing a couple pieces at home; track that down and see what I mean.
Edited by ardgedee - 11/14/11 at 8:31pm