Greatest Bits

AudioStream's Greatest Bits is our version of Recommended Components. This list is culled from every piece of gear that we've reviewed to date and represents those components that stand apart in their ability to deliver a musically satisfying experience. This list is divided into Classes (A-C) which represent levels of performance where components in Class A will outperform components in Class B and so on. To get an idea of how components within a class compare to each other, we recommend reading their associated reviews to get a detailed description of their sonic characteristics. That said, we believe that any product included on this list will offer a degree of performance that convincingly conveys the musical message.

There is also a Retired Class for those components that are either no longer available or have been removed from the list for other reasons which will be specified in their associated description. The prices listed are current as of the date of the original review unless otherwise noted.

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JIMIXY's picture

Any way this page can be updated to include all the recent greatest bits?


Michael Lavorgna's picture

Your comment preceeded the update by minutes.

JIMIXY's picture

Cool, Thanks

labjr's picture

Seems like Auralic is redefining "good value".

The only flaw I've read about is that it's volume control doesn't quite eliminate the best preamps.

highstream's picture

A useful comparison with the Adam A3X would be the Emotiva airmotiv 4, which is virtually the same size but sells for about half the price (and is often on sale for less than half).  Worth swapping out the airmotiv's fuses for those German ones though. Before I decided on them, I trialed the PS1's, which I think your review has captured quite well.

Another dac worth taking a listen to is John Kerry's new Ciunas, known in earlier incarnations as JKDAC.  This is a USB unit, although he also sells a SPDIF-USB converter separately.  I've found his advice to skip the USB cable and connect the dac directly to the computer's USB port via an adapter or two to be worthwhile.

Shp's picture

Hi michael

I'm considering the Mytek, Grace and Benchmark 2 USB DACs. Stereophile rates the Grace A+. You rate the Mytek B. You also rate the Halide B; Stereophile gives that an A. 

If we map that out it suggests the Mytek is one notch below the Grace, but I understand it's not quite that simple.

But if you have heard the Grace, is that about how you'd place them?  

Of the three, Grace is the only one that does not offer 30-day in home trials. And even if Grace did, testing all three would put about $6,000 on the card for the month. So I was hoping to eliminate one for the running. 

Is a test of the new Benchmark planned?


Michael Lavorgna's picture

The Stereophile RC list is generated by the Stereophile writers, the AudioSteam GB list by our writers so there is no real correlation between the two.

I have not heard the Benchmark or the Grace so cannot offer any comparative thoughts.  I eventually do plan to hear both but do not currently have reviews scheduled.

Shp's picture

Thanks, Michael.  I wasn't sure how closely the teams collaborated, if at all.

I plan to go to the Newport show next week.  Grace isn't exhibiting, but Benchmark, Teac and Mytek are.  If the listening/comparison opportunity is good, I'll post back.

Have a great holiday weekend.


Soundbound's picture

Thanks for the interesting review and for looking into the lower corner of the market!

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