What do you buy for someone who has everything? It’s not been easy, but we’ve put together a list of the finest hi-fi and home cinema products currently available – especially if you're lucky enough to have deep, deep pockets.
If you're thinking of spending this kind of money it pays to visit a dealer to benefit from their experience and knowledge. Many of these products simply aren't available online either.
The prices are as far from budget as they get, but these products on our list are the stuff of dreams.
Nagra HD DAC/MPS DAC
Swiss electronics manufacturer Nagra is still best known for the use of its recording equipment in movies and broadcast television. But, over the last few decades it has also carved out a huge reputation in high-end audio for its exceptional range of amplification.
The company’s other electronics deserve to share in that praise if the reference HD DAC with the MPS power supply is anything to go by. This partially valve-driven number cruncher combines traditional technology with cutting-edge advances in circuit design to deliver a performance that’s as good as it gets. If you’re in the market for the ultimate DAC this one belongs at the top of your list.
Luxman L-509X integrated amplifier
It’s possible to dismiss Luxman’s L-509X as a retro throwback built to appease those who yearn for the past, but that would be a mistake. This immaculately built integrated amplifier is about as well equipped as they come, but combines that with class-leading sound.
Its presentation is detailed, agile and expressive, and is able to deliver the full gamut of music from Bruce Springsteen to Stravinsky with passion and confidence.
Goldmund Prologos active wireless speakers
Goldmund’s Prologos are arguably the world's finest wireless speakers. They’re active, and pack in 350-watts of amplification per channel, as well as some of the most advanced DSP around, to ensure excellent integration between the top-end dome tweeter and pair of mid/bass drivers.
Their sound is astonishing, delivering world-class transparency and detail. You’ll need deep pockets for the Prologos, but hear a pair in full flow and that hefty price seems almost reasonable.
B&O Beolab 50 speakers
Bang & Olufsen knows how to make a style statement. Its Beolab 50s look like a long lost prop from a 70s sci-fi movie, but have enough in the way of technology and engineering integrity to impress us. They have the ability to astonish listeners with their huge volume levels, seismic bass performance and impressive dynamic reach. We can’t think of an alternative that can play as loudly and sound so composed with it.
Inside each of those intriguingly designed cabinets are seven drive units powered by a total of 2.1kW of amplification alongside enough processing power to give NASA a complex. If you want to make a statement with your hi-fi we can’t think of a better alternative.
Burmester 100 Phono preamplifier
Is the Burmester 100 Phono the best phono stage in the world? It’s in with a shout, and that makes it as good a place to start as any. The 100 Phono is a superbly built and wonderfully flexible unit that can accommodate moving coil and moving magnet cartridges, as well being able to accept signals from two turntables.
The circuit is modular in nature and its design follows Burmester’s usual exacting standards with a generous power supply arrangement and carefully optimised signal paths. In the end it’s the sound that hooks us. The presentation is as refined and detailed as we’ve ever heard.
Spendor Classic 200 speakers
In some ways it’s a bit of a shame that the 200 is part of Spendor’s Classic range of speakers. Unlike most of that range, this is a brand new design and not based on a decades-old predecessor. The result is something that looks like it belongs in a bygone era, but sounds as convincing as the very best at this level.
We love the 200’s bass performance. Those dual 30-cm bass drivers and huge sealed box cabinets ensure the kind of deep and tuneful bass that’s almost worth the high asking price of the speakers alone.
Chord Blu MkII CD transport
Partner this CD transport with Chord’s matching DAVE digital-to-analogue converter and you have arguably the finest CD player it’s possible to buy. We haven’t heard another player that comes close to this Chord duo’s ability to dig deep into recordings and uncover the tiniest details.
All this information is organised in a wonderfully composed manner yet none of the fun or drama in the music is lost
JVC DLA-Z1 4K projector
This large and rather inconvenient projector from JVC produces the finest images we’ve seen. Nothing – no monster OLED or cutting edge LCD panel – comes close to recreating the scale and sheer cinematic experience of this unit.
With quality 4K source material such as Planet Earth II on 4K Blu-ray, we’re blown-away by the richness and punch of the colours, as well as the pin-sharp detail this JVC is capable of. The DLA-Z1 costs a lot of money but in our view the results are worth it, and then some.
Linn LP12 Klimax turntable
Linn’s LP12 has long been considered something of a hi-fi legend. This deck has dominated the premium turntable market (in the UK at least) for most of its life, thanks in no small part to Linn’s continual development of it. Every part has been improved, and even the oldest samples – now well past 40 years in age – can be brought up to current spec.
Despite the advanced age of the basic design the LP12 can still stand toe-to-toe with newer rivals. And in the ultimate Klimax, it guise makes a strong claim to be one of the finest record players around.
Sennheiser HD820 headphones
Sometimes only closed-back headphones will do. Either you have to listen in a noisy environment or you don’t want to bother the people around you as you blast the latest Drake single. Either way, a closed-back pair of headphones is the way to go, and if money were no object we would point you towards Sennheiser’s excellent HD820s.
These are based on the highly respected, open-backed HD800Ses, but use a concave piece of Gorilla glass and some clever structural design behind the drive unit to produce the best closed-back headphones we’ve heard. They’re detailed and dynamic, and get right to the heart the music regardless of whether you listen to Tori Amos or Tchaikovsky. Strong dynamics coupled to some truly lovely deep bass make these comfortable cans a must-have for headphone fans.