Are you shopping for Audio gear? Are you shopping for a special someone in your life? Or are you just maybe shopping for yourself this holiday season? It’s okay, we won’t tell! You can think of us as your secret Santa. Your HiFi Secret Santa! I rather like the sound of that.
Here are our top 5 picks of Audio gear to buy this holiday season! You might recognize one as being awarded PRODUCT OF THE YEAR (2022) by The Absolute Sound!
1. TC-40 Record Clamp by Ultra Carbon
This is the perfect stocking stuffer, so we chose this as one of our favorite picks. Affordable, small, comes in a sleek gift box, and has the quality and WOW factor to back it up! The TC-40 Record Clamp works as a weight for your turntable to help damp any vibrations and produce better quality sound for your vinyl listening pleasure. This record clamp or weight is a universal fit for any unsuspended turntable, so you don’t need to worry about knowing the size or specifications of your special someone’s ’table. (That is, if you’re actually gifting this beauty to someone other than yourself.) All you need to decide is which finish you want: machined metal with carbon fiber or the new matte black finish that was just released late this year. The TC-40 may weigh a lot for its size, but it definitely won’t break the budget. Get yours, I mean grab this gift for your special man or woman for just $275 ($340 for black). And, if you really are gifting this little gem, be sure to grab one for yourself. At this price, it’s an easy decision.
2. Hybrid Footers by Franc Audio Accessories
Earlier this year, Franc Audio Accessories released their Ceramic Disc Hybrid audio footers. The Hybrid has sturdiness and payload capabilities well beyond any other Franc footer combined with the central-stud design of the Franc Fat Foot isolation footer. Thus, the Ceramic Disc Hybrid was born.
The Ceramic Disc Hybrid foot has an infinite number of installation possibilities and can even be mounted directly onto audio components, loudspeakers, and racks by matching the screw-in stud thread. If your audio component, rack, or speaker already has their own system of spikes, no problem: you can easily use the Ceramic Disc Hybrid footer without removing your product’s original spikes. Simply place the Ceramic Disc Hybrid under the component and lower its spikes into the stud in the center of each disc. The Ceramic Disc Hybrid sets can support weights up to 990 lbs. for a set of three and up to 1,320 lbs. (!) for a set of four. Talk about small but mighty!
Packaging Sets and Finish Options
The Ceramic Disc Hybrid Foot is sold in sets of 3 or 4, packaged in an elegant black-satin box with a die-cut protective foam insert. Again, already gifting ready, just add a decorative bow and you’re done!
Each set has its own unique serial number and certificate of authenticity signed by Pawel Skulimowski, the founder of Franc Audio Accessories. How about that for some extra brownie points?
Available finishes: machined stainless steel or textured matte black. Custom finishes may be available upon request. Priced at $1,395 (set of 3) and $1,860 (set of 4).
3. Siltech Classic Legend 380 Cable Series
Okay, we suck at keeping secrets. This is the one that won the award.
When Siltech released their Classic Legend series in May of 2021, we were told that their research had led to significant changes that resulted in the 9th generation of their silver-gold alloy and that the insulators in all the Classic Legend cables were now going to be upgraded. We also learned that the cable gauges were going to double in size over their previous generation of cables. Based on nothing more than faith and trust in the engineering skills of Siltech in the Netherlands, we arranged a review with The Absolute Sound before we’d even heard them. It could have gone very poorly indeed if the new cables didn’t measure up. We crossed our fingers.
Not to worry though, because when the review came out our expectations were dead on and 380 earned a rave review and an Editor’s Choice Award for 2021.
And then, in 2022, after a bit more deliberation, the folks at TAS decided that 380 had simply run away from everyone else and upped their level of recognition for Classic Legend 380 to 2022 Cable Product of the Year. Remember: this is the most affordable cable within Classic Legend and the 680 and 880 models will up the ante in every aspect of the sound they pass along.
What could be better than listening to Mariah Carey singing, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” in crystal clear sound on a holiday morning? Well, a lot of things, really. But treat yourself anyway! You deserve it!
4. Chario Aviator Nobile
Nobile is one of those products that surprises everyone. It’s not a huge speaker, being a monitor that can be stand-mounted or placed on a shelf, but it’s also not tiny. The surprise comes from its voice: Nobile has a great big voice.
Designed as the larger of two monitors in Chario’s Aviator lineup, Nobile has the trademark inverted drivers and the gracefully curved side panels made of solid Italian walnut that remind us of an airplane’s wing. It’s the sound, though: Nobile comes from a position of strength. It’s the California Cabernet of bookshelf speakers, coming across as big and powerful and revealing layer upon layer of little hidden details you didn’t expect. It most certainly has better bass response than you would expect from a stand-mount or bookshelf speaker.
5. Siltech Royal Double Crown Power Cable
The newest series to roll out by Siltech in 2022 was the Royal Crown cable series. Not Crown Royal. Royal Crown. Yeah, it took us a minute to start saying that in the correct order, too.
The Double Crown Power cable was designed to come as close as possible to Siltech’s own Triple Crown but without breaking the bank. Okay, without completely destroying the bank. Double Crown uses the latest S10 generation of Siltech’s proprietary Monocrystal Silver conductors, a system of Kapton and Teflon insulators, and solid-silver connectors, all packaged in an incredible presentation box, to blow the minds an open the ears of music lovers everywhere.
We picked the Double Crown Power cable from the Royal Crown series for good reason. We recently performed a test with customers at one of our dealer events on a system wired completely with another brand’s cables. We did an A – B test by playing a song with the other brand’s cables and then switching out ONLY the power cable with Siltech’s Double Crown Power and playing the same song again. Hands down, to the very last person, the Siltech cable was picked as the most clear and beautiful sound of the two. Even going in the other direction and playing the Siltech cable first before switching to the other brand’s power cable, the results were always the same. Words used to describe the differences they heard were “Less distortion,” “her voice …,” “the plucking of the strings…,” and our favorite, “It’s like lifting the veil on your bride!”
So, we challenge you to visit your local Siltech dealer (or your favorite dealer, ask them for Siltech, and if they don’t carry it, request it ?), change out just the power cable with the Royal Double Crown Power cable in one of their display systems, and hear how much it improves your listening experience. Then imagine what changing out all the cables to Siltech Royal Crown in your own system would do. Let us know what you think after auditioning the Double Crown Power cable and we just might send a few of you a goodie or two as a thank you for your feedback! Send your feedback here.
Oh, and by the way, if you ever make it out to the Monarch VIP showroom in Santa Fe, upon request we’ll serve you one of our new signature cocktails created in honor of this cable series. And, you guessed it, it includes Crown Royal. And Royal Crown.
Now go spoil yourself with some luxury audio gifts this year! Oops! I mean, now buy one of our top 5 gifts for someone special this Holiday!
Looking for more inspiration? Head over to our complete Luxe Gift Guide here.
Keep on listening to good music from the best hifi equipment!
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy Honnica to you and to all that you love!
– The Team at Monarch Systems Audio Distribution