Favorite Bits

If there's one question that seems to come up over and over, it's "Which DAC did you like better?" While I can understand the interest, I think it’s more important that a review convey the sound of a given component and leave personal preferences out of it, as much as that's possible. If we want to interject the personal, just make sure it's explicit and no harm done. The harm comes from trying to boil a review down to whether the reviewer 'liked' a given component or not because that is ultimately not the point. The ultimate point is whether or not you will like it.

The Beatles and the Stones, Manet and Monet, Hemingway and Hesse. All of these certainly belong on their respective Greatest lists while we can still have our personal favorites. In other words the fact that someone loves The Beatles does not make the Stones less good. I know that may be hard to swallow but it’s the way these things work. Taste is self-referential not universal. Which gets us to AudioStream's Greatest Bits.

AudioStream's Greatest Bits is not simply a list of stuff we like. Rather, it is a list of those components we feel offer above average performance. Think of it like any other Greatest list, where it will by necessity include some things you like more than others. The Beatles and the Stones. We also have our personal favorites but that's not what the Greatest Bits list represents. Confusing? It shouldn't be.

If you were to ask me what my favorite DACs are, I would provide you with a much shorter list as compared to the Greatest Bits. That's because I include DACs on the list that in my experience perform up to the level of other DACs on the list but there's something about that performance that does not tickle my personal fancy. Or to put it on a more positive note, I like some DACs that are on the list more than others. By like I mean I can't stop listening to music through them. I do not expect these favorites to be universally lauded. Remember when talking about personal favorites it's the Beatles or the Stones.

With all that said, I thought it high time I share which components I liked more than others. My personal favorites. I'd imagine most of these are rather obvious to close readers. After all, what fun would all this be without a touch of the personal.