Greatest Bits Makeover!

We've given our Greatest Bits list a complete makeover in an effort to make it more organized and ideally more useful. As you'll see, we've added "Classes" to each category of component that we borrowed from Stereophile's approach which works very well, imo (see Stereophile's 2012 Recommended Components ). Our Greatest Bits list is based on listening impressions which by their very nature are subjective and also reliant to a certain extent on system context. So the usefulness of this list is to act as a guide to what we consider to be gear worthy of an audition, to help you narrow down your choices from an increasingly crowded field.

We also recommend reading the associated reviews to get a more complete picture of a given component's performance and you will find a link to the reviewer's system at the end of each review to help put their impressions in context. You may wonder why there are so many, or so few, components on the list and one easy example is the ADAM A3X and Focal CMS 40 which are similarly priced products and offer the same functionality. The reason why they're both on the Greatest Bits list is they both offer very good performance yet their presentation differs enough so that some people will prefer one over the other. The ADAM's ribbon tweeter imparts a special sonic character which can be captivating while the Focal's offer up a more full-bodied sound. So I would not say that one is necessarily better than the other, rather they are both capable of delivering an engaging musical presentation albeit in different ways.

We hope you enjoy the new and improved AudioStream Greatest Bits!

audiostreamuser2013's picture

Really love this website since discovering it back in December. May I make a suggestion that "Class A", "Class B", and "Class C" nomenclature is a bit confusing since amplifiers use that type of categorization already (e.g. "class D amp"). If you are going to place products into only three groups, may I recommend Gold, Silver, and Bronze? If you need more groups, maybe add platinum at the high end and coal at the low end. :)

Michael Lavorgna's picture

Coal for Christmas?


vasu's picture

I really like 6moons rating system. they give a 'realization award' for good value for money. and their 'blue moon award' which actually mentions in what context the component excels at and ofcourse 'lunar eclipse' for truly outstanding or groundbreaking.

Michael Lavorgna's picture

I'm not so sure the satellite theme travels all that well. Besides, I like the way the new system is working.

Cadfael's picture

be applicable in the sense that the the categories really boil down to:

Good BUT not necessarily in regard to price.

Outstanding equipment fairly priced. (Blue Moon)


Outstanding equipment that is an incredible bargain for the price i.e., it is not only exceptional but outperforms its price point by a very substantial margin i.e., the "Lunar Eclipse" category but one need not use the same metaphor.

Of course Stereophile 's "A, B, C, ..." does essentially the same thing but does not separate out and highlight the "outstanding and a bargain" category.

Stereomojo calls it "Stereo for Cheap Bastards", and others just call it a "Best Buy". The number of metaphors is likely infinite but all describe the same basic concept i.e., some gear is better than other gear and some gear is not only better but blows away the competition at that price by such a wide margin as to deserve specific note..