No-brainer Audiophile Holiday Gifts (in the $1,000 to $2,000 range) by Sandy Greene

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by on December 13 '06

Sarcastic… a little. But if you look at the average cost of approved audiophile fare, you’re looking north of $2k easily.

I’ve got some gear in house now and have just started writing reviews of them for SonicFlare. I didn’t want you all to miss the opportunity to get these pieces on Santa’s wish list.

Symphony Rfx

The Red Wine Audio modded Olive Symphony (base unit: $899 + RWA mods: $649 = $1,548). This is an iPod in a box that also includes a CD player/ripper/writer, analog-to-digital recording capabilities and even a Squeezebox to get other music on your wireless network including internet radio. Red Wine Audio does some audiophile part upgrade magic, but more importantly takes the AC line out of the sonic picture as the unit run off a battery. Unbelievably silent. Combined with the part upgrades, this unit has a really musical, revealing and organic character that competes with CD players that cost the same and more and offer no where near the functionality and fun. A great swiss-army knife audio gift that adds fun to the listening experience.


What better to take advantage of all that quiet battery-powered sonic goodness than another battery-powered piece of kit? That would have to be the Red Wine Audio Signature 30 amplifier ($1,399). Golden-eared Srajan Ebaen from just loves this amp as it makes his “Best of 2006” list. I’m also a huge fan of this amp. It’s physically smaller than average, very well built with a very clean and classic visual design. It sounds fantastic running the Omega Super 3 XRS’s, the Audio Note AN-E/Lx’s and the recently arrived...


Duevel Planets ($1,195 pair). These super cool little guys just arrived this week and I can’t stop listening to them. They sound so much bigger than they are for many reasons. This omni-directional experience is new to me. It’s surround sound without the extra speakers. Listening to “Via Chicago” from Wilco’s live, Kicking Television cd, it’s like you’re in the middle of the audience. That’s “you are there” if there ever was! Couple the enlightening musical experience with an attention grabbing cosmic product design: chrome atoms floating above a grey monolith, and you have the ultimate living room entertainment conversation starter. Even better, they let everyone in your listening room enjoy good sound no matter where they sit.

Now make sure you’ve been nice... or if you haven’t, then make nice. Ah... Give or get the gift of gear.

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