If 2011 was the year that tablets took over, 2012 was unquestionably the year of the headphone. The market for headphones has exploded, and Sound+Vision has stepped up its coverage to handle the flow, with reviews of new ‘phones, along with related gear such as portable and desktop speakers, amps, and DACs appearing on a weekly basis at soundandvisionmag.com. The slower print medium may be ill-suited to stay on top of a such a frenetic scene, but we at least get to recap and honor the year’s best contenders in this, our annual Editors’ Choice Awards feature.
Given that intro, it should come as no surprise then that our 2012 product of the year happens to be a set of cans, PSB’s M4U 2, which you can read all about on the following page. But headphones were hardly the whole story in 2012. Vinyl continues to make a comeback, and there are more excellent, affordable turntable options than ever to play discs new and old on — like Pro-Ject’s Debut Carbon, our product of the year runner-up. Of course, it wouldn’t be Sound+Vision if we didn’t also give a nod to core products like TVs and speakers. There were enough excellent of examples of both to arrive in 2012 that it was hard to choose the best, but choose we did: Panasonic’s TC-55VT50 plasma TV and B&W’s MT-60D Mini Theatre speaker system, our respective choices for video and audio product of the year.
Re-reading this past year’s reviews as we put together this feature, I was struck by how desirable the products are — there’s not a-one of them that isn’t totally innovative and cool. A number also represent incredible value — GoldenEar Technology’s game-changing SuperCinema 3D Array soundbar, for example, or Phiaton’s great-sounding, über-flexible PS210 BTNC in-ear monitors. In fact, nearly half of our award-winners cost $500 or less, so there are plenty of opportunities here for you to sample 2012-vintage A/V awesome without racking up an ungodly amount of credit card debt. As always, congrats go out to the manufacturers of the products that made our list. Congrats also go out to S+V’s crack reviewing staff, a group that always goes above and beyond the call of duty in carrying out their detailed, authorative reviews.
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