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In the course of a reviewing year one really does encounter quite the assortment of gear. And while it appeals to all manner of tastes, when it comes to sympathy for kit that manages a very high performance level without material excess and wallet craters, I'm in. If on top of that it's optically decidely unique and pleasantly non-mainstream... even better says I.
Admittedly not tailor made for SPL/bass-orgy inspired gut massages or to kick current-sucking monster speakers into the arse, the Heed combo of transport, pre/DAC and 50wpc power amp is very mature when it comes to true high-contrast tone colors, PRaT, believable venue acoustics and that elusive but still very real 'musicality'. These black Magyars live right in the border zone between hifi and high-end. Add efficiency (idle consumption of the entire system is all of 20 watts); utterly unpretentious and lightweight packaging that questions high-mass wisdom in the domestic rack; and finally pricing that's friendly to those hard earnings... and it all adds up to real smarts.
This is smart HighEnd and as such, plainly worthy of my Writer Favorites pick for 2010.