For the third time, we present awards for the most exciting hi-fi products and technologies of the past years: enjoy the FIDELITY AWARD 2022!
Holy heck, it’s really been two years again – and turbulent ones at that, years we won’t be forgetting anytime soon. Even though sometimes it felt like running a marathon – there were plenty of delays, logistical bottlenecks and similar mischief – we were nevertheless able to once again welcome hundreds of test devices into our listening rooms and then present them to you in FIDELITY or on our website www.fidelity-online.de. Since we already focus on highlights when ordering test components, it is not at all easy to make a selection for our AWARDS. Besides, we are talking about HiFi here, a passion that can never be fully objectified. Particularly concepts like thoroughbred tube amplifiers, horn speakers or open baffles – just to name a few examples – can sometimes polarize. Even apart from that, decisions are sometimes difficult, for example when it comes to awarding a prize to one excellent device while putting aside a comparable one. So please forgive us if there are unavoidable multiple entries, especially in heavily frequented categories.
What is the FIDELITY AWARD?
The FIDELITY AWARD is not intended to be a winner’s podium anyway. As already mentioned, when selecting test candidates, we focus on highlights that fit the character of our exclusive magazine. With our AWARD, we honor components within this exclusive selection that can be counted among the best and most interesting in their category due to their musical drive, sophistication, or specific features and traits. You can read about our respective motives for awarding a candidate on the following pages.
New on board – you will read more about this in a moment – is the special prize “HiFi Legend”, which is awarded to a component (many readers will surely agree with us here), for which we simply couldn’t help ourselves. By the way, we don’t want this prize to be taken for a fixed category: Manufacturers and components have to work hard to get into this special category – and that over a fairly long period of time. After all, it takes a lot to become a real “legend”.
In selecting our award winners, we noticed that the trends that were already apparent two years ago continue unabated: While active loudspeaker concepts and, above all, the integration of DSP-controlled room equalization are gaining more and more traction, it is gradually becoming time to write farewell poems for the CD and SACD player. Whereas we used to garnish such statements with a wink, it is now a certainty that the devices are disappearing from the “buying class”. There are two pieces of good news to counter this, though: First, the analog boom continues unabated, and turntables and phono equalizers have both feet firmly on the ground. In addition, it should be noted that hi-fi is becoming an increasingly exclusive hobby. Never before could you put so much money into your system as you can today. One should not be put off or intimidated by this impression, however, because rarely did the inexpensive alternatives offer as much performance and features as they do today.
Who is eligible?
The general conditions are very simple: For the FIDELITY AWARD 2022, all devices, accessories and technologies were qualified, on which we can make an objective statement. This applies to all products that we had in house and includes a select group of components that we were able to test extensively during company visits. As a second condition, the candidates had to be those whose tests had already been published (in the print magazine or online). The time frame covered FIDELITY issues No.50 to No.61 and online tests from the same production period, i.e. from March 2020 to March 2022. The third condition was that the selected products had to be up-to-date: All award winners were available in stores at the time the AWARD was presented. It should be noted, however, that the HIGH-END trade show in May determines the product cycle of many manufacturers. Therefore, there may have been generational changes in the meantime, which we could not foresee at the time of the election.
And now we wish you a lot of fun with the FIDELITY AWARD 2022!