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2016 Audioholics Product of the Year Award Winners

by December 24, 2016
2016 Product of Year

2016 Product of Year

In 2016, we saw more AV receivers incorporating the new Dolby Atmos/DTS:X immersive surround sound formats at lower prices, but at what cost?  We've noticed a trend where some of these companies are over-inflating power ratings at unprecedented levels.  In addition, we've tested one particular model that suffered from mediocre preamp outputs which is a real shame for those wanting to upgrade by adding external amplification in the future.  This is just a case of trading amplifier quality for features - a new trend in AV receivers. That being said, we simply were underwhelmed by the latest models from the major manufacturers.  Sure their flagships were retouched with some added features last year's models lacked but the entry level to mid-priced stuff just seems to be getting more cheaply made every year. 

What we did find making great strides this year was the loudspeaker market.  Companies like RSL, Revel, GoldenEar, HSU and SVS have really stepped up their game in performance and/or value. It's never been a better time to get into the benefits of multi-sub especially seeing the great performance that can be had from models costing only $399 shipped!

We put forth a list of memorable products we've reviewed and/or had direct user experience with in 2016.  In our opinion these products either represent state of the art in performance or value or both, hence why we awarded each of them product of the year in their respective category.

Be sure to watch our YouTube video discussion on the best products we've reviewed in 2016.

YouTube Video Discussion:  2016 Audioholics Top Products and Year in Review


Award: Atmos/DTS:X 11.2CH AV Processor

Anthem AVM 60 ProcessorAnthem AVM 60 | Review

They say good things come to those who wait. Well, the wait is over for Anthem's long-awaited AVM 60 preamp processor. The company's first 11.2 immersive audio-capable preamp brings the latest and greatest audio and video support including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, HDMI 2.0a, HDCP 2.2, HDR, and BT.2020. While it slims down some features over its predecessor, the new AVM 60 is a sonic powerhouse featuring the superb ARC-2 room correction system. We put the AVM 60 to a full workout in separate two channel and 7.1.4 channel Dolby Atmos setups and came away mightily impressed.

MSRP: $2999 | Buy Now

Award: Multi-Channel Amplifier

Monolith 7CH AmplifierMonoprice Monolith 7CH Amplifier | Preview

Looking for a massive Class AB amplifier to boost your home audio system? Check out the new Monolith 7x200 Multi-Channel Home Theater Power Amplifier from Monoprice. With 5 pairs of output devices per channel, ample heatsinking, and two giant toroidal power supplies, this amp appears to have the goods to hit its 200 watts/CH into 8 ohms and 300 watts/CH into 4 ohms power ratings. The Monolith should fit the needs of most demanding home theater systems requiring a meaty amp that can drive lots of unadulterated power into low impedance speakers. We have one in for review right now and its performance is what you've come to expect from their manufacturing partner ATI Technologies: clean, conservatively unadulterated power.

MSRP: $1,499 | Buy Now

Award: Wireless Headphones

RBH HP-1BRBH HP-1B Bluetooth Stereo Headphones | Review

In the market for a new pair of over-ear bluetooth stereo headphone? At $199 (free shipping), the RBH HP-1B’s are perhaps the best bet in great sounding over-ear noise-isolating wireless headphones that offer high-end sound in a compact travel-worthy design at an affordable price.  The bass is deep and NOT boomy while maintaining a terrific balance on mids and highs. They serve equally well as a great travel companion or for serious home audio applications. Be sure to check out our YouTube video overview of the HP-1B's for further insights.

MSRP: 199 (shipped) | Buy Now

Award: Wireless Speaker

Oppo SonicaOppo Sonica Wi-Fi Speaker | Review

Audioholics reviewed the new Oppo Sonica Wi-Fi speaker this week and the old adage “Good things come in small packages” couldn’t be truer here. This $300 Hi-Fi wireless speaker has elegant styling and great sound and is easy to set up and use. But, can it compete in a crowded market of name brand companies like Sony and Bose? Read on to find out and be sure to watch our YouTube video review.

MSRP: $299 | Buy Now

Award: Bookshelf Speaker

Revel M16Revel Concerta2 M16 Speakers | Review

It's hard to stand out in a field of sub $1k bookshelf speakers, but Revel has done just that with their Concerta2 M16s.  Revel has demonstrated top-notch engineering, build quality and value with their new Concerta2 line up of speakers.  The M16s are balanced speakers that do a lot very well.  They are a two-way design with a 6.5" woofer and 1" aluminum dome tweeter with a -3dB pt of 55Hz making them easy to blend with a subwoofer for fullrange sound. They offer high fidelity sound to match their aesthetics and produced some excellent objective measurement results too.

MSRP: $900/pair | Buy Now

Award: Budget Priced Bookshelf

Elac B5ELAC B5 Bookshelf | Review

ELAC's Debut line of speakers aim to deliver bonafide audiophile sound to the budget-conscious music lover and home theater aficionado. Boy do they ever deliver the goods. We took the little B5 bookshelf speaker system for a spin and were duly impressed.  Simply put, Andrew Jones-designed products are some of the best entry level speakers we've come across in quite a while and the B5's are just yet another example.

MSRP: $229/pair | Buy Now

Award: Modest Priced Towers

Goldenear Triton Seven Tower | Review

GoldenEar Triton SevenThe GoldenEar Triton Seven is the least expensive tower in the lineup at $1,400/pair, but offers trickle-down technology from the $5,000/pair Triton One tower. The Triton Seven sports two (2) 5 1/4" cast basket woofer, their award winning folded ribbon tweeter found on their higher end models, and two 8" passive bass radiators for usable bass down to 29Hz. In our YouTube Video Review, we wanted to see what this buzz-worthy brand could offer audiophiles on a budget.  They offer a remarkably spacious stereo reproduction, and smooth frequency response which is hard to beat at this price point.

MSRP: $1,400/pair (shipped) | Buy Now

Award: Super Subwoofer

SVS PB16-UltraSVS PB16-Ultra Subwoofer | Review

SVS just put the rest of the subwoofer ID market in checkmate with their new 16-Ultra series subwoofer which come in sealed and ported models. SVS has touted their new 16-Ultra series as the most advanced subwoofers in the world, so we were very excited to have SVS send us their new ported super-sub for review to confirm, the PB16-Ultra. The PB16-Ultra sports a 16" driver with an 8" voice coil powered by a 1500 watts (continuous) amplification.  If you've got the space to accommodate this monster, it certainly won't disappoint.

MSRP: $2,500 (shipped) | Buy Now

Award: Budget Subwoofer

RSL Speedwoofer 10sRSL Speedwoofer 10S | Review

The folks at RSL were pretty frank about their goals when they developed the Speedwoofer 10S subwoofer, available for only $399 with free shipping. They looked to the competition, starting with the best subwoofers in the $500 range and “didn't stop building until we had one that substantially outperformed the rest.” The end result was a one of the best budget subwoofers we've tested this year.  At this price, you can easily afford two and achieve all of the benefits of multi-sub. 

MSRP: $399 (shipped) | Buy Now

That's a Wrap

Well there you have it. That's our list of award winning products for 2016.  We plan on covering the latest Atmos Soundbars next year as we've seen some good advancements in that category of product.  We will also put a few of the newer Atmos/DTS:X AV receivers on the bench in our efforts to keep the manufacturers honest.  Let us know if you have any favorite products for 2016 or special review requests for the up coming year in the related forum thread below.




About the author:
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Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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