The Audiophile Apartment

2024 Products of the Year

Say, who says we have to hand out awards at the end of the year? We’ve always tried to be a little bit different so here goes. The Audiophile Apartment section of our magazine and site has always tried to concentrate on audio gear with a smaller form factor that doesn’t give anything up in performance. While some audio enthusiasts are downsizing, others are just starting out in their first place, and need suggestions for a less dominant audio system.

Here are our favorites from the past year.

OVERALL – SVS Prime Wireless Pro


Sometimes you don’t have any room for an amplifier, or any other components, but you still want great sound from your TV and streamer (or phone). And we all know how much soundbars suuuuuck.

For less than a soundbar, you can have real audiophile sound with the Prime Wireless Pros. Thanks to each speaker having a pair of 50-watt amplifiers, digital crossover networks, a 24/192 DAC and connectivity to all things wired and wireless, you’ve got an unbeatable combination. Now all you need to decide is white or black.  The sound quality is out of this world good, and the Prime Wireless Pro’s fit anywhere.  When you’ve got more space and a few extra bucks, add a killer SVS sub for more oomph.

The Rest:

Vera-Fi’s Vanguard Scout Speakers

These days a couple of albumswill set you back more than three hundred bucks, and nearly all the speakers at the mass market stores, or online are really awful. The Vanguards come packed in a very nice cabinet with real drivers and some serious engineering chops behind them.

Whether you need a small system for an office, or extra room, or starting from scratch, you won’t find better sound anywhere for $299/pair. To make these speakers more incredible, add Vera-Fi’s Vera-Link wireless amplifiers. They Velcro on the back and link right to your tablet or mobile phone’s Bluetooth connection. Great sound was never so accessible.

Iso-Tek V5 Corus (w/Initium C13 power cord) Power Conditioner


Even smaller rooms need clean power, and if you happen to be in an apartment or condo complex, chances are your power is even worse. Not to mention, extra outlets are always a great thing.

The Corvus utilizes a lot of technology from Iso-Tek’s larger products, so if you don’t have a huge system with massive current demands, this will do a great job at making your system sound better.

Totem Acoustics Bison Monitor

Totem is famous for making small speakers that sound like much bigger speakers, and they’ve outdone themselves with the Bisons. Their 5.25-inch woofers have a 3-inch voice coil, so they deliver fantastic bass, and will play loud enough to have your lease shredded. They play great with any kind of amplification, and are not terribly critical of room placement, though they deliver enough resolution to reward you further if you can fuss over placement.

They are available in three colors (White Oak, Black Ash, and Satin White) to match every décor, and can be paired with a TOTEM subwoofer if you need more low frequency output. We suggest their TRIBE Solution Sub.

Dynaudio Focus 10 Speakers


The Dynaudios are the most expensive thing on our list, but they also offer the highest performance. We’ve used several Dynaudio speakers over the years, and our publisher currently uses a pair of (wired) Dynaudio Confidence 20s as one of his reference speakers. Dynaudio’s last set of Focus speakers were very good, but the new Focus series is amazing. These are the first wireless speakers we’ve used that don’t sound like “wireless” speakers.

Just to mess with a few of our know it all audiophile friends, when the Focus 10s were on stands next to the Confidence 20s, they were all amazed at how close these small monitors with a 5.5-inch Esotec+ woofer driven by its own 280 watt amplifier, and a 1.1-inch Cerotar tweeter, powered by a 110 watt amplifier. They can be optimized to your room with three built in settings, or Dirac Live, whatever you choose.

Needless to say, these small Danish marvels provide room-filling sound, even in a substantial room. You’ll be able to take these babies out to the burbs when you move out of an apartment.

PrimaLuna EVO100 Tube Integrated Amp

If the idea of the romantic glow of a tube amplifier appeals to you, the EVO 100 is the perfect place to start your journey. Should you take it a step further and want to add a turntable for even more analog-y goodness, an extra $200 gets you a damn good built in MM phono stage.

We’ve been using PrimaLuna components since the day they hit the market, and can vouch for their build quality, and reliability. Removing the bottom cover reveals execution unrivaled at any price and a bevy of top quality parts.

And the sound? Bitchin’.  It’s an inside joke, but if you know, you know. One of our all time favorites. Upscale is even offering a mega discount on a spare set of power tubes. It doesn’t get any better!

Wireworld Electra and Stratus Shielded Mini Power Conditioning cords

$60 – $90 Stratus™

$160 – $240 Electra™

(price dependent on length, both cables)

With so many power cords costing more than a new car these days, it’s refreshing to see a manufacturer bring a lot of their tech to reasonably priced cables, and for gear that almost no one else even offers an updated cable for.

And, with more entry level gear going to those two pronged power cords, these really are one of the best values in audio today. I love em!