Iedereen is opzoek naar de beste producten. Om je daar een beetje mee te helpen is de EISA opgericht: Expert Imaging And Sound Assosication. Elk jaar worden op 15 augustus de EISA Awards uitgereikt aan de beste audio, video en elektronica. Er zijn wel meer awards in de wereld, maar deze zijn bijzonder omdat ze geselecteerd worden door een internationale groep van onafhankelijke redacteurs afkomstig uit meer dan 25 landen. Voorheen waren ging het altijd om bladen uit Europa, maar sinds twee jaar is EISA wereldwijd en omvat het leden uit Canada, de Verenigde Staten, Australië, Japan, India en Hong Kong/China. De ‘E’ in de EISA-naam staat dus niet langer voor ‘European’ maar voor ‘Expert’. De hamvraag: welke producten ontvingen de EISA Awards op het gebied van hoofdtelefoons? Zie hieronder het overzicht met de motivering!

Best product 2018-2019 DAC: Chord Electronics Hugo 2

“Chord’s original battery-powered DAC/headphone amplifier was a hard act to follow, but the new Hugo 2 is a giant leap forward. Inside its ultra-modern aluminium case is a custom-coded digital converter and filter that sounds like nothing else around. Comfortably able to see off any conventional DAC at its price, it’s astounding for a compact music machine, with a vibrant and rhythmic sound. Whether with standard CD or hi-res PCM or DSD, music comes packed with energy and emotion. The Hugo 2 runs for 14 hours from its rechargeable battery, plays practically every format around, includes switchable filters and a uniquely colourful control interface that makes using it fun.”

Zie Chord Electronics Hugo 2 hier.

Best product 2018-2019 High End Headphone: Focal Clear

“Clear by name, clear by nature. This headphone delivers a wonderfully open and translucent sound thanks to clever design and excellent build quality. It may appear relatively expensive, but Focal has gone all out for greatness and succeeded. Like the company’s more affordable Elear and pricier Utopia models, the Clear’s dynamic drive units have a specially shaped diaphragm with a roll surround, optimising response while controlling any break-up modes. This makes for a crisp and insightful sound that’s fatigue-free yet boasts a particularly firm and animated bass. Factor in the sumptuous leather-covered earpads and headband, and this new design delivers hours of musical fun in consummate comfort.”

Zie Focal Clear hier.

Best Product 2018-2019 Headphone: Sennheiser HD 660 S

“Seventy-three years young, Sennheiser has long dominated the hi-fi headphone market – and the new HD 660 S shows just why. This modern rework of a classic open-back design is fashioned with great care, using hand-selected transducers and sturdy detachable cables. The earpads and headband feature thick padding and the HD 660 S is very comfortable to wear for extended periods. Moreover, it is hard not to like its warm, laid-back and friendly sound which bests the performance of many ’phones at twice the price. It’s a fine choice for home hi-fi enthusiasts, especially when treated to a high quality source.”

Zie Sennheiser HD 660 S hier.

Best Product 2018-2019 Portable Dac/headphone amplifier: iFi Audio xDSD

“With so many mobile audio products on the market, the pressure was on for iFi’s Audio’s new xDSD to sparkle – and so it does. This battery/USB-powered DAC/headphone amplifier turns your smartphone, laptop or portable player into a great-sounding music centre. The secret of its success lies in its combination of super-light magnesium alloy casework, useful S/PDIF and USB-A inputs, PCM/DSD-compatible DAC and punchy analogue output stage – the latter being far more powerful than before. Switchable digital filtering lets you choose between the smoothest frequency balance and the fastest transients. So while iFi Audio’s xDSD isn’t cheap, it exudes quality and is perfect for indulging in music on the move.”

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