SVS SB13-Ultra Subwoofer - $1,599
Dollar for dollar, the SVS SB13-Ultra is one of the best (if not THE best) subwoofers on the market. Powerful, deep bass. Equally adept performance for music and moves. The only way to make it much better is to buy two.
Panasonic TC-P60ST60 Plasma HDTV - $1,700
When friends ask, "What HDTV should I buy?" this is our go-to answer, offering performance that's close to the VT60 and even the ZT60 for a fraction of the price. But you'd better get while the gettin's good, since Panasonic has confirmed that it will end its plasma panel production this month. When current production units are gone, that's all she wrote.
MartinLogan Motion 40 Floorstanding Speakers - $1,898 per pair
Not everyone can accommodate the look and form factor of a stereotypical MartinLogan hybrid electrostatic speaker, but most everyone we know loves the sound. Now, for under $2,000 per pair, you can get that lush Folded Motion tweeter sound in a traditional speaker cabinet.
Audeze LCD-3 Over-the-Ear Headphones - $1,945
There was no one product that got more universal approval for inclusion on our Best of Awards for 2013 than the quite pricey Audeze LCD-3 headphones. There might not be a more comfortable, better-sounding set of "cans" on the market today. Send your wife subconscious messages that this would be the perfect holiday gift and that you will respond in-kind with diamonds or Jimmy Choos.
SVS Ultra Floorstanding Speakers - $1,998 per pair
SVS already got some love on this list for its bread-and-butter, kick-ass subwoofer. The company may be a new player to the world of loudspeakers, but the Ultra towers are worthy of your attention. Glossy, gorgeous, and powerful only begin to describe these Internet-direct speakers. With SVS's 45-day in-home trial option, those who are shopping in the $2,000-per-pair market owe it to themselves to give these towers a try.
Definitive Technology SoloCinema XTR 5.1 Soundbar - $1,999
Two grand is a lot of money for a soundbar, but the SoloCinema XTR 5.1 isn't your average active soundbar. With HDMI video switching, high-resolution audio decoding, and a powerful 250-watt wireless subwoofer, this is a complete audio system that offers complete performance. Mate it with a top-performing, large-screen flat-panel HDTV, and be happy. Very happy.
Anthem MRX 710 AV Receiver - $1,999
Anthem's newest top-shelf receiver almost failed to make our 2013 list - not because its performance is lacking in any way but because it's so new, the review almost didn't make the 2013 schedule. The full-length review will post very soon, but here's a hint: The new MRX 710 delivers the sound quality we loved in its predecessor but with even better room correction and custom integration.
Sony STR-DA5800ES AV Receiver - $2,100
With the STR-DA5800ES, Sony set out to raise the bar or, should we say, "elevate the standard" of the AV receiver category. This 9.2-channel 4K receiver delivers in both features (including Control4 integration) and performance. Some of our readers have said that they use this AV receiver without the internal amps as an AV preamp, and who could blame them?
Samsung UN55F8000 LED/LCD HDTV - $2,500
While the Samsung UN55F8000 doesn't quite have the black-level performance of the best plasmas we reviewed this year, it's still a fantastic performer that's well suited to both daytime and nighttime viewing. Add in its very attractive cabinet design and one of the smartest "smart TV" platforms out there, and you've got the makings of a winner.
Epson Home Cinema 5020UB LCD Projector - $2,599
Another great projector offering from Epson, the Home Cinema 5020UB combines great light output, good black levels, and plenty of convenient setup features. The "UBe" model that we actually reviewed has built-in Wireless HDMI, but we think you're better off saving $300 and getting the non-wireless version instead.
Cambridge Audio Azur 751R AV Receiver - $2,999
Think Krell meets AV receiver when you think of the Azur 751R. It's that well built and packed with audiophile-grade parts, resulting in one amazing-sounding product. For those who want to combine the ease of use of a one-chassis receiver with the performance of separates, check out the 751R.
Wisdom Audio Insight P2i In-wall Speakers - $3,100 per pair
There are some who will say, "$3,100 for a pair of in-wall speakers...are you crazy?" Those would be people who have never heard Wisdom Audio's Insight line of speakers. Wisdom is known for in-wall and on-wall speakers that cost much more and are designed to not just match but best the sound that comes from the best audiophile speakers (think: Magico, Wilson Audio, Bowers & Wilkins, Revel etc..). The P2i is targeted more for the masses, and thank God because they are top-performing in-wall speakers for people who truly love music.
Kaleidescape Cinema One Movie Server - $3,995
Kaleidescape servers used to be the coolest "rich guy" toy in the AV business. Now you don't have to be quite as rich to experience the best interface and user experience of any movie and music server, along with Blu-ray-quality downloads from the Kaleidescape Store with 1080p video and uncompressed multichannel audio.
PS Audio PerfectWave MkII DAC with Bridge - $3,995 ($795 for Bridge)
The combination of the PerfectWave MkII DAC and add-on Bridge gives you an excellent-sounding digital front end with network audio streaming capabilities. It's designed for the audiophile who's ready to add high-resolution digital files to the repertoire and demands a pristine experience.
Panasonic TC-P65ZT60 Plasma HDTV - $4,010
The top-shelf ZT60 is Panasonic's plasma swan song, and what a sweet song it is. Yes, the high-value ST60 will be good enough for most people, but the ZT60 is THE choice for videophiles who demand the best performance at a still-reasonable price point. Farewell, Panasonic plasmas. Much like the Pioneer KURO, you will have a special, well-deserved place in our heart for a long time.
Revel Performa3 F208 Floorstanding Speakers - $4,500 per pair
Revel is one of the top names in high-end loudspeakers, with products costing many times the price of the F208s. But, when it comes to bang for your buck, Revel has reinvented itself with this speaker. Our reviewer called it the most neutral speaker he has ever heard at any price. What more can we say?
Bowers & Wilkins 805 Diamond Bookshelf Speakers - $5,000 per pair
Talk about audio jewelry: the Bowers & Wilkins 805 Diamonds give you nearly everything you will get from their big brothers, the 800 Diamonds, sans the lowest bass. Add a subwoofer or two, and enjoy an exceptional audio experience through these $5,000-per-pair gems.
RBH SX-1212P/R Subwoofer - $5,300
For those of you who need big bass - we mean REALLY BIG bass - RBH got cookin' on a subwoofer that can move you. Literally move you. Just take our advice: get some people to help you move the SX-1212P-R, or you might be headed to the chiropractor.
Lawrence Audio Mandolin Bookshelf Speakers - $5,500 per pair
For those who have had the rare chance to hear the Lawrence Audio Cello speakers, the Mandolin is a smaller version that packs much of the same performance for a fraction of price. Yes, they're still big bucks at $5,500 per pair, but you get some of the sweetest-sounding audiophile transducers around.
Melody AN 300B Integrated Amplifier - $5,999
Every one of these Best-of lists has that one inclusion that people go crazy over. How can a $5,999 amp be a top value? When it can compete with $60,000 A-list gear, that's how. Melody is a brand that deserves recognition and some of your demo time, as they've captured some serious audio magic.
Krell Foundation AV Preamp - $6,500
There might not be a product that's hotter in the high-end market than the Krell Foundation AV preamp. Audiophile sound - check. Ten HDMI inputs with two outputs - check. Beefy construction - check. Killer support - check. The Krell Foundation can only be compared with preamps costing significantly more...it's that good.
• See what rated the best last year in the Best of 2012 Awards.
• Explore more in our Bookshelf Speaker and Floorstanding Speaker Review sections.
• See more video products in our HDTV, Video Projector, and Projector Screen sections.