Week 49, 2016: Cost-no-object products that deliver lasting value


Sound Advice

By Don Lindich

Week 49, 2016

Q. You recently wrote about headphones under $100. Don’t you think people should concern themselves more with the real value of a product, and not the cost? For example, 20 years ago my high-end AV dealer talked me into $500 infrared wireless headphones for the wife and myself, saying they would last a lifetime… and they did! We still use and love them!

-B.H., Oconomowoc, WI

 A. Most people who contact me for product recommendations are looking to get the best performance they can within budgetary constraints. Your point is taken though, and today’s column will feature some general advice as well as a few cost-no-object recommendations for those who want the best.

We will begin with Walsh speakers from Ohm Acoustics. Handmade to order in Brooklyn, New York, these speakers use unique patented technology to effortlessly create a realistic 3D soundfield in your listening room. Listeners experience a sense of spaciousness, reach-out-and-touch-it stereo imaging, and sound that is natural, beautiful, emotionally engaging and crystal clear. It’s like magic and once you experience it, there is no going back. Prices range from $1,400 to $6,600 per pair and full home theater systems are available as well. These speakers are a tremendous high-end bargain and a definite lifetime investment. (I still have and use my first pair, bought new in 1986.) They are also more affordable than ever with Ohm’s New Year sale, running through January 15. Use the code NY20 to save a whopping 20% on a high-end product that usually isn’t discounted at all. ohmspeakers.com


Next up are LG OLED televisions, starting at $2,500. The picture quality is so superior to any LCD-LED model that these OLED sets are literally the only ones I would consider if I needed a 55-inch or 65-inch television. In fact, compared to even an inexpensive 1080p plasma I find the picture quality of current LCD-LED televisions to be laughable, 4K or no. OLED gives you the picture quality of plasma or better, 4K resolution, a wide viewing angle, and low power consumption. Get the best while you support superior technology for the good of everyone. lg.com


Sony’s $1,000 RX100 V is the best pocket-sized camera you can buy, and the original RX100 is pretty swell too for $450. sony.com My favorite interchangeable lens camera for travel is the $799 Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GX85, due to its form factor, stunning video (including 4K) and excellent still images. panasonic.com


Oppo gets four products on this list of excellence, their $1,099 PM-1 and $699 PM-2 headphones and their $599 BDP-103D and $1,299 BDP-105D Blu-ray players with Darbee Visual Presence. oppodigital.com

If you have an interchangeable lens camera, buying the camera manufacturer’s high-grade, pro quality lenses is always a good move. These would be the zoom lenses that are f/2.8 throughout the zoom range and fast (f/2.0 and below) fixed focal length lenses. You will get sharper pictures, faster focusing, and better low-light capability. Also, great lenses hold their value, cheap lenses do not. Camera bodies come and go, but lenses are forever! avid_ingeniumw

A truly excellent turntable is also a lifetime investment. There are lots of good $500 turntables, but $1,000 or more will get you a piece of mechanical art that makes beautiful music. It’s definitely worth it if you play a lot of records. Last week’s $1,099 Pro-ject The Classic is a great choice and if you have $2,500 or more I suggest an Avid (my personal choice) or VPI turntable. You can spend over $100,000 on a turntable, but I think returns diminish rapidly above $4,000. avidhifi.com and vpiindustries.com