Octave Audio V70 SEPrice: $7000

Website: www.octave.de

Vade said: It’s quiet, and easy to set up, use, and maintain. It portrays music with great transparency, letting you appreciate the musicians’ intent and phrasing. Its ability to use a wide variety of power-output tubes adds flexibility for those who want to experiment with the different sounds of different tubes. Its sound equaled or surpassed that of a highly regarded amplifier and line stage costing more than twice as much, and it produced enough power to drive a wide variety of speakers.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

The gist: Flexible performance from this tube-based German machine.