While there’s nothing new about annual awards honouring best-in-class audio components, the Rocky Mountain International HIFI Press Awards (RIHPA) are unique in that they are judged by an international panel of audio publications from around the world.
The awards are hosted by the Rocky Audio Mountain Fest, held annually in Boulder, Colorado. The show, now in its 15th year, has become the largest consumer audio show in the US, attracting more than 400 local and international exhibitors.
The list of 14 publications that make up the RIHPA jury panel includes some of the most respected media outlets in the business, including Stereophile, Hi-Fi Plus, Lyd & Bilde, Mono & Stereo, The Audio Beat – and South Africa’s own Audio Video SA.
All publications submit their nominations in various categories, after which a list of finalists in each category is drawn up for voting.
This year, some 42 awards were bestowed, spanning not only deserving hardware, but also recordings, software and personalities. Some of the key 2018 RIHPA awards included:
Best CD player/transport: Esoteric K-05X
Best DAC: Chord Electronics Dave
Best phono cartridge: Hana SL
Best pre-amplifier: McIntosh C2600
Best stereo power amplifier: VTL S-400 Series II
Best mono power amplifier: Audio Research Reference 160M
Best portable headphone amp/DAC: Audioquest Dragonfly Red
Best bookshelf speakers: Dynaudio Special 40
Best floorstanders under 15 000 Euros: Bowers & Wilkins 702 S2
Best software: Roon
Innovation: Kii Three loudspeakers
Value for money: Bowers & Wilkins 702 S2
You’ll find the full list of award winners here.