Ear Fidelity 2020 Awards

The year 2020 is coming to and end, and it's a perfect moment for the 2020 awards.

The year 2020 is coming to and end, and it’s a perfect moment for the 2020 awards.

Disclaimer: We’re choosing between all the products we’ve had or tested throughout the year. Not all of them have an actual review on Ear Fidelity, but we actually tested hundreds of products in 2020, and we’ll be explaining our choices in every category.

Also, we’re focusing on the best you can buy, also in terms of value. That’s why you won’t see any crazy hi-end stuff, as 2020 was really a year of more affordable audio gear and pushing the boundaries in the low-mid end.

Well, without further ado – enjoy!

Best headphones of 2020

Click to read the full review.

The Hifiman HE400i 2020 wins the award thanks to its fantastic price to performance ratio. You’re getting a true planar-magnetic headphone that is well-built, comfortable, and offers an outstanding sound quality for just 169$. It is very hard to beat its value, so it was really an easy choice for us.

Of course, it’s nowhere close to being the best headphone on the market overall. But you’re getting so much for what you’re paying that we believe it’s the best buy over-ear headphone in 2020. By far.

Best Amplifier of 2020

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The Flux FCN-10 is a beast of an amplifier. Packing a lot of clean power (up to 16W per channel), it can drive every headphone on the market with ease. It’s also packing great functionality, including a built-in DAC and a streamer.

Having that in mind, you’re getting a full package. A true standalone piece of equipment to solve all your needs and requirements. It is priced at 1299$, and for what you’re getting…it’s a steal.

Best IEM of 2020

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It’s a bit of a funny story with the Dorado 2020 by Campfire Audio.
Our review was well…very optimistic, and for a reason, as this is just a great pair of IEM.
But, the more I listen to them, the more I fall in love. Actually, many of my audio friends have listened to my pair, and they were all blown away by the fun factor and the technical abilities they have.

As more and more manufacturers are fighting for the “neutrality king” with their releases, CFA made a different approach with their new Dorado and succeeded. It’s a beast when it comes to musicality and fun, and it has become my daily driver ever since, dethroning the likes of Aether R by Lime Ears or another product by CFA – the Ara.

Best DAP of 2020

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The easiest choice of them all. Cayin N3Pro is the first product that I’ve ever given a perfect score. It wasn’t without reason, though, as it’s not just a DAP, but a mini piece of art, actually.

Perfectly built, it works like a charm and offers four different sound signatures, two of which are using tubes. Yes, you’re getting a true tube sound for 479$ in a very compact DAP – ridiculous.

Best Mobile DAC of 2020

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This category has been really tight for the last couple of years, and it wasn’t any different in 2020. Anyhow, the EarMen Eagle totally earned our award thanks to its great price to performance ratio, build quality, convenience and an actual sound quality.

While many mobile DACs are meant to sound fun and bassy, the Eagle takes a more neutral and “audiophile” approach, giving your headphones or IEMs of choice the room to sing in their own way.

Best Portable DAC of 2020

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Yet another award goes to EarMen – These guys were busy in 2020, and it really paid off.
TR-Amp is a marvelous Dac/Amp which you can easily take with you anywhere. Lots of power, MQA decoding, and great technical abilities make it our choice of the best portable DAC in 2020.

Its sound signature is simply striking – neutral but analog, with the best soundstage in its price range. It makes it a no-brainer if you’re looking for this kind of device right now.

Best DAC of 2020

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The iDSD Neo by iFi Audio is one of the most used devices in Ear Fidelity “HQ” ever since it landed on our desk. It looks marvelous, has the ability to stand vertically to save a lot of space, and it’s packed with a lot of features.

It all would have been for nothing, though, if it wasn’t for the sound quality to impress. And boy, it really does. While it’s not the most neutral, powerful, or detailed in its price range, it somehow delivers a charming and magical tone to die for. Its soundstage is simply one of a kind, making the Neo a great company to just chill while listening to our favorite tracks.

Best Custom IEM of 2020

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This was a callous decision to make, but in our books, the Craft Ears Four is the best Custom IEM of 2020. Why? It simply delivers very competitive sound quality, it’s well made and fun to listen to, and it costs just €550.

While the Aether R and Pneuma from Lime Ears offer better sound quality in general, they also cost a lot more, with the latter being almost 4x the Four’s price.

We believe that Craft Ears has the best “bang for your buck” CIEM in the market right now with their Four, and it surely is worthy of the best Custom IEM award of 2020.

Best Combo of 2020

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JDSLabs Atom DAC + ATOM AMP is an incredible desktop combo for just under 200$.
While its build quality is not perfect because of the plastic body, it delivers such an outstanding sound quality for the price that it’s an absolute no-brainer for everybody looking for an affordable headphone setup.

It’s a powerful, neutral, technically capable, and just well-tuned gear that won’t cost you much but will provide a very pleasing experience. Together with the HE400i 2020, it creates a mind-blowing affordable headphone setup to beat in terms of value—basically, all you need if you’re on a budget.

Best Value of 2020

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There’s one thing that comes to our minds regarding the Moondrop SSP – ridiculous.
This 39,99$ pair of IEMs is so good that it almost seems unreal in some way.

Well-made, comfortable, technically good, and just mind-bogglingly fun to listen to. The Moondrop SSP is by far the best IEM sub 50 or even 100 USD in our books, there couldn’t be anything else winning this award. While it won’t sound great with every source, once you’ll find a good companion – you’re basically getting the best value in the audio market today. 39,99$…wow.

Best cable of 2020

Ego Audio Gin doesn’t have its review on Ear Fidelity, but woah, what a cable it is.
Extremely well-made, more comfortable than it looks, and most importantly…it sounds extraordinary.

Crispy, fast, detailed, and airy cable that will boost your IEMs sound quality to another level. It offers a wonderful synergy with the Aether R by Lime Ears, giving me such a boost in sound quality that I truly wasn’t prepared for. On top of that, its price is very competitive for a pure silver cable with that level of craftsmanship.

Best Product of 2020

Well…what a year it has been with the whole Coronavirus situation and the audiophile market pushing the boundaries further than ever. There are so many great manufacturers nowadays that are racing each other to become a crowned champion. That’s a great thing for us, the customers, since we’re getting such great devices for a fraction of the price we would have to pay a few years back. Just look at the Value, Combo, and Headphone awards – these are all highly affordable products, and I’m thrilled to see that.

What’s ironic, though, it has been a year of that technological race, with many manufacturers releasing somehow similar products to each other. Ironic, because our Product Of The Year 2020 goes to the device that actually goes the opposite way – to create something never done in the past.

So…here it is.

Click to read the full review.

You probably saw that coming. Cayin N3Pro is our Product Of The Year 2020.
While most of the DAPs released this year were quite similar to each other (Android, big screens, lots of power, etc.), Cayin made a different approach and gave us a DAP with no Android, no streaming, and in a rather small footprint. Still, they included something absolutely different – they’ve put tubes inside.

And how they’ve done, that is the most impressive. It works just like a normal DAP, so you don’t have to worry about it too much. The tubes are suspended in a specially created silicone case, and they’re safe, even while jogging.

Nonetheless, the most important thing about N3Pro is its sound, which is absolutely lovely. You’re getting a very emotional, natural, and lush sound that is a pure pleasure to listen to. Even though I have many other DAPs at my disposal, including much more expensive Cayin N6ii, Fiio M15, etc., the N3Pro is my daily driver, and it won’t change for a long time. It’s probably my favorite audio product ever, and that means a lot. Best Product Of The Year for a reason.

That’s almost it, but we’ve got one more award that we would like to give. To all of you.

We’d like to thank every single one of you for your support, all the likes, comments, private messages, feedback, etc. We’re doing what we like to do, we enjoy it, and we learn new things every day, but it’s all because of you. Thank you for creating this awesome community. We are proud to be a part of it.

Buckle up, 2020 might be ending, but 2021 is on its way, and hopefully, it’s gonna be an awesome year for all of you, and for us.

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