Yes, it’s that time of the year again. Buckle up and explore our 2022 awards. This has been the busiest year for all of us, and we surely had many great products that we reviewed this year. Let’s get straight into it.
Disclaimer: We’re awarding the products that we have reviewed or tested in 2022. Some of these devices have been out there for a while, so we’re not limiting ourselves to products that were released in 2022.
Keep in mind that we do test a lot of products that haven’t been reviewed at Ear Fidelity, and we are also considering them while preparing this list. This was an another crazy year, and we had our hands full, to say the least. Thank you all for your support, countless private messages, reactions, audio-shows chats and most importantly – for enjoying our reviews. Buckle up for the upcoming 2023, as we’ve got something big coming for you very, very soon!
The Best High-End Headphones of 2022
This choice was obvious for us. The Meze Elite is a striking product that combines perfect build quality, incredible design and sound that is simply lovely to listen to.
Securing a second place in our huge “Battle Of The Flagships” article, only slightly loosing to the legendary Hifiman Susvara, beating the competition like the Final D8000 Pro, Hifiman HE1000se or Abyss Diana PHI to name a few. Meze just took its wildly popular Empyrean and upgraded everything about it, that’s how it should be done. The Elite is everything that a pair of high-end headphones should be.
The Best Bluetooth Headphones of 2022
This award wasn’t even a question, the Apple AirPods Pro 2 is just an incredible product. Amazing sound quality, superb comfort, and tech that is beyond everything else on the market.
Apple isn’t exactly well-known for its audio products, but if they’ll continue what they started with the APP2, then it should be wildly interesting what they’ll come up with in the future. By far the best wireless product we’ve reviewed in 2022, and the most used pair that I’ve used since buying them. This is golden.
The Best Headphones of 2022
The Meze Elite might be our High-End Headphone of the year, but the overall best one is the Hifiman Edition XS in our opinion.
The value of a headphone is very important when it comes to such awards, and the Edition XS just simply did what Hifiman is known for – pushed the limit. The combination of the Sundara and the Ananda, priced incredibly aggressive. This headphone has basically no cons, and in its budget, you’re not going to find a better deal. By far our most recommended headphones in 2022.
The Best DAC/AMP of 2022
We’ve rewieved quite a few DAP/AMPs this year, and all of them were really impressive. Nonetheless, when it comes to choosing the best one, the Hifiman EF400 was an obvious choice for us.
A wildly powerful amplifier section, R2R DAC that just sounds intoxicating and incredibly musical, the build and design that are both excellent, you just simply cannot overlook this device. The EF400 should be on everyone’s list, especially if you have a power-hungry set of headphones. A true no-brainer. Actually, we’ve considered awarding it with our “Product Of The Year” award for months, but more on that later.
The Best portable DAC/AMP of 2022
Yearly awards at Ear FIdelity without EarMen seem to be just impossible. The EarMen Angel is just a banger when it comes to portable DAC/AMPs. Powerful, clean, resolving, entertaining, well-made and well-priced – everything about the Angel is just spot-on.
While I’m not a fan of portable DAC/AMPs, I just cannot deny the Angel’s class. Well done again, EarMen. The Ear Fidelity crew is more about DAPs, dongles, and bluetooth stuff on the go, so even though we have tested quite a lot, we haven’t actually reviewed too many portable DAC/AMPs in 2022. But, when visiting the High-End Munich this year, I went to say hi to EarMen people (Hi Miroslav and Filip!), and I had a chance to listen to the Angel for a moment, and I instantly knew – oh, this is good, I’m definitely going to review this. The Angel is just incredible.
The Best Amplifier of 2022
This one might come as a surprise for you, but our amplifier of the year 2022 is the Feliks Audio Envy.
Surprised because its review hasn’t been published yet, as it’s really time consuming to review such a high-end piece, and especially because everytime I try to test it, I just end up listening to music for hours with a smile on my face. The Envy is a pinnacle of what a high-end amplfier should look and sound like. Made In Poland (I’m proud!), insanely good-looking, and the sound…stay tuned for the full review, it’s coming soon, and trust me – you don’t want to miss this.
The Best IEM of 2022
While we have reviewed a lot of IEMs in 2022, the winner of this category was clear for me immidiately after testing the Fir Krypton 5 for the first time.
Probably the most emotional review I’ve ever written in my entire life, the Krypton 5 is the best sounding piece of audio I’ve ever tried, and logically, the best IEM as well. Everything about it just simply Summit-Fi, and considering all of that, its price is actually very attractive when considering the high-end market. Additionally, the Kr5 is just fun, engaging, incredibly flavorful and it’s a piece that just made me enjoy music the most this year. This is my favorite piece of audio gear that I tested in my 10 years of vast experience in this hobby, so yeah…self explanatory.
The Best Custom IEM of 2022
This wasn’t an easy choice, but the best CIEM we’ve tested in 2022 is the Campfire Supermoon. The first planar of the company, and quite a banger already.
Well-built, incredible technical performance, a very competent tuning and a fantastic value when it comes to high-end level of performance. The Supermoon deserves all the fuzz it’s getting lately, as this could be the best technically impressive IEM in this budget. The Supermoon makes me hugely excited for what Campfire Audio is going to do next, as this is a step in a very, very good direction. Campfire Audio is back, and they definitely mean business.
The Best budget IEM of 2022
The Letshuoer S12 is just a fantastic performer in this budget. Well-made, comfortable, and what’s the most important – it just sounds incredibly good for $149. This company might not be the most popular yet, but if they continue to release products this good – they’re going to do some pretty exciting stuff in the upcoming years. Well done on the S12.
The Best DAP of 2022
The iBasso DX170 wins our DAP of the year award. The biggest reason for it is the insane value that this product has to offer, sounding ridiculously good for $449.
This is well-built, hugely functional, incredibly technical and just great to use. Easily our only recommendation if you’re in the market for a sub $500 DAP – the DX170 does it all, and it sounds absurdly good for this price bracket. If this DAP costed $1000, I would still recommend it, and I think that this says it all.
The Best cable of 2022
We have tested A LOT of different cables this year, but the Prudence stands out from all of them because of its biggest selling-point – the price.
For $249 you’re getting a cable that offers a perfect build quality, fantastic ergonomics and an incredible sound. Eletech is one of the biggest players in the Cables market, and if you’ll ever test the Prudence – then you’ll know why. While $249 is still a significant amount of money for an IEM cable, we consider it to be an upgrade that is very, very easy to recommend. Just brilliant.
The Best product of 2022
The Fir Audio Krypton 5 has everything to be called our “Product of 2022”. In recent years, we mainly rewarded this flagship tier award to products that were revolutionary, offered great value and that were to set the direction for the entire market segment for the future.
This year it’s different, because the Kr5 is wildly expensive ($2999) when compared to last years winner Hifiman Deva Pro ($329), or the 2020 winner Cayin N3 Pro ($479). However, it’s not always about offering the best value, or being the most revolutionary.
The Fir Audio Krypton 5 is as I said, the best audio product I have ever tested in my entire career (10 years have passed this year, woah!). While it may sound cliche, the Kr5 often leaves me speechless when I listen to it, offering a one-of-a-kind listening experience that just seems perfect for me. There’s not a single thing that I would have changed about this IEM, not even by half a decibel. For me personally, as for now, this is perfection. Yes, I’m getting emotional again…this should wrap it up just perfectly. KUDOS.
Thank you for attending our 2022 awards. This was a very exciting, but also an incredibly busy year for us with 55 (!) full reviews. Once again, I want to thank every one of you who read our reviews, support us, appreciate our work and keep in touch with us. It wouldn’t have been possible without you, and we are incredibly lucky that we can continue doing what we love – reviewing audio.
Now, we’re going to enjoy the rest of the year with our families, charging the batteries. Ear Fidelity is going to change (or rather evolve), as we’re all set with the launch of our YouTube channel, where we plan to post weekly content for you guys. We’re incredibly excited for that, and we cannot wait for it to begin!
See you very soon, and once again – Thank You!
Paweł, Michał, Kamil and Mateusz.