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The Alpha Top 5 – Final Countdown

Alpha Approved

The Top Five of Jaap


Grimm UC1

When we first heard the Grimm UC1, we almost didn’t know what to say. A rather boring device to look at with an obvious focus on studio use. But boy: what a musical performance! This UC1 has everything to please the seasoned enthusiast. Flow, detail, versatility… and even surround if it has to. And all that for a very acceptable price when you look at the performance. You can count on it that this Dutch creation performs far above its price range of 4800 euros. But make sure you warm it up, because cold out of the box that fluidity does not really come out that well.

Vicoustic diffusers

Fellow author Yung has acoustics in his top 5 list as well. Acoustics are often forgotten when putting together a good sounding system. And that’s a shame, because it is just half of the reproduction. A beautiful system in a reverberant room still sounds like shit. And a mediocre system in decently treated room can sound fine. In short: don’t forget the acoustic properties of the room. In our remodel, it turned out to be crucial.

Revel F226be

Our search for the new reference speaker is ongoing. We have yet to listen to two of them. But so far, the Revel Performa F226be is a speaker high on the list. What a wonderfully balanced speaker that is! It’s an all-rounder that doesn’t get in the way of musical choices; a strength we can always really appreciate. A system shouldn’t be made for a particular genre; it should be able to ‘bang!’ when needed and play refined when desired. And this Revel can do just that!

Bowers & Wilkins DB3D

Subwoofers are a tricky genre to test. But we did it with the Bowers & WIlkins DB3D. And we’re glad we did, because this is a very nice subwoofer after all! It looks discreet, it goes deep (10 Hz!) and it’s fast enough to keep up with the DALI Epicon 2, a speaker with a remarkably fast and detailed bass. In fact, this is the first subwoofer that did not noticeably play into the system. And then when it is switched off…. yes, we do miss something. And that is exactly what a subwoofer should do: you should actually not realize that one is playing. Very impressive!

Price and availability:

The Bowers & Wilkinds DB3D is available for €2,449 at the following website.

NAD C298

I think it becomes clear that your author goes for neutral systems :-). Flat acoustics, Grimm, Revel and Eigentakt…. gosh. In our opinion, the NAD C298 is the bargain of the year. For 2000 Euros you get an incredibly good amplifier in your rack. An amplifier that does not color audibly, has a lot of control over the speaker and in bridge mode can deliver a kilowatt – yes: 1000 watts! Your editor has put two of them in bridge mode at home. To feed a set of DALI Epicon 2. Overkill: yes…. 100%. But what a load of fun! There was not a single moment that the NADs ran out of breath. No matter how dynamically played. And that’s the way it should be. Absolute top notch product.

Price and availability:

The NAD C298 is available immediately for a price of €2,099 at the following website


Another Cheat… Mutec REF10

We’re going to cheat for a while… your editor grabs a sixth, because we don’t want to keep this bizarre tweak from you. The Mutec REF10 clock is one of those “upgrades” that brings something that is hard to put your finger on. Because: why would you go and attach a masterclock to a reclocker? Less is more… right? Well, not in this case! The REF10 brings even more calmness, space and flow. Yes, it does… really! Unfortunately, a pricey upgrade with about 3800 euros. But yes: who wants to do a serious upgrade… We recommend that you only start listening when you actually have the money.


  1. Thank you for your top five components for this Christmas. I am a bit confused. On your youtube videos there is always two of you exchanging your thoughts on a component. So who is Geoffrey..? (I suppose he works for Alpha Audio but does not appear on Youtube?)

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