Welcome to the first of our new 'themed' issues. It's patently clear that the audio world is undergoing serious change, and what's happening in the next generation of music replay is where change is happening most rapidly. So, instead of our conventional generalised 'round-up', we choose to concentrate on all things computer audio this issue.
There are no apologies here. This issue predominantly covers the best DACs, servers, and streamers that are designed to make the most out of audio of today and tomorrow. We have a feature specially commissioned to introduce streamed audio to an audio audience possibly still used to disc-based systems. And, subtly introduced in the last issue, we have begun to include high-resolution audio formats in our music reviews. This last has been difficult until comparatively recently because as a truly international magazine, we have been hampered by high-resolution recordings not being available in every part of the world. That has changed, too, and in a good way for the audio enthusiast.
However, we also strive not to speak in one voice on this issue. People are on different parts of the continuum. Even among the relatively small circle of reviewers on the books of Hi-Fi+, we have people who have fully migrated across to downloaded and streamed music sources, some who will not countenance anything apart from CD in their homes, and all points in between. Consesus here is impossible to find, and that's a good thing.
The concern going ahead is that the drive toward high-resolution comes at the expense of sanity. Like many of my colleagues, I still enjoy a lot of music ripped from 16-bit, 44.1kHz CD files. Contrary to opinion, this did not become 'mid-fi' when high-resolution appeared. If anything, it seems CD and CD-quality audio still have a great deal to offer listeners, and should not be discounted and demonised out of hand.
We hope you enjoy this round-up of some of the best in digital audio. Please let us know your thoughts and feelings at email@example.com.
Congratulations are in order to Joshua Hannen, from Birmingham UK, who won a pair of excellent flagship RHA T10i in-ear monitors, worth £150.
Errata: In the last issue of Hi-Fi+, we published an incorrect price for the Penaudio Sara S loudspeaker. The correct prices should have been £4500 per pair, or £5000 per pair in special finishes (such as gloss black and gloss white). We would like to apologise for any confusion caused.