Ten years ago, the idea that a magazine like Hi-Fi+ would cover Personal Audio would be impossible to consider. Audio was about stereo systems, and that personal 'stuff' was just about iPods and 'nonsense' like that. There are many who still think that way, but increasingly such viewpoints are at odds with the way the audio world really 'is' now.
This must be one of the most oversubscribed issues we've had in terms of products from manufacturers. Where normally, we get maybe 15 or 16 products for the baker's dozen we publish, this time we received requests and products from dozens of brands, and we'll be clearing the backlog over the coming months. As such, we ended up reviewing such products in a strict first-come, first-served basis.
Significant change has happened and is continuing to happen in audio. The generation lost to Napster and iTunes were maybe not as 'lost' as we ever imagined. In fact, they seem to be just as interested in high-quality audio as previous generations, only in receiving that audio in a different way.
This is why the 'show season' begins early this year for audio, and it starts with the personal world, thanks to the first European CanJam, which will be held in the Hotel Russell in the heart of Central London, on August 29th and 30th. This event will not only be a chance for headphonistas and personal audio enthusiasts to see what's hot (and what's not) in the headphone world, but acts as yet another wake-up call to the traditional audiophile world – this is a part of the future of audio. Get with the program!
Dropping some Alphonse Karr in here now, "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose." Audio is at once changing and changeless. It's capable of encompassing leading-edge systems using planar-magnetic headphones and state-of-the-art DACs and headphone amplifiers, and also vinyl and single-ended triode amplifiers driving horn loudspeakers. This is one of the great joys of audio today – its great 'broad church' flexibility – but we need to respect the demands and desires of others. I've found great satisfaction between the cups (careful, now) of a pair of headphones (phew!), and even the most dyed-in-the-wool old-school audiophile can, too. If you only try.
Finally, congratulations to Lewis Wake from Edinburgh, Scotland, who wins the excellent DigiBit Aria Mini 2TB music server worth £2,295!