It's a fairly standard piece of audio folklore in the UK that awards issues appear toward the end of the year, highlighting the benefits of the previous year's products in time for the 'selling season' from September to January. We think that's bunkum! The 'selling season' is a crude and outdated concept, based on the idea that as the nights draw in, so people with nothing to do will buy their hi-fi systems to keep them entertained.
That might have been the case in the 1950s and 1960s, but the world has changed fairly significantly over the last half a century. People don't routinely seem to behave in that manner anymore, and instead buy products – not simply audio products – when the fancy takes them, not because it's dark outside in the evenings. We have lights now that can be used to illuminate the nights, and people no longer need fear marauding footpads, trolls (except the Twitter kind), or vampires.
After a long absence, we decided to reboot our Awards, and even change the schedule to usher in the new year with the best of the last. Of course, as we haven't run any sort of awards collection for several years, this is more a round-up of the best of the last few years, but you get the point.
At the same time, researching the categories for our rebooted Awards shows just how far the audio world has come, and how fast. The Hi-Fi+ of a few years ago would have not included anywhere near as many products related to digital audio and headphone-related products. But, such is the change in this fluid market, even if we were not actively involved in these sectors, we'd still be looking at these products!
Fortunately, we aren't just embracing these new technologies, we're actively loving them! The great thing about audio today is it's a very 'broad church', encompassing products from old and new. Unlike many consumer technologies that have now adopted the memory of a goldfish and reject anything more than a year old as 'ancient history', the audio world is perfectly happy listening to an LP that should have faded from view in the 1980s through valves thought outmoded in the 1960s and into horn loudspeakers that were state of the art in the 1930s. Or, we can listen to streamed music through Class D amps and CIEMs that didn't exist a decade ago!
That's why audio is an ever-fascinating subject, and why Awards are always relevant!
Gremlins got into our review of the PMC twotwo.6 loudspeakers and changed the price. The correct price is £4,194 per pair! Our apologies go out to PMC and to all concerned.