This edition of Hi-Fi+ is something of a landmark for me. It's my 100th attempt at trying to edit an audio magazine! I took over the reins in Issue 64 and – about nine-and-a-half years and around a million words later – we're both still here. Between then and now, we've seen economies rise and fall, technologies undergo radical shifts, and the way we all acquire, listen, and enjoy our music has changed beyond all recognition, but audio has not been counted out just yet.
Back in early 2009, although both downloading and networked streaming had been an intrinsic part of the audio experience for some time, had yet to take off in many serious high-end circles. Similarly, although vinyl was still selling, sales had slowed to a crawl and LPs could be had for next to nothing! What a difference a decade makes.
Within a few years of sitting in the Big Chair at Hi-Fi+, it was clear the change had even permeated the top-most echelons of audiophilia. Dealers and distributors were whispering to one another "when did you sell your last CD player?" And, while there has been something of a renaissance in CD player sales of late, CD largely gave way to ‘Mac+DAC', which itself gave way to home network streaming, then to downloading, and most recently to streaming from increasingly high-resolution subscription services. No-one in 2009 would have expected that.
Similarly, no one at the end of the last decade would have bet on anything other than a continued and slow decline for vinyl and LP replay. Back then, turntable sales were stable, although declining gently. The vinyl revival changed all that, for the better.
Where do we go from here? I suspect the vinyl revival will continue for the foreseeable future, the world of streaming and high-resolution will become ever more prevalent due to improved wireless and fibre-to-the-door bandwidth. And who knows, maybe I'll still be writing about them in another 100 issues from now!
Congratulations go to Mark Bowell, Jim McDermott, Christa Larson, and Caroline Moore all of whom were winners in our outstanding Allnic competition.
Finally, as the magazine went to press, we heard of the sad passing of John Bamford. John wrote a few features for Hi-Fi+ some years ago, but was also a longstanding contributor and editor of a number of UK audio titles. Our condolences to his friends and family.