There are three big things to discuss in this issue. The first is, of course, that it's Awards season once again. We tested hundreds of products across 2018 and only the best of them make it to our annual Awards. Did your big purchase this year make the cut? Are you about to buy some new audio in 2019? If so, check out this issue to see whether or not one of our excellent Award winners fits the bill. From huge floorstanders to tiny earphones, we got it covered!
On the subject of earphones, we're welcoming Ultimate Headphone Guide back to its natural home in Hi-Fi+. Over recent months, we 'spun-out' the personal audio section of Hi-Fi+ (and our sister title The Absolute Sound) into its own publication: Ultimate Headphone Guide. However, we still feel the best place for audio of all kinds is in an audio magazine and both Hi-Fi+ and Ultimate Headphone Guide work so well together we thought that now was not the time for breaking up the band. In few years' time, when we're on the 'retro' circuit and the inevitable arguments about royalty payments, groupies, and increasingly crazy riders begin to become impossible, maybe one of us will pursue a solo career between bouts of rehab. But until then, personal audio will continue to have a home in Hi-Fi+, and now we've given it a whole section of the magazine, it can redecorate that home how it thinks fit. It could even get a dog!
The other big change is we are no longer concentrating on 'themed' issues. As of next month, Hi-Fi+ returns to its original concept of 'all things audio, all the time' rather than concentrating on a single monthly focal point. This reflects changes to the audio industry.
Back when we began themeing issues, it was largely because there were a number of companies releasing new technologies (like streaming audio) that required some explanation. That was best performed in one hit, rather than spread over several issues. Now, those technologies are largely established and that demand has lessened.
We've also found that the best product in an issue, the one that cries out to be featured front-and-centre in the magazine, isn't always one of the 'theme' products. It's confusing to all if we put a loudspeaker on the front cover of an issue about amplifiers.
We've also received comments from readers suggesting they want to read about audio, not parts of audio. So, as of Issue 167 – the first of 2019 – we will return to doing what we do best!