Depending on where in the world you are reading this, welcome (or a belated welcome) to 2019! This is likely a year of change for many, and we've started the ball rolling by putting the brakes on the notion of the 'themed' issue, at least for now. While the notion of a one-stop shop for all things amplifier (for example) still has its merits, we're more keen not to be bound by those strictures, as the best product in an issue might not be one in that theme.
We alluded to this change in the magazine's outlook in our last issue, but that was so full of Awards, it might have been missed!
This year, 2019, will also mark the 20th anniversary of the foundation of Hi-Fi+. The magazine has been through a few changes and more than one editor over the years, but it strives to stay true to its goal of 'reproducing the recording arts' as much today as it has ever been. Those arts are changing at a substantial pace today, however, and even the notion of the 'album' that was so core to audio in 1999 seems quaint to some streaming listeners in 2019. We have seen the fortunes of the valve amplifier and the turntable wax and wane. We have seen concepts like SACD and Class D emerge with mixed success, and we saw an innocuous media player become an existential threat to the audio industry in its entirety. Fortunately, it didn't prove to be quite so much of an extinction event, after all. I wonder what audio will look and sound like in 2039?
In the rush to get our Awards issue out in time, there was a fairly substantial mistake that landed in the middle of one of them. In our Accessory of the Year Award, we gave the impression that the Critical Mass Systems CenterStage2 footers did not have a 'good, better, best' component to their performance and that their selection was based purely on size. In fact, we had intended to say the complete opposite: that their performance was not purely dictated by size, and that they had a good, better, best component to their sound.
To ensure this wasn't a moment of sleep-deprived clarity ringing through like a matt-black finished Freudian slip, I revisited the CenterStage2 and deliberately put the larger models throughout the system, and there was definitely an improvement on the standard sized models. This would normally not pass comment, but seeing as it meant I had to endure a few days of reorienting the sound just to prove to myself that it was just the lack of sleep talking, I thought it worth sharing.
Our apologies for any confusion caused.