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Issue 172    June 2019
How 'Green' Is High-End Audio?
And how much do audio shows contribute?
Editorial By Alan Sircom


Hi-Fi+ Issue 172 June 2019


  Running a pair of valve amplifiers as the Extinction Rebellion protestors took over parts of Central London gave me pause. Just how 'green' is high-end audio? We leave preamps and DACs running continually, we run power amplifiers that consume more electricity in standby than the rest of the electronics in the home combined, and shipping a pair of extremely heavy loudspeakers around the world can't be good, can it?

In fact, we fare better than you might expect. A significant part of the carbon footprint of a product concerns the frequency of replacement, as frequently the original product ends up as landfill. The average product life cycle of typical consumer electronics is frighteningly short, and that masterpiece of glass and plastic that inhabits your pocket today will likely sit in a drawer three years from now, and then end up in a landfill site on the other side of the world within a decade. By way of contrast, an audiophile still enjoying the performance of a preamplifier built in the mid-1980s is not uncommon. We also learned to 'upcycle' long before it was fashionable, and there is a healthy trade in pre-owned audio equipment.


Hi-Fi+ Issue 172 June 2019


The running costs of most audio equipment is relatively low, in part because we don't actually use it that much if we are truly honest with ourselves. A Class A amplifier consumes considerably more power than a TV, but many families spend more hours in front TV in a day than some audio enthusiasts might in a week. That's not necessarily because we are constantly tweaking our systems or don't play them enough; we like to savour the finer things in life!

Perhaps our biggest impact on the environment is the on-going audio show circus, as it moves from country to country. As the last issue went to press, we flew to Chicago for the AXPONA show, and the moment this issue goes to the printers, the audio world will descend on Munich for High End 2019. These all-important events have not replaced the bricks-and-mortar dealer, but many do view such events as places to slim down their choices from an ever-increasing pool of audio products. And, just as we report on AXPONA this month, next month... Munich!

It is with great sadness that we learned as we went to press of the passing of Derek Jenkins. Derek was considered one of the best set-up engineers of the LP12, and – with Mark Digman – was one half of the Tangerine Audio brand making some of the most highly respected upgrades for the Linn. He will be greatly missed.



Alan Sircom, Editor Hi-Fi+




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