Political World And Globalism
The political world is awash with populist politicians railing against globalization, but when it comes to audio, the notion of global brands dominating the audio scene is almost nothing more than a fantasy. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, good audio brands rarely ventured far outside their country of origin; those days are gone, but the notion of global brands dominating the world-wide market is absurd. We still listen parochially; local music for local people.
This makes it a struggle for a magazine with a genuine international outlook to avoid looking hopelessly partisan. There are a few brands slightly more universal than others; the Naim Supernait 3 on the cover this month comes from a UK brand with a global reach, but even here Naim doesn't have the same 'reach' as a Mercedes Benz.
Having opened the hackneyed 'car analogy' door... most audio brands seem to be closer to something like Peugeot. Very successful in their homeland, successful in a few countries, well-known in others, and either completely unavailable or virtually ignored in many other places.
This gives rise to the notion that audio performance varies from country to country, and that different brands better fit the musical tastes of different countries. I'm not convinced by this idea, however. I suspect the reason is simply that there is so much good audio out there, we can afford to be more parochial in outlook. Having heard some of the finest audio not sold in the UK, Europe, or America, the performance of such locally-grown audio is frequently of similar calibre to that of famous-name brands known closer to home.
The big difference is the best of the best have learned how to offer a product that appeals to a wider audience than just those within
arm's reach... and often learned how to market those products successfully on an international stage. We, as enthusiasts, are often tempted to dismiss both as irrelevant, but they are the secrets to success for brands... and they both combine to allow us to keep buying the products we want from the brands we like.
Hi-Fi+ would like to congratulate David Flynn who wins a pair of the excellent Meze Empyrean headphones, and to Paul Emmerson who wins an outstanding Lumin D2 music server. Well done!
Errata: In our review of the Funk Firm turntable upgrades, we identified the FXR arm incorrectly. We also compared the P3+Rage 1 to a Rega P6+808 arm. Our apologies for any inconvenience caused.