Two things loom large on the horizon of this issue: one is, inevitably, the economic downturn; the other is the Bristol Show. Fitting then, that in one sense at least, these two influences should actually dovetail so neatly, for Bristol has always been a value orientated event and with everybody's money getting tighter at home and worth a lot less abroad, the price/performance equation is set to dominate buying decisions for some considerable time.
It hasn't always been so, with styling, facilities and fashion all dictating commercial success at one time or another, but there's nothing like a tightening of the purse strings to focus the buyer's attention on what really matters. So, in assembling the running order for this particular issue, a pair of connected themes quickly emerged. We wanted as many of the products reviewed as possible to be those that will be seen and heard in Bristol, allowing readers to absorb the reviews and then compare notes with the show experience
— an experience which should inform you about the product, the review(er) and the event in equal measure. But also, and almost inevitably, the result is a line-up of products, many of which represent the most music you can get for your money in any given category. So Focal's stunning new Diablo Utopia rubs shoulders with other speakers, all of which offer a musical coherence and level of communication that not so long ago you couldn't buy at any price. Then there's Electrocompaniet's Prelude electronics, along with phono-stages from Audiolab and PS Audio
— and perhaps most remarkably of all, the X-Can V8 from Musical Fidelity. The contents page might not read like your average copy of Plus, but rest assured, the thinking behind it hasn't changed one iota. It's all about getting the most from your music
— and getting the most from your magazine. Enjoy... then go to the Bristol Show and enjoy it all over again!