We are seeing significant change in audio. Not just in terms of the move toward streaming products and away from disc replay, not even in the recognition that small is beautiful once more, but something deeper; a distinct change in the very fabric of what constitutes high-end audio.
Whether it is due to economic forces or simply changes in the way people view their free time and spend their money, there’s a move toward a more pragmatic approach to audio that must be applauded and supported. While there’s still a great deal of interest in traditional high-end equipment – especially in the fast-growing ‘BRIC’ economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China) – rank and file audio enthusiasts the world over are discovering a new paradigm of smaller, smarter products that still deliver excellent performance. Far from the ‘sky is falling’ prophecies of audio doom-mongers, today’s open-minded audiophile has a plethora of new, exciting and pioneering products at their disposal, many of which don’t choose to play by the
traditionalist's rule book.
A difficult question keeps being asked today; are we buying big and expensive because
it is good, or because it’s big and expensive? In many cases good performance is embedded in precision engineering, which inevitably stacks on the pounds, both sterling and avoirdupois. But there are products that can deliver high-end performance without backbreaking, wallet-tearing strain.
The high-end remains committed to the replay of recorded music in a manner that strives to limit the shortcomings of the recording process. It should not just be about price, size, weight or rarity value and what delivers high-end performance – at all levels – must be explored. In other words, we should aim for high-end values, not just high-end prices. At least, that’s my take on things. Do you agree?
Any change takes time in a magazine, because we plan several issues in advance. But rather than simply change direction for the sake of it, this gives a perfect opportunity for you to help shape this change. We welcome your input on the shape of Plus to come, and rather than rely on a questionnaire, we’ve left things open for your views. Of course there has to be some moderation, but why should we let our past completely define our future?