This month we have the privilege of presenting to you the first review world-wide of Martin Logan's new Renaissance electrostatic loudspeaker – see p10 of this issue. Apparently, export models were shipped before the home market – the USA – and since we are known by Martin Logan to be somewhat interested in electrostatics, they were happy for us to receive a pair for review – pronto. And I was happy to review them.
If you want to hear this loudspeaker to die for – or perhaps disagree with that comment – then I'd recommend getting an audition at your dealer. Just remember to phone first. Open panel loudspeakers are worth hearing, especially Martin Logans. I would like to know your opinion, because there's always debate about the difference between a box and an open panel, one that reviewer and musician Rafael Todes and I are constantly involved in, for example.
We were surprised to learn Bowers & Wilkins have been sold to new owners, if less so that Tannoy's Coatbridge plant will close, something that has been on the cards for months since Behringer's Music Group took over last year. Since both are global brands with a valued customer base I doubt they will be diminished, so much as re-structured. Tannoy design is likely to take place in Manchester with product being built in China. I've seen big Wharfedales being built by five men at a time in IAG's Shenzhen factory – and a very good job they made of it too. Music Group specialise in professional audio so they could spin Tannoy off: just look at what happened to Bentley, Rolls Royce and Mini. Germany excels in this sort of thing.
As they excel in holding what is now probably the biggest hi-fi show on the planet. The High End show in Munich is just a 90 minute flight from the UK and these days costs around £60 return. I'd encourage you to go – it can be done in a day – because it is a show like no other. Most British manufacturers exhibit you may be pleased to know, but it attracts companies from around the world, who demo some startling products. As always, Silbatone was for me a highlight – see our report on p53 – since their 1924 Western Electric cinema system, driven by very early valve amplifiers, is extraordinary in its sound, wowing visitors and exhibitors alike.
Not that good hi-fi has to be big or expensive (or old) – as our exclusive review of the new Blue Aura V40 hybrid valve amplifier attests. Here's a small unit that combines tubes with the convenience of Bluetooth for hooking up to your mobile device. It's different but sounds superb – see p61. I hope you enjoy this issue where we cover the big, the small but most importantly the best equipment on offer.