Is it LP that is enjoying a revival, or analogue audio in general? As hi-fi shows spin by – Rocky Mountain Audio Fest Denver and Indulgence Show London in the last two weeks – there's still no shortage of analogue around, open-reel tape decks being the latest direction of interest. I hope this lasts because there is a need for an all-analogue recording device I believe, not because I am anti-digital, but because digital needs a standard against which it can be compared to keep it on course. High-speed master tapes are that standard. They are something we can all believe in – including a digitally obsessed music business that is now starting to see old analogue as a way forward – and also make a profit. You can't e-mail an LP to a mate or hand it away free on Pirate Bay.
Roll out turntables then! And that is exactly what Luxman have done with the PD-171A I review on p11. With new LPs rolling into our offices at a nice steady rate there was no shortage of quality vinyl to enjoy on it. And what a sound.
As demand for Home Cinema weakens, stunted by impenetrable complexity and loudspeakers everywhere, Japanese receiver manufacturers are turning to an interesting variant, the 2.1 receiver – stereo with a subwoofer. Check out Yamaha's latest all-in-one on p18, reviewed by Martin Pipe. With both streaming and a phono stage it covers it all – at a very low price. It's nice to see entry-products like this.
"Wot's wrong with digital?" the music business may well ask, unaware of deep intrinsic problems. Meanwhile the hi-fi business ploughs on with its protests about sound quality and its willingness to experiment, given voice by forums where some insist old digital woz better than new digital. I don't agree – but equally it's always best to listen and that's what we did with Schiit's fascinating Modi Multibit DAC, reviewed on p60 by Jon Myles. Measurement makes clear why Multibit was dropped, but what about the sound? Do the forums have a point?
As all-analogue audio gets under way again, and digital continues its inevitable march on, we are seeing more product variety than ever – and more challenging argument. I hope you enjoy reading about it all in this issue.