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Hi-Fi World
May 2010
The Best....
Editorial By David Price

 

Hi-Fi World Volume 20 Number 3 May 2010  There was a time, and I remember it well, when hi-fi magazines used to spell out, in no uncertain terms, 'the best'. This was 'the best turntable', that was 'the best amp', and so on. Indeed, one mag even used to earnestly proclaim, "we tell you the best hi-fi to buy"!

Journalists' ink bottles would runneth over with paeans of praise for a particular bit of kit, making it out to be almost a compulsory purchase. Even if you'd had a dem at a dealer, and product B had well and truly whipped product A, if A had been decreed 'the best', that's what people would buy!

Well, in this month's issue of Hi-Fi World, you will not find 'the best' of anything. Most products featured are ones that were designed and voiced with the recognition that individual people have individual preferences, and that we don't all live in a homogeneous world where what one writer says goes. If there's one underlying theme to this issue, it's ‘each unto their own'....

Epos's Encore 50 loudspeakers [p10] are a case in point; these are ‘big bangers', voiced for lovers of thrilling, powerful, visceral rock music at high levels. They're not going to win prizes for their transparency with baroque chamber music. Ditto Klipsch's Heresy IIIs [p24]; no ‘hear through' electrostatics these, but feed them Metallica's ‘Enter Sandman' and they suddenly make sense...

Quad's lovely new Classic II Integrated [p18] isn't the world's best valve amplifier; if you have horn loudspeakers the size of a footballer's fridge you'll probably be wanting far lower powered single ended triodes. But if you're after a great ‘first' valve amplifier, this is a beautiful and iconic way in. Simaudio's high end Moon 600i integrated amplifier [p38] attempts, and succeeds, to be most things to most people, but would never claim to be the best at anything. Ditto Denon's DCD-2010AE, which is a wonderful mid-price SACD/CD spinner that's just a very nice thing to own, listen to and live with - yet not the ultimate in any way.

Thinking in terms of 'the best' is unhelpful and reductive; it won't actually get you any closer to hi-fi heaven. What really matters is what's best for you. That's why we're always a little uneasy with sassy journalistic jargon; life's more complex, as is getting a sound that's right for you and your system.

 

David Price, editor

 

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