Innovation doesn't stop it seems.
The hi-fi business continues apace to produce a stream of fascinating products
and this is the time of the year we have to decide which ones were the best.
How do you choose between a £99 special like the Epiphany E-DAC and a £1500
tour-de-force NAD M51? Both do their job extremely well and have some great
properties. The NAD in the end pipped it for its unique technology, range of
facilities and breadth of application.
Then we come across the peculiar business of stripping the
Direct Drive motor out of Technics SL-1200 turntable and building it into an
entirely new product, the Inspire Monarch. I was amazed! At a stroke all those
veiled criticisms of the Technics decks were exposed to the practical truth:
Direct Drive wasn't doing "funny things" like hunting, as armchair
pundits had speculated, it just needed to be put into an appropriate context,
one Inspire built with the Monarch. I would have tried to design my own motor,
but probably would have failed in the process! Concentrating on the bearing,
platter and plinth instead was the (sideways?) way to go. Brilliant!
And so it goes on. This month we bring you more winners than
ever, nineteen no less, because there were so many good products. Some are
wallet burners, I admit, like the Chord Red Reference CD player at £15,000 no
less, but every inch of it is unique and the machined casework astonishing;
the DAC is unique too.
At the other end of the scale comes Sony's BDP-S790.
Everyone has something critical to say about Sony these days but an SACD
player for £230 or less is some bargain in my book, and it happens to do
other things too like play Blu-rays! Good for Sony: there's nothing wrong with
this disc spinner.
A wry smile creeps across my face as Beatles 'issues' creep
into our offices, even before the first new re-release, this time of LPs, hits
the streets. As time goes by the arguments seem to grow about which releases
are – or were – artistically definitive. You'll see such issues arise in
our Letter of the Month on p39 and in my column where I feel drawn to comment,
because of my past connections with Abbey Road Studios and knowledge of their
LPs. Will this (re)issue never die, I ask myself? I suspect not! As always, I
hope you enjoy our issue though.
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