Today's Hi-Fi Press
Today's hi-fi 'press' consists of a modest number of paper mags alongside a substantially larger quantity of web-mags. The traditional paper-based mags (including HIFICRITIC) all have their websites of course, often with associated forums and the like, but considerably lower start-up costs have meant that numerous web-mags have emerged that are owned and operated by individual journalists, including some of our regular writers.
Although I try to make sure that the material supplied for and used in HIFICRITIC is entirely exclusive in both writing and opinion, instances of undesirable overlap have occurred and can breed suspicion on both sides. However, it's also clearly ridiculous to ignore these web-mags and pretend that their findings don't exist. I've therefore decided to invite those contributors who run websites to contribute a 1 or 2 page feature that summarises their web-oriented reviewing activities over the previous three months (as we're a quarterly magazine).
This is bound to provide interesting copy for our readers, yet will also help the webmag operators publicise their websites. It is, in my opinion, a win-win situation, increasing the breadth of our coverage while also directing attention towards the other writings of our regular contributors.
Our four 'web-blogs' come from Andrew Everard, Malcolm Steward, Jason Kennedy and Paul Rigby. The first three mentioned have all made regular appearances in HIFICRITIC in the past. However, Paul Rigby is a newcomer to our pages, though he does write regularly in Hi-Fi World, as well as putting his web material together. And his appearance did inspire some talking points. Colloms didn't agree with a number of Rigby's opinions, but I believe that people do have different priorities in hi-fi and music reproduction, and I shouldn't impose anyone's personal preferences. The more serious point was recently raised across a variety of topics in the mainstream media, questioning the whole validity of blogs. Who polices the internet? Nobody, so one can't trust its opinions, which might even go some way towards validating the roles of editors and publishers.
There seems to be no avoiding the influence of the internet on paper publications. It has now become clear that if a review is likely to appear on the net at some point, it has to be easy to find via a search engine. That in turn means that the name of the reviewed component must effectively be the same as the title of the review. Snappy puns and leftfield references are no longer acceptable, simply because search engines don't have a sense of humour!
The publisher has asked me to pass on some bad news: to whit, rising costs mean that we have to increase the price of HIFICRITIC (modestly, and for the first time since the end of 2012). Individual copies are now £17 (up from £15) while UK subscriptions will now be £65 (rather than £60). (Overseas subs will increase pro rata.) Martin Colloms has asked me to point out that his sound quality scores for the various Naim components he reviewed in this issue have been deliberately held over until the next issue, as the sound is continuing to evolve.