Here in the Northern hemisphere September signifies the summer weather is beginning to wane as the fall season is approaching. It also marks Italy's Top Audio & Video show followed by the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. Last year we were blessed with Ken Kessler's London Hi-Fi News show coverage and we hope he can once again find a way provide his wonderful insights on the event. Many of the summer sports are coming to an end and more indoor activates will be enjoyed. Because Enjoy the Music.com reaches a world market, those of you in the Land Down Under find the opposite to be true. Meanwhile our friends in parts of Asia, South America, and the tropics enjoy warm weather all year long. If i may take a moment to say hello to our friends on Fiji island!
The title of this article is a bit misleading... for a good reason! While the September issue of Enjoy the Music.com's sister publication Superior Audio is indeed the largest to date and tested my editing abilities, there really is no "busy season" if audiophile company's begin thinking about the world market versus the old days of mainly Europe/America/Asian. China and Korea are major growth markets and Russia's move to capitalism years ago is now doing quite nicely. Naturally Internet has indeed made the world a smaller place and every reputable audiophile company should provide an informative website. It always brings me joy to receive e-mail from someone is a far off distant land asking about a product, or perhaps some advice on how to best setup a turntable.
Manufacturing Around The World
And this brings us to where a product is manufactured. Decades ago it appears 'Made In USA' or "Made In Britain' gave a air of top quality above nearly all other places. Japan has indeed be offering truly stunning quality for decades now as they modernized their factories long ago and now China is indeed showing their muscle. In fact it would be hard to say any one country inherently builds a higher quality product. i am not talking about raw parts, but in construction and execution techniques. Lest we forget that nearly every audiophile-grade amplifier uses various parts sourced from all around the world. Putting labor practices and wages aside, computer aided design, robotic construction, surface mounting, and flow soldering is very easy to come by. Of course 100 percent point-to-point wiring has certain advantages. The main point is that producing a quality built product should be a given as anything less is unacceptable given today's possibilities.
Have been meaning to have a Pet Peeve section within my editorials and this month marks the first of many such pieces. Virtually every longtime audiophile has certain things they find annoying and so begins my monthly editorial section titled Pet Peeves. Feel free to e-mail you personal Pet Peeves by clicking here and perhaps we will feature it within an upcoming article.
Crappy plastic loudspeaker binding posts. Ok, so the post in not obviously all plastic, as there needs to be a metal connector somewhere, but why do some manufacturers still use those weak plastic binding posts? Sure us ham-fisted reviewers can be a bit harder on equipment than others, but cheap plastic loudspeaker binding posts have no place on high-end gear. i am not talking about the excellent WBT units, i am talking about those lousy flimsy jobbies. Fortunately there have been less of these appearing on gear over the past few years. Good riddance!
Another peeve along the same lines is when a loudspeaker binding post starts 'spinning.' By this i mean as you tighten the post, the post itself begins to spin around. Too much of this and the internal connection may break off, thereby forcing you to open the unit and correct the problem. My beloved KEF Reference 104/2 has metal loudspeaker binding posts, yet after nearly a decade of use and countless loudspeaker cable connections it finally began to spin. Can not blame the post here, it has given countless hours of musical bliss. The reference here is to those posts that appear to spin upon only a few cable changes. Surely audiophiles such as myself clean all their connectors with Caig Laboratories cleaners or the like once every six months (at least).
Next month i will discuss something much more controversial so stay tuned! Of course in the end what really matters is that we all....