Hi-Fi+ Welcomes A 2023 System Re-Evaluation
It's 2023 at last and most of us are glad to see the back of 2022, and perhaps a little trepidatious about what the New Year will bring. In the UK at least, as we haven't had a new Prime Minister in several weeks (at least, at the time of writing), we are looking forward to a year of hopefully fewer bumps in the road.
The start of a year traditionally comes with New Year's Resolutions, that everyone is almost guaranteed to break sometime in early January. Even when I decided to game the system in my 20s and said my resolution was to drink more whisky, I quickly lost interest... and a couple of weeks. Fortunately, I'm no longer that guy.
But, New Year is also the perfect time to begin a system re-evaluation. Every few years, I think it's a good idea for a reviewer to go right back to basics and 'stress test' each component in their system. Often the decisions made several years ago in building a system piecemeal remain the right ones, but things change. Technology moves on and we change the way we listen, too.
I've already started the process. The Innuos Statement with its Next-Gen power supply represents such an important step-change that it has become my primary digital front-end. I still have the Naim and Melco models and am doing some extensive personal listening sessions to see which one gets to stay in place, but for the moment, the Innuos is winning out.
If possible, I hope to create two systems across 2023, redesigning both the studio system and building a smaller home system.
There are several reasons why I think these periodic shake-ups of a system are beneficial. First, it stops reviews from getting stale; one of the reasons we don't include the accompanying system in many of our reviews is they are often written by a small number of people, and reading the same list of products year in, year out gets tedious in the extreme.
Also, many of our reference points are 'mature'. One of my regular loudspeakers – the Wilson Audio Duette Series II – was discontinued at the start of this decade and many other products in my system are long overdue for a revisit.
As we went to press, hi-fi+ was saddened to learn of the passing of Per Abrahamsen (1944-2022), one of the founders of legendary audio company Electrocompaniet. Per's pioneering first model – The 2 Channel Audio Power Amplifier – was the first design to take intermodulation distortion into account and helped revolutionise the high-end audio industry and improve the mastering sound quality of many highly rated recording studios.
Our Russell K. competition has been won by Stephen Holland of Milton Keynes. He wins a pair of the excellent RED 50 stand-mount loudspeakers worth £1,750. Congratulations!