Good Audio Is About Simplicity
I said last month that my New Year Resolution was to re-evaluate every part of my system. And as with every New Year Resolution in the history of ever, that plan went South fairly quickly. Probably. I planned to hit the ground running, trying to find new benchmarks for my own listening and for evaluation process across all of 2023.
Actually, it probably has kicked off slightly better than I expected, but perhaps not in the way I planned. From this issue alone, I've found two really good benchmarks for stand-mount loudspeaker performance and for mid-price turntable design. They might not make the cut in terms of an absolute benchmark reference point, but in terms of making extremely high-grade sound without the bank-scarring price tag, both the Revival Audio Atalante 3 loudspeaker and the Vertere Acoustics DG-1 S turntable and arm combination (especially with the Magneto cartridge and Challenger power supply) both set a standard at their prices that is nigh on impossible to better.
The Vertere turntable range, however, gave me some chance for high-quality musing. There has been a lot of product consolidation recently, with brands thinning out product lines and ranges that have grown unwieldy over time. Vertere hasn't done that; not simply because it's still a comparatively new company, but because its products fit very specific niches and very specific owners.
If Today, it seems, good audio is about a simple solution. The days of a company making six preamplifiers, each one offering very slightly more functionality for a slightly higher price might at last be behind us. While the all-consuming pages of a magazine demand care and feeding and such a proliferation of products from a brand help, from an enthusiast's perspective in 2023, I'm perhaps more comfortable with a good-better-best solution.
I think this is more practical than incremental changes to the same basic product, and a lot better than deliberately 'locked' functions on a product that are only fully realised when you buy the top of the range. I hope that kind of cynicism in product design is long gone, or at least is struggling to stay relevant in today's audio world.
hi-fi+ was saddened to learn of the passing of David Jefferys at the end of 2022, following a short illness. David was one the UK audio world's fixtures, one of those backroom boys that the general public might not know directly, but they have probably spoken to him at length at some show or another over the decades. His list of brands he sold or promoted was like a Who's Who of British Audio, most notably Tannoy, Mordaunt Short and QAcoustics. More recently, after a short bout of retirement, he joined FinkTeam as the company's export director. Our thoughts go out to David's family and many friends and he will be greatly missed.