Welcome to the last issue of 2011,
and quite frankly we're pretty pleased to see the back of this year. Let's
hope 2012 will be bigger and better all round. In fact, 2011 has been an
outstanding year for great products from beginning to end. A number of people
in every industry – including the audio industry – are really pulling
together to make the best environment for people to buy fine products at a
wide range of prices. Now, all we need are those buyers...
The fascinating part of all this is just how much energy is
going into driving the audio business today. The best seem to be establishing
a framework for the future; one that's very different from how hi-fi has been.
Some of these new concepts will fail, of course, but many trying now will
redefine the way we listen to music in the future.
We are changing too. We've taken on a new staff member and
will be publishing 10 issues in 2012. We have even annexed a larger office,
which will include a dedicated listening room that we will be building early
Hi-fi is now a very broad church, covering everything from
exciting new developments in a very old format, to the major changes in
post-CD technologies, to the huge rise in sales of headphones. Just since the
last issue, we've seen a way to stream SACD-grade data to DACs and the first
£1,000 earphone set. More will follow, and although the affairs of the Beats
by Dr Dre set probably doesn't immediately impose on your day to day music
listening, there has never been a time when people spent so much money on
getting the best sound from their headphones. Maybe this is all fashion-led,
but maybe some of those people buying £300 headphones today will be
interested in home audio tomorrow. Time will tell.
You might notice a complete absence of classical reviews in
this issue. Don't worry, we aren't dropping classical music or Richard S
Foster, our classical reviewer. However, this year Richard has been
particularly unlucky with that great plague of any reviewer; the blocked
Eustachian tube. He's well on the road to recovery now, but we are going to
wait until he's back to full hearing health before strapping him to his SACD
player. We know how important Richard's reviews are to the magazine, so we'll
hope you'll understand and wish him a speedy recovery.
Alan Sircom, Editor Hi-Fi+