Avantgarde, Ayre, Cain & Cain, and More Reviewed in Hi-Fi+

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hi-Fi+ magazine has published its November issue (#62), which includes reviews of the following high-end equipment:

  • Avantgarde Uno Nano Loudspeaker
  • Sonics Amerigo Loudspeaker
  • Adam HM2 Loudspeaker
  • Ayre KX-R Pre-amplifier
  • conrad-johnson Classic Pre-amplifier
  • Plinius M8 Line-stage and SA201 Power Amp
  • Chord Electronics QBD-76 DAC
  • PS Audio Digital Link DAC
  • Cambridge Audio azur DacMagic-B
  • Cain & Cain Abby Loudspeaker
  • TLA Shin Power Amp
  • Nordost Odin Power Cords
  • Epos M22i Loudspeaker
  • Accuphase E-213 Integrated Amplifier

The new issue also includes an interesting column entitled “Playing the System” by Editor Roy Gregory. In it, Roy expresses his frustration with nefarious online forum members, as well as print reviewers who focus on their opinions instead of the facts. He goes on to say:

But more to the point, reviewers actually aren’t best placed to advise you anyway. They spend quite a lot of time listening to a very small cross section of equipment in a relatively limited system context. That equipment they’ve heard they can tell you about. What they can’t tell you is whether or not it is the right piece for you or your system and situation. There are just too many variables involved, making direct purchasing advice no more reliable than the scattergun opinions to be found on the net.

In other words, reviews are about empowering the reader, providing them with the information and tools to make decisions for themselves, rather than relying on guesswork from others. Still need some help – and who doesn’t? That’s what your dealer is for.

In my experience, dealers often have less experience with a broad range of products than reviewers do. And although dealers have the ability to actually ask you about your tastes, room, etc., it is rare that they do so. I think Roy is forgetting how interactive reviewers can be, given the desire and tools.

Chris Connaker at Computer Audiophile reviews equipment, then answers questions and gives advice to anyone who leaves a comment–right there, in the context of the review. Reviewers on most forum sites do this too. The only interaction between reviewer and reader that print media allows is a “letters to the editor” section, which is a far cry from what Chris does.

Review publications can be interactive and offer high value to readers if they want to. All it takes is letting go of the outdated print model and making use of the relatively inexpensive web tools that are available.

ANYWAY, be sure to pick up a copy of the new issue now at news stands in the UK and Europe, or download it for $7.95.