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I have only recently purchased my first copy of Hi>Fi+ (Issue 10) and for what it's worth, I was very impressed. The articles were well written, the reviews were complete to give you a good read on the item, in review, and yet not overly long-winded. There was no sarcasm laced through the magazine, which was printed on good quality, easy to read paper.
While the magazine is not cheap ($8.99, I think, at B & N) it was enjoyable enough that I will buy more. For me it was a refreshing change.
I have a healthy scepticism towards most of the UK mags,What Hi-fi is really aimed at the low to medium market in the UK-the reviews are predictible but the magazine is good at what it is.
Hi-fi +,is much more high-end and frankly has a few writers I do not care for,Jimmy Hughes constant promotion for both Russ Andrews mains equipment and Statmat products is transparent in the extreme,it's well put together but overpriced I think £5,here in the UK.
The best most balanced mag by a mile I think is Hi-fi News-covers a good range of equipment and music and has Ken Kessler probably the UK's best hi-fi writer,he's controversal but good.
It is good for low end audiophile gear, mostly British
integrateds. Many hear will say it is not real audiophile
mag, exactly right it doesn't try to be, it is geared to the
entry level audiophile gear and I think it is good for this
type of stuff.
I think the monthly shootouts where 4-8 different units of similar price are compared head to head is very
What Hi-Fi reviewers do not have a clue IMHO. It is also 90% advertising. It's not that they only review low to mid-fi equipment, it is that they seem to like the cheaper stuff over the higher end stuff by the same manufacturer. When the Rotel RCD951 CD player gets 5 gold stars and an editors choice award and the RCD971 gets 3 stars and so so comments, it makes you wonder who is listening. I think they listen to a lot of Rock music so if the component is rough sounding they think it is good.
I also think you are right and they do not take the time to burn in equipment and match systems. It seems in my experience better equipment needs more burn in time. Maybe why they seem to favor the cheaper stuff as I mentioned above.
There is a lot of consensus that the Cambridge Audio D500 CD player is a great value for a an under $400 CD player. They hated it and thought it was extremely dull and bland, which is how it sounds right out of the box before it breaks in.
I liked the old Hi-Fi Choice a lot (probably because they agreed with my opinion of a lot of the older equipment that they have reveiwed in the past:-). However they seem to have reorganized and the new reviews are not anywhere near as informative as the old. Hopefully they will go back to more in depth reviews as others must have already noted this to them.
PS: In the past I have noticed that some raving 5 star components reviewed by What Hi-Fi only rate 3-4 stars from Hi-Fi Choice (quite a spread I would say). In addition if you go through the old reviews you will see that Hi-Fi Choice has returned various "defective" components to the manufacturers (ones that operated, but that did not seem quite right) for ones that were "right", which shows that they were really listening.
Sugarbie,I agree about the reviews however if you check their monthly testing CD's,it's usually a mixture of styles of music they listen to or at least profess to listen to.
Personally I think this mag is about keeping the low to medium market in the UK buoyant but I'm sceptical about reviews anyway,even in the better mags...
About their rating system : the price of the components effect the ratings. Like say a $10000 KRELL had a 3 stars rating, does not mean the $300 NAD with 5 stars is better than the KRELL, the KRELL would be far better the NAD in absolute sense, but the KRELL is not favorit against a $10000 Meridian with 5 stars. You can found this writing in the front of list of components.
About their fairness, I would say they are about the only mag dares to let 5 or 6 same price range components go head to head and tell you how good the winner is and how bad the loser is. So I don't see they are afraid to upset the advertisers.
But they only review mid-fi stuffs which it is true. And of course, they don't take time to burn-in.
Bigboy: If they dont take the time to run in the components, how accurate can the reviews be? I just broke in my DAC after an upgrade (200+ hours) and it does not even sound like the same unit that I took out of the shipping carton. Is it a definite that they do not break in the equipment? You think that some of the manufacturers might though, if they don't.
I think to be fair,I'm not sure you can say that they don't break their demo's in,I've seen items such as the Sony SACD's given great reviews, these are notoriously long in running in,if what I read here is true.
They must have some level of professionalism,no?
I think they deal less with the audiophile level of detail in their reviews and just cut to the chase for the ordinary guy who wants to listen to music which excludes most of us.
Wassup ?! British Stereo Review. Lightweight fluff with very little actual analysis of a component's sound. Their focus is British mid-fi. Same stuff their advertising discount mail order houses sell. Their reviews are so generic that I wonder if they actually listen to the components. Appears to be a sister publication to the equally crummy motorcycle magazine 'What Bike'. Maybe they just swap the pictures....