ALAN SIRCOM: Back to black with minimalist hi-fi?

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The new Flat Earth?

The scale of the UK’s National Audio Show does allow the emergence of small trends that might otherwise pass unnoticed. This year, we might just be seeing the start of a rebirth of the Flat Earth properties that were once so extremely popular with UK audio buyers in the 1980s.

To recap for those who weren’t there at the time, the Flat Earth school was (the first time) dominated by brands such as Linn and Naim, which had a common goal of small, relatively inexpensive, minimalist products, coupled with boundary loudspeakers… and a lot of attitude. Over the years, the attitude mellowed a lot, the brands that came to represent this Flat Earth moved away from its core values in search of new markets… but the traditional ‘Flat Earth’ buyer stayed true to the cause. They just had to focus their attention on older products, eschewing newer products from the anointed brands because they were not quite minimalist enough.

That might be changing. A new breed of company (and, sometimes, old companies reborn) is emerging to rekindle interest in these Flat Earth concepts, and the old crowd are loving it!

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