Politics and hifi – or should this be ….. hifi politics?

Editorial note: From time to time we look back at debates that at the time held our interest. A few of them remain interesting to us and by implication, we hope for you too. This one started in 2015 and some of the observations are quite amusing. A few of them are here and below the thread starter just so that you can judge the flavour.


The thread starts .....

In this months Stereophile, which landed on the doormat earlier, there is a rather interesting response from the editor John Atkinson to a reader complaining about some allegedly political comment made in an earlier issue. I found Atkinson's response interesting and worthy of a thread. The first part mentions global warming and I have nothing to add to that so will quote just the second part of it:

Dip in and out HERE

A few extracts:

1: I think for a start, you are arguing from a wrong tangent point. The big elephant in the room' question : "JUST when exactly did "Naim stuff" become the epitome of Hi Fi .....before the latest craze of extreme miniaturized dimensions came into existence?" It is interesting at the moment to see just how far people are willing to bend the Law of Physics in Hi Fi and pretend that you can move a lot of air with virtually things the size of a pin -head.
Only perhaps in some peoples' tunnel-vision view of what Hi Fi is, I contend?  Time people woke up and realized in other parts of the World...the upward daisy- chain purchase chain of Naim & Linn goods , for example to create some form of decent reproduction ....were looked on as fruitless endeavours of mirth that would lead to disappointments for many seekers.

2: Small spaces and budgets are a reality that the HiFi/AV industry needs to respond to, and churning out highly expensive separates systems with the same apparent 'mix and match' business model as the 1950's is not going to do terribly well other than to very well heeled baby boomer niche audiophiles in todays market. The future for Hifi in the 21st century lies in very high quality, discreet, active speakers with suitable onboard amplification, active room compensation with DSP, and an ability to stream sources around the dwelling if necessary/desirable. Companies such as Meridian, B&O, and now Linn are following this business model, and whilst not cheap, the results are pretty spectacular, easily comparing with much larger, 'traditional' Hifi in outright performance terms. Hifi is still alive and well, it's just re-inventing itself to suit modern market demands - as it should.

3: It is interesting that you state that speakers cannot be tiny and sound great, then go on to say that compact to medium stand mounts "look" fine. I'm absolutely not arguing with your point of view, heaven forbid, we are all entitled to decide for ourselves. I've been amazed myself by the power and quality of a tiny T-amp. But speakers are a different matter.
By the way, what is the logic of stand-mounts? They have the same footprint of a speaker 3 times the size that would provide better and more extended bass.

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