Every time I read hifi reviews - and I subscribe to a couple of mags, so I do read a few - I get surprised that they do not review stuff in a way that seems terribly meaningful to me.
I start from the perspective that basically all hifi kit is pretty good. There are a few lemons out there, but IMO they are few and far between. Really, what there is is a wide range of individual preference. I may not want the pneumatic controlled bass of mega-fi in my own system, but I do appreciate what it does and see why some like it.
Therefore, any review that I would do would fundamentally be an exercise in trying to get the best out of a component, and then describing what it did well. It's about finding the synergistic system - what works with the component, both in terms of other components and in terms of music.
My time with the Quad ESLs was the most interesting in this respect. I tried numerous amps, including some quite serious ones, but found that the DIY Charlize amp worked best of all, as it had the greatest transparency. (The same amp is working less well with the Lampizators, as they seem to major on natural tone, so work much better with the tube SET.) This doesn't make the Charlize the best amp, just one that delivered something quite special in the context of that system. Playing music that worked well with that transparency - 'low distortion' stuff, chamber music, acoustic folk, electronica all worked really well. Heavy rock was shit.
The mags seem to want too simple an answer: to buy or not is the only question. They don't seem to take into account the individual nature of how a system should end up - to most of them, something is either good or not. I wonder if it is time for some unsubscribing...
Please click HERE to continue reading.