Is it all down to the super-moon and cosmic influence? I'm not talking about the sound of cables this time, but the sudden flurry in take-over activity in UK Hi-Fi plc. Some weeks ago now Tannoy (est. 1926) were absorbed into German firm Music Group headed by Uli Behringer who uses this company as a holding vehicle for many, many pro-audio brands, including his own Behringer – well-known for its pro-music products.
For me, as editor of Hi-Fi World, the takeover was ‘close to home' in many senses because I have a long-standing interest in Tannoy and their products as well as a deep appreciation of the company sound – popular in the music business for its dynamic nature which is why Tannoy loudspeakers have been used widely as studio monitors in the past. Happily, Hi-Fi World remains just about the only magazine able to competently measure and audition big Tannoys so again we get their latest and greatest for your delectation - the GRF90s featured in this issue.
After Tannoy came the news that Monitor Audio have taken over Roksan. This did surprise me because Tufan Hashemi has been running Roksan for a long, long time (est. 1985) and is a deep enthusiast as well as a charming MD whose company I always enjoy because he is very amenable to telling me all when I ply him with wine at our North London local. This is how you keep up to speed in hi-fi!
And now another big surprise, as a major stalwart of UK hi-fi, SME (est. 1946), gets new management. SME reside in the lush countryside of Southern England, at Steyning in Sussex. Founder Alastair Robertson-Aikman, was a renown perfectionist, insisting tractors mowing his fields outside the mansion window execute perfectly straight lines to the horizon! Alastair also listened to stacked pairs of Quad electrostatics driven by our own World Audio Design 300B amplifiers after I insisted he must stop using imperfect transistors!
Of course, it may not be the moon or anything else cosmic having influence, rather than more earthly issues like a shrinking market with ever more companies vying for a piece of it. Companies have to keep up – and it isn't easy.
I hope these British companies, all of whom are founded on quality, continue successfully – and we can continue to review their products for you.