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Issue 146    April 2017
Vinyl Revival And Digital Audio 
Editorial By Alan Sircom


Hi-Fi+ Issue 146 April 2017


  Last year, in our regular themed issues, we split the concept of sources up into separate digital and analogue sections. This year, we decided against that course of action. Here's why: the continued success of the vinyl revival has precipitated the change. Digital audio in all – well, most – of its guises continues to be successful, but there is a lot more energy and interest going on in the vinyl world at this time.I'm hoping this doesn't end up coming back to haunt me, but discussions of the vinyl revival being nothing more than 'a fad' seem to be fading. Sales of records and record players are continuing to rise, the second-hand market for vinyl is doing a brisk trade, and people are investing in ‘new' pressing plants for the first time in a generation. Far from being just ‘on trend' at Urban Outfitters, vinyl seems to keep rolling on. And, judging by the improvement in performance at the top end of audio, why wouldn't it?

The one concern with this revival, however, doesn't come at the top end, but from the very bottom. The curious part of the 21st Century vinyl world is the best is getting better, but the worst is getting worse! We've heard horror stories about the super-budget turntables, and I've personally seen examples of these discount disc-spinners that makes me wish Dansette was still around. It might be great being able to pick up a turntable with cartridge, amplifier, and speakers for the price of two new LPs, but if the ‘stylus' is basically a poorly cut diamond chisel, those exceptionally expensive LPs (and let's face it, LPs today are rarely cheap) are being ruined each time they get played.


Hi-Fi+ Issue 146 April 2017


I would imagine this isn't a concern for Hi-Fi+ readers, many of whom will have vinyl replay systems that are several orders of magnitude better than these so-called ‘bargains'. However, as experts in the field, we need to be proselytisers of why spending a little more is a good idea. Simply moving up to the entry-level Music Hall, Pro-ject, Rega, and Thorens models, and building a cheap system round that source not only delivers far, far better sound, but isn't going to ruin your musical future. OK, in some cases, that might be a mercy killing, but I have some records that I bought second-hand that were rendered unplayable by some past catastrophe, and we need not to repeat those mistakes, or even make them worse this time.


Alan Sircom, Editor Hi-Fi+














































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