We Celebrate hi-fi+ Awards 2022
It's the combination of our Awards issue and the last issue of the year that makes it all but impossible not to be a little reflective, and while there is a lot to be extremely upbeat about in audio (at least the world is going in the right direction when it comes to music replay!), any such reflective moments can easily hit a sad note.
For me, one of the early defining moments in my audio story was listening to a system I thought remarkable... and just slightly out of my league at the time. Back in the 1980s, I auditioned a system that comprised a Nottingham Analogue turntable, a Croft Acoustics pre/power amplifier combo and a pair of ProAc Tablette loudspeakers. This was before I entered the audio industry, before I discovered the joys of 'Flat Earth'... just a guy looking to get some good sounds in his rented flat.
However, this was also one of those systems that ultimately set me on the career path I have followed for most of my working life. Even though I couldn't quite afford it, this was one of those systems that I just couldn't get out of my head.
Tom Fletcher, the brains behind Nottingham Analogue, was the first to leave us, taken too soon back in 2010 after a long illness. Last year, Stewart Tyler of ProAc died and earlier this month, we were saddened to learn of the passing of Glenn Croft of Croft Acoustics early in November 2022. Even the store has gone!
Over my time in the industry, I met two out of these three unknowingly-influential people many times. Both Tom and Stewart were warm and friendly people and those who knew them miss them terribly. Glenn Croft, however, was famously reclusive, and even after more than 30 years in audio publishing, I never had the chance of thanking him for putting me on this eccentric journey through audio.
Of course, both Nottingham Analogue and ProAc live on, and the legacies of Tom and Stewart extend beyond the brands they built. During his long illness, Tom designed models for his friends and associates, and turntables like Pear Audio are the result. Also, many loudspeaker designers began their careers working for Stewart at ProAc or even Celef. Glenn's designs were more personal and hand-built, however, so it's unclear whether Croft Acoustics will live on, but in a very real way I hope so.
An Apology: In our last issue (213) we ran a feature, interviewing the legendary Steve Harley. This feature included two images made by the photographer Martin Bone. These were supplied by Steve Harley's publicist, but we failed to provide the correct attribution for these excellent images in our magazine. We would like to take this opportunity to apologize unreservedly to Martin Bone for failing to attribute these images in the magazine, and for any inconvenience or dismay this caused.