This is the last issue of 2009. It's been an
‘interesting' year, in the style of Chinese curses. The hi-fi industry has been challenged by the economic uncertainty of
recent months; it has had to streamline and change, belts have been tightened. Whether what survives this
economic storm proves to be stronger than before remains to be seen, but there are some small signs that signal hope.
Perhaps the biggest and best sign is from you, the readers and the buyers
of hi-fi. Yes, you recognize that things get rationalized in these difficult times, and sometimes that process is
uncomfortable. But many are shaking off the gloom that seems prevalent in the news and enjoying music again.
This year's round of audiophile shows (and there are many, dotted around the world this time of year) have seen
unexpectedly high attendance figures and people taking interest in hi-fi in all its
guises once more. And people are taking the time to shake off some of their long-held prejudices and test their beliefs and
opinions; hard-core valve types turning their mind to solid-state (or vice versa),
box speaker fans trying out panels... there are even die-hard CD users looking
kindly upon music servers, computer audio and the Squeezebox.
There's also a rare spirit of camaraderie among the people making
the next generation of products you will want to own. People normally at loggerheads with one another are
working together, bitter rivals solving their differences (sometimes even without
the use of alcohol) and striving to make the audio experience better than ever
for their customers. The cynic inside me says this happy-clappy togetherness will last about as long as it takes to find
the next client and will all be just a dim memory when the recession comes to an end. But right now, the optimist
is winning the war and hopes this is a sustaining force for good in the industry.
Part of the reason for the working together comes down to current economic forces. But not all; the ingress
of computer audio technology leaves some amplifier and speaker makers scratching their collective heads and
those in the know are often collared by those wanting to know about tomorrow's
audiophile source components.
Hopefully, that's where we come in. Onwards to 2010!