is rare that we get to fly the flag for the UK. We stress the international flavour of the magazine, and this
month's issue is no exception, packed as it is with some of the best products from around the world. Nevertheless, in the year of the London Olympics and the
Queen's Jubilee it's good to remember that – even against stiff competition building products on the other side of the world – we British can still make things, and make ‘em good!
This issue, we've highlighted 10 of what we think are the finest examples of what we British do best; engineering excellence and technological innovation. Some of this
doesn't come cheap – good engineering never does, but just ask the F1 guys why they still choose machine shops in Middle England, and
you'll understand why British can still be best.
This issue is also full of shows. Spring has become the time to show off the latest and greatest new products, and with events taking place somewhere in the world almost every weekend, you can easily run up enough air miles to buy your own Boeing. Once again,
there's a touch of flag-waving to be had; the Chester Group, the organisation behind Audio World 2012 and the National Audio Show at Whittlebury Hall in September, is fast becoming the main audio show organiser around the world. The New York Audio and AV Show, and events in Australia and Sweden are now run by the Chester Group, and doubtless there will be more to follow.
Alongside the larger shows, a series of smaller, dealer-run events are taking place around the world, building a grass-roots movement of good sound. It might be a tough time to be in business right now, but
it's a fascinating time to be in audio, because everything's changing!
And we have several great examples of that change in this issue. For example, the mighty Magico Q1 re-defines the very physics of
what's possible from a standmount loudspeaker, the Fostex HP-P1 is a perfect example of just how high the music on the move bar can be raised and the Naim SuperUniti represents the champion for the titanic change
that's taking place in the way we listen to music in the home.
Even the most unchanged format around right now – the not-so-humble vinyl LP replay – gets a makeover in the process. Recently, conrad-johnson took its already fine TEA-2 phono stage and put it through a series of improvements and upgrading of components, essentially making three products from the same circuit. But the big question is, does this make a sonic difference? If
you've ever considered buying the Special Edition, or hot-rodding your existing amplifier or phono stage with top-line components, you must read this.
It's like the 100m sprint for your ears!
Alan Sircom, Editor Hi-Fi+