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Volume 11 No. 4
October / November / December 2017

We Remember Our Friends... And Who Is A B&O Customer?
Editorial By Paul Messenger


HIFICRITIC Volume 11 Number 4 October / November / December 2017


  Let me start this editorial by welcoming readers to our stand at the Bristol hi-fi show. We are normally at the end of the first floor corridor that goes past the hotel's restaurant. You're more likely to catch me at the stand on the Sunday, as I'll be doing the rounds, covering the show for Stereophile on the Friday and Saturday. I can't speak for Martin, but he'll probably be spending more time on the stand. You'll notice that we've set aside a couple of pages in this issue for the obituaries of John Borwick and Gerard Chretien. This has been a bad quarter for key people in the industry, and I shall use this editorial to mention four others who didn't get a formal HIFCRITIC obituary.

First to be mentioned is Richard Lord, who used his own initials and got his timing just right when he left the Merchant Navy and launched his range of REL subwoofers. Three important US citizens have also passed away recently. I did meet Arnie Nudell on one occasion – we went to a Prom together – and was also aware that he co-founded both Infinity and Genesis speaker brands, and could be regarded as a founder of hi-fi's 'hi end'. I never met Charley Hansen, who was responsible for founding Ayre Acoustics, but the Stereophile announcement says: “the world has lost one of the most creative and innovative minds”. And I always had time for Dick Shahinian's unusual loudspeakers, though again I never met him personally.


HIFICRITIC Volume 11 Number 4 October / November / December 2017


The B&O Customer?
I have to admit I was shocked, when I recently discovered that Bang & Olufsen no longer made CD players. Not for myself, but for my ageing mother, who was born around the same time as the company (that's the 1920s), yet only purchased her Beosound Century (a rather cute music system with integral loudspeakers) less than 20 years ago.

I don't mind the fact that the CD mechanism had developed some problems
after nearly 20 years. I do mind the fact that I can't replace it with a new B&O equivalent less than 20 years later. Wandering around the Indulgence show a few weeks back I asked a number of exhibitors whether they still made and sold CD players, and was assured by most that they did (and those that didn't had devices that first 'ripped' a CD and then replayed it via a SS or hard drive).

Furthermore, actual CD sales seem to be holding up surprisingly well, if only for their convenience as a useful digital audio storage medium – as anybody who regularly attends rock concerts will realise.

And while I don't dispute the observation that streaming almost certainly represents the ultimate future for music storage and delivery, especially among younger consumers, one has to question whether that's necessarily the B&O customer.


– Paul Messenger



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