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Which Hi -Fi mag?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by norsk, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. norsk

    norsk
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    :) Hi,
    Just a very quick question,if i may.
    I now live in Norway.....have been out touch,with the hi-fi world for quite a few years now...
    Long ago..i used to take "What Hi-Fi Magazine" each month....(nearest i ever came to owning a dream hi-fi system!)..
    I am once again considering either subscribing..or trying to get hold of any of the English language mags here in Norway?
    I only want to take one title....

    So any preferences ...as to which magazine to go for nowadays?

    I am hoping eventually to audition a range of well respected products ... from the likes of CYRUS/SUGDEN/PRIMERA/ROSKAN/NAIM/LINN/MERIDIAN/MUSICAL FIDELITY
    CASTLE/SPENDOUR e.t.c...e.t.c.

    Which ever mag has the best and most respected reviews e.t.c. will do for me....
    Interested to hear what you think?

    all the best & many thanks
    cheers
    Steve :smashin:
     
  2. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    I buy two mags. Both cater to different ends of the market (sort of).

    Hi-Fi World covers a lot of budget kit, valves, turntables and DIY stuff.

    HiFi+ covers the high-end (mostly unaffordable audio porn!) and also has a comprehensive music review section.

    Every else is tripe, especially Hi-Fi Choice, which is always last on the circuit, in terms of reviewing new gear.

    What Hi-Fi? are ad-revenue whores, whose writing style is targeted at Sun reader level.

    Hi-Fi News is OK, but it has a strong technical slant and can be a dull read sometimes.

    Rgds,
    DT
     
  3. robfitzp

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    I get Hifi + to read about the stuff I'll never be able to afford and HifiNews which covers AV gear and more mainstream hifi kit as well as the expensive stuff. Both a good read, though I think HiFi News reviews can sometimes be too brief.

    You can have a web sub to Hifi + which would be a bit cheaper than postal to Norway.

    Agree about What HiFi - absolute tripe.

    Cheers
    Rob
     
  4. norsk

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    Cheers Rob & DT....
    And i used to think that "What-Hi-fi" was the dogs watsitts!! i have led a sheltered life....
    To be fair it was really the only magazine i ever read (hi-fi) did not really look at the others...and it was at least 12years! ago...
    I have been looking at Hi-Fi News & Hi-Fi + on the web and like what i see..so your comments are well founded i beleive.I will see what some of the bigger newsagents have here....in the way of u.k. hi-fi mags....subs a bit pricey to Norway..will also check out the web sub at Hi-Fi + did not see that
    thanks guys
    much appreciated

    cheers
    steve
     
  5. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Norsk, If I may endorse a different viewpoint to the fine gents above.

    I think every last one of them is pants, you are much better served reading online hifi forums such as these than any pompouse review purporting to be factual, than say a cross section of users who have different opinions about hifi and kit, you peruse/discuss then decide what you think, rather than a one sided slanted view of audio that the mags offer. Take one little point, how many mags would you ever see mention CAT5 loudspeaker cable ? None. This would be forever lost without places like this or others, I think the mags get an easy time in the UK TBH.

    Mags are best regarded as being glorified catalogues. Keep them in that vein and you can actually live with some of the crap written ie :

    Hifi+ - and its biased slant to its main cable advertiser Nordost. And an editor who would like nothing better than to see places like the one you have just posted in closed down, because only he would like his opinion to be carried. A plonker of the highest disorder.

    HFW - TTs are best, oh TTs are this that and the next thing. Again a slanted non real world view of what many audiophiles hear. Decent DIY coverage though, but again often veers into "FITG - Fairies in the garden" type hyperbole.

    HFN - Well every issue has a Ken Kessler "new" benchmark in audio, lets face it most audio kit is on the whole quite good, but the only saving grace about this magazine is the John Crabbe column (and its second hand lists). This was the last mag I subscribed to (4 years) and a Martin Colloms review of a Plinius amp that sounded better without the "ferromagnetic" interfering casework was the end for me. Total pants.

    HFC - Again a good way to see the specs and descriptions of kit.

    what the fudge - Pfffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffft.

    Consider this, every review you will ever read is in someone elses system, their room acoustics, listening to their type of music.

    Not really much relevance to you when you think about it, is it?.
     
  6. norsk

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    Hi Cj....
    Bloody hell!! what a fantastic and comprehensive reply...many thanks my friend....even while i was penning my previous reply to Rob & Dt I was thinking very much on the lines you were expressing..re-better off,reading and contributing to the hi-fi forums..especially this one...me thinks!

    Early this morning i was lapping up the thread
    "i got £1200 to spend on amp & cd player help!!"

    I found it ,to say the least interesting and i new the folks on this forum new their stuff! I have posted on a couple of hi-fi forums last couple of days and was going to get around to posting on this forum..asking for advice and comments on auditioning and eventual purchase of my first real audio system!I briefly referred to having only read the magazine ,who`s name we will not utter!!!and that`s as near as i ever got to Hi-fi?

    But to be honest,i felt a bit like a fish out of water...especially after reading several of your threads.I was going to wait a bit before posting..until i had a better feel for the subject?

    anyway seeing i`m here now anyway..i may aswell start the ball rolling..i am looking at a budget of very approx 2,000 to 3000? disc based system (maybe one of the new multi format players?)hopefully the bottom of this range,and including all the extras,stands,cables e.t.c.

    I am just in the questions and short list phase,at this time..living in Norway at the moment...maybe returning to u.k.? only then will i be auditioning and eventually purchasing said system.

    So i have plenty of time,to learn..and put together a short list of top gear.and i am sure you guys will be of great help in this.I was checking out the PRIMERA/SUGDEN also the CASTLE speakers ..
    Mr Ross suggested)after reading the thread this morning..and very impressive it looks & sounds to.i have always been impressed by the CYRUS range...again only because of what i have read in the Hi.-fi mags e.t.c.

    I know this is most likely not the way to go,and i have probably not asked the right questions e.t.c.
    but i will be facsinated to hear your views, comments advice e.t.c.

    all the best
    Steve :smashin:
     
  7. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    I would tend to agree with CJ and have now stopped buying magazines unless there is a particular article or review that I want to look at closely. Don't forget that the reviews for a good range of kit are available online through this forum although that has more of a HC slant.

    Have you got Lateralus yet CJ? :)
     
  8. Kenny Glasgow

    Kenny Glasgow
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    I too agree with CJ :thumbsup: I used to subscribe to all the mags but have let them laps over the past two years.

    The only sub I still have is to HFN which expires soon. I had the renewal notice for HF+ but ignored it.

    HFN : Some good reviews and good though small music review section. Ken Kessler writes some good articles but his eqiuipment reviews are "emporer's new clothes" every time. John Crabbe is from the old school and 100% classical and Radio3, but can be a good read.

    HF+ : Should be Hi-Fi Minus! Good looking mag well put together but prints utter drivvel like £1500 power cables wired with silver much better sounding than copper power cables :eek: Everything digital is crap with SACD "getting close to vinyl but still not as good". Jazz rules for the editor and if you don't like what he says then you must be wrong. Good music review section though

    HFW - Bandwagon jumpers! Find a trendy topic and write about it till its not trendy anymore. Like to be controversial

    WHF - Sells more than all the rest put together. Aimed at the mass market and Supertests which it does very well.....

    HFC _ Not too bad but it tries to be both HFN and WHF at same time. Nice looking mag and has a small but good music review section

    Better off being in here :smashin:
     
  9. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Steve regards being a newbie and asking questions, that’s what these forums are for. We all started out somewhere.

    If you keep your chosen system quite simple you can build quite a lot of performance for the money. Ie Universal DVD player £1000, Stereo £1000 amplifier & £1000 Speakers – a rough 1/3 split. Choose a set of components that interest you, try to get a listen to them at a dealers, or buy second hand and listen to them at home in your system in your room to your taste.

    Ive always used a stereo system for my DVD needs, as Im more interested in music (CD & Vinyl), you can get very decent sounding DVD players for CD for example, even then you can add a DAC onto to it if you wish a change / upgrade to the sound later. Amp wise as I say stereo is the way to go if your music orientated, quite frankly 5.1 AV reciever & speaker setups ie 5.1 sets cant compete with 2 channels integrated stereo amplification and 2 decent speakers. Its all relative to the budget your spending (do the maths). Then select a set of quality stereo speakers. Hye voila, you may end up assembling a system that the mags would never suggest.


    Yep Stunning EJ.

    Kenny G. Spot on.
     
  10. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    :devil: so Colin, what do you think of Hifi Choice, I see they 'quoted' you this month :devil:
     
  11. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Did they ? I bet it was nothing subversive Nic, FWIW they have lifted a few peoples comments on the HFC and quoted them out of context (famously with “do cables make a difference”). I will say one thing in HFCs defence or FTM in one mans defence, Richard Black regularly appears on the HFC forum and tries to guage how/what/why we hear things, he’s even ran 3 track ABX tests via post on that forum to members. Now if only a more journos were like him we may read some more common sensed based opinion, rather than the “fairies” were regualrly treated to.
     
  12. stebbo

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    I would like to contradict CJ here if I may? I think £1000 for a universal is too much.
    for £3000 I would suggest this sort of system
    Dynaudio 52Se speakers on some nice stands £1100.
    Arcam 90 integrated amp £900
    Denon 2910 Universal £500

    £100 or less on the sundries.

    This or similar type of systems will off a beautiful sound for all type of music and the will play movies in Stereo at a very high quality. Obviously you wont get the surrond sound, but many people are happy with quality stereo sound over indifferent surround sound.

    Of course going second-hand / Exdemo can save you much cash and increase the options.
     
  13. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Of course you can contradict Stebbo, but I don’t agree, The 2910 is well renowned as being pretty crap @ CD playback, Denon seem to have mislaid the recipe of the 2900 rated as good for CD by many. I would suggest that a good £1000 universal player, ie Marantz 9500, or forgoing SACD, say a Arcam DV27 type player is the way to go. Not all universal players are good CD players IMHO. But as you mention you can pick up plenty of good CD capable DVD based players second hand.

    Amps & speakers, well theres loads to choose from, but suffice to say the A90 would not be on my list, maybe a A32. And above. Anwyay A £3000 System, hows about :

    Primare DVD30 £1300 ex-dem
    Primare A30 Mk II £700 second hand
    Dynaudio 1.3s £600
    £400 REL/MJ Pro sub.

    Here is a thread that relevant here I feel for CD sound from DVD players :

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=231805
     
  14. stebbo

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    All I will say here is this.

    I did a Blind test of the following,
    Cyrus CD8
    Harman Kardon DVD25
    Denon 2910

    Three of us tried and all could net tell the difference on CD play back when not knowing what was playing.

    So on that basis I refute your comments regarding the CD playback of the Denon. You havent been reading thise mags again have my old friend?!? :cool:
     
  15. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Is the Cyrus 8 really that bad Stebbo ? :cool:

    Im just recounting the amount of people who liked the 2900 and not the 2910 for CD old chap. FWIW Im not into have a pop at cheaper kit, read my views on the Sony 900 in that thread above. I also use very happily a Pioneer 717 for CD duties in my second system. So maybe the 2910 is good for a few people, but I tend to suggest kit that is liked by a majority. Going by what the mags say ? Me ?

    PS did you try a cable test at the same time ?
     
  16. norsk

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    Hi CJ & Stebbo....
    Many thanks
    Please Keep your views coming..you have already given me much food for thought..and i am enjoying reading your comments very much..just one comment i would like to add,the only reason i I was considering a multi format player,was because i had heard some good reports on DVD A in particular..(does dvd-a require 5.1 to sound at it`s best) if it does i am beginning to think,that i should maybe just concentrate on two channel stereo...after reading your comments on surround sound e.t.c.
    I will,as i have said be auditioning my eventual shortlist...good thing is i have plenty of time ...

    Not that i am in the market..but i have been reading a lot about the SHANLING CD & Amps ..besides their wow looks,they sound as though they are right up there with the big boys?e.t.c.
    Cj, like the sound of the PRIMERA`S from the little i have read to date...I have all on, trying to curb my over enthusiasm...with the incredible choice of top gear...i`m like a kid in a sweet shop!

    all the best
    Steve :smashin:
     
  17. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    Sorry for being :offtopic: , but I'm not sure I'd recommend the 2900's CD playback abilities any more. I was initially impressed with it, but six months down the line, I am less enamoured.

    I've found that it can sound glassy, mechanical and hard at times. There's a layer of digital sheen there, that good DACs & CDPs don't have.

    Don't get me wrong - it's fine for the money. But, I think for serious, long-term use, you'll have to invest in a quality DAC to get the best out of it.

    DT

    I listened to the NAIM True Stereo disc through it last night (probably the best test disc ever - absolutely stunning stuff - a must own cd) and the 2900 just collapsed under the strain. Sounded confused, muddled, splashy & glassy. Very disappointing :(
     
  18. stebbo

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    Good bad or indifferent who knows. I believe and have seen first hand that once you dont allow the listener to see what they listening too( use your ears only and not your preconceptions) then all good well designed products are indistinguishable. That is all



    As we both know most opinions are formed during sighted listening test which does tend to affect the outcome as we both know.

    Not this time but I have a few with various people over the years and no one can tell the difference.
     
  19. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    As a frequent member of the HiFi Choice listening panels (always unsighted) I can assure you that isn't the case :). CD players in particular never cease to amaze me with their variability.
     
  20. stebbo

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    Tons
    I have no details on the protocol used in the HFC tests. But if as you say they are all so different the I suggest you go over to uk.rec.audio on google as there is a pot of about 10,000 dollars for someone who can distingiush players that are level matched.

    I wish you well. Chuck a few quid our way when you win it wont you? :)
     
  21. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    I think that the award is for different cables rather than devices. :)
     
  22. stebbo

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    I think it has been extended to competently designed CD players too. As I am not party to the challenge I cannot comment on the ful details, but a quick trip to said site will find the details.
     
  23. phalaris

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    Lateralus is the best thing they ever made. Quite simply they put psychedelia into words. Something which, by the very nature of a trip, is almost impossible.
    Genius album.. and nice to see a common music taste.
     
  24. G a f f e r

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    NO hi-fi mags (inc HFC) conduct blind trials (single or double), so placebo will ALWAYS play a part in tests [and wether you like it or not, advertising is important to them].
    Also, different rooms are different, different ears are different etc etc.
    I generally tend to see if there is an overall consensus of what's good and what's not before putting together a shortlist, then going out to listen for myself.
    Just to also add:

    What HiFi: when I first got interested in Hi-Fi in early 90's, they used to have good common sense approaches to equipment (eg, who cares about flashing lights, it's not individual components more like how they act synergistically, it's not how it looks it's how it sounds, keep signal path as simple and uncluttered as possible etc etc.).
    Returning to them after a couple of years they're ABSOLUTE HORSESH*TE.
    More interested in "ASBO-bling" merchandise than real hi-fi.....and what is it with their page upon page of adverts that never quote prices, just a lame £CALL ? Take out the ads and the equally lame "how to plug a cd player in" sections and you're left with maybe a third of a magazine? (glad I got that off my chest :D )....the veritable Daily Mail of hi-fi mags.

    HFC: Always have odd recommendations c.f. what I actually hear when auditioning (eg, chances are, if I've heard a speaker that I think sounds too thin/splashy treble (like tannoy sensys DC1), theyd've inevitably given it an editor's choice or something). Works other way too...kit I invariably love (like PMC FB/GB1) they tend not to give top billing too (they like it, they just don't LURVE it)....which is fine, I just audition kit they don't like and I'm bound to come up with a good shortlist :D ). Overall I think it's a Kinda average read really....not worth getting a sub to. I finish reading it too quickly to keep me satisfied with the £4 or so (ditto alll the mags here)

    HFN: Decent mag, quite techie....but what is it with the AV section? For Christ's sake if I wanted to read about the latest projector I'd go and buy "Projector weekly" or something. I want to pay for a HIFI mag not an AV mag. :rolleyes:

    HFW: too much TT stuff (but then, I haven't got one :) ) but decent DIY bits (when they're not endlessly banging on and on and on about World aUDIO dESIGN valve kits that is....."yes, this £20million valve amp is very very good.....but ours is better, neh neh n neeeh neeeeh).
    Ditto the continued coverage of mp3/pc hybrid machines (best left to pc world imho). Again, take the non-HiFi stuff out and you're left with a very thin magazine.

    Stereophile/HF+ Up their own A**es but lotsa audiophile porn nonetheless (and fe*king expensive too). Good to buy if you want to gaze at equipment you're hardly likely to ever own, and if you did, you'd probably not be an enthusiast (just v v rich :devil: ) so wouldn't buy the mag anyway.

    (and breath in.....hold it.....relllaaaaxxxxxxxxxx :D )
    But then again, I'm very old school and believe that multichannel/dvd/mp3/av is not Hi-Fi........yet to find a mag devoted to pure stereo pleasure.

    Overall: Forums are a good idea: This one, zero gain, pink fish etc etc
     
  25. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    I completely disagree with this. Whilst it's hardly the bible when it comes to serious enthusiasts such as those who post here, it's invaluable to those just starting out. I would expect that most of the forum members here have bought a copy WHF at some stage and those "How to plug a CD player in" sections are useful to a great number of people; particularly those who don't buy such magazines regularly but want an introduction into getting the best from their nice new equipment. :)
     
  26. G a f f e r

    G a f f e r
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    At the end of the day, most of this mag is no longer what I consider to be Hi-Fi......lots of plasma screem/TFT reviews.....lots of MP3 thingymejigs......lots of "available from argos" all-in-one midi/mini systems etc.....very little pure hi-fi.
    Now I know that a little is ok, but my point is that WHF should be considered a "general electronic and av" mag first imo. I also think their reviews are cr*p, ditto the idea of buying a mag only to find i've bought a kind of "Exchange and Mart" instead :D
    And finally, they do tend to lie. I've read on countless occasions where they commend a certain piece of kit eg..this amp has oodles of bass, only to pick up the mag a couple of months later and find the review states "bass not very substantial". Now it's Ok to state that "we change our mind as newer amps have raised the bar" but you shouldn't really lie and pretend you've "never rated this amps bass" when a few months ago you were doing just that. (a fine line but an important one).
    I wouldn't trust the reviews as far as i could throw them (which isn't very far as the mags loaded down with bleedin' adverts :D )

    Again, I admit I used to buy this mag (and yes, lots of people start out buying this....which is fine for one issue or so...certainly not a sub), and the equipment review is the largest out there on paper.......I just wouldn't trust their opinions is all
     
  27. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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  28. G a f f e r

    G a f f e r
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    I do tend to go on a bit don't I? (I wish I were as succint as you) ....there I go again.....where've those smilies gone....



    ....i'll get me coat :(
     
  29. norsk

    norsk
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    :)Hi Gaffer 74 & Eviljohn2

    Since originally posting this thread,i have come to look at the Hi-Fi mags,in a totally different light after reading all your comments and strongly held views on the subject....

    upon reflection,I now know that the best places to find unbiased first hand information, is on the dedicated forums,such as this one..from guys & gals,who are passionate & knowledgable on the subject,normally without any agenda?

    That said ,in the many years i did avidly lap up WHM..I really enjoyed looking at the kit, and enjoyed the reviews..and "how plug in a CD" e.t.c...
    So i do think in this regard...Eviljohn as a valid point, that whilst it would never be a bible to you guys on this forum..to someone like me it was a good intro in to the world of HI-FI dreams.........and i suspect it will always have a part to play,for some...
    another point worth mentioning i think..for most of the 20 or so years i took the mag..their was no internet..or forums...

    Now we have a whole new world of communication technology,at our fingertips,where we can discuss,ask questions, receive answers instantly!

    So on this level alone, magazines are not the only source of info,anymore...
    As you will have probably read,my knowledge of Hi-fi came exclusively from WHM?
    Now I honestly feel, Hi-fi groups,and forums,are a far better way to access the information i am looking for.And already i feel i have soaked up quite a lot of useful advice..which i hope will continue...up to and beyond the time i am ready to begin auditioning HI-FI (for the first time)

    all the best guys
    this is a terrific forum

    cheers
    Steve :smashin:
     
  30. limbk

    limbk
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    Stebbo,

    I have the Denon 2910 and the Roksan Candy MKIII CD player at home. I spent a week testing them both. It wasn't blind testing but it was a A/B comparison. I made a copy of CD which I used for the test. I played the 2 discs simultaneously and made A/B comparisons. After a week of testing, I've come to the conclusion that there is no discernible difference between the players. If I had to go through blind testing, I know I won't be able to tell them apart.

    I sometimes wonder why blind testing is not done more often. I think the results would be interesting! I think a fair number of people cannot tell the difference between a good quality CD and a DVD player from the mainstream brands, such as Sony or Denon.
     

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