First post to the new website - smart looking thing it is too (the site not this post)!
Can someone explain the review policy/procedure in the mag please? I've been buying WHF for years and a subscriber for the last ten. One thing that's struck me is the number of products that seem to be missed from the reviews and tests in recent years.
Missed may be the wrong word and I realise that the magazine is a pretty broad church these days with a wide range of systems and means of playback to cover, but (yes, there is a 'but'!) the hifi element seems to be overlooked - to a degree - in favour of yet another review of LCD or plasma TVs which seems to feature every other month. Alternatively, when it comes down to recommendations, you can virtually put your money on someone being pointed towards Cyrus, Roksan and Cambridge being the stock choice if the budget's between the £200 to £650 range, for instance.
When it comes to vinyl, it's even worse! If I'm in the market for a new turntable, my options based on the magazine's recent coverage in the budget sector is Project. No mention - at all - of the Rega range in virtually any recommendation or review in recent months, yet they've updated the P3, reintroduced the P2 and brought out the P1! Has their been a fallout with Roy Gandy? He's reporting brisk business for his vinyl making team, so why isn't at least some of the product range covered? When did you last cover anything from Nottingham? Their entry level deck's changed to the Horizon, but where would the mag tell me that?!
As for Goldring's Rega derivatives GR1 and GR2 decks, nary a mention in the last couple of years. Thorens have upped their game recently but you wouldn't know it.
I find myself reading as much Hi Fi Choice and Hi Fi World (the latter probably where WHF was 15/20 years ago in terms of style, perhaps somewhat uncharitably) and they are different beasts being purely hifi and mostly mid-to upper end product at that, but their coverage of new product is pretty sound.
In fairness - it's not all "gripe, moan"! - I was impressed to read the new Ortofon 2M Blue review this month, likewise the front cover is adorned by new B&W product and the pre/power combo group tests which is excellent.
I still enjoy the mag, but find I can skip some sections without a backward glance and reviews of mobile phones are best left to What Mobile!
Sorry, I don't care that I can access movies on my Sony Ericsson or play music on it, or get Radio 4, or surf the web, etc, etc. It's extending your remit too far guys (and gals)! Likewise "Instant Expert" - too repetitive after a time (CD and turntables have been repeated in recent months) and only reinforces the limitations at price points of the usual recommendations again; Cambridge, Project, Roksan, Cyrus, Arcam, with the odd esoteric item, e.g. Moon, thrown in at the top end.
My gut reaction to the magazine these days is it's trying to be all things to all people and although good, it's not really excelling. You're cramming too much in and reviews are suffering accordingly, especially in group tests where you can't really give a solid account of an item in such limited space at times.
There seems to have been a change in the last few months for the better (I may be wrong) but if it wasn't for my good subscription rate, I'd be off to one of the aforementioned mags and buying your annual HiFi compendium (the £5.99 roundup of the year's products) and the Awards issue instead.
Very encouraging to see the likes of the AstinTrew and Flying Mole CD player and amps covered (respectively) recently. More please! Consumers can then make an informed decision, not solely that Cyrus or Roksan are arguably better products, but why when compared to other competitors in range.
So, to go back to my original query, how do you go about selecting items for review? Do you contact manufacturers? Do they send you gear? Do you need a hand with listening tests, I can do Saturday mornings?! (Okay, the last one may have an element of self-interest inherent to the proposal, granted...).
Thanks for reading. One big plus though, and you have NO IDEA how big a plus this is, you've stopped calling music 'software' !
It drove me to utter distraction so much, you very nearly had another rampaging Jock piling over the border and heading south to throttle some hapless unsuspecting hifi hack to a miserable end! It was bad enough when talking about CD (I don't care that it's a pile of 1's and 0s - it's NOT software!) but it flipped me over the edge when somebody applied the term to vinyl!! Gaaaah!!!
(As you can see, I still get wound up by it!)