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Magazine Content - Subjects and Reviews

tamefox

New member
Dec 3, 2015
3
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Hey folks, I've been reading WHF for many years and have generally enjoyed it, with informative articles and a good guide to equipment at the back.

However, in the last two years or so I think it has lost the plot in some areas.

A ) Smart phones

Why do we keep getting so many reviews of smart phones? This a magazine for Hi-Fi - originally audio, but now video as well (adapt and survive) - not 'Stuff' magazine - but primarily for audio, or so I thought.

I appreciate that the magazine has to pander to the wider audience - but there are mags out there for smart phones, and I certainly don't want to see them in my HiFi mag. (No, I'm not a Luddite, I use a dual SIM WIleyFox Swift phone).

Whilst a few of them may produce quality music, that comes down to the DAC and file formats and the buds/phones/ or analogue out amp hook up.

So, it could be confined to those relevant key features that are in the phone, and how it sounds with a good set of cans or amp (but not lossy Bluetooth).

B ) User Guides

I used to find the back of the mag very useful when trawling for reviews of 2nd-hand equipment and new equipment, to confine my search to 5 or 4 star gear only, and decide if one star missing mattered in the features I was looking for.

Now the guide takes up lots of room with pictures of the kit, very few per page, and only 5 star gear / award winners.

Who needs pix in the guide listing? - if you're interested for real then google is your friend...

It seems to be a tenet of 'pretty pictures trumps content'.

C ) The new format pages

Lots of bright bold graphics cluttering up the pages - but reviews of streamers happily state 'DLNA' on some, but e.g. neglect to tell you that it is only ONE DLNA function..

Style over substance again....

D ) DLNA - or not....

An important but much neglected topic - mentioned in passing and uninformatively in most cases.

Some devices are DLNA Servers, some are Controllers and some are Renderers. Some combine multiple functions. But there is only ever a DLNA icon on the pages and no further info, other than (usually) you can stream from your NAS.

You can also stream TO several home cinema amps, and Oppo BD players and others, but this DLNA Renderer capability is rarely/never mentioned.

Come on guys, we're into the IoT era, with IFTTT etc - the landscape is shifting massively in selection and playback choices and interoperability.

DLNA is the most exciting development around, but a complete minefield of inoperability - nowhere close to the Holy Grail it could be.

So how about some articles about DLNA standards, devices (virtual and hardware) and how it's supposed to work together, and the Apps out there on IoS, Android etc to drive it. There's a whole raft of apps out there, mostly appalling, of which none attain more than about 8 of the top 12 features required.

Plex, Servio, Bubble, AllConnect, AllPlay, Muzo, etc etc.

It's no wonder people are driven en masse to the likes of Sonos (with its massively over-rated sound quality) which offers a solution.

The manufacturers are mainly trying to drive us all to buy their one-supplier solutions, at massive expense and underspec'd quality of delivery.

E ) Portable / Multi-Room speaker systems

How can a Sonos Play 1 MONO speaker at £150 be good value? Oh yes, you can have stereo for £300....

What HiFi over the last couple of years has been filled with rave reviews (and some poorer ones too) of portable bluetooth and non-BT etc speakers along with expensive multi-room systems, and has amazingly rated many of them as being good value for money.

Many of these speakers, in both cases are MONO, and in the case of Sonos 1st generation the sound quality is abysmal.

Bluesound thrashes it on quality of audio - and has MQA also. (Remember- HiFidelity, stereo and all that stuff..).

The multi-room solutions from Yamaha, Sonos, Denon, Samsung etc to name just a few (and Bluesound too, alas) are all trying to lock you into their solution - many using mono one-box solutions (a few stereo in one box) - whatever happened to stereo separation and soundstage?

For good, portable one-box STEREO speakers, why not review the Kitsound Boombar and the Creative Sound Roar or iRoar - both superb value for money for the quality of sound.

Summary

I appreciate that the magazine is trying to appeal to a wider audience, but perhaps it's the wrong audience? - it's getting too much like Stuff or Gadget magazines..

It doesn't have to be top-end - how many readers can afford £5,000 for a DAC - but it should be HiFI.

What's in a name?......
 
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tamefox

New member
Dec 3, 2015
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Just dipping into the March 2017 issue, on the back page is an article about a 1986 turntable - how good it was compared to turntables now for the same price.

(you know where this is going...)

The Dual turntable of 1986 was £129 - and now you can't even get a budget turntable for £250 that's as good as the Dual - it says.

Inflation is mentioned twice - in the top header text comment and in the main body - but the importance of this is completely ignored. Yes, the features slant has changed at the low end - but that's irrelevant.

£129 in 1986 is the same as £353 in 2017 - you can check here easily :-

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-1633409/Historic-inflation-calculator-value-money-changed-1900.html

So, "what can you get for £353 pounds?" should be the comparison.

This article is absolutley pointless, bemoaning the change in features/quality for a price that is irrelevant...

C'mon guys - you need to do better - filling the pages with accurate info to snatch our dollar.
 
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gel

Moderator
I just bought the latest issue for the Oppo review for some reason even though I had already read it, I didn't find much else to read on look about unfortunately. I liked how the Oppo was paired with my TV in the system builder bit, although I thought the speakers and amp was a bit down market compared to the TV and Oppo player.
 

bigboss

Moderator
Couple of points:

A) Like it or not, the reality is that the Hi Fi and AV magazine sector is shrinking, and few have ceased operations. Smartphones will sell more magazines than stereo amplifiers. Also, many use smartphones as music players. A lot of music systems are based around smartphones.

E) I too find Play:1 to be excellent value for money. In stereo mode, the quality is very good. The cheapest Bluesound mono is £300, and Play:1 is half the price. Sonos' mesh network is ultra reliable.
 

MrReaper182

New member
Apr 6, 2014
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I enjoy reading the magazine and like how it is. Smartphones paired with wireless/bluetooth speakers are the future of hi-fi and make up most young people hi-fi systems. So why shouldn't the magazine cover those things? After all you can buy some really nice premium sounding wireless speakers. The magazine covers all price points from budget to high end because everyone has different amounts of money to spend on hi-fi. Not everyone can affard to spend lots of money on hi-fi, should those people not be aloud to by hi-fi? Of course they should not. You can get some super sounding budget speakers from the likes of Q Accustics.

Not everyone wants to by lots of separate hi-fi boxs so a system by the likes of Sones or Bluesound works well for them Just because you don't like them does not give you the right to tell other people they can not have them.

You may not like it but hi-fi has changed from lots of boxes to one single box were you control your music from a phone or laptop. Like I said before it's the future of hi-fi and dismissing it is just stupid as most premium high end hi-fi makers like Naim have got on board and made their own wirless speakers because they too realize it the future. I applaud the mazagine for moving with the times and not being stuck in the past like you seem to be.
 

MrReaper182

New member
Apr 6, 2014
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bigboss said:
Couple of points:

A) Like it or not, the reality is that the Hi Fi and AV magazine sector is shrinking, and few have ceased operations. Smartphones will sell more magazines than stereo amplifiers. Also, many use smartphones as music players. A lot of music systems are based around smartphones.

E) I too find Play:1 to be excellent value for money. In stereo mode, the quality is very good. The cheapest Bluesound mono is £300, and Play:1 is half the price. Sonos' mesh network is ultra reliable.
The hi-fi sector is not shrinking just changing from lots of separates boxes to one wireless speaker where you control your music from your smartphone or laptop. Lots of the premium hi-fi companies realize this and that's why they make their own wireless speakers. The future of hi-fi may look very different from what it used to look like but that does not mean it's not healthy because it's very healthy.
 

ifor

Well-known member
Dec 3, 2002
71
1
18,545
... the latest issue today whilst stopped at Knutsford services on the M6. It's first time I've looked for a few months and I was shocked by how much it's been dumbed down. I doubt I will even bother to pick it up again, let alone buy it.
 
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gel

Moderator
ifor said:
... the latest issue today whilst stopped at Knutsford services on the M6. It's first time I've looked for a few months and I was shocked by how much it's been dumbed down. I doubt I will even bother to pick it up again, let alone buy it.
If you are on here and follow everything there is no need any more unfortunately.
 
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Leif

New member
May 11, 2014
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Quite. I think a lot of people buy the magazine simply because they are thinking about buying a new AV item such as a stereo or a TV. So they have to pander to that market. But these days the question is why would someone pay a not insignificant sum of money for the views of a small number of journalists when instead you can read free online reviews. I happen to find the latter much better, WHF reviews are rather out of kilter with my own experiences, and with reviewers I respect. However, I have read that WHF 5 star products sell like hot cakes, whereas WHF 4 star products sell in small numbers, so the reviews are very influential. Clearly that explains the focus on 5 star reviews in the back. I happen to think only a fool would buy a product simply because it got 5 stars from WHF, but I'm in the minority. And if you look at the way reviews are written, personally I find them inpossible to understand. Ignore the content, and they do read well, they come across as exciting, confident, knowledgeable. But ask what they mean, and I come unstuck. What does 'authoritative sounding' mean? What does 'good dynamics' mean? Why not use intelligible terms such as "muddy bass" or "clear treble but with occasional sibilance". Clearly they are written for casual readers, to get the mag to sell. I guess one can understand the need for it to sell. *biggrin*
 
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