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Ultimate Guide To Hi-Fi

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
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Just to say thanks to the WHFS&V team. I purchased the new Ultimate Guide this morning and I've already spent ages reading through it this evening. Its a hi-fi gold mine, packed full of information about all sorts of interesting products and I think its one of the best magazines the team has put together for a long time. Thank you!!
 

professorhat

Well-known member
Dec 28, 2007
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Yup, had the dubious misfortune to be called into Reading today, though not before the magazine arrived in the post, so got through most of it on the train. Kept me entertained and for some reason I'm always drawn to the speaker section which is fortunate as it was huge and a pleasure to read.

I have an unhealthy obsession with speakers I think
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
286
84
18,970
professorhat:
Yup, had the dubious misfortune to be called into Reading today, though not before the magazine arrived in the post, so got through most of it on the train. Kept me entertained and for some reason I'm always drawn to the speaker section which is fortunate as it was huge and a pleasure to read.

I have an unhealthy obsession with speakers I think


Speakers are the most interesting aspect of hi-fi IMO!! I have 3 pairs stored away for those restless moments (MS 902is, Wharfedale Diamond 8.3+, and Tannoy Sensys 1) although when I tried the others a couple of days ago I very quickly put the MAs back on. Maybe that means its time to sell the others!!
 

Drummerdave

Well-known member
Dec 4, 2007
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I bought this today and it is very good, although almost identical to last year's and as such not sure its worth a fiver to be honest.
 

Clare Newsome

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Jun 4, 2007
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Well it's got pretty much every new four- and five-star hi-fi product we've tested over the past year - and that's a lot, at every price point. If there aren't more new products, blame the big manufacturers for not releasing much new two-channel gear!
 

Clare Newsome

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Jun 4, 2007
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The subjects do change and evolve (eg last year's Ultimate Guide to Home Cinema became the Ultimate Guide to Blu-ray and home cinema), and the order also varies slightly to suit major product releases and events.

For example, last year it kicked off with Systems then Hi-fi - this year we've reversed that as we're hoping to get a lot of new-season systems into that guide (out early April).

Ultimate Guide to TVs is typically June time as by that stage there's a big crop of new sets to choose from, and so on....
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
As Clare has said, we've adjusted the topics we cover (introducing the High-End Guide last year, for example) to reflect requests from our readers, and Iÿshould also add that we redesigned the title last year to allow for many more pages of editorial than before - an extra 40 per issue when compared to 2007 issues, in fact. But I'm always interested to hear from readers about their suggestions for the UGs, so if there's a subject you'd like to see us cover, fire away!
 

Alec

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Oct 8, 2007
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Ah right, thankyou both. I was under the imporession they were not always the same, then read one or two things which made me think otherwise (i aparently wasnt paying attention throughout the whole of 2008 lol! But as a reltively new reader then i think i was ignorant of the existence of the ultimate guides for a bit, even), so thanks for the clarification.
 

Andrew Everard

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May 30, 2007
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Drummerdave:The review of the Quad ESL 2905s is a duplicate of the Ruark Talisman 3 - oops

Yes, apologies for that - Andy Kerr covered this point here.
 

a.g.

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May 30, 2008
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I bought the Ultimate Guide today and have a few comments to make:

1) Too many adverts for a £4.99 magazine.
2) Not enough four-star rated equipment there. We already know that the Cyrus SE series CDPs are good!
3) Not enough accessories reviews.
4) Too many large photos, not enough text.
5) Not one mention of Audiolab. How things have changed in WHF towers!
6) Too many childish puns. This is not The Sun.

Hope I'm not sounding too critical, it's not that bad.
 

professorhat

Well-known member
Dec 28, 2007
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Fair enough points. Not saying I agree, but fair enough complaints. But I really don't understand this one:

a.g.:2) Not enough four-star rated equipment there. We already know that the Cyrus SE series CDPs are good!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
professorhat:
Fair enough points. Not saying I agree, but fair enough complaints. But I really don't understand this one:

a.g.:2) Not enough four-star rated equipment there. We already know that the Cyrus SE series CDPs are good!

ÿ

I haven't seen the mag yet, but I'm guessing/presuming, that a.g. is meaning that all the reviews are mainly 5 stars....?ÿ
 

professorhat

Well-known member
Dec 28, 2007
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Okay. I can take that on board since there are a lot of 5 star reviews in the Ultimate Guide, though personally I'm confused why this is a problem for a magazine of that type. But what I'm mainly confused about is does the comment mean more components should have got 4 stars (and if so, I'm assuming he must have heard them to say so) or would it be better if WHF left out the 5 star products and put in more of the 4 star products they rated?

Either way, I'm still confused!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I tend to agree with you Prof in that being a 'Ultimate Guide' I would expect, presume and mostly want 5 starred listings....!

Steve.ÿ
 

a.g.

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May 30, 2008
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What I should have said is that I would have liked to see more products, however many stars it got. It is supposed to be the ultimate guide after all.

I also would have liked to see setup and tuning tips and tweaks. Specifically something about room acoustics and speaker placement.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi a.gÿ

I'm sorry to read about your disappointment with the magazine, but I'm not sure how we could have incorporated more products into the available pagination: there are over 300 reviews in there as it is. To make a bigger magazine, we'd have had to incorporate more ads too, which I don't imagine you'd like.

That aside, I feel I must refute the notion that every review in the magazine was five-star rated, because that isn't the case. As we've long been at pains to point out, a four-star product is not only very good in its own right - it could actually be the better buy for your system, depending on your needs. Anyway, for the sake of clarification, I dug back through the reviews, and found the following:

Out of 39 CD player reviews, 12 were four-star rated.

Out of 44 amplifier reviews, 21 were four-star rated.

Out of 120 speaker reviews, 52 were four-star rated.

Doesn't that seem like a pretty fair representation of four-star reviews?

All the best

Andyÿ
 

a.g.

New member
May 30, 2008
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I can't help but feel you could have squeezed a few more reviews into the magazine. There was no mention of the NAD C542 or C535BEE (both highly regarded by yourselves), nothing at all by Audiolab (who make at least 6 two-channel products) and only ONE brief tuner review.

With regards to the 4-star reviews, my amp and speakers are both 4-star rated and I love them.

I wouldn't say I was hugely disappointed but when you call something an ultimate guide you have to deliver the goods.

By the way, you probably already know this but on page 25 you give the Roksan Kandy K2 CD player 4 stars, but at the bottom of page 49 you give it 5 stars. So is it only 5 stars when it's hanging off the matching amplifier or what?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi again a.g

Regarding the Roksan issue: you're quite right, and good spot. The four-star review on p25 is correct: the other rating is a typo. Sorry about that.

As to loving four-star products - well, so you should. If the kit you own produces a sound you love, then it's right for you. Out of interest, I run a four-star amp myself.

All the best

Andyÿ

ÿ
 

a.g.

New member
May 30, 2008
12
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0
Thankyou for clarifying that Andy.

I assume it doesn't cost anything to enter the competition? Couldn't see anything in the small print. I hope not because I've already entered. The goodies up for grabs were too much to resist!
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
4
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I bought the UG to New Technology which was a pretty good read.

Picking up on something mentioned earlier about speaker placement and practical tips.

Could we see a couple of one-off WHFS&V 'bibles' on system setup and maintenance? Everything from soup-to-nuts on how to cable up a system, placement, supports, stands, turntable setup, cartridge alignment, calibrating a TV, optimising computer settings for DAC use, care and cleaning best practice where applicable, why we need spikes... etc etc.

Maybe contributions from industry types and a look at WHFS&V staffer's own systems for examples of optimal setup. Half-page 'how it works' panels dotted around the sections explaining the technology (and the history) behind the advice.

Could be a feast for all your accessories manufacturer advertisers and a chance for some of them to explain the need for their wares in the editorial sections.

I remember a book like this (published by Which? I think) back in the 1970s. It even managed to explain the principles and history of stereo hifi. (Practical Hifi did one as well I think.)
 

Messiah

Well-known member
Jan 13, 2008
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Would certainly be very useful / interesting.

Something for everyone and something that can be tucked away and read when necessary.
 

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