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No.64 September 2009

Saul B. Marantz, Nelson Pass, Mark Levinson or finally Frank H. McIntosh are names, which translated into brands and are remembered now as such. This was not an easy and quick process, but rather a rather laborious reaching of set goals. The company McIntosh, which celebrates its 60th anniversary, succeeded, despite many ownership and audiophile paradigm changes. Its example is incredibly inspiring, and although I do not agree with all the opinions of its engineers and bosses, still I do approach them with big esteem. And in all that, the honesty, fair treatment of its clients, incredible care, longevity and engineering background are most important factors. There is something in the claim, that you can reach significant achievements utilizing only your hearing, but then it will mostly be by coincidence. And it will be difficult to develop and expand such a company. This is why engineering is the basis for everything. It is interesting, that other companies work the same way, firms like Accuphase or Acrolink, which were able to reach outstanding results without the audiophile hype and “black magic”. That is why we decided to honor the 60th anniversary of Mac in a special way, devoting a whole issue only to that company. We have planned it for a long time, but it finally came true, and that in probably the best possible moment. Viva la McIntosh!

Honesty and uprightness are key assets in audio, especially taking into account the audio press. Because reading the favorite audio magazine is something special, and even I, working for years on “the other side”, have my beloved titles, for which I wait impatiently, as my son does for “CD Action”. Those are the American “Stereophile”, British “Hi-Fi Plus” and Japanese “Stereo Sound”. I do of course read also “The Absolute Sound”, “Hi-Fi News” and “Hi-Fi Critic”, but without the emotion. This is the reason I am especially interested in the changes happening to one of the magazines I quoted – “Hi-Fi Plus”. Like I mentioned some time ago, with the issue No 64, the editor in chief changed, as imposed upon the magazine by the new owner, Absolute Media (UK), the publishers of “The Absolute Sound”, among others. I wrote, that I wish them all the best, and I hope, that nothing will change in the magazine, because for me, it was ideal. Although the change of ownership brought also lesser quality paper and pressing quality (new printing office), but I survived that. But the newest issue (65) brings changes, that do not forecast bright future. First of all a tendency to cut all possible costs becomes visible. I mentioned the printing house, now I have to add the resignation – for most part – from self made photographs, which were brilliant, and usage of company supplied materials. “Hi-Fi Critic” works the same way, but that was meant to be a niche magazine from the very beginning. And the main strength of the HF+ was its looks – not exaggerated and tasty. The second step is the discharge of many authors writing for that magazine, like Paul Messenger, the journalist of “Hi-Fi Choice” and editor in chief of HFCr. Also the music section is something completely different now, as the reviews are prepared by journalists from “The Absolute Sound”. Also no more drawings from Dave Davies and Dave Ayres, which diversified the magazine splendidly. Let’s add the resignation from very good columns, slight change of layout and we’ll see how much changed. And the tests… Maybe I am wrong, this is only an impression, but the tests lost their depth and versatility, have no sting, and seem so shallow and insufficient for me. Is this my prejudice? Maybe, but there is something happening. I am very worried about the future of HF+, because when this continues, I will lose one of my beloved magazines. Like I said: the honesty and uprightness are most important in all that. If they succeed in keeping them, then it will be good in any situation, so maybe also this magazine will head straight.

There is one important conclusion coming from the two above stories: audio does not like revolutionary changes and is extremely conservative. This is why the move we made – I am thinking about “High Fidelity” – at the end of last month is a jump into darkness. I am talking about the change of the magazine’s layout. You have probably noticed it, this could not go unnoticed, that the magazine I am editing looks completely different. We were preparing for the new looks since over a year, but first we did not like fully the proposed changes, and we had to invest lots of work to make everything well-considered, and that this layout will stay with us for long, at least as long as the older one. I will just remind, that the old layout lasted for five years and two months, which is an incredibly long time. Everybody – you and me – were used to that layout, simple, functional and suiting its purpose for a long time. The changes we introduced, like adding covers, changing the logo, changing the cover format, and other minor things, allowed us to postpone the inevitable.

The new setup is there to facilitate reading, increase the number of photographs for the tests, clean up the articles, and relocate the banners, so that they do not interfere with navigation, what did happen before, unfortunately, while letting them perform their function better – better advertise the distributors, manufacturers and shops. Because those support all the specialist magazines, including HF, and only due to them, you receive another free issue each month. I think we succeeded. I am sure, that after the first shock and disorientation, you will come to like the new layout, as you did the old one, and learn to appreciate its assets. We thank you for all the comments – the praises and the critical ones – and I promise, that we will read and think about all of them, and if possible, we will introduce most important changes. One should be available shortly – many readers asked for a printer friendly version of the articles, as they do not have the time, or strength, to look at the computer screen after a day’s work. Because there is no possibility to make it a copy of the web-layout, so we propose the text in PDF, in the form the web-designer gets it. Also some other, minor improvements were implemented.
I apologize to all of you, for whom the new layout is a problematic change. But everything changes and we must also change. It is important to keep continuity and make everything better and better. Thank you all for your loyalty, good words and support – a magazine without its readers is just dead.

Wojciech Pacuła
Editor in chief

About Us

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Our reviewers regularly contribute to  “Enjoy the”, “”“”  and “Hi-Fi Choice & Home Cinema. Edycja Polska” .

"High Fidelity" is a monthly magazine dedicated to high quality sound. It has been published since May 1st, 2004. Up until October 2008, the magazine was called "High Fidelity OnLine", but since November 2008 it has been registered under the new title.

"High Fidelity" is an online magazine, i.e. it is only published on the web. For the last few years it has been published both in Polish and in English. Thanks to our English section, the magazine has now a worldwide reach - statistics show that we have readers from almost every country in the world.

Once a year, we prepare a printed edition of one of reviews published online. This unique, limited collector's edition is given to the visitors of the Audio Show in Warsaw, Poland, held in November of each year.

For years, "High Fidelity" has been cooperating with other audio magazines, including “Enjoy the” and “” in the U.S. and “”  in Germany. Our reviews have also been published by “”.

You can contact any of our contributors by clicking his email address on our CONTACT  page.

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