Revisiting the classic past - rereading early editions of hifi plus

I’ve just been rearranging the garage and pulled a few of the original issues of the first editions of HiFi plus and think it shows a more interesting and varied era.

Currently reading issue 22 which has reviews of Nap 300 and 250 power amps in same issue, priced at 4750 and 2200 respectively, the year was 2003.

The biggest thing that strikes me is the quality reviews of items mostly at least in reach in an admittedly expensive (allowing for i!flation) but not stratospheric.

Conversely today much of what’s in the press is just like a Pirelli calendar from the 80’s of exotica that is just unattainable.

Both reviews were very complementary, Paul Messenger and Chris Binns respectively , Roy Gregory offering a second view on Nap 300.

My much loved second system of Densen even managed to have rear cover advert of Beat pre and power amps. Their review in issue 1 led me to seek out the Beat 100 integrated in the first place and still going strong with B300 power amp.


I wish I’d kept copies of ‘The Flat Response’. Those articles and the jokes (intentional or not) helped get me hooked. I wonder how they’d read today.

I’ve got every edition of hifi plus since launch, unfortunately it’s nowhere near its peak anymore, but still read it, but far less relevant to my interests or indeed my budget.

The staff used to be more varied and felt like it had a mission, feels more exclusive commentary now, shame, but maybe just represents the direction of travel for this hobby?

Must be tough to spot those high end specials at a reasonable price these days unfortunately .

But they seemed to be more prevalent back then. Ok I’m sounding really old now ……

They were very lucky to get some great writers onboard.
Chris Thomas is always a pleasure to read, especially when an attempt to break down a complex engineering solution is given some air.

Agreed, always enjoyed reading his contributions.

I preferred the earlier Alan Sircom reviews from his days at Hifi World, seems now to be getting more contributors lately after a period when he seemed to write every article in Plus.

I believe it all went south after RG was wrangled with legal issues concerning his endorsement of Nordost products.

I didn’t hear about that, certainly remember all the positive press of all things Nordost.

Actually thinking back I do remember the editorial explaining the switch of editors and thought it was a shame but made sense given the change. Missed the follow on legal bits.

It went downhill when the size changed I thought. I even cancelled my subscription a year after.

Loved that magazine. Always very entertaining.
The review outlining the superiority of the ‘giveaway’ Linn Basic mm cartridge over the Koetsu Black (IIRC about 35x more expensive) became the stuff of legend.


What we had to put up with in the 80s!

I remember a letter asking for technical advice. One of many. As best I can recall it was:

“Dear Sir, my system consists of LP12/Ittok/Karma into 32/250 HiCap. Would the addition of loudspeakers add to my listening enjoyment?”

It followed the pattern of a lot of the actual letters so took me unnecessarily long at the time to spot the spoof!

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.