Flavours of the month hi-fi and what happened to them

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Lindsayt
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Flavours of the month hi-fi and what happened to them

Unread post by Lindsayt »

In the world of hi-fi you sometimes see flavours of the month, or flavours of the half year. Items that come along, get a lot of attention in the hi-fi press, or on hi-fi forums. Get talked about as if they represent the product to buy in a particular category. And then over time drop off the radar.

I'll give one example. The TW Acustic Raven One turntable. 10 years ago it was the flavour of the half year. Selling for about £6000 (I think?). It was described as sounding better in some respects, dynamics, than their more expensive Raven AC turntable. The Raven One seemed to have the ingredients of being a good turntable for belt drive fans. Composite materials, high precision CNC machined, relatively simple design. Dedicated, single-minded designer.
I saw a lot of good things written about the TW Acustic Raven One. The only criticism that I can remember is that one forum contributor said that they found it somewhat flat and boring to listen to.

Now in 2020 I never see TW Acustic mentioned. The Raven One appears to have been dropped from sale. Their least expensive turntable today is the £6195 Raven GT.

That is just one example. There are loads of others...
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savvypaul (Sat May 23, 2020 11:45 am)

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Re: Flavours of the month hi-fi and what happened to them

Unread post by Fretless »

Hifi magazines and specific reviewers used to have a virtual monopoly on what was 'good' and the advent of internet has blown the whole subject wide open. It is harder to create a 'hype' these days in old-fashioned media - it has to be done on FB or Twitter etc.
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Re: Flavours of the month hi-fi and what happened to them

Unread post by SteveTheShadow »

The Musical Fidelity A1 was hyped to hell by the mags, apart from Hi-Fi Review, who thought it was rubbish.
I had three of them, in succession because they kept blowing up. Then I bought a NAIT.....Oh dear.
Amplification - DIY solid state amp with twin power supplies and NVA boards, or single-ended triode amp.
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Re: Flavours of the month hi-fi and what happened to them

Unread post by savvypaul »

I remember Hi-Fi World having 5 or 6 'standard' recommendations that came up in nearly every issue. Before that, The Flat Response and Hi-Fi Review read like a catalogue for Linn, Naim, Rega and a few other 'friendly' brands. Those 'messages' were constantly repeated. If a new product came along, that they favoured, it was an 'event' that attracted your attention.

There was a similar thing in the early days of the forums - Stan Beresford's DAC became a forum 'hot thing' and some easily led souls were even keen to proclaim that the DAC would outperform others at 10 times the price. On forums, part of the 'flavouring' is, undoubtedly, created by the disciples, especially so on forums where groups of friends gather together to be nice to each other (or where shills are allowed to flourish).

Nowadays, it's probably harder for a product from a small manufacturer to become well known and well respected by large numbers of enthusiasts, but it is arguably more meaningful when one does.
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Re: Flavours of the month hi-fi and what happened to them

Unread post by Lindsayt »

SteveTheShadow wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 11:07 am
The Musical Fidelity A1 was hyped to hell by the mags, apart from Hi-Fi Review, who thought it was rubbish.
I had three of them, in succession because they kept blowing up. Then I bought a NAIT.....Oh dear.
The Musical Fidelity had a grille on the top. Great for barbecueing sausages. :angry-extinguishflame:
Image
I wonder how many of them were used as George Foreman style cooking appliances? :angry-boxing:

Musical Fidelity seem to have a business model where they build a large batch of amplifiers, then sell them all. Then they come up with another model of amplifier, where they build a large batch of them and then sell them all. And so on.
I can see the sense in doing this from their point of view.

Edit: there's some interesting reading on the A1 here: https://www.markhennessy.co.uk/mf_a1/technical.htm

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Re: Flavours of the month hi-fi and what happened to them

Unread post by savvypaul »

I had an A100 that lasted 3 years before it blew up. It sounded very sweet. Same barbecuing potential. A later (much better built) Sugden reminded me of it, sonically.

I briefly had an A1 that I picked up cheap from a local Essex secondhand shop for £80. It worked but sounded dreadful. I put it on ebay with a starting bid of £50 and a guy from Sweden ended up paying me £250. He proclaimed it sounded 'amazing'.
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Re: Flavours of the month hi-fi and what happened to them

Unread post by Vinyl-ant »

One that came up a couple of years ago that I think was really good but fizzled out quickly was the Benedict audio phono stages.
I didn't know about it at the time but got one later and found the 'flavour of the month' reviews a few months after I got it.
It is an absolutely cracking phono stage, but sadly the company seems to have vanished which is a shame

Perhaps it's because I don't use forums very much that I don't come across these things
BTE designs type 3 lenco 'the lady' , acos lustre gst-1 dynavector dv20x2h and jbe series 3, audio technica AT1100 dynavector dv20a2 (his), JVC QL-Y5F HANA sl (hers)
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Re: Flavours of the month hi-fi and what happened to them

Unread post by Lindsayt »

Time for a bake-off? Benedict Audio phono stage vs NVA? :epopc:
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savvypaul (Sat May 23, 2020 9:02 pm)

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Re: Flavours of the month hi-fi and what happened to them

Unread post by Docfoster »

SteveTheShadow wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 11:07 am
The Musical Fidelity A1 was hyped to hell by the mags, apart from Hi-Fi Review, who thought it was rubbish.
I had three of them, in succession because they kept blowing up. Then I bought a NAIT.....Oh dear.
I had one of those MuFi X-LPS bean can phono stages. It wasn't very good. Also an X-DAC too. I can't remember what that was like. Digital was generally a bit shit back then IIRC.
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But I also had a couple of their integrateds. An X-A2 and an A3.2. I liked both of those a lot at the time. I think I replaced the A3.2 with an NVA P90 and A80 monos, which I preferred. I sold the MuFi A3.2 to a friend, so still get to hear it. And I still think it's pretty good.
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Re: Flavours of the month hi-fi and what happened to them

Unread post by 29mile »

My big flavour was the Audiolab M -Dac from digital guru John Westlake. Quite good but not a game changer by any means and I quickly moved it on after realising how much it was over hyped.

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