Much of the time, I take a great deal of pleasure from this wonderful hobby of ours. It’s great for kicking back at the end of a day.Not today, though. Today, my fellow countrymen spoke loud about what they want from their audio. And the results are depressing reading for anyone interested in audio.
One-half million Brits voted for their favourite sound system on product comparison site www.reevoo.com. Forget Arcam, B&W, Linn or Naim - they voted in droves for an own-brand product from the UK’s leading supermarket. Nestling between packets of Typhoo Tea and boxes of Mr Kipling’s Bakewell Slices, the Tesco Value MC-907 micro system has been chosen as Britain’s Best Hi-Fi.
Although Customer Choice awards did go to big ticket items in other categories (the Nikon D300 DSLR pipped compacts like the Sony CyberShot DSC-W300 and the Canon Powershot G10, for example), when it came to ‘hi-fi’, the Gold Award went to an integrated unit with built in CD and AM/FM tuner, four watt (unspecified) power output and separate 22cm tall two-way loudspeakers. The price of this supermarket-chain state of the home audio art comes to a whopping £16.49… about $25, or slightly more than the cost of fish and chips for two.
The category didn’t even recognize specialty audio (known as ‘separates hi-fi’ in the UK), so the chances of a Jeff Rowland amp or a pair of MAXX 3 making the grade would have been negligible. However, Tescos’ own-brand cheapie pipped several big names to the post, including Sony. Sony got it’s own reward though, as its NWZA816 Network Walkman saw off Apple’s 8GB iPod Touch in the site’s MP3 player Award category.
Perhaps it’s time to buy my Bakewell Slices elsewhere…