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According to recent figures from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), music streaming services like Spotify, Tidal and Qobuz account for more than 50 percent of music consumption in the UK. On the face of it, music file streaming in one form or another appears to be the way many of today’s music fans choose to listen, but despite a statistical decline in physical sales, I wouldn’t mind betting that CD remains the music format of choice for the majority of hi-fi owners.

Our own online survey clearly shows that there are plenty of us still listening to music via the 12cm silver disc that prematurely promised “perfect sound forever”. Even if the rate we purchase new albums on the format has declined over recent years, our Twitter poll reveals that almost 50 percent of us own at least 500 albums on CD – that’s a quite considerable number of discs and a lifetime of music collecting for many. 

Following the rise in streaming and vinyl’s resurgence, manufactures have been keen to embrace these markets with network music streaming solutions and more turntable models than ever before. New CD players have been curiously absent from hi-fi brand portfolios. So I am very happy to see Quad’s Artera Solus one-box system embrace the format. Its sliver-disc capabilities are only part of the story, however.

Elsewhere, our regular reviews section features Audio Analogue’s AAcento integrated amplifier, Dynaudio’s Special Forty two-way standmount speaker, Sennheiser’s IE 800 S flagship in-ear headphone as well as Apple’s HomePod smart speaker. Plus, HFC heads to Tucson to explore Arizona’s finest record stores, while Music Legends salutes Tom Petty and our Group Test looks at six high-output cartridges to get your vinyl in the groove with models from Audio-Technica, Goldring, MoFi Electronics, Nagaoka, Ortofon and Soundsmith.

Lee Dunkley, Editor