Chris Frankland

chris frankland reviewer

My career as a hi-fi reviewer was born from my love of music, and when I discovered how I could hear more and more from my treasured vinyl collection as I improved my system, I was hooked on my quest for as good a sound as I could get.

It all started when I sent a letter into Hi-Fi Answers and the editor, Paul Benson, asked if I would like to write some reviews for the magazine. I did and the rest is, as the cliché goes, history. I have worked on many magazines over the years. Initially Hi-Fi Answers, then I became editor of Popular Hi-Fi before I decided to launched my own magazines – initially the ‘underground’ Flat Response and then the mainstream Hi-Fi Review.

After some years away from hi-fi reviewing pursuing other avenues, I returned to what I have always loved best when the late Paul Messenger recruited me back to the fold to write for Hi-Fi Critic. I have also written for Hi-Fi World before it folded and now write for The Ear, Hi-Fi+ and Stereonet.

My music

Although I started out listening to the likes of Jackson Brown, The Eagles, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Loggins and Messina, John Mellencamp, ZZ Top and Linda Ronstadt – my first live concert was Linda Ronstadt in London when I was utterly blown away. Then some musician friends of mine started to introduce me to the world of modern jazz. They played me artists including David Sanborn, Grover Washington, Joe Sample, Chuck Mangione, Earl Klugh, Ben Sidran, Miles Davis and George Benson, and I have been hooked on that style of music ever since and regularly go to concerts in venues such as Ronnie Scott’s. I also like the odd bit of soul from the likes of Luther Vandross, Freddie Jackson, Natalie Cole, Anita Baker and Aretha Franklin.

The same musician friends also influenced my reviewing style as the comments they made when we were listening to the differences between hi-fi components were quite unlike the kind of comments most hi-fi reviewers were using back then. They talked about what they could hear in the music, how a guitar note was played, how hard a snare was hit, subtle details and syncopations in a cymbal line, and timing – did the music move? Could you tap your foot to it? Such considerations are still at the heart of what I am listening for today.

My system

Turntable: Audio Note TT3 with PSU3 power supply
Tonearm/cartridge: Audio Note Arm Two and Io1 with S9 transformer
Amplifier: Audio Note Meishu Tonmeister
Streamer: Pro-Ject Stream Box S2 Ultra with PreBox RS2 Digital DAC
CD: Audio Note CDT Five transport and DAC Five Special
Speakers: Russell K Red 120SE and Audio Note AN-J LX Hemp