I had exactly the same feelings of sentiment in stopping my subscription after some 30 years; I kept making allowances for design changes etc thinking that I should move with the times. The decision to drop the CD without any notice to subscribers was another blow, particularly to those who had just re-subscribed to a magazine which advertised itself carrying a CD....some of those are very unhappy and asking for a refund, as you will see on the Gramophone Forum itself. But I think it was the dismissive attitude of some of the editorial staff on their forum which really got my goat - anyone who doesn't have computer access to the extracts (or who merely has no desire to sit at a PC in their leisure time) is cast off as irrelevant - either adopt the new technique or stop moaning and leave us in peace seems to be the message. The tone has become so sneering that I am truly amazed that the editor of the magazine hasn't stepped in and stopped what must surely be a lot of damage to his core readers. I wrote and told him so whilst cancelling my subscription but haven't received a reply yet, nor do I expect to.
As for IRR, it was, in my opinion, the only option available. Clear presentation, reviews of a decent length seemingly free from any pseudish talk and a marked absence of any of those Hello! style adulatory articles about artists etc and all the other items you describe. In fact it seems a little dry after Gramophone, but on reflection, maybe that's no bad thing. I have compared the two magazines for review content - IRR appears slimmer in looks, but when you subtract all the guff from Gramophone, the number of reviews are pretty much equal. I remain undecided as I have only just started my IRR subscription, but already it seems to be far more serious and digestible.