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Turning the Page

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  • Turning the Page

    I've been an on/off reader of, and subscriber to, audio periodicals for 30 years now. Those rags, Stereo Review, High Fidelity, Audio, Stereophile, Car Stereo Review and The Absolute Sound are what sparked my interest in hifi. I used to get into trouble for sneaking Crutchfield catalogs into class to share with the guys.

    My subscription to Stereophile is up this month. While it is fun to read that my amp is still "Stereophile Class A rated" after several years of ownership, and some of the pictures, articles and reviews are informative, I am just not feeling like I am getting as much out of it as I should.

    I'm one that believes there are audible differences between amps, CD players, cables etc. I believe that good racks, stands and isolation devices are important. I also believe that it shouldn't cost an arm and a leg to get there and that there is more snake oil than not. Some of the items that are pushed and advertised in there, I just cannot stand behind. Vinyl demags, bags of pebbles to hang on your cables and the like.

    I don't want to state this as fact, but I heard that some audio publications will not even consider reviewing a manufacturer's product unless they have been advertising with magazine for 6 months or more. If this is true, that doesn't sit right with me either. Most of what they review is way beyond what I can afford already, this just limits things further. I don't get to read about gear that I can actually own, nor hear about new companies.

    I get almost all the voracious reading that I need to do right here online now. Heck, I got 8 browsers open to 7 different forums that I am toggling back and forth with right now. I don't think it is a stretch to say that I have learned as much on these boards in the last 2 years ( I really am a newbie to audio forums, but not new to the internet) as I have from 30 years of reading the magazines.

    I am having more fun now, and it is great to meet new people, online and in person, and pick their brains for info. I have also come to think more critically about audio, which has caused me to shift my priorities. It has also made me spend more on this hobby than ever. :biglaugh:

    In short, I think I am about to say good bye to an old friend, and it has me a little conflicted.

  • #2
    ... I think I am about to say good bye to an old friend, and it has me a little conflicted.
    Friendship is a two-way street. If you give to your friend, but he's not giving back, cut him loose. With no hard feelings, of course. ;) :)


    • #3
      I think the one real positive of audio magazine subscriptions is that you can keep up on what's new. Other than that, most of the review stuff can be read about on that print magazine's web sight (or others) a couple of months later. If you really "need it now," just go to any Barnes and Noble, choose your magazine, and have a seat. It's not completely honorable, but in my case, if I like what's in the mag I usually buy it.


      • #4
        I haven't read a lot of the stuff you mentioned but it does seem that audio reviews are a lot like reviews of stocks: never a sell recommendation. :)


        • #5
          I subscribed to many of these publications, some of them into the late 80's or early 90's! A great deal of my early "audiophile" purchases were a direct result of what I read. Back in those days there of course wasn't the vast wealth, or opinion, that there is currently available via the internet so these publications, and your ears was about all you had to go on.

          I have great memories of spending time in our local Hi-Fi store, which at the time in Knoxville was Hi-Fi House. They had an outstanding setup for demo's and only sold what was considered to be the upper crust, at least it was according to the publications. I recall they dropped Kenwood when it was believed they had dropped substance for flash. This was a place where you became a true customer, unlike Circuit City or similar. Note that Bestbuy wasn't around then, and even so, their audition room has never equaled what I experienced back then. To this day, I've never heard an amp that has the sweet sound my good ole Luxman does. I'm sure there out there, and that I am just biased.

          It brings back great memories, but at the same time makes me feel old! I kept many years of several of the magazines listed above before finally accepting that I simply can't store all of them.
          Coach Pat Summitt - Folding at Home


          • #6
            The publisher is waving a $10/year subscription under my nose. I might relent, that WAS my throne reader, a guy has to have something, right? Heck, that is cheaper than toilet paper. :saywhat:


            • #7
              I could think of many many things that could or would eat up $10
              without nearly getting the satisfaction and marginal utility that
              holding/reading your magazine will give you for the next year!
              My (poor) analogy would be the Consumer Report magazine
              that my Uncle always had around and I subscribed to eventually.
              The internet, now, gives a vastly greater array of "personal" reviews
              -and oh so quickly! But, I still can't help grabbing a copy of the mag
              and perusing through it. Cheap entertainment now.
              Bottom line, imo, spend the $10 - I think you will be happy you did.
              (at least for another year -lol)