Remember back when Stereophile was a small paperback book? And the writers had integrity, and if they thought you could do better they would say so! That has no bearing on the OPPO, but I just don't enjoy reading the major stereo publications anymore. Perhaps one of their contributors failed to write anything this month, so he grabbed his OPPO review that never got published 3 years ago and submitted it? They just don't seem to publish the quality they used to, or perhaps the industry has leveled out to where there are few differences anymore? Your review of a 3 year old machine that already has dozens of reviews is what I'm talking about, can't they do better? I'm sure they will defend their publications as the best that can be made, perhaps they should go back and read a few of those magazines from 30 years ago?
I understand my beef is with Absolute Sound today, yet I still prefer it to Stereophile, but not by much. I mean, how many 10 pages-long "Magico" reviews and endorsements can you handle ?
As far as What HiFi is concerned, they are of course very UK-centric and are really nit-picking ''imported'' gear and I was told they don't even let the gear break-in before making final judgements.
They are the king of the small brick-like integrated as their ''high-end'' (some of those bricks are marvelous by the way) reviewed units, as well as the under 2K speakers champion that they make sound like 10k units.
At least it was a positive article. In general, I tend to believe the product reviews here on the forum over the mainstream audio press. Everyone has their opinion, good or bad, and I can usually tell if it's a manufacturer or retailer commenting positively about their products.
I own an Oppo 105D, and my thoughts are similar to the conclusion of the Absolute Sound article. It's a great unit that sounds good and would be difficult to beat at the price.
And if there is a component you are interested in, no matter how old, you can read those reviews online. Along side reviews of this forum, you can get a pretty good feel for a product. Without enduring some reviewer bloat about his $100,000 record player that has spoiled him to the point that he can't give a decent review of anything you could afford, that he could never afford without the subscribers. A lot to be said for real world reviews.
Valid points about TAS and Stereophile. I too remember when 'phile was a small book in the 80s, from Santa Fe if I remember correctly.
I also subscribe to both and agree that the reviews of uber-priced gear gets tiring. I much prefer reviews of gear I could afford, and for that reason I enjoy Stereophile more than TAS, IMO they are definitely two different magazines dealing with the same hobby.
I also enjoy cars, and have subscribed to multiple magazines. At least the writers for them readily admit they can't afford the vehicles they test. It seems the writers for our audio mags tend to give the reader the impression they can afford, or at least are OK with the prices of so much of the audio gear they review...
Stereophile has Art Dudley. I used to love Listener Magazine that Art and founded in the 1990's and published into the 2000's. I loved it precisely because it was so quirky, weird, fun and they rated equipment not just with one-five stars, but something could also earn a pancreas. Yep, a little line drawing of a pancreas! For 'wonderful but decidedly non-hifi that your pancreas aches for.' (not and exact quote, but it gets the gist).
I loved reading letters to the editor: "Dear sirs, please cancel my subscription. I prefer serious magazines. There is no place is audio for magazines with a sense of humor." More than one enraged reader sent a letter like that.
Anyway, Art is now at Stereophile. He's still engraging a few mugworts every now and then, and still entertaining me. Also, he's reviewing 50 year old speakers. Talk about how many times do you need to reveiw something, and those aren't even made any more!
The rest of the audio press, not so much. Online there is 6moons and Positive-Feedback. I dip in every now and then.
I am new to quality audio and did subscribe to Stereophile, though not because I preferred it to other sources. Simply because I had to start somewhere. Quickly however, I found Hans Beekhuyzen and I started learning basics by watching his reviews, rather than reading Stereophile. I also found Audiogon, and other online sources for researching auction gear I could afford. Still bumping along, I guess, but I do wonder where I can find good, unbiased (paid for) information on affordable solutions to great sounding music.
Irony of ironies.... Both Absolute Sound and Stereophile did such a fantastic job in educating and creating a group of highly informed audiophiles, that they rendered the need for their publications to become no longer needed... in many ways. Because of these magazines, the choice of products today are so good that reviews are often times rendered a mere curiosity rather than a need. Audiophiles now know what they want, and where to find it. IMHO.
I used to love reading Stereophile through the 90's. I couldn't wait for the latest issue to arrive. I thoroughly enjoyed the humor in Corey Greenberg reviews, and Sam Telligs reviews of affordable, budget, gear.
Which was basically all I could barely afford. His review of the Quicksilver GLA el34 amp for one.
I had to get away from reading it, because it was wrecking my mental state. I would obsess over equipment I could never afford after reading how blissfull a $3000 pair of Magnepans sounded. I went to bed dreaming of multi-thousand dollar planar speakers, Mega buck Cary tube amps, and Oracle Delphis with an air-bearing tonearm and Koetsu cartridge. I would run through the scenerio of hitting the lottery, and walking into the East Liberty, Pittsburgh,Audio Salon, and being able to buy the gorgeous gear there, rather than just go there to listen and oogle the audio porn on the shelves. Finding Audiogon and Audio Asylum was a revelation. I buy all used, but its new to me, and I could not be happier.
Life is all about choices.
If you don"t like a magazine - don't subscribe to it.
If you don't like the subject of an article - don't read it.
This hobby is fun - don't let anybody or anything ruin that for you.
The only reviewer to trust is your ears and your brain.
Never forget - it's all about the music not the equipment - the equipment is only a means by which we listen to music.
A wise person spends more on music than he does equipment.
It does amaze me that, in a hobby like this with so many obsessives and sticklers for details upon details, publications like Stereophile and TAS continue to exist. It's not like there is a continuous wave of new people coming in to the hobby that need a basic intro (maybe this is the fantasy that keeps the advertising dollars flowing). I mean, c'mon, at least show me a picture of the back of the speakers and tell me where they are manufactured! I'VE SWORN OFF all but HIFI+ and The Audiophile Voice. HIFI+ because of the production quality (paper and ink) more than anything else, and TAV because of its refreshing quirkiness.
I see your point. However such reviews are not completely useless (at least to me). When I research a product I put a little more weight on the most recent reviews. This makes sense to me even for products that have been on the market for a few years. In the case of the Oppo 105, there are surely newer players on the market. If the reviewer feels that the 105 still rates high against this backdrop, surely that is useful information.
Stereophile an Absolute Sound are caters to people with a average income of $195K to $225 K and up....
How is that? First. they probably own a home in the $400K & up depending on the down payment. Say $3200+ a month
add Car payments/Food/etc> $1200+. Then go out and spend another 100K on a AUDIO SYSTEM . To high? Really. That's what both rags feature reviews almost every month. If you were put those components together as system. The Dynaco Kit crowd are left for stuff on the back pages. p.s. If one reads between the lines. They can find there own little GEM.
Stereophile an Absolute Sound are caters to people with a average income of $195K to $225 K and up ...I think you're speculating here. What you state is not consistent with the market research these periodicals have published.
As far as the cliche that product-based magazines, at least S'phile & TAS, only review items that have been advertised, here's at least one note in contrast:
* While I've seen monthly ads from Chord Electronics in S'phile and, also I believe, TAS, neither magazine has yet reviewed the wonderful Chord DAVE. I love that DAC immensely, best of the 20-or-so I've tried over the past 10 years, and don't care if either magazine praises it or not. I know what I know.
But I'm just curious to see what they might say...even if Chord pays for ad space.
Dave, who calls that idea a cliche based partially on his 10 years as a computer magazine editor from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s where he was never never never told or encouraged to write about a product just because the company advertised in our pages
I didn't read every post here, but it seems the OP was saying that the magazine is shilling for Oppo to sell more units before a new model comes out? If that's what he's saying, it makes no sense because Oppo has no 105s left to sell. My old Pioneer finally died and I really wanted a 105, but they were impossible to get new.
I've been a Stereophile subscriber since the J. Gordon Holt days.
Same with TAS.
I've been tempted to not renew my subscription to Stereophile though. A couple of the reviewers almost never miss an opportunity to include some snarky left wing political statement in their reviews. Plus, TAS is a much more professionally put together magazine.
Frank, you’ve been a subscriber to TAS since the J. Gordon Holt days? Just kidding---me too. I discovered Gordon in ’72, I believe it was. Just in time for the high-end explosion that was spreading across the country; Audio Research had just made it out to the West Coast, and small, single employee/owner shops were opening to sell perfectionist systems to we baby-boomers. We all wanted better than the electronics stores and chain stores (for myself in N. California, it was Pacific Stereo in Palo Alto, with their Japanese receivers, Dual record changers, and Bose 901 speakers) were selling.
Gordon Holt had a clearly-defined set of criteria by which he judged music reproducing equipment, and had technical knowledge which informed his opinions. Harry Pearson and his Absolute Sound had opinions all right, but technically informed they were not (Bill Johnson told a great story about Pearson’s ignorance at one of his in-store seminars I attended). Audio magazine was different than either, but at it’s best a sort of a mix of the two. I miss Gordon, and I miss Audio Magazine.
There is sooo much equipment available these days, it must be quite perplexing for young audiophiles (if that’s not an oxymoron) to choose from amongst it all. The old advice of finding a good dealer is still good advice; I found mine in Walter Davies, now of Last Record Care products renown, in ’72 the owner/operator of the just-opened Audio Arts in Livermore, CA. Still the best dealer I ever dealt with---Eric.