All the old issues of Stereo Review are online!!


And available here:   https://www.americanradiohistory.com/HiFI-Stereo-Review.htm

The infamous Clark amplifier test is January, 1987, if anyone wants to re-live that.  I remember reading that when it came out (I was just out of college, but, having worked at an audio shop when I was 14, was already well into the hobby).  That was when I began to be aware of how I might be suckered by appearances.

Lots of things to love or hate, but oh, the advertisements!
ahofer
Love it!  Man, those all of that vintage equipment in the ads had me drooling. 

Frank
Now, this site’s typical Julian Hirsch metempsychosis, can bone up on their ubiquitous nonsense.
Empire turntables, Roberts tape recorders, cigarette ads.
Wow.
Check out those Crown R-2-R tape recorders!
^^^ How about those Fisher amp and tuner ads? There’s one for the Fisher 500 receiver. I had a Fisher 500 as part of a bedroom system. Nice, classic vintage sound.

How about a Thorens TD-124 turntable, brand new for the huge sum of $99.75?

The music and record reviews are very interesting too.

Check out the early 1958 issues. Stereo records and cartridges were just coming on the scene. Prior to that, the only way to get stereo was with reel to reel tape. The early magazines make stereo records sound like the second coming. 

Frank
Music reviews and ads, okay. Editorial content especially technicals, no way. Stereo Review and Julian Hirsch pushing their wire doesn't matter and if you can't measure it it doesn't exist point of view did real audiophile damage we are still dealing with today.

I had a sub for years. Darn near ruined me. Took me years to realize just how wrong he was. Now with it on-line they get to misinform a whole new generation. Wonderful.
^^^ Right, millercarbon ...

Julian Hirsch was a fraud. But the ads and vintage equipment is nostalgia for me. :-)

Frank
I don’t think Julian Hirsch was a fraud. What he said, that amps that measure the same generally sound the same is more true than false. Especially 40 years ago. Besides, most high end amp designers today don’t think wire matters. No big deal,
wow oh wow! excellent

@geoffkait  yes, he was more right than wrong, but I'm happy to review any evidence I may have missed.  And one look at the internal wiring of speakers and amps will unveil what economists call "revealed preferences" about wire.  If anything, the vendors of kilobuck cables have done far, far more to damage the growth of the hobby with their ridiculous prices and "emperors new clothes" exclusivity.
OMG! DO NOT read the Pop music reviews if you have high blood pressure! I don't know who these clowns were but they didn't like rock music! Example: Reviewing the "Yes" Album: "Yes is a no-no"... and many more.
Now, how about Audio Magazine? It straddled the line between objective and subjective. Bascom King (who now designs electronics at PS Audio) did amplifier reviews. Edward Canby, one of the last of the original WWII-generation audiophiles, had a great musings column. Tony Cordesman (formerly at TAS) was doing his typical gushing reviews at the end.
We had Julian Hirsch at one of our audio club meetings in LaGrange, New York back in the '70's.  Now I admit that I don't agree with his opinions, but I think they were borne of a connection to the typical Stereo Review reader, not an Audio Magazine reader.  Anyway, the audio snobs in the club let him have it with both barrels.  It was uncomfortable at best.
@dweller …………………...

Stereo Review did a review of Thick As A Brick by Jethro Tull back in1972  It was the Recording of the Month, and the reviewer was gushing over the numerous time changes in the song, etc.
@stereo5 - Thick as a Brick and Passion Play are mind boggling simply because of the complexity of the music which was played from memory (no sheet music)! Another reviewer said something like "Duane and Gregg Allman, mostly known as ace session musicians, have put together a nice little band" (i.e., The Allman Brothers). One reviewer did like King Crimson's "In the Court of the Crimson King" LP calling it "Awesome". BTW, To find the pop music section, scroll down a few pages to the index and look for "Entertainment" then plug in page number in upper left corner and press "enter".
I love those old ads also:)I remember going to shops looking for and listening to components that Mr. Hirsch recommended.And how many times I came away confused from the experience.What in the world was he hearing that I wasn't?Then I became older and wiser,lol!
I have you ever seen a pic of Hirsch's "lab"? A barely converted garage, with a work bench and measuring tools all over the place. That was his listening room! His approach to hi-fi was through his eyes, not his ears. Music was nothing more than a test signal.
This takes me way back. To see cigarette ads again......
I miss cigarette smoke in bars and clubs (some of my drumsets reek of the stuff ;-). California even outlawed smoking at the beach. Sand-huggers. Buncha guys I knew (and some I didn't) died of lung cancer: John Wicks (The Records), Paul Skelton (Wayne Hancock), Bill Pitcock IV (The Dwight Twilley Band), Levon Helm (The Band), George Harrison (some minor band).
I subscribed to Stereo Review for many years. In the mid 70' after owning a Sherwood receiver, I went with separates, a Mac C-26 and a Crown DC-300A. I couldn't afford the extra $100 or so for the matching Mac C2105 amp, so I got the Crown. 
I just looked up J. Hirsch's review on the Crown. The entire text is devoted to measurements, not a word on how it sounds. He was really focused on inaudible distortion. Interesting. 
To be fair, it was early in terms of audio reviews. I enjoyed reading the magazine back then. 
I still have the C-26 and Crown amp, I use them in my office system at low volumes. I had both of them serviced a few years ago, they still sound decent. 
Never said Julian Hirsch was a fraud. Seriously wrong, sure. Together with Stereo Review did serious damage to countless audiophiles? Without a doubt. Even today many so-called audiophiles persist with their same counterproductive measurement matters more approach. Its pure crapola and not even like many of them know this is where it comes from but there it is.

And yeah the ads and cartoons are fun. But Stereophile had those too, and without all the self-defeating rhetoric in between.

Now if you want something worth celebrating that by the way would be it. J Gordon Holt came along with the revolutionary proposition that even something as simple as wire might not sound all the same, and that the way to find out was not to measure it but to listen to it.

In doing this J Gordon Holt’s Stereophile created a whole new lexicon, industry, and indeed a movement. J Gordon Holt and Stereophile, probably more than anything else, invented the audiophile. That is history. That is something worthy of being archived for posterity.

Stereo Review died 20 years ago, and good riddance. Not that measurement doesn’t have its uses, but Hirsch and Stereo Review took it way too far, to the detriment of the hobby. J Gordon Holt and Stereophile have utterly discredited that approach. Yet remnants linger on, the ghost of Hirsch and Stereo Review haunting audiophiles to this day.

Stereo Review, RIP. Long live Stereophile!

We must be about the same age, @millercarbon. Discovering Gordon and his little digest-sized, bi-annual Stereophile in early ’72 changed my life. Seriously! I subscribed and ordered all the back issues, and after reading them all cover-to-cover bemoaned the fact that I had not discovered him and it sooner.

Harry Pearson liked to take credit for creating the "High End", only begrudgingly acknowledging that it was actually Gordon who pioneered professional, published, subjective reviewing. Gordon also knew his way around a circuit schematic, while Harry was completely technically ignorant. I witnessed Bill Johnson recounting the story of getting a call from Harry, to whom ARC had sent a new pre-amp for evaluation and review. Harry told Bill the pre was defective, but after some investigation Bill discovered that Harry had inserted shorting plugs into, not the unused input jacks of the pre, as are shorting plugs intended to be used, but into the pre’s OUTPUT jacks! Anyone that ignorant has no right to be expected to be taken seriously as a professional reviewer.

I finally saw Julian Hirsch in the flesh, at CES Vegas in the mid-or-late 90’s. He had his wife with him, and was walking the halls, looking rather sheepish and embarrassed. I got the distinct impression he was very aware of the contempt with which he was viewed by the other CES attendants, myself included.

Not in the mags but if you ever want a laugh, check out the letters between Mikey Fremer and Arthur Salvatore. Enough insults and f-bombs to sink a ship.
Thanks for the link
Yet i fear i may lose too much time in there having fun
Its a good thing im off this week..

So from the 1st issue i looked at

THE JEFF BECK GROUP: Beck-Ola Cosa Nostra. Jeff Beck (guitar) ; Rod Stewart THE BLUE VELVET If ND: Aim Gooney, (vocals); Ron Wood (bass); Tony Newman (drums) ; Nicky Hopkins (piano). All Shook Up: Spanish Boots; Girl from Mill Valley; ailhouse Rock; and three others. EPIC BN 26478 54.98, ® HN 668 (33/4) $6.95,® N14 10220 $5.95, C) NMS 10220 $6.95.

Performance: Dismal Recording: Loud Stereo Quality: Okay

Jeff Beck must be the most over -rated rock guitarist around. He has based an entire style on elements --feedback, distortion, jumbled fingering, and bent notes-that better players use for purposes of dynamic contrast and the building of emotional tension. Why he has such a large following is hard to understand. His group is not much better. The vocals are handled by Rod Stewart, a pedestrian singer, at best; the rhythm team is adequate but dull. Only pianist Nicky Hopkins, presumably not a regular in the Beck group, shines fbrth-as he almost always does-with touches of genuine originality. His performance of his own piece, Girl from Mill Valley., a gentle, gospel -based song, is one of the album's few high points. But not high enough to warrant paying the overall price of admission. D. H.
D.H. is a real sweetheart. Ill give you two guesses what "D.H." stands for.

@crimsoniter, I saw the Jeff Beck Group live in late-68, at either The Carousel Ballroom or Fillmore. I was stoked to finally hear Nicky Hopkins live (I later met and spoke with him in L.A. in ’81. Sweet guy, and one of the best English musicians of them all), not to mention Beck. I had loved Jeff’s playing in The Yardbirds, though some of the playing I liked was actually Eric Clapton, uncredited on the For Your Love album.

Anyway, as Jeff took off on a solo in one song, Rod Stewart wandered back to the rack of spare guitars, picking up one and strapping it on. He meandered back toward the front of the stage, strumming the guitar. Jeff noticed him, and immediately stopped playing. He watched Rod for a moment, a look of contempt crossing his face. Jeff then walked up to his mic and said, in a voice dripping with disgust, "The thing isn’t even plugged in. Bloody wanker." I couldn’t agree more. After The Jeff Beck Group, Stewart went on to ruin The Small Faces. Helping him with that endeavor was another wanker from The Jeff Beck Group, Ronnie Wood.

Thanks for posting this. Oh, Bring back yesterday, bid time return!
Great to see all those "Audio" mags.  My dad was an electrical engineer and audiophile before the word was coined.  We received "Audio Engineering" (its predecessor) and then audio from 1948 or earlier.  I subscribed until Audio stopped publishing.  Bought Stereo Review but found it not very useful except for ads and some articles.  Loved the first ten years of The Absolute Sound, liked International Audio Review, Listener, Sensible Sound, and others.  Great to see many beginning to come together in one spot.  

I grew up with and subscribed to Stereo Review, High Fidelity, and Audio magazines, and avidly read Stereophile, TAS, IAR, Sensible Sound publications, etc. when they arrived on the scene.  I have, for years, heard and read many vilifications of Julian Hirsch and other reviewers that based most of their reviews on technical measurements - and now read that they ruined audio for years.  In my opinion, the position of those that unbendingly criticize the approach are no more (and likely less) accurate in their assessment of these reviews than H-H Labs was of the reviewed equipment.  See, for instance, the quote below from Stereo Review's review of the Philips RH 532 speaker in the March, 1975 issue. 

LarryRS


"We are aware that even experienced listeners can become accustomed to the specific sound idiosyncracies of any speaker that overall is reasonably accurate - and then to accept its particular qualities as the "norm." We are also aware that among experienced listeners judgments may differ when they are asked to select "the best" among a number of excellent, but slightly different-sounding, speakers. Since the audible bass quality of the Philips speaker is distinctly different from that of the other fine speakers we had at hand, we solicited the reactions of other members of STEREO REVIEW'S technical staff. By and large, there was general agreement that the overall sound from the RH 532 was as smooth and uncolored as anything any of us had ever heard. The disagreements, as expected, centered almost entirely on the quality of the system's bass performance. Whereas H-H Labs found the Philips to have an accurate, tight, and absolutely boom-free bass, other members of STEREO REVIEW'S technical staff, auditioning the system in different acoustic environments, judged the bass to be clean, but thin and lacking robustness or warmth. (H-H's view is that the "lack" of bass warmth is simply an absence of spurious upper -bass resonances.) There was, however, general agreement that the speaker did not deliver much output in the very lowest bass octaves, nor could it play rock at discotheque sound levels. 

In summation, there is no question that the Philips RH 532 is a high -quality, high -accuracy reproducer with a particularly smooth, flat, and extended mid-range and high -frequency response. The quality - not quantity - of the bass may particularly appeal to some listeners (as it did to us) and perhaps disappoint others. The choice then becomes a matter of taste. But if your taste in bass performance agrees with that of H-H Labs, you'll love the Philips RH 532." 


I'm not absolutely sure how many entendres allowable, but to paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, "the argument that Julian Hirsch relied solely on objective measurements is sound, nothing but sound."  
Hirsch stated, " I’ve never listened to live music, but- I have a pretty good idea what it sounds like." That was in the last issue of Stereo Review, I ever read(circa 1980) and WHY.
But not germane to the allegation that he relied only on measurements.  There are many in the audiophile community who don't listen to live music. 

That also explains why he had followers(and those, to which I previously referred).    
Does it though?  Perhaps there are some who are interested in both the measurements and the listening.  I know I certainly enjoy John Atkinson's objective analyses of equipment that have long accompanied other reviewer's subjective evaluations in Stereophile.
Of course it does. People will always gravitate, toward those with like opinions/references/experience(not to mention: aural acuity, or- lack thereof).
The measurements have little to do with opinion/references/experience or aural acuity - quite the opposite.  If the measures are validly obtained they provide information that I can choose to regard or not.  That's my, or anyone else's, prerogative.  It was true in the days of Stereo Review and remains true today.
"Perhaps there are some who are interested in both the measurements and the listening.", and- as I stated, "That also explains why he had followers....". My last post directly addressed that statement and the prior, "Does it though?". Measurements, by definition, are a reference and one can, "choose to regard(them) or not." Are you being intentionally obtuse? How much separation is there, between the prerogatives you exercise and the opinions you express? Another waste of keystrokes. That Julian Hirsch was a bad joke, is my personal opinion.  It was true in the days of Stereo Review and remains true today(my prerogative to retain that opinion).
That Julian Hirsch did not rely exclusively on measurements in his reviews is fact, not opinion.  The point of my initial post.  Why so hyperbolic?

Hirsch was a member of the WWII-generation electronic engineers, working in the field right at the dawn of the high fidelity boom of the 1950’s. That generation of engineers operated under the presumption that low measured distortion was synonymous with high fidelity sound. Ergo, the lower the measured distortion, the better the component. And the numbers race was on!

Design engineers had as early as the late-40’s discovered that applying negative feedback to a circuit would reduce it’s measured distortion specs, and the more feedback that was applied, the lower was the measured distortion. Again, the presumption was that lower measured distortion resulted in better sound. But did it? Is not that presumption a form of subjective reviewing? ;-)

In the 1970’s, Finnish researcher Matti Otala identified a "new" form of distortion, one he named T.M.I. (Transient Modulation Distortion). He discovered that, while negative feedback reduced the measured harmonic distortion in an amplifier when it was fed a static signal, that feedback actually INCREASED its’ T.M.I. stats, especially with a dynamic (non-static) signal. Which sounds worse, harmonic distortion, or T.M.I.?

Is has long been said that if a component measures good but sounds bad, it is bad. How can a component which measures good sound bad? Ralph Karsten has been telling us all here that different distortion envelopes exhibit different sound characteristics. Julian Hirsch, trained in traditional electronic measurement techniques, didn’t know what to make of the findings of Matti Otala’s research, so simply ignored them. As Bill Johnson was saying way back in the 1970’s, "They’re measuring the wrong things".

J. Gordon Holt was working as Technical Editor at High Fidelity magazine, doing their measurements and describing in his reviews in the mag the sound of the components he was measuring. Unlike Julian Hirsch, who was trained only in traditional electronic lab work, Gordon was not just an ee, but also an avid concert-goer, and a recording engineer. When his comments critical of the sound he heard coming out of the products he was evaluating for High Fidelity were published in the mag, the companys that made those products complained to the mag’s owners, who relied on the advertising revenues generated by those companys to make the mag profitable. Gordon was told to "go easy" (basically to leave out anything "wrong" he found in any component), so he quit High Fidelity and started Stereophile. And so was born the High End!

Gordon measured the products he reviewed in his new magazine, but those measurements did not supersede the sound quality provided by them. He knew measurements only reveal certain aspects of a products sound quality, those measurements far too crude to reveal what a trained ear can hear. And Gordon’s ears were VERY trained. Julian Hirsch’s ears, not so much. He was a traditional electronic engineer (pejoratively labeled "meter readers"), not an audiophile critic, those trained and experienced at detecting subtle differences between competing components. My God, Hirsch gave a rave review to the Bose 901. Gordon panned them. Harshly. He reserved his praise for the Quad and KLH electrostatics, and was the first to review the products from a small new company owned by the designer of its' products, Audio Research Corporation. Bill Johnson, the man who started the high end revolution! As celebrated in Stereophile, and ignored by Hirsch in Stereo Review. Tubes? In 1971?! You gotta be kidding! ;-)

@bdp24 .

Love the Jeff Beck anecdote!.

Only the English can use the term " wanker" and make it sound both insulting and glorious at the same time!

Reminds me of my very first work visit to the USA back in 98, group of us was in Johnny Rockets in Nashville talking in normal Brit speak as you do.

Waitress asked me what wanker meant, I told her she did not want to know but she insisted so I told her....

Funny she never came back to our table again......
bdp24:  I think uberwaltz’s waitress story is a perfect illustration of “TMI” or “Too Much Information,” whereas Matti Otala introduced the term “Transient Intermodulation Distortion” or “TIM.”  Either way, NBD (No Big Deal).

Oops, right you are @rel. How embarrassing!
@larryrs- "....hyperbolic"? What was it, that Hirsch, "relied on", besides measurements? His other, "reference"? OH, YEAH: "sounds". Once again(from his pen): " I’ve never listened to live music, but- I have a pretty good idea what it sounds like." That was the most inane statement, that I’d ever read, by a purported, "reviewer" of audio equipment AND; remains so, to this day. I determined Hirsch(and the rag), to be of no further value to me, based on a couple decades(at that time) of a life, focused on the production and reproduction of live music and never read another issue. That was the exercising of a prerogative, based on a personal opinion. FACT: All music is sound, but- not all sounds are an accurate reproduction of recorded music, though some will settle for(or- absolutely love) such, like he(invariably) did. Your initial post and the review you copy/pasted, concluded that, " In summation.........The choice then becomes a matter of taste.", after comparing a speaker system’s performance, to nothing beyond the performance/sound of other speakers and listener opinions. If that’s a metric, to which you ascribe value, enjoy!
My Personal Experience. There is a big difference in Amps and Pre-Amps. I personally tested against one another on the same turntable and speakers.
New Crown International PL-1 /SL-1 Against a New Yamaha Parametric / EQ Pre-Amp and Beast M Series Power Amp. The Crown way out-shined the Yamaha with twice the power rating with the Yamaha Pre-Amp. The PL 1 Was 50W / RMS (22,000MF Caps - Large for 50W) The Yamaha 100W RMS (Torrid Transformer Bigger Caps) on JBL Lancers.  At that time in 1987 the Crown SL-1 /PL-1 was top pick for best $1200.00 combination at the time in a Stereo Review test and sound evaluation. 
The Crown had much more transparency, Clarity with still maintaining a solid low end. And the 15 X20ft room shook when the lows hit. Punched just as well as the bigger Amp even at loud volume. Nice crisp highs without being harsh.
When I placed the Yamaha with the SL-1 Preamp we could not tell them apart until really cranking up the volume beyond what we could hardly take. The Yamaha then left the crown behind but not putting the smaller Amp to shame but the Yamaha True Power rating was apparent and the big transformer and big caps made an impressive show. The Yamaha Power Amp was real nice gear. Both Amps were high quality in their price of $400 Crown - $1200 Yamaha. Throw the Yamaha pre-amp. The Hafler 100W RMS Power cube. The Crown absolutely destroyed it. The brand new Hafler was rated two times the Power of the Crown. However the Hafler distorted before reaching 3/4 of what the Crown did without even being stressed. I think most people can find a difference with side by side comparison on the same pre-amp and speakers because I have. I am not an Audiophile but have been a fan of great gear. A former Electronic tech with an appreciation for design and robust power supplies. I also agree with the opinion that All quality Pre-Amps /Power Amps sound the same is B.S.