Soon as I can get a laptop to take into the 'john' with me I'll cancel my subscriptions. But I'll miss the glossy product pictures. :-)
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Yes, the online audio sites are killing the mags. Without good circulation numbers an advertiser will pull out and spend money elsewhere. This will kill a magazine in the long term.
A better way for getting good information is direct from the manufacturer. They need to put up better web sites and start creating better dealer networks so that people can audition their equipment rather than read about them in magazines swayed by ad dollars.
Joining audio clubs is one way to hear more gear. I've heard more mega buck equipment this way than at any store where salesmen are sometimes snobs and only want to help you if you are buying mega buck equipment.
True geeks I too would trust. The guys running the web zines...are not geeks, in my opinion, they are looking out after their own best interests just as much as any hard copy reviewer. They need equipment to review. They can't afford to buy it. They rely on manufacturers to supply it. In return...same old same old. The true geeks reside on, for example, the AA DIY/Tweaks forum.
6moons has done alright by me. I've bought Zu and Red Wine on Srajan's recommendation and in the process become acquainted with two very good companies and their excellent products. The print mags never did that for me. They seem always to be helping their friends, the big names who didn't really need the help.
Sorry, Tarsando. I responded yesterday but it was not printed.
I'm sure 6moons has friends but they are not the blue chip cotillion crowd courted by the print mags. The friends of 6moons include the likes of me and many small manufacturers. These include the startups and upstarts in our industry not the deep pockets.
Serious print journalists like Atkinson, Harley, Fremer, Pearson, etc., have experience & opinions that count and are always worth reading. There are fewer writers of similar stature on the net. Print mag reviewers have access to a wider range of equipment for reviews & comparisons, and a more structured approach to reviewing equipment. By comparison the internet is full of cognitive dissonance & geeks seduced by their systems. Finally, the print mags have the broadest industry coverage available under one roof.
That said, many worthwhile audio boutique manufacturers would not exist without internet word-of-mouth and on-line zines.
These days the biggest problem with audio is too much money chasing purchases. Does the internet help us rediscover value? I think so, mostly by taking advertising out of the equation. But this too is changing.
While Stereophile has atrophied, TAS-- which used to be a stuffy enclave of audiophile pomposity that smelled of old urine-- has updated to a vigorous new format with a fresh focus on informed MUSIC REVIEWS. What a concept for an audio magazine!
There has been much huffing and puffing in the UK on this subject of valid sources of information for buyers. Most of the hot air comes from Roy Gregory at HiFi+, who seems to disparage any other source of info other than, well HiFi+. He has had a go at online Forums such as this. His grounds have some validity, that individuals and groups can manipulate the forum for their own ends and against particular manufacturers or retailers. nevertheless, I take advice from this site. Audiogon members have payed their hard earned money for kit and lived with the results for years. I have always valued the advice I have received.
Secondly, the question of advertising, a perennial problem. I like 6moons too, but they do seem very dependent on advertising, but as Macrojak says, they open up small manufacturers to a wider audience, they would'nt otherwise get. In the UK, as you may know, a very expensive subscription only magazine, HiFi Critic, has printed 4 issues. It's expensive, about $100 for 6 issues and has no adverts, which is why its expensive of course. Purely coincidence, but we get another fulminating editorial from Gregory, insisting mags are'nt corrupted by adverts.
My own favourite is Bound for Sound, Marty seems to have a down to earth, value orientated outlook. Despite myself, I have a soft spot for HiFi+, it has good music reviews and looks at some really unusual kit. I don't think any magazine can maintain a consistent high quality, high integrity approach over the years. That is more of a threat that online Zines. I find Stereophile a pretty turgid read at the moment, with kit I am not interested in.
I read Hifi+, Stereophile, 6Moons, and Absolute sound and find that they all have their place. No single one will do in my estimation. I'll tell you though, I truly miss Art Dudley's "Listener". That little home spun mag was the most fun reading about audio that I have ever found and it was accurately informative to top it all off IMHO. It had that most important aspect of not taking itself too seriously.
I believe it is very important to have numerous and diverse sources of information to keep the honest people, well honest. Not like the situation we currently have with the rest of our (US) greater mass of news and current events media.
Open forums such as this (AudioGon), AudioKarma, AudioAsylum, etc add a very important element to keeping it real and helping each other out!
Happy (free press reading) Listening!