Better magazine, Stereophile or Absolute Sound

Better magazine, Stereophile or Absolute Sound

What do you think?
they are the same, try Listner, way better
Some years ago, both mags had their merits, and I subscribed to both for a long time. If voting today, I'd have to give the clear nod to TAS, although neither mag is exactly free from the influences of its advertisers.
I agree with Sdcampbell. TAS is a better magazine, but had lost a few of its quality characteristics since they switched to the new layout. I never liked listener. Just a preference I guess.

Both Stereophile and TAS are fun to read. Assuming you don't look too much into the advertising side. They both provide good info into the world of high end. They have their problems, but how many reviews would you read without either of these?
I've subscribed to TAS for over 25 years, and thought they
had more editorial independence from the advertisers than
most other magazines. Now I'm not so sure.....

A recent post on Audio Asylum noted the following:
Leafing through the June/July issue of TAS, an advertisement for a MIT product caught my eye (page 35). The ad copy quotes from a TAS writer's review of the cable line in Issue 136.
What's the big deal?

Issue 136 is the June/July issue.

I gather from the link below, that's not generally accepted practice.


Maybe they're all for sale, and not just at the magazine
rack in the local supermarket?
I like them both, but they're both marching as fast as possible to the most commercial (ie, high circulation) style they can achieve. I would have said that TAS was the better magazine a year ago, but they have made major "strides" in catching up to Stereophile's less in-depth reviews and more commercial presentation. I subscribe to both and reserve the right to complain about either / both, but have always said they're worth the price of admission and fun to read. -Kirk
I've been reading and subscribing on and off to Stereophile for about fifteen years. During that time I picked up the occasional TAS. Up until five years ago I would have said Stereophile was the better rag. In the lat few years they have lost a lot of credibility. I'm not worried about things like the ads with comments from the same issue. Both magazines send copies of their articles to the manufacturers for comments, so what's the big deal! I think the problem with Stereophile and TAS to a degree is the cousins marrying cousins. There is way to much inbreeding in this very small and tight community. And now JGH is writing for HP! What is that all about?!?
Those guys need to get out of their listening rooms and live in the real world. I'm not complaining about reviews of expensive gear, I'd rather read those than articles about cheap stuff. I don't know if they didn't inhale enough in the sixties and seventies or if they're inhaling too much now.
Kirks right, if you pay the subscription price they will pass for bathroom reading material but don't take them too seriously.
I will simply say that i have WAY more respect for the "Captain" of Stereophile than i do for that of TAS. Given the "public disagreements" ( HA HA HA ) that i've had with some of the staff of Stereophile in the past and especially quite recently, that might seem kinda strange. Even if i don't agree with a LOT of what has been taking place over there for quite some time, i still think that Stereophile is by far "the lesser of two evils". Either way, i think that both mag's have LOADS of room for improvement. Sean
In my opinion, TAS lately looks more like Stereophile used to be and Stereophile is deteriorating. Notice the last few issues - it is thinner and it seems with every issue another writer has left. Are the rats abandoning a sinking ship?
I'm suspicious of ANY commercial rag - they do indeed have to cater to their advertisers. (John Atkinson in a recent issue wrote some rather convoluted apologia for this approach.) You may want to puzzle out what he said. I found it tiresome.

With TAS you get utter subjectivity along with, IMO, Harry Pearson's pontifications. OTOH, J Holt moved over to Stereophile because he was concerned about the direction of TAS. And Gordon is someone whose judgement I've long respected. Make of that what you will. Stereophile gives you a balance of Atkinson's sometimes inpenetrable graphs with the musings of the reviewer, so one can at least attempt to pit the numbers against the subjective. Take your choice. In any case, you can see whether the numbers in any way correlate to the listening experiences of the reviewer.

Both of these journals wander way too far into the reaches of unaffordable equipment - at least for working class folk like me (vide Stereophile's recent reviews of the Boulder phono preamp and its sister preamp).

We tried Listener, but Art Dudley and his gang wore me out. He's a fine writer, but his conclusions are very suspect in my estimation. And he wears his biases on his sleeve. At least give him high marks for honesty ;>)

I've been at this a long time and have found no perfect journal. I have to trust my less than perfect ears; they usually serve me well.
I try not to get caught up in the which is better debate anymore. I simply look for the knowledge and insight that I can gain from each. If they are redundant or misleading they go into the subscription trash can. The audio magazines, for the most part, are not very entertaining or thought provoking. Listener is an exception to that rule, reminding me of Stereophile and the Absolute Sound in the early years. Stereophile and Absolute Sound are good reads if your are interested in products from established high end companies or those about to rise. These two rags define the mainstream of the high end and reflect what you will find in most high end audio shops. For the fringe of the high end I read Listener (their fascination with all products Naim notwithstanding). Another great source for the non-mainstream is the internet. Just hitting the links of the more esoteric items listed in Audiogon is a great source for exposure to off the beaten path items.

Lets face it, one rag can't do it all, and yes, Stereophile and Absolute Sound have become less probing, more advertiser-centric, and only distinguishable by the products they review that month. That's why I look at alternate sources of news and reviews to keep interest up.
I've read and subscribed to both at one time or another for more than 30 yrs(as well as most other hi-fi mags). I don't get much enjoyment from AS anymore, but Stereophile is still
fairly entertaining and much easier to read.

However, I don't buy into much that is written about the actual equipment. After all, if a reviewer suddenly can't hear the gross differences most claim to hear, nobody will be sending him all the nice toys you and I would love to play with. Oh, most are good writers, but that is there only claim to fame. All this crap about soundstaging, imaging, and such is mostly in there heads. After all, blind testing has pretty much proven that.

So what does make a difference? The recording, room acoustics, and loudspeakers will determine 99% of what you will hear. The other 1% I'll give 'em.

Btw, whatever happened to The Audio Critic? I think they still owe me an issue.

God I miss Audio!!

Admit it, the most worn (torn cover)issue of any audio magazine was the October issue of Audio with their Annual Equipment Directory.

Come on, ADMIT IT!!!

I loved their sense of humor, remember in the Receiver section, the receiver, wide left or right, on or off steriods, specs and all, pretty humorous.

How about the Reuben Guss speakers, has any one ever seen one let along listen to one??? But every Directory had them whether that company ever existed or not.
I miss the October issue of Audio, too.
I vote Mutt, No wait...Jeff! What's the last thing Mutt said again? Mutt, Jeff, Mutt, Jeff....shi*! How many times can you vote?

What was the question again?

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."
~ Hunter S. Thompson
(or did Sean say that over at AA?)
I miss Bascom King, EV Pisha and Ed Long on cartridges/turntables, and even Bert White, ET Canby &Heyser, RIP. Audio's measurements actually meant something, unlike the foolishness "Sfool" gives you. Fremer can be candid, too bad he isn't more technical. As far as their pretense to measure, I assert if you are reviewing an amp, why not measure it with the speakers that the reviewer is using? At least AS makes no pretense in this direction.
I agree with you guys. There may not have been a better "glossy" than Audio when it was running at full stride. Good writing, music reviews, a healthy blend of subjective sonics and "technicalese", the occasional article that covered subjects that you never knew could be so interesting or informative, etc... Besides that, who could forget all of Professor Lirpa's "kick ass" audio products : )

As to the October issues, i agree with you folks. They are a wealth of information of products from days gone by. If you are interested in purchasing something of this nature in the future, Marty and Laura of Bound For Sound is "thinking" about doing something like this. Please contact them via their website and let them know your thoughts on the subject. Sean
Wide Screen review is a good magazine. They have some interesting stuff in there.
I've finally stopped subscribing to both of them. If I need to know something, I can ask and get it here.
I subscribed to AS for nearly two decades and then left as professional demands absorbed my avocational time. Stereophile was a newstand purchase, but a frequent one, over the same interval. I always enjoyed JGH and was always puzzled at HP's negative opinion of his work. Now, JGH writes for AS. The marketplace does wondrous things. Now, with more time, I have resumed buying both on newstands. As often as not, I leave Stereophile in the store, but the AS is still purchased. It does not, however, inspire the same confidence as it did in its earlier era. I have tons of back AS issues, and they are an interesting contrast with present issues. Audiogon gives much more diversity of opinion, reflecting listeners whose ears are probably just as practiced as those of professional reviewers.
Stereophile is more easy to read

but one beef I have is they rarely compare components at the same price, they will compare a unit to it's now obsolete upgraded predicessor but will not compare it head to head with other viable options

that brings people to feel inferior with their outdated version and to plck down more to upgrade and also doesn't offend the company, but it doesn't help hone in on the best unit in that price range