Have I been slow to catch on or what...

Have started avidly reading audio mags (both online & print) lately 'cos I want to upgrade equipment. Several observations. The 2 most prestigious mags never review equipment NOT advertized in them. Some super equipment
never even get a mention 'cos they don't advertize in them.
Those who do almost always get stellar reviews. Canadian mags always give Cdn mfrs priority in reviews AND they're always GREAT! British mags do the same with Brit gear. They'd do a U.S. gear review only (again) if they advertize.
Then suddenly they become fantastic.Where can you go to get impartial & professionally honest reviews anymore ?
If U send me the gear that your thinking about buying, i will tell you whether it's any good or not : )

Honestly though, you have to find a mag that has no advertising in it. IAR was one ( even though we all knew that Peter LOVED Audio Research Corp...) I've also heard good things about Bound for Sound, but never seen one. As to all of the others that i've seen, i would consider them "tainted". Sean
You have already begun, as you are here at Audiogon. I think you will almost always get answers that are from the heart. I realize that even a long and varied post is not a review, at least not in the format presented by a magazine. Much of the results are the same though, good solid base of knowledge, and Audiogon has one very clear advantage over the paper version. If you have a question, no need to wait and hope that your product will be covered in the next issue (a month away/a year away?) If you have any doubts or questions concerning a particular product, you are free to disagree or ask exactly what was meant. It becomes nearly instant gratification, and reactions from people who have spent their hard earned cash where their ears are. Most have nothing to gain from taking time to offer their comments, except the satisfaction of sharing.
I think we often expect too much from a magazine review. We want the reviewers to tell us what or what not to buy. When this is the case we are asking someone else to make a decision for us and that's not good. The fact, as I see it, is that the equipment that gets reviewed in the high-end mags is good stuff, period. We do not see mass market equipment getting reviewed because it is crap by our standards and expectations. At the same time, we do not expect to see Krell, Audio Research, CJ, Levinson etc, make a piece of equipment that sounds like crap. When I read a review I have come to expect the last statements declare the piece as great, top-notch etc. These statements take on several forms. Some of them state "this is the best $3000 speaker on the market". What about the $2900 or $3100 speakers? Some state "this is the best tube amplifier I have heard to date". What about the solid state amp reviewed last month? I could go on, but I think the idea has been demonstrated. What I expect from a magazine review is a description of the sound. If a loudspeaker has boomy bass, or an amp has a very forward presentation, I want the reviewer to state that. The sonic qualities do not make the equipment bad, but perhaps a mismatch for my existing system, room and liking. I also want to have a basic understanding of what the reviewer likes and dislikes. If "Joe Blow the reviewer" likes a very dry presentation and he comments that a "preamp is somewhat dry" then guess what? That preamp is probably real dry. If I like a warmer, more lush presentation I can immediately cross that preamp off of my list of potential purchases. I may still give it a test listen though, just to find out what it does sound like, as a personal reference and to better understanding of "Joe Blow's review". There are many great sources, and as Albertporter states, this is one of them, so are the high-end mags, but most imporatntly our own ears. Good Luck, Doug
For a hard look at audio mags, check out
www.high-endaudio.com, which takes you to a site called Audio Critique. Another frequent critic of TAS and S-phile is www.audioperfectionist.com, particularly the Watch Dog section. It's enough to make you never trust a review again. Which may be a good thing.
Some non-british gear is hard to get in the UK, or even impossible to get, because of the voltage and connection differences. If a US or Canadian company does not make a UK version, I doubt any magazine is going to go out their way to have a unit converted just so they can review it. It is also a chicken and egg think (which came first?) If you were a audio manufacturer and a magazine writes a great review, would'nt you want the magazines readers to find out more about your gear and where to buy it??? I hope the opposite is not true (ie, To get a review you have to buy a big ad.)