In the middle of a pandemic, Stereophile reviews ~ $30K equipment

While the world is in the middle of a major economic event, the last two pieces of gear posted by Stereophile to their online site average $30K a piece.

If this doesn't make you feel like you belong to their target audience I don't know what will.
"There's a very special, aged-in-wood component to its bass sound that I find fascinating . . . combined with clear highs that, while not shy, are capable of conveying intimacy."

There's an art to writing word salad, and this clown, er I mean reviewer has mastered it.

This one appears to be luxury version of Lyngdorf 3400.

 Both are made in Denmark but not by same company.

They may share some technology.

Someone will spend money without caring about pandemic.

Actually some people make more money due to pandemic.
Perhaps, as happened to me, a review of a pricey component started well before Covid-19 scare, and wound to conclusion now. Sometimes it takes months for a product to come to the reviewer! 

I think you are ignorant of the realities of reviewing and publications in this industry.  :(
That’s preposterous, egregious, outrageous! A public humiliation.
Anybody that would spend 29k for a ugly Aavik class D int amp is crazy for sure.Pandemic has nothing whatsoever to due with the review of expensive equipment Absolute Sound does the same.
A fool and his money soon parted. But hey, he will have intimate conveyance and aged in wood bragging rights. 
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Those who might spend $30K on such a thing are those who will be least affected by this mess. And, given the economic trends in the US and worldwide, high-end audio increasingly is aimed at such people. That's the world we live in.

@ebm : I agree. It's hideous.

@douglas_schroeder : I'm sure you are correct that the work was done before current conditions. Not only do reviews take months, but print magazines then take months more for editing, proofing, and makeup.

If you look at the demographics of those who have lost jobs due to the pandemic, it was largely those who would have been running a budget audio system - not those purchasing $30K components.  
I would rather read about a $30k piece than a $500 piece. Look at the car mags, a new manufacturer is selling his new car creation For $2.5M, only 100 will be built. Every car mag has Porsche’s for $100k to $300k, Ferrari’s and Mclaren’s for hundreds of thousands, again I would read these articles instead a Honda Civic review 
The reviews are for the most part scheduled months in advance likely pre-pandemic and I believe Stereophile's policy is a review started must be completed. So perhaps calm down about it.
Every car mag has Porsche’s for $100k to $300k, Ferrari’s and Mclaren’s for hundreds of thousands, again I would read these articles instead a Honda Civic review

True, but at least Car and Driver actually has models I might buy in addition to super cars I will not.

There’s a big big spread between a $500 component and $30,000, and plenty of great sounding gear that is ~ $3k to $6k.

It's just a magazine. No one is forcing anyone to buy any of the items in it, but to some it's enjoyable to read about what some profess to be "the best" even though they're way out of reach. Last time I looked both Stereophile and The Absolute Sound had "affordable" gear included as well.
How about that $53K SAT (Swedish Audio Technology) tonearm that MF reviewed (and praised) recently! And the previous model was only a mere $30K! Now if it could show the time and be worn on the wrist ...
Yeah, this was probably reviewed and written before the crisis. That said, when things are bleak, sometimes it’s fun to dream. You know… fantasy, escape, stuff like that.

Regardless of the reason, I have no problem with the timing of the piece.
I don't have a problem with it. Were you planning on spending 30k on a new system right before the pandemic made you rethink your decision?
Awesome that some bright entrepreneurs are exploiting the wealthy. It's covert redistribution and revolution in one.
"In the middle of a pandemic Stereophile reviews - $30K equipment."
And so?
Anyone that would spend that kind of money on any single component is a fool in my opinion....30k? Really....what the hell is it made of, Gold? I bet you could find something along the lines of 2500-5k that sounds just as nice...people are dumb asses...
“While the world is in the middle of a major economic event, the last two pieces of gear posted by Stereophile to their online site average $30K a piece.”

Erik, why do you care about their price? I am pretty certain you do not have any interest in pursuing these electronics.

+1, douglas_schroeder
Who cares?    1.  Anyone who takes what is written in a review of a high priced audio component seriously is rather foolish. More than 50% of what any of these guys "hear" is imaginary.   2.  Rich people like expensive stuff.  No one buys a $10,000 watch because it keeps better time.  It's a lot easier to make money selling high margin stuff to rich people than to compete with big companies mass producing affordable gear.  What makes a $30K component better to its target audience is the fact that it costs $30k.
Aavik piece is an integrated amplifier with a DAC and phono stage. You can save some money on those.

The other one is also a DAC and FM tuner.
erik_squires, in the middle of a world wide economic downturn, why is $3-6k for a single hi-fi component considered somehow reasonable?
What is the big problem? I enjoy reading reviews on equipment I could never afford. It is the same things with car magazines. This review was probably started in January.

@erik_squires , You bought an expensive Luxman recently before the pandemic, why is this different? I find reading the latest issue of Stereophile to be a good release from all the things going on right now.

Of course MC had to trash the reviewer, he couldn’t leave it alone. This is all par for the course. Then,  other ones chime in that you can get better for only a few thousand. Helloooo, rich people buy these things regardless of what people think here or elsewhere.  This can be an expensive hobby, if you don't realize it, perhaps collecting dryer lint would be a better hobby for some of us.

I know of another clown who speaks with the eloquence and clarity of alphabet soup :) Wonder if the new meds will help?

Regarding the OP's question. I don't know. What is or is not "proper" to do during a time like this? Lets forget the quality of the gear for a minute, or their opinions of it for that matter. This is a question of appropriateness. Should the world stop completely? Should hobbies and interests be shut down along with everything else? My feeling is, that we need some kind of escape from the insanity that is seemingly all around us in so many different forms. I get that the optics are "complicated" given so many are struggling so much right now. So yes, I think its Ok to have reviews and articles about expensive and exclusive items, be they cars, homes, watches etc. We could all use a break from all the sadness right now.

I would be sorely disappointed if I thought that you conceived this thread as anything other than tongue in cheek. Please, please assure me that you're only joking... No, never mind, you must be...right?
The people who they are appealing to are not affected in any way by the current economic crisis. 30k to them is like 30 to me. God bless them and may they stay healthy. My wife is a nurse and I can assure you that covid19 is not concerned with your portfolio. 
Wow, they are expensive.. No doubt..

I read, I didn't drink, not even a sniff..

I actually like the look of the little Freyas +, more. Its not an integrated but for that type of money....And Class Ds to boot. I don't care what it sounds like..or they spent on it, It's a class D. with a humpty dumpty DAC.  I'm liking mine way to much with that price tag.

Cost of living must be crazy in that little production town..
50 euro, beers, and 100 euro, sauerkraut, and 1000.00 euro, sausages.
All I can figure.. Narrow road access, only passable in spring...LOL

I find it interesting that some of the people decrying these wanton cash outlays are the very ones that have spent multiple thousands of dollars on senseless gimmicks, snake oil and audiophile jewelry, and who will defend their purchases with the very same word salad.
Keep in mind that reviews like this are written 99.9% for people who can only dream of owning the gear and maybe 0.1% for people who are actually likely to buy it (just like Doug DeMuro reviewing multi-million-dollar supercars on YouTube).  As such this is actually a good time for them because people are stuck at home and probably enjoy aspirational content more than ever.
Surprised by the responses to this OP... agreed $30k is a lot of money - for any audio gear... but cost is always relative. For a while though I thought I was one of the very few in the audiogon 'family' that ' did not ' have budgets for five and six figure pieces of gear... maybe someday.. but not today.

Word salads aside - I am glad to see that some industries are getting back to 'normalcy' during said 'crisis'... sort of getting tired of the whole lock down mentality and the paranoia of the media and public at large.

I guess if I had $30k to blow on gear - I would be in an underground swanky bunker - with nothing but great sound to fill my time and space.

@douglas_schroeder wrote: " Perhaps, as happened to me, a review of a pricey component started well before Covid-19 scare, and wound to conclusion now. Sometimes it takes months for a product to come to the reviewer! "

That (or something similar) was my first thought as well.

And give that the amount of money I have spent on audio equipment would be scandalous by the standards of much if not most of humanity, imo it would be hypocritical of me to throw verbal stones at someone who spends significantly more than I do.


This pandemic just accelerated the wealth transfer. The richer rich have to find SOMETHING to blow your dough on.
Thirty large is like a cheeseburger to some and yet they still covet the next guy, his yacht, his golf club, his defunct Casino or maybe even his third wife.
Not knocking aspirations, have some myself.
Don't Worry
be happy
Wow, to the diverse range of responses, I say! 
I cursory just looked at both reviews and decided, NUTS 🤪.
Never mind pandemic and all.
So from my humble position here, I can more connect to Erik's point of view. I do. 
The word salad mentioned I also perceived as prime BS,... 🤢
Eh, "The world is changing... " I'm told by my favourite old pharmacist.
Of late, I'm more and more recalling his comment.
Sad and off-putting, yet...
"nothing ever stays the same" , or was it
 "the more things change, the more they stay the same"? 
Still, in my opinion those reviewed equipments suck, they even look ugly too!
I don't like ugly, humph! 
Never mind their price, never mind covid.
And now I'm going back and listening to my transistor radio. 😊 🤸‍♀️💃
Go back several years and you’ll see $200k speakers, $100k amps being reviewed every month, nothing has changed because of this virus. All the expensive audio products haven’t disappeared, you can still buy them, just like you can buy $1M cars, $40M homes, etc..
I also think it’s foolish for people to judge others that buy the more expensive gear. If you think your $1000 product sounds fantastic, great, but you shouldn’t try to convince or belittle somebody that spends $50k for a product, that’s just foolish. Some of the best gear that I have heard costs over $100k, at the same time I’m happy with gear that is less expensive, but I’m not going to try and convince myself or others that What I have is the best. The best doesn’t have to be the most expensive but it sure won’t be the cheapest either.
Regarding the OP’s thoughts - I agree it’s a complicated time for displays of wealth. On the other hand, wealth exists, and this is an expensive hobby. The OP is likely right that Stereophile is alienating some readers with tone-deaf reviewing during this period. Stereophile may also be catering to other readers who view such reviews differently.

After seeing millercarbon’s ad hominem attack on the reviewer (“clown”), I read In detail the full review by Jason Serinus to determine whether Serinus is in fact a clown. What I found was a well-crafted, insightful, and well-researched review that is anything but a “word salad.” 

The quote milllercarbon references is from the second paragraph of the review, and is a quote from a previous review Serinus wrote about an earlier version of the item. The quote actually has nothing to do with the review and is simply stage-setting, which would be obvious to anyone who read beyond the second paragraph. 

Is the language in that one quote overblown? Yes. But what about the merits of the review itself?

The reviewer goes into technical detail, interviewing one of the designers, and even nods to why the unit costs as much as it does. The reviewer describes a wide variety of listening in two different settings, with concrete and specific terms, and no overblown language. I was left with a useful understanding of the technology, strengths, and weaknesses of the unit, and where the unit might fit into an audiophile system.
And $900 each Cuban Habana cigars from Switzerland out of stock is what ? 
$30k for a good piece of anything is not much for millions. Yes, millions.
Most of us are just poor but proud people. What else can we have but pride ?
Should the marketplace of this site shut down while COVID-19 gets taken care of? I'm seeing a pair of $70k speakers in the listings. How dare they. 
Crisis? What crisis? The worst is over. It’s all downhill from here, gentle readers. That’s data speak. Things are going to be opening up soon. They’re already opening up as we speak. Rejoice! Now go out there and spread some of that cash around! Open up your wallets! Revel in your time. 🤗
Nice whining. Did you want them to limit their reviews to equipment available in Walmart?
I get the point you're trying to make but what's people's problem with Walmart....
No-one I know or even heard of in NYC area is going to support this opening-up criminal madness. And most of those people do have some funds to spare. Not on this audio nonsense, of course. They are renting and buying real estate in more civilized and advanced countries or at least areas in the US. Look at Hawaii and Vermont, look at Israel and Baltic states. 
Yes, it's downhill from here. Good luck with your stereo purchases, anyway.