Just got mine yesterday after returning from vacation and I was surprised to see it. I'm still undecided, I can understand the need for the occasional graphic refreshment in any sort of pring publication but it seems to be make the mag a bit harder to read. What I mean is that columns don't seem to all take up full pages now, some are split and it becomes very confusion. However that confusion could have just stemmed from extreme jetlag so I'll give it a bit more time and report back.
I don't like it either. Way to confusing, however I did kinda catch on by the time I'd finished it (didn't take long as it continues to get shorter every month). I prefer the smaller format from about 15 years ago.
Oh, BTW I know there are some Stereophile writers that visit these pages. So, for the record.....don't listen to the winnies writing in that want you to review the $29 Coby cd players at Walmart. Keep reviewing those $350,000 a pair amps. After all, who wants to see a 1988 Yugo reviewed in Car and Driver?
I like the larger font they have chosen for the technical sidebars. Much easier to read.
It is ok, I suppose.
I just wish the content of Stereophile were better.
I used to subscribe to Stereophile back in the early '90s, and the magazine was by far, one of the best audio magazines published.
Now, it seems to be merely middle of the back, at best.
It seems to me that Stereophile has become the "Stereo Review" of the 21st century. (By that I mean, that all the reviews state ("insert name of whatever the piece of equipment being reviewed here") is very good to excellent, with most being "very good at the price point".) The only truly outstanding content of the magazine is that meaurements are really thought out and presented well. (Sort of like Stereo Review was.)
As long as I am griping, I also wish they would cut back on Michael Fermer's reviews. Have any of you actually counted the number of reviews by him? In the analog sections (turntables, arms, cartridges, etc...), it is about 75-80% and in the rest of the magazine it is probably about 20%. I almost think that they should rename the magazine "Fermer's Stereophile". (Btw, I have nothing against Fermer, I just like having different points of view. He seems to be dominating the magazine lately.)
My subscription is up soon, and I am honestly thinking of not resubscribing. I used to think that at $13/year, it was worth it for the ads alone. However, I am rethinking my original position.
My two cents worth anyway.
Btw, when I gave the statistics on the number of Fermer's reviews, I was looking at the semi-annual "recommended components" issues, the last year or so.
Noted that indeed indeed the mag is shrinking.
Too many reviews and magazine covers of ONE BRAND of equipment is my guess as to why advertisers have disappeared.
Let that be a warning.
Suicide by review!!!
Who cares what the design of the printed mag is... It is just fading away. I remember the earliest issues... Will they returning to Stereophiles roots? 30 or 40 pages on plain paper?
Complete honesty in content can make up for the worst layout possible. But to have to try to Sherlock 70% of the reviews content between the lines rather than simple direct statements that this is BAD and this is GOOD and this aspect of the test piece is ok but not great and it is overpriced etc would go a long way to convince more and prior readers to subscribe. Ads may pay the freight but they should not lead to great prose to hide or coverup shortcomings or the reviewers true opinions on a piece of equipment. Having the opportunity to have known writers in other review fields and as having written it is a game that is played to appease both sides of the issue seller and buyer. It is an exercise in politically correct journalism and not factual testing except for parts of Mr.Atkinsons work.
Sgt. Friday said it best," The Facts and only the Facts."
The lawyers will twist them to fit their purposes.
Or the doctor who told his patient you have cancer, but look on the bright side you will experience the most and best upclose look at modern medicine in action.You will meet some great specialists and and staffs, see wonderous facilities and meet good people in your same condition and so much more.And remember we all have to die sometime. Of course the downside may the the pain and problems from treatment and the expense. But that is not the good part. Modern medicine must have patients and make money and pay me and all the other staffs and manufacturers so I am not goingto harp on the bad only the good and lets keep the ball rolling.
Kurt tank you spent $13 a year so you could read advertisements? I know the reviews are just advertisements but I never would have imagined that someone would subscribe to read the ads. Send me $20 a year and I'll send you a bunch of ads. Happy reading.
What's the point of the vertical line between the first and second column of copy? . . . makes me think it's a different article.
Not much there in content, but certainly a buck's worth an issue . . . like who cares what stereo some celebrity has? Save it for People.
Lot of copy, though, on the self-produced CD's . . . ought to sell a few discs . . .
I started subscribing in the late 80's when it was a magazine (I prefered the smaller format, since it fit in a sportcoat pocket), when the format changed to the Mc Stereophile supersized, it was still a magazine, but in the last ten years it has shrunken to a pamphlet. I've gotten bigger tracts from street corner preachers telling me to repent.
I wish Stereophile would repent and start putting out a magazine again. There is nothing in it. I have never complained about overexposure of high or even obscenely priced gear, but I do complain that there are hardly any reviews left at all. Is it really that hard to come up with good content? There are people here on AudiogoN who have written reviews good enough to deserve publication somewhere. Or at least hanging up in a bathroom stall somewhere.
There are lot of people who cannot afford to buy a $14,000 amp new, who can buy the same amp for half price a couple of years later. So all of these reviews of expensive gear continue to have value for many years. People that whine about the reviews of high priced gear are simply shortsighted. Reviews of cheap gear might have a little value when the product is brand new, but not many people are interested in buying inexpensive gear used.
I liked the Audio Anarchist (for obvious reasons) a lot more than the ramblings of Sam Telligs vacations. Sam, get back to what you did best, I can listen to my wife rave about her Italian vacation.
I do like Mikies reviews, but I worry when there are no negetive reviews because I have a hard time believing they don't get any gear that does not sound good. I can understand that they worry about the destruction of a good company that employs honest hardworking American people, but there is enough gear out there that I do not consider worthy of purchase (MF in particular) and my level of exposure is far smaller than theirs.
The verticle bar is a slight distraction. The thick horizontal bars in the middle of the page are down right stupid. It makes you think that its time to move back to the top of the page. Makes you slow down and figure out which way to go to continue with the article. I guess the guy/gal who came up with the new layout doesn't read much.
As for the content; too much high priced gear. How many $350K amps do the sell anyway? How about reviewing stuff in the $1k-$5k range that people can afford in todays economy. That we keep out the low budget mid-fi crap. It seems like the go from one extreme to the next. Like reviewing a $350k amp righ after reviewing a pair of $269 speakers. Now, if you hook up the cheap speakers to the solid gold mega-amp will you have a Class A Stereophile system?
Johnd, I think your point is excellent. After you brought it up, I realized that I also was getting lost in the too many columns.
Again, I like it overall. I think it feels more modern and slick. But, I would prefer a reduction in the number of columns and making it easier to follow are you pointed out.
Nrchy, I also agree with you. Stereophile has basically become the Dunkin' Donuts of audio. Dunkin' Donuts are actually mini doughnuts that a guy in the back pumps up with a bicycle pump to regulation size. After you've eaten one, you don't feel like you've eaten anything at all.
The writing is quite bland. Their coverage of their own show was less inspired than what was put forth by the Audiogon and Audio Asylum posters. Although, I read a good amount there, there was not much there there to quote Mr. Tellig. In my own lightweight show review, I felt we got to a much deeper level of discussion of sonics. And, as I pointed out, I purposely kept it very light.
Fremer is overdone these days. Sam is old and tired, probably just hanging on for the easy money, even if it isn't a lot, and all the gear being thrown his way to try. Art Dudley is the breath of fresh air, but the number of people who hate him and the niche gear he reviews should probably have a balance in an HP type who is commanding, demonstrative, and listens at 120 dB. I miss Chip Stern, as I felt he was the best "meat and potatoes" writer at Stereophile. Robert J. Reina's budget speaker reviews were fun for a while, but I am oh so tired of them now - they all read the same to me. Kal isn't as boring as he used to be, but I would predict he still hasn't gone on the motivational speaking tour and he doesn't review much gear these days. John Marks I appreciate. John Atkinson's reviews actually say something, but are too dry to keep me interested. This is too long a rant for one paragraph...
I thought it was very interestin that Art's not-so-hot review of the Audioquest cables caused a 1+ page manufacturer's response in which they politely slam Art and his ability to understand and properly review their product. It must have caught them by off guard as they are so used to getting glowing reviews even when minute improvements cost big bucks.
Prpixel - Nobody reads much nowadays and I think that's what Stereophile is going for. The new format is "short attention span friendly" and thus the center page lines, mid page lines, etc. It is supposed to make the reader think there is less text so it's more attractive.
And I hate to say this, but I am probably typical of Stereophile readers (age wise) and I find the font too small. My eyes ain't what they used to be. It kinda works like this: they can't spend much money on paper so they have to use small print size. But the majority of their readership is middle aged (and getting older) so the eyes aren't what they used to be. However, younger readers also don't like small fonts - looks like too many words! I'm generalizing, of course, because there are guys my age who see really well without glasses and young people who don't mind actually reading something - but in general...
I found the new format somewhat distracting. I actually miss the 1980s version. While the review of the $350K amp generated a lot of criticism, you can bet that most readers nearly ripped the magazine in half in their hurry to find the story! It was a wonderful example of why subjective reviewing needs to be backed up by objective testing. Stereophile is the only magazine I've seen that offers high-end hobbyists that kind of credibility. I guess that makes format changes a bit inconsequential to me.
I have to admit that I'm in the group that's middle age with declining eyesight. I've also noticed a lot more grammatical errors in all forms of print. I guess there is such a rush to get things to print with the net putting pressure on print media. Or, maybe, it's a lack of qualified editors. I'm not the best when it comes to writing, and I tend to make more typos these days, but at least I have the common sense to keep three essential books on my desk: A pocket style guide, The MLA handbook and The American Heritage dic-tion-ar-y.