I find Stereophile to be the best bang for the buck audio mag. I've subscribed to TAS and lesser known mags over the last decade but now I only get Stereophile.
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For me it used to be HiFi+ but they have really gone down hill lately, even to the point of the local book store seems to be still waiting for thier december issues to arrive. Now it would be a toss between TAS and Stereophile. I prefer a few of the writers at stereophile but the production of TAS is much better. I also like the on line Tone Publications, perhaps the best of the bunch?
I do all my audio reading online these days. I used to be fanatical back in the 80's, I couldn't read enough of the mags, and there were so many to choose from. I find it interesting that the OP likes 'What Hi Fi', the reasons he stated seems very much like what they used to do back in the day, which is a GOOD thing. TAS & S'phile just don't seem to do what they used to, certainly not for me anyway. 1/2 the fun was reading the letters section in the mags, now I read the letters HERE!!
I don't read the zines to often. I may buy a copy of TAS or Stereophile every few years but for the most part I've moved on. All my audio related text media is web based. Anyone out there remember the Sam and Armorall your compact disc article years ago Stereophile. I canceled all my subscriptions about that time.
Tone Audio hands down. I subscribe to them all and Jeffs ezine is by far the best produced Tellig/Valin free zone there is. New stuff, used stuff, music , concerts gadgets, all the good stuff. Plus, he doesn't appear to be biased toward any one sound or tubes vs solid state. Doesn't try to convince you your kit is wrong, just an explanation of his opinion.
i read stereophile mag and absolute sound every month and enjoy the advertising too. but read audiogon everyday. i,ve noticed music questions get 10 times the response to equipment questions and really enjoy remembering music i.ve forgotten about. barcly james harvest and nektar. they don,t cover music like this in rolling stone anymore.
Doesn't it bother you guys to see the full page ad EVERY TIME in Stereophile for the cover story component?
They're like the Bush administration. They don't even TRY to cover up the B.S.
Arthur Salvatore pointed out a while back that there's an unwritten "rule" in the mainstream audio press that they're not to make any direct comparison to another component in the item of review's class. Since I read this three years or so ago, I've been looking for an exception to this "rule", and haven't found ONE.
Where are the "shootouts" that I see in other hobbies' magazines?
Be nice to know what NOT to buy, wouldn't it?
I'll tag Tone as well. I used to be a fan of Soundstage. It was an easy read and laid out well. it wasn't as pretentious as some others either.
Tone covers the whole spectrum of music from software to hardware.
"Playback" comes along by email to my inbox regularly and is a compilation of several online mags. it's mighty convenient. Articles range widely across the board.... AV, headphones, Displays, music etc.... from TAS and other industry town criers.
Six moons articles by and large just ramble too much for me anymore to enjoy and embedding images into the text rather than along side it is just too too tedious and exasperating.
Quite often I enjoy the individually authored reviews here on Audiogon. though usually not as polished or technical as major mags, they contain a zeal and enthusiasm that is appealing. Frequently theyre reasonably well written and entertaining too. Above all they are succinct.
I find 6 MOONS to be my favorite review source. They are detailed and very comprehensive in their description of the technical frame work of a component and are quite effective in relating sonic performance character. I appreciate their willingness to do direct comparisions with competing components, they are`nt afraid to be critical when warranted. By the way they take great pictures of the inarnds of the reviewed components. After reading a review I feel I have a good sense of what it would sound like.
I like Stereophile. I take things they review with a grain of salt, but it seems to me that the magazine is trying to foster a culture of audio enjoyment. I read the magazine in its electronic copy through Zinio and it looks great on the iPad. Its harder to read on a computer. I also visit the Stereophile website and read the blogs, like Stephen Meijas, as it provides a counterpoint to the unaffordable high end. I like the humour and enthusiasm in Stereophile.
I find when you read a magazine where the writers are so personable, then, we read our favourite writers with some sort of identity, like we way we identify our favourite members of a sporting team, just like sonicbeauty says about Sam Tellig - he's fun to read. His neologisms (like the use of the word fremer as a verb to describe fussing endlessly over turntables) are funny. ymmv.
I also read Australian HiFi. Ha! got you there. Does anyone else read Australian HiFi? I buy it out of nationalism. Like stereophile it provides completely uninterpretable measurements on equipment that I read and wonder if anyone knows what this means and whether it means anything about the sound.
For the most part I agree with Ninox but the humor displayed in Stereophile pales in comparision to the defunct Listener Magazine (those brits seem to have captured the market in terms of wit and guile bordering on silliness).
There really isn't a MAJOR audiophile publication written for the average audiophile. Market enviornment vis-a-vis payed endorsements permeates all, first in terms of component selection and then in review content (can't bite the hand that feeds you afterall). While its wonderful to read about $15K+ preamps and speakers over $20K what about taking the approach of reviewing components that fall in the middle niche that the average audiophile would be willing to spend and then if a component falls outside of that but is really exceptional writing about that?
How many reviews have you seen in a major publication about components from Audio Horizons, DeHavilland, Supratek, etc. that are little known but are well respected on this site?
I also find it curious that review content length is directly proportional to cost but not necessarily to merit.
I was thinking about this topic again yesterday as the digital version of Stereophile arrived and wondering why I was so gracious about the magazine, especially since I bought the musical fidelity XCan V8P that Sam Tellig described as a wonderful headphone pre amp, connected to my amp and immediately blew my speakers...ah sonicbeauty, if only I knew what I know now.
I guess its a distance thing, living in Australia, I am less concerned by many reviews as some stuff just isn't available here, or even if it is if might be in Melbourne (1000km away from Sydney).So the attitude of the magazine becomes more important than the reviews, especially in a global financial downturn when we might want to listen to our music than buy more equipment.
However, I have noticed over the last year, a number of reviews in Stereophile for small $1-2K monitors, precisely what I am looking for to replace the blown speakers. Each time I have been able to borrow them from my dealer and have found that the reviewers comments echo very closely my own impressions. So this has been helpful for this average audiophile. Perhaps a series on delightful inexpensive preamp headphone amps would be useful.
I am not so certain about the utility of group shoot out testing that the british mags like. It sort of dumbs it down - what hifi is the worst for this. However I need some comparisons in a review. Australian Hi Fi is completely aggravating in that it never compares one product to another, while Stereophile gets the balance pretty right by including a comment about one product with reference to another. Its harder to get TAS here so I can't really comment.
Talking of little known but well respected: There is an Australian and New Zealand Hi Fi industry, and some companies make some great stuff but other than the high end (Halcro, Plinius) you never hear of any of it, except on audiogon (or Australian HiFi where the reviews are unsurprisingly really really positive).
I just let my Stereophile subscription lapse. Fewer reviews of gear and music, and more ads. They're also reviewing less and less 'affordable' gear lately. Well at least affordable to me. They'll review one or two affordable pieces every other month, and they'll happen to be pieces I have no interest in.
What Hifi? was my favorite due to the reasons the OP mentioned. I just can't find it anymore. I liked their shoot-outs where they had a few different pieces for around the same price and had a group of 5 or so people reviewing them blindly. Often times one of them was a manufacturer. They combined this subjectivity with objective measurements and told how each piece varied from the average. No gushing endless gushing about products. They also had reviews where they outright said to avoid products, and sometimes those manufacturers advertised in their mag.
The only version of the mag I can find is What Hifi Sound & Vision, which has more home theater than anything else. Zero interest in that. What Hifi reviewed gear in most price ranges. I didn't agree with every review, but I agreed more than disagreed.
If I could subscribe to it I definitely would.
i worked in advertising for years. all for profit and non for profit companies are influenced by money . even anarchy.com needs financial support. ha. i,m not saying they buy good reviews but come on these people are human. the old stereo review stories were the worst in my opinion. remember when they,d run tests on a pioneer sx 1250 reciever and praise its low distortion. under the boat with an anchor rope on it and i couldn,t hear a difference. ha
As far as flipping through the ads, I like to look at the European stuff that isn't available over here in the states. I don't subscribe to either TAS or Stereophile anymore. As far as the writers go, I enjoyed reading Art Dudley the most, and I would love to get hold of back issues of his Listener magazine, which I never read. I also enjoy looking through older issues of TAS.