Rate the Audiophile Publications

What's your experience with recommended (or trashed)systems in the audiophile publications (Stereophile, Absolute Sound, What Hi Fi...)? I just read a nice thread by Trgi@flash.net (gregg) asking about the highly rated BEL 1001 and he got a couple of negative replies. That got me to thinking -- which magazines (paper or online) are trustworthy according to fellow audiogoners? Any opinions or experiences? Everyone has a different ear, but are there obvious omissions or differences of experience? Thanks.
Hi Ozfly; I now like TAS the best. That said, I've auditioned and purchased many components or speakers that are/were Stereophile recommended, and they were all good recommendations with one exception-- which I won't mention.

But when you start dealing with expensive components, say $4K or more, each has its own personality and must be judged in a system and personal preference context. I think Stereophile's reputation has slipped significantly in the last 2-3 years, eg it's no longer in the hands of audiophiles, and now their recommendations carry less weight with me. Listener Mag. is coming on especially in the area of lower priced but very good components. All IMO. Craig
I like HiFi Plus, it is a British mag, bit pricey when compared with Stereophile (8 issues for $50+)however, nice to the point reviews...!
I like Listener and Hi-Fi Choice the best I think they have fun and I think they are not as pompous as HP from abso!ute sound. I like writers who can hear other sides to the way other may hear them and different equipment can be used with that piece. It's not all a straight line folks! Otherwise we would all be there by now! There are no perfect pieces of equipment out there! I want writers who know that and know they are not experts, like Art Dudley. Good Guy!
I would like to express my opinion about the trend in these magazines. I remember the day when TAS did not get advertising. The magazine was pricey but that was required so that it could be published. Now the price of the magazine i down and the number of ads are WAY up. It is the advertising money that pays the salarys. Do you REALLY believe they will "bite the hand that feeds them"? I consider the current state of the big guys rag to be simular to the sunday funnies. They are good for a laugh. I get them just to find out what is in the news. I look to all of you for the hard core advice!
An interesting info site also deals with this subject. Go to www.high-endaudio.com/index_ac.html and check out "reviewing the reviewers". Got this from a relevant thread here at a-gon.
In essence, the writer agrees with sqjudge.
I, too, read mags for news and (rare) equipment set-up info. No disrespect for these publications, but rate users' experience over journalistic analyses; when I need advice, I come to you guys (and gals)
I do the same as Gregm says, but still like TAS for general information and for their ruminations on the philsophy of listening ( how and to what ). As far as that 's concerend, they've taught me a lot through the last thirty years. I much preferred them, when they had no advertising and lets face it, thanks to JG Holt and HP later, we now have a fairly exact language to describe our listening experience in. I've been to Salvatore's homepage, which Gregm mentions and personally I was not impressed too much. In my opinion he's on a huge egotrip and in his rewieving the rewievers part I found his attitude overcritical and a bit far fetched occasionally. I find, that he feeds on our suspicions about reviewers, which maybe justified and healthy but I felt uneasy, sort of "lending" him mine, to feed his ego-trip. I left his page not with a good feeling.
Just my 2cents, regards,
I like Bound For Sound, http://boundforsound.com/. This paper publication does not accept advertisement. I find them to be honest, not prone to the flavor of the month, and great "breakthroughs" every week. Even if I do not agree with them on a particular subject they are consistent. They have great advise on breaking in equipment and their reviews are down to earth. If I were going to buy a product without listening first this would be the only guys I would take a chance.
I like the pretty pictures in all of them. The ink (other than the letters to the editor) is just filler between the art.
I agree with Jaica, BFS is a newsletter based publication that is both informative and a good read. I have used their method for breaking in I/Cs,their recommendation for powercords, and the various tweaks we audiophiles love to play with.
FYI: I found a web audio magazine site dedicated to the serious reproduction of music in the home. As per their site, this is, and always will be, a totally non-commercial section with nothing for sale and no advertising; audio related or otherwise.

As a reader of Stereophile, TAS and others, and an avid user of the Web, my approach has been to gather information from many different sources as a starting point relying on my own ears as proof. Though the "big guns" may have their weaknesses, I think they can be used as a roadmap to learn about what's going on out there. It's better to have an incomplete map then to have no map at all, and I have undoubtedly learned about this hobby from them. That being said, no matter if a review is good or bad, the trick is to make your own decision. Many writers find the Cary sound all "wrong", but for me that's Heaven. Happy listening.
Aldenruss, would you rather have a road map that only drives you to specific places(advertisers) rather than your destination (audio nirvana)?
Stereophile has lost that hands trembly/weak in the knees feeling for me but still I find myself buying about every other issue. Listener can be fun, but sometimes overly esoteric, and lightweight. Dudley's opening editorials are usually keepers. As much as I'd like to like TAS, I find it a yawn. HiFi+ is an up and comer with great photos and some good writing. But since this is a hobby of excess and lust, I'd have to say nothing beats Stereosound, about the size of a small phonebook, glossy, lavishly produced ads and features that make you want to run out and pay retail! So what if its in japanese, it's that cool. It even has a feature were the editor goes to the home of some truly worthy reader and critiques his system (I'm only guessing as I don't read Japanese)- I wish this were published in English. About $ 30 when you can find it.
I only buy audio mags to look at the naked women...all those articles just waste space!
I read them all ... one problem is when they (especialy Stereophile) can rip to shreds a piece that cost S 10,000.00. If your spending $ 10,000.00 on a power amp , preamp speakers etc. They had better sound good. You know what, in my 25+ years buying audio, most gear from respected manufactuers sounds great . Flexability , features , styling and value always varies. They need to get real! and also offer more variety in what they review. I like The Listner (it does'nt take itself too seriously! TAS is also a good publication, British mags are good but sometimes not to in depth. Home theater Mag is also a good mag, fun to read but the gear they review can be lightweight sometimes , lots of HT receivers etc but also some very informative articles. I like objective reviews with lots of facts. To the editors out there I don't want to hear you cry about a $ 3,000.00 power cord. Get real And you know what? How come they never mention that my Tandberg 3001A tuner killers any Tuner under $ 5,000.00 made today ? In fact there are lots of vintage pieces out there selling for thousands less then the new gear that sounds as good or better. Anybody out there listen to a 10B ,Vintage ... Luxman , Accuphase, Mcintosh even some of the Top Pioneer Kenwood etc. ? How come few of the mags ever mention that for under a grand you can put together a real Audiophile musical system??? I guess I am rambling ...
My two Fav's are Bound For Sound and Listener is ok.I hate British MAG's.They tend to play up made in England gear to much.Rgds Peter
Metaphysics, I hear your point and it's well taken. The thing is, is that even if they are skewed towards the people who advertise with them, I have still learned about this hobby from reading them. For example, I had never heard of either Cary or Krell before starting to read Stereophile, which was Summer of '97. Both of these brands have their supporters, and after listening to them both I have learned that I don't care for Krell but I really like the "Cary sound". Now that I knew this, but realizing that I couldn't at the time afford Cary gear, I started using other sources (Internet, local dealers, whatever) to find out about more companies that made tube gear. Now I am using and enjoying an integrated by Antique Sound Labs. My point is is that without reading the 'Phile I wouldn't have even known where to start looking. It's always important (I believe) to take in as much information as is possible, and in this light I find the "limited" roadmap that is Stereophile to be helpful.
My two Fav's are Bound For Sound and Listener is ok.I hate British MAG's.They tend to play up made in England gear to much.Rgds Peter
I would read all of them on a particular product. To me it was a good/better sign that a product might really be worth investigating/purchasing if publications of opposing viewpoints liked it, like Stereophile and The Audio Critic, or if the product was liked under different cultural lenses, like the European magazines and the American ones. I don't read them anymore, but I did like the Audio Critic, I know I'm the odd-man out on that one.
Thanks everyone. I just posted a new thread listing out the current and all the past thread "winners" and a few more with their site locations. I thought it might save some folks some time in the future (this stuff needs to be updated constantly though). It's listed as Audiophile Magazine Web Locations -- FYI.
One more to Add UHF magazine from Canada.
Streophile: Sucks, TAS: Sucks Worse, What Hi-fi: Partial to Brit gear, The worst: Audio Critic (all wires and amps sound the same?, yea right!). Sorry to be so negative, but when you have a close friend that is a reviewer at one of these mags, you get the inside skinny on each of the reviewers biases, and learn that most are far from impartial. Based on the aforementioned information, it is virtually impossible for the average layman to know which reviewer is giving great advice, based on reading a review. I've now visited 7 reviewers homes, and you would not believe how little care is sometimes taken, as they "review" a product. Additonaly, I know of two entry level high end manufacturers that could NOT get their gear reviewed, until they had signed on advertisments, in these so called "unbiased" rags!. Again, sorry to be so negative, but the magazines are only a good start at best. Those people that assemble a system based only on reccomended equipment choices, are really missing out on many other fine, and many times, better sounding speakers, components and wires.
Ehider, from the sounds of yours and other posts, I'm afraid there aren't many truly reliable reviewers, so it pays to go to lots of sources. Even if someone is trying to give a great and objective review, other factors enter like the room acoustics, the rest of the system and the reviewer's biases. I guess we need to rely on each other and as much research as we have the time to explore. What about Bound for Sound or other publications which accept no advertising? What about reviews from other audiophiles (here or at other sites)? There are bound to be some industry employees submitting biased reviews, but what is the prevailing sentiment on these forums?