Stereophile's refusal to review more low

I have read countless letters to the editor pleading for more reviews of real world priced equipment. So far they have not responded in any meaningfull way. I wonder why they continue to run these letters if they are so focused on the mega buck stuff. What do you think ?
While I do think there is a bias towards reviewing the "cost no object" products of some manufacturers, I must admit that I do find reviews of lower priced gear as well. Perhaps they run these letters in an attempt to passify those of us who are not in a position to purchase the more costly gear. I doubt that the average subscriber of that publication has the financial muscle to buy much of it. I hold a subscription, and have reconsidered time and again whether I'll renew it or not for the very question you have asked. There is something fishy going on insofar as that I can't really put a finger on exactly why they continue in this way. One cool thing about the current state of affairs-
it allows those of us who are smart enough to wait until it appears on Audiogon in the form of "used gear at used prices" to get familiar with the expensive stuff until we can make educated buying decisions at a fraction of the original retail price!
It is fairly evident that Stereophile has little interest in supporting the audio industry as a whole and favors the large audio "conglomerates" who advertise heavily with them like Krell, Madrigal etc. These "conglomerates" tend to rely on the magazine for corroboration that their overpriced equipment is worth the price. High prices results in lots of advertising which results in favorable reviews which results in high sales. It now seems that Madrigal has a review in each issue! Yet, other stuff which has been generally recognized to be at the top of the list never gets reviewed by Stereophile. Ever notice how the cover page looks more and more like an ad for whatever is in the issue? They have just about lost all credibility. The only reason that I continue with my subscription is that they are one of the few (if only) which measures the equipment.
For budget end gear (under $1500 per piece) I find Hi-Fi Choice very good. Very detailed and well thought out reviews.
Stokjok, I think a reality check is in order here. Stereophile consistently gets flak for reviewing mid-fi or "consumer" level gear. Case in point: their recent covers of the Denon AVR-4800, and the $600 computer speakers(I forget the brand at the moment). The audiophiles scream bloody murder if they are contaminated by the sight of "low end junk", the "regular guy" type reader wants more reviews of equipment they can afford. They can't be all things to all people, but they come about as close as possible in my opinion. They have a consistant and logical paradigm, if it sounds good, they'll write about, whatever the cost or format. Yes, I think that a few improvements are in order such as not including 3 1/2 year old, outdated components in the "recommended" components list simply because they haven't reviewed some of the newer pieces . Just don't include it. Why have a discontinued 1998 Class AAA DVD player that has no progressive scan, and is outperformed by at least 3 different DVD players that I can think of. Even though they can't review everything, and it is nearly impossible to get groups of similar gear in one place at the same time, I think that greater efforts could be made to compare current choices. As for their advertisers, I think that their critics should grow up. I don't care if I see a BMW ad or an ad for high end oatmeal, if it supports the magazine by increasing their budget, I get to subscribe at about a dollar an issue. How can anyone complain at that price? Read what you like and use the pages you don't like to line the puppy's poop box.
I agree - there are many who ridicule Sound & Vision which is typically of much more "affordable" gear. If Stereophile reviewed considerably more pieces that were "affordable", I think they'd lose a lot of readership. To me, they review a lot of stuff that is $2-10K, which is where their greatest value / differentiation is. I get tired of some of their coverage of ultra-expensive stuff, but it's not overbearing. And, as stated, for a buck an issue, it's a great deal. -Kirk
My point is I think that they review whatever the big manufacturers that support them with much of their advertising revenue want them to. Proceed, for example, is part of Madrigal, which includes Levinson,Revel and even JBL. Companies with that much money to spend have essentially bought Stereophile and will get pretty much whatever they want in terms of the treatment of their products in reviews. So, if its expensive products which the manufacturers need to be reviewed, they will. If its budget or mid-fi products which the manufacturers need reviewed, that is possible too. Just spend the required advertising dollars with Stereophile. By the way, I have no problem with BMW ads either. BMW is not in the audio business. Although it is interesting that they did review the Mark Levinson sound system in the latest Lexus in the current issue. They had much more to say about the car and precious little to say about the sound system. So, maybe there is some new advertising/review angle which they intend to exploit here.
This suggestion may be anathema to the high-enders, but the magazine "Sensible Sound" has many reviews of gear in the $1000 - $2500 range. While the reviewers may not be as technically sophisticated as some of the writers for TAS and Stereopiles, they still have valid opinions. I subscribe to "Sensible Sound" solely as a counter-balance to the extremely expensive gear reviewed by other publications. Here's the link to their Web site:
Its unfortunate that "Sensible Sounds" seems to think that speakers are the only componants that sound different from one another. The reviews usually consist of detailed descriptions and techno info. If your lucky they might include one or two vague references to how the product actually sounds. I read it anyway, mainly because they do look for high value products.
As far as Stereophile is concerned, they do review lower ticket items from time to time. Rotel, Adcom, PSB, Parasound, Creek, and others have gotten a fair amount of ink on some real world affordable products. I must admit at times the reviews sound almost like ad promotions (especially Sams Space). Most of it is pretty fair(IMO).
Taken with a grain of salt, most of the rags are useful.
Rayhall, I understand how you might get your impression, but you are mistaken. There is no conspiracy here. The manufacturers have no real influence on the reviewers. They are glad to reach the largest group of readers interested in audio/video period. There have been way too many negative comments regarding far too many different companies products for it to be so. All a reviewer has is his reputation, so I know they don't want to blow it by presenting biased info. Read with your eyes, and not your imagination. Of course there is some intermingling between reviewers and the manufacturers. I'm sure that occasionally one or two people make a great product that a reviewer loves, and they eventually become friendly, but that is normal. For the most part the reviewers have little or no contact from manufacturers, and are never told the content of the review should be positive because they need the advertising dollars. If that was happening, it wouldn't take long for it to be found out. There is plenty of integrity out there, you just have to look for it, how's yours lately?
Someone sent me this thread and I find it "interesting." I hope that folks who think Stereophile only reviews expensive gear listen better than they read. If you go through the mag you'll find products at all price points in most issues. I get accused of reviewing only expensive stuff, but I've reviewed inexpensive turntables, cartridges, and phono sections--all under $1000 and the last issue had the Intermezzos--a powered woofer stand mount speaker from Infinity that costs two grand which, is inexpensive given that the bottom is powered. I also reviewed the Red Rose R3s which cost 3 grand. Not cheap but not ultra-expensive either. Review budget stuff and the folks who want the expensive stuff covered complain. Review the expensive gear and those on the other side complain. You can't please all of the people all of the time. The posts that gall me are the ones that see "vast conspiracies" in Stereophile wherein the advertisers and reviewers collude. It really doesn't happen.

The editor posted a message here about my review of the Hovland preamp was proof that we don't cater to advertisers and the larger companies. He was in error of course: Hovland does advertise in Stereophile. The editor wasn't aware of it, which I think speaks volumes.

I've been doing this for 15 years now and no one at TAS or Stereophile has ever told me what to review, believe it or not. I see something I like and ask to review it. Sometimes I get to, sometimes others beat me to it or the editor feels someone else should get a crack at it. but there's no coordinated effort going on that I know of.

Frankly, I think reviews should be read to learn not just about the product being reviewed, but for insight about how the reviewer listens or goes about evaluating a product. A good review will be valuable even if the product being reviewed is something the reader has no interest in because it should contain some useful information for everyone reading it.

Audiophiles should go listen for themselves before buying anything.

Okay, now ATTACK!

--Michael Fremer
A warm welcome, Michael. It's gratifying to know that our little forum gets attention from one of the best reviewers in the business. One of your colleagues, Anthony Cordesman, is another reviewer who has garnered my respect over the years. I hope you will continue to post, now that I know who "Grooves" really is.
There are big companies with large advertising budgets and inexpensive products. You see their products reviewed all the time. It's mid-range (in price) products made by small companies with no advertising budget that aren't reviewed. No criticism intended though, and I'm sure someone can point to an exception or two.

The magazine is published to make a profit. It depends on advertising revenue to do that. Advertisers need to feel their ads will be seen by people who are likely to buy their products. Circulation to readers interested in higher priced equipment and ad revenue from big ticket manufacturers would decline if there were many more reviews of inexpensive equipment. Too many reviews of cheap stuff and the mag will be filled with consumer electronics ads.

Of course, a couple of columnists and the editor do call occasional attention to noteworthy products in the economy range. But they're always careful to suggest the product as something you might recommend to a non-audiophile friend or buy for your college-bound son or aging parent with a significant hearing loss. Don't want to spook the high-end advertisers after all.
Paul, facts are usually different from impressions. If I had the time to analyze all of Stereophile's reviews for a year I bet there would be quite a good percentage of mid priced gear from small companies. Let's not forget that the reviewers are audiophiles themselves and are seeking out the good stuff wherever it may come from. What does it take for you to get it? Michael Fremer tells you that his reviews do not take the advertisers into account and you still recite the "advertisers control reviewers" mantra. Some people just like to think there's a conspiracy behind everything.
Let me be clear in saying that I have no personal knowledge that certain large manufacturers and importers who spend lots of money on ads at Stereophile and their other audio publications have greater access in getting their products reviewed in those publications. However, I have learned that when things look amiss, they usually are. I count that in 6 of the last 7 Sterophile issues (I cannot find the May issue right now), 4 Harman products have been reviewed. Meanwhile products from Merlin or Aesthetix, for example to my knowledge have never been reviewed. I don't own products from either manufacturer nor do I have any relationship with either or any other manufacturer, but I know the Merlin VSM in all its incarnations (it has been around a while) is at least a very credible product. Many consider the Aesthetix Io the top phono preamp currently made. Why hasn't either been reviewed? The Recommended Components would be even a better example. If the Merlin and Aesthetix are not even mentioned, should we consider it to be not even a Class D component in Stereophile's estimation? As far as reviewers demonstrating integrity and protecting their reputation, we have all heard the stories about the "intermingling" as BMP call it where the reviewers are given price breaks on equipment. As far as how what is to be reviewed is selected, I am sure it is not as haphazard a selection process as Mr. Fremer suggests. Sometimes he gets to it first, sometimes others beat him to it! I am sure that the editor, for the most part, hands out reviewing assignments and that the editor is deciding what will get reviewed and for what issue. After all, that is an editor's job. Whether much is made explicit between advertiser, reviewer and editor is irrelevant. It doesn't have to be explicit for there to be behavior which jeopardizes the integrity of the magazine. As far as negative comments about manufacturers, BMP, I rarely see them. Certainly, one never sees anything that is absolutely clear like: "In my opinion, product A is better than product B". Generally any statements of comparison are marvels of verbal obfuscation and equivocation. Now I am sure that there are reviewers who see the conflict of interest between accepting manufacturers gifts and reviewing the manufacturers products. We just need to know that none of the other type of reviewer works for Stereophile! Now it is interesting that BMPNYC attacks me as having a vivid imagination and suggests that I am one who lacks integrity. He doesn't know me and therefore would be on shaky ground to presume anything about me. I do know that he and Michael Fremer are good buddies. I must say that it was an interesting form of damage control engaged in here: to have Mr. Butler attack me personally while Mr. Fremer takes a much softer tack in defending his magazine. Would there be a strategy there, guys? Anyway, sorry Stokjoc for taking over your thread. In my opinion, it is not so much about expensive or cheap equipment. It's about which manufacturer's equipment gets reviewed. I leave it to others to look at all the info and to make up their own mind.
In my mind, the audio rags are obsolete; I get far more pertinent, rapid, and valuable advice from the knowledgable people on this site than I got reading TAS and Stereophile for 10 years. You folks have no economic reason to share your experiences, as such the very fact you're willing to take the time and make the effort to offer up an informed opinion carries a lot weight with me. Perhaps I'm a cynic, but I've not yet stumbled across an audio writer I trust or believe is genuine. So...let's hope the quality of people that frequent sites like Audiogon continues to improve and expand, we'll all enjoy the hobby that much more. Jeff
Ray, the integrity question was not personal, I meant it as a reminder that anyone's integrity can be questioned, including you and me. There must be hundreds of products deserving of review, but Sterophile, TAS, Stereo Review, etc. are not Consumer Reports, and I don't think we should expect them to be. When I mentioned intermingling I clearly meant that friendships that develop between people with similar interests (audiophiles) does not equal a compromise of integrity. I would not mince words about a product if I was a reviewer, and although some do, obviously some don't. In Stereophile I have noticed many negative comments about products and service, which reflect poorly on a company, even if the manufacturers are not directly attacked. As for directly preferring brand A over brand B, look at Mr. Fremer's power cord review this month, there is clearly a first and second choice. Also, it is not always so cut and dry, as in this product is not as good as that product. The reviewer can recognize quality in a product, even if it is not exactly to his taste, or has a few minor flaws, so what sometimes seems like equivocation is merely fairness. I get much helpful information from Audiogon members, and also look at magazines to help point me in the right direction, and to gain more insight into this hobby. Ray, yes, you are being cynical, but that's your prerogative. I prefer to be skeptical, but trust that some people do have loads of integrity, even if they are not perfect, and some of those people just happen to be audio reviewers.
Ray, forgot to mention that I speak for myself, and no one else. Martin Butler, Butler Music Productions New York City, BMPNYC, Audiogon member in good standing for over 2 1/2 years.
Odd response, Bmpnyc (what is your name anyway?). You go out of your way to insult me when all I did was try to reconcile the competing views here. I said no criticism was intended and I did NOT say "advertisers control reviewers." I have no reason to question the integrity of any of Stereophile's reviewers. I've said before that I think they call it like they see it, and Atkinson's speaker measurements are straightforward and useful, even if he doesnt use a real anechoic chamber.

The fact is Stereophile is a buff mag, published as a vehicle for advertising mostly high end or near high end stereo equipment. It is not a scientific journal or one of those little artsy magazines. What distinguishes it from Stereo Review is the target market. And that's why I don't think people should be upset or accusatory if Stereophile doesn't review much mass market or inexpensive equipment.

Yes, as I mentioned above, they do mention some good cheap stuff. Mr. Fremer has given favorable mention to a lot of inexpensive record playing equipment. "Sam Tellig" has mentioned all sorts of stuff, including 18 gauge solid core wire from Radio Shack. Certainly no advertising control there. But the general content is dictated by the need to survive and the goal of making a profit, for which they obviously need mid to high end circulation to attract advertising dollars.
Great thread. Convincing arguments. I'm not sure what to think. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so cynical.
We may not have solved any problems but it has been a blast reading all the posts. Better then any letters to the editor I have ever read. Thanks for the participation.
Remember Stereo Review and Audio? They specialized in lo-fi and mid-fi and where are they now? While most of us can not afford the equipment reviewed by S-Phile some of us can buy that same equipment when it becomes used and depreciated which makes those reviews somewhat helpful looking back.
Hi Paul, please accept my apology if I have offended you. I might have been a bit too passionate there, but all of my comments were not specifically directed at you. Michael Fremer's post here reminds me of a scene from, I think it was Annie Hall, where some obnoxious, cynical, know it all is on line at a movie theater loudly pontificating his interpretation of a book, and after a minute of listening to his rant, the author who just happens to be on line behind him says something like "you don't understand a thing about my book". I think he is being straight with everyone here, and that we should believe what he has to say. Just to be clear, I didn't say agree with him, just believe that he is telling it as it is. I had a subscription to Stereophile over 12 years ago, can't remember exactly, and let it lapse. About 6 years ago I started reading it again and subscribed. I have read so many interesting letters and articles that increase my knowledge of things that I don't have time to explore personally. If it was no longer available I would miss the experience of sitting down for an hour and a half and speeding through a new issue, then slowly reading it in detail over the next few weeks. I am only too happy to know that equipment that I hope to own is being reviewed. Jcd, makes a good point. I am looking forward to a future Audiogon purchase of a high end multi-channel amp that has been reviewed in Stereophile and is for sale at a good price here at Audiogon. I know a good deal when I see one, and Stereophile is one of them.
The following website has an extensive section discussing problems with audio equipment reviews. Although I do not have the time, or inclination, to thoroughly examine the author findings, he certainly brings up many interesting points. Perhaps someone here would care to comment on this authors opinions in a civil manner. God bless.
Wellfed: there is a recent thread on high-endaudio. Copy: If that fails, try a "Salvatore" search.

i enjoy reading rags like s'phile. i enjoy reviewers like mikey fremer. i *also* enjoy arthur salvatore's website, especially his comments about rags like s'phile. i also enjoy www's like a-gon. how do i reconcile it all? easy - i have a brain, & make decisions based upon *all* inputs. it's the best i can do.

regards to all, doug s.

ps - mikey, i *love* ya, man, but i tink arthur has ya! ;~)

I like them to keep 'shooting for the moon'. I usually wind up buying their super-expensive stuff, albeit several years later at a much reduced price.
Stereophile is a business. They need advertising dollars to survive. I have a personal friend who had one of the best sub $1500 D/A converters available, during 1997. When he approached Sterophile for a review, he was told bluntly:
"As soon as you decide to run an advertisement in our magazine, we will review your unit". Of course, being the small manufacturer that he was, he really couldn't afford to run an advertisment in Sterophile. Any questions?
Sounds like payolla to me Ehider. If that is true, I would seriously have to reconsider keeping my subscription. It would seem that they do not have the best intentions for those who keep their business afloat. Oh, by the way, that's you and me.
Patmatt, we seem to see this scenario a bit differently. From here it appears that Stereophile does "have the best intentions for those who keep their business afloat." "Those" being the manufacturer's who advertise in their magazine. The readers are just the poor schmucks in the audience who keep the manufacturer's going. That makes us a secondary entity, at best, in Stereophile's pecking order.

Oh, they will *claim* the high ground with regard to the reader as to do otherwise would be paramount to suicide. No readers mean no advertising dollars. But publishers know which side of their bread is buttered. In this case the advertisers are sunny-side up and all slicked down. We're the ones left in the face down position. At least there's butter somewhere in the picture. Maybe a little will run our way...
Hope the butter won't be rancid, Fpeel, by the time it reaches us!
My father worked for Meridith Publishing (Hearst) for 40 years and the subscription income does not even generally cover the printing expense of a magazine. It is the advertising dollars that make it profitable. I am not making any accusations against any publishers, just stating the reality of the industry.
Especially at a buck an issue.
True, but what I think the last two comments fail to realize is that the advertising wouldn't be there if not for us. That is, the subscription holders. WE are the targeted group that these advertisements are aimed at, are we not? The strong implication made by Ehider above educates us to some disapointing realities. For starters, we have a magazine under fire here that seems to have possibly lost its course insofar as that its original goal was to educate the reader about this industry and the wares it would hope that we purchase. If a product submitted for review performed well, we would be told about it honestly and without reserve. If same said product performed poorly, the SAME RULE APPLIES! The aforementioned implication instructs us that this is absolutely not the case.
Folks, the issue isn't economics. Allow me to assure those of you who read this post that I am keenly aware of money, its value, what it means and what it does not. If anyone wants me to accept that I must knowingly be misguided in order to keep any enterprise afloat is sorely mistaken. There is a responsibility on the part of any publication, be it magazines, the 11 o'clock news, or my high school newspaper to report that which is newsworthy. And, to do it fairly and honestly. I feel sorry for those who accept less. Not only do you give the go-ahead to those who would cheat you, but ultimately - you get what you deserve.
I guess you could interpret the comment that Stereophile wanted to see ad revenue before a product-for-review submittal as meaning that that product would then get a good review as well, but that's not how I interpreted it. Stereophile has leverage with manufacturers - with as established as they are, the manufacturers need them worse than they need the manufacturers (at least individually), so it seems plausible to me that they could be saying, "show me some ad revenue before you submit a product for review" while still feeling free to communicate honestly about how the product performed.

Certainly, a purist quest for "the best" would be limited by such a policy, but I think it's outside the scope of a single magazine to review everything anyway, so I don't really expect to Stereophile to find the holy grail. I do expect them to report accurately and honestly on all products reviewed, and don't think that their purported policy precludes that. -Kirk

years ago, s'phile made a comment about stereo review referring to there reviews alnog these lines: "of all the speakers i have reviewed, this speaker is definitely one of them." well, now that stereo review own s'phile, it's getting closer to that... s'phile, for all intents & purposes, now *is* stereo-review. most telling for me, was when jgh, s'phile's founder, left the magazine to write for tas. ya, i still read & enyoy s'phile, but i take it all w/a grain of salt re: the equipment... i'm more interested in the info about the direction the industry is taking. between the rags, this site, other sites (like arthur salvatore's), conwersations w/store owners, mfr's, etc., i come to my own conclusions about what's worth looking into... no *one* source should be used by anyone as a basis for seeking audio nirvana - spread out the feelers in as many different directions as possible.

doug s.

I think that we are expecting too much from a business for profit. I see the mags as being a source of cheap entertainment (if you enjoy reading about gear) and would not expect them to run as a nonprofit consumer mag (though I doubt that they are 100% either). Even if there is an occasional mixture of fluff and fact, how many reviews have you, out there, ever read that were totally off track? I personally feel that the rating systems are a bit ridiculous taking into consideration what it is that is trying to be judged/rated and all of the variables involved, but feel the same way about most rating systems involving sensate things (wine, art & film, music, Hi-fi, etc.), but the ratings are also somehow fun to read. Many of the writers are personalities on the same level of greatness as Orson Bean, so either enjoy the greatness that is there or don't subscribe, but in any case please lighten up if you will.
I think that those who think it is too much to expect integrity from Stereophile and others who would make delivery of advertising revenue a pre-condition for a review in the magazine help to lower standards for all institutions. If we think that any for-profit enterprise is incapable of integrity, then it follows that most of our institutions in the U.S. are rotten. Is the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal inherently lacking in integrity simply because they accept advertising? Would they know the dangers of having the editorial department "report" to the advertising department? Do the publishers of these papers set up checks and balances in their operations in order to prevent the kind of problem in which Stereophile appears to gleefully engage? Do these papers know the importance of protecting something intangible such as their "name" or reputation, since without it, their tangible assets might eventually disappear? If we have heard the stories that if you don't advertise with Stereophile, you can forget about getting a review, can we envision the possibility that those five or six companies who comprise a very significant part of the advertising revenue have access to what gets reviewed and to what is said in those reviews, even if their control as to what is said is by tacit understanding only? If what we have "heard" about Stereophile's dealings seems plausible, even likely, and we can project on to that additional "misdeeds" which are likely to have occurred and which would further jeopardize the integrity of the magazine, why do we bother to read it and why do we care at all about what is inside? (As well as you, I am asking myself this last question)
Very well put, Ray.
Rayhall: I have worked for quite a few companies (large ones) in my life and only one out of the many had what I would call integrity (I stayed with them for 11 years) and yes, I do think that it is too much to ask in the real world. In other words, I do not take any information for granted from any publication. Why would I expect more from a stereo rag? In addition, why would I care?
Dekay: I too, have worked for many large companies. I am a data processing consultant and have seen the inside of many NYC Fortune 500 financial firms and I must agree with you: Integrity is low and fading rapidly. My point is that if you tolerate the low and rapidly fading integrity in all its forms, big and small, you will only accelerate it. I certainly don't take any Stereophile information for granted, as my posts on this thread should clearly demonstrate. I don't think in the greater scheme of things that a little audiophile magazine which might be sliming its reputation and, at the same time, insulting its readers' collective intelligence is my most compelling example of the moral crisis which exists, but if you love audio, as I know you do, and you read Stereophile, which you appear to, it would seem to me that you would have to care on some level that that which you read have some validity, utility and truthfulness. It is clear to me that the readers, by voting no, in other words, not buying Stereophile, are the only one's who can save it now, if half of what we hear about it is true. Why then, do you (and I, for that matter) continue to subscribe, read or give Stereophile any concern or credit? This question is rhetorical of course and doesn't require any answer. My previous post is not meant to attack you, as I think you have misperceived, but was meant to point out the incongruity of my, and perhaps your, actions given the disrespect that Stereophile is probably showing us by how it operates. Anyway, I could talk about these issues forever, and you'd all be bored. But if we can't trust anyone, we don't have a world. And when trust is broken on the micro level rather than the macro level, it is actually more destructive to the society as a whole and us, individually. It is more important that you can trust your doctor, your wife, your friends to serve your interest sometimes even at the expense of theirs than the president of the U.S or the chairman of Citibank. Not that my relationship with Stereophile resembles anything like my relationship with a wife or friend, but it is more personal than what I expect from the President or the chairman of Citibank. I rather expect the President and the corporate types to betray me if it is in their interest. Hope this isn't too idealist for you to relate.
Rayhall: I understand where you are coming from and have to agree with your thoughts on the general decline of Western civilization in that only an individual (however when multiplied becomes a mass) can make a difference. It's kind of funny, in context of the thread, but I stopped getting all the Hi-fi mags around 1981 or so and have never had a desire to read them since. I rarely ever read pro reviews on line anymore, though I did when we first became connected to the net. I don't as a rule distrust individuals, just organizations as I have experienced over and over how easily they are corrupted. But as I now lack the energy to, I don't concern myself too much with things that do very little real harm, if any, on a whole. My wife however is still a crusader, like yourself, and is hell on wheels when she gets going on something. Anyway, I apologize for such a curt response. My favorite audio magazines are composed of the individual posts at both Audiogon and Audio Asylum and I make them up in my head (the magazines) as I cruise through the sites. There are even some regulars (strong personalities) who can give Orson Bean a run for his money (though I hope that Kublakhan doesn't start wearing bow ties on my account).
Just a thought but.... What if they only review products from mfgrs. that have the bucks to advertise with them. So what? Are you sure you want to buy from a company who does not have enough cash to afford this. How will this company survive a downturn in the market? Will you be left with no service when they go bankrupt? Or if they review it, give it an A+ rate, will they even be able to keep up with the orders generated while maintaining quality?
I was discussing this with my wife last night (who once published her own food magazine) and do the mags now carry advertisements for things other than audio/vidio? And, if not, why not? I mean do they have liquor ads and the like? I may stop by a newstand and take a look today as I have not looked at the mags for such a long time. It seems to me that this would be a good thing (having such ads) and I assume that the sales volume is enough to attract them.
No money, if no-one purchased from companies short of advertising cash, such companies would never reach the point of solvency (advertising or other) of ML, Krell, Linn, B&W, etc. So, any new Co with little seed capital is doomed to go belly under for lack of sales...

If on the other hand they get a sales boost, it would compromise on quality!

While I don't know about the latter, I disagree about the former: many present-day robust manufacturers started out in a proverbial garage... and *have* cash (advert or otherwise) today.

Granted, not all inherited a precision engineering operation in Scotland -- but surely there's hope!

Dekay, on your last point, the high end rags have only convinced BMW, at this point, to advertise in their mags. Interestingly, I recall some people actually complaining about the car ads in the letters! Guess they don't know what pays the bills. I'm surprised that more of the manufacturers of other "high-end" products haven't done this; we might be their target group.
Thanks Rcprince: I did not make it to the newstand (I hit the Valley thrift stores instead and had a Tommy Burger) while waiting for my wife. Found a Sheffield CD "Steps" by Pat Coil for a buck. I guess that's where my priorities were today (good cheap music and a greasy chili burger that I will be tasting for days:-).
Stereophile at times has pissed me off and I agree with the comment on AV gear. I wrote them a letter in regard to this and to there credit they published my letter in the May issue The same old Shame. The recommended list does need revising and other manufactures deserve reviews, but for the subsctiption price you cant beat it. I enjoy reading ultra high end reviews and would like to here these peices has well.TAS is also a good mag. Without these two publications what would we find to rag about, eachother more here on audiogon,,there,s enough of that already.s
Credo for Michael Fremer for his thread.
Stereophile is self-indulgent and inferior to The Absolute Sound. I have subscriptions to both. TAS has "the landing" class in every issue....bargain basement $3000 pre-amps,etc. Stereophile wastes precious space on $75,000 turntables.....a product that 23 individuals buy nationwide each year. I don't buy the "I like to read about Ferrari's" argument..... Car mags, like TAS, do review the best of the best for entertainment (and enlightenment for the lucky few), but UNLIKE STEREOPHILE would NEVER consider an issue devoid of comparisons and reviews of excellent, mid-priced vehicles. The "best of" issue is ONLY THE BEST OF WHAT THEY'VE REVIEwed that year, so take it with a large grain of salt.
Remember the days when Stereophile and TAS would fire pot-shots at each other almost every issue? Can you almost hear the whining little voices when you read the enraged "cancel my subscription" letters in Stereophile? Where else can you find so much indignation, outrage, blatant insults, not to mention pissing contests? (excluding Audiogon Forums of course) I find these letters very entertaining, no matter what my opinion of the mag itself. What is it that these people want? Its just a magazine!!!
Well Blkadr, I don't know if you read this entire forum, but I think it's pretty clear what "these people" want. Only time will tell if Stereophile will continue to be successful.