The Absolute Sound vs Stereophile


I love both mags. Definitely preferred Stereophile while R Harley was there.
I think he’s doing great at AS.
Still I miss his measurements 
and, at the same time, how AS fit in my pocket.

dancekerl
It seems to me that a number of Stereophile writers are quite literary and would also excel at writing about things other than audio. Especially Herb Riechert and Art Dudley. Even though I do not share Art's audio preferences, I always enjoy his writing. I also like JA's measurements. 
Jonathan Valin is also a very descriptive writer. I subscribe to both--but if I had to choose one, it would be Stereophile.
If I had the time for three, I'd add Hi-Fi News and Record Review.
I miss the good old days of Stereophile, right up until the mid-late 90s, when each issue was quite heavy and would last the better part of a month before I fully digested it. I liked AS too but it wasn't technical enough at times.
I have read both TAS and Stereophile since the 1980's. They both have pluses. The main thing today is they no longer have absolute POWER over making or breaking a company (with a great review, or a bad review) like they used to have!With all the internet resources now, the mags do not have the influence they once had.I think that is the reason some folks now pan the magazines. In a way they are relics of a different age. But they are still nice to read. Though not as important as they used to be.
I read and subscribe to both but I don’t trust anything that comes out of Harley’s and Valins mouth.  
I like to look at the pretty pictures !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes, the pretty pictures...Stuff to dream about.. I have tried to watch Audiophile Show utube videos. But find them totally too boring.Maybe if they used static but great pics of the equipment they are talking about. Instead of wobbly annoying videos? Who owns a steadycam when they need one! Maybe some professional editing?The idea of a professional audiophile show review as a video.. The mags should GO THERE..NO money to be made? but maybe if they can get the companies they review to pony up some cash to help pay?
I miss HP and PhD of the Abo!ute Sound and J Gordon Holt of Stereophile. 
I get both. I get stereophile dirt cheap and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t get it. I like HIFI+ too. Too expensive in print version but <$20 in iPad version
stevecham,
I also miss those days in the 90's when Stereophile was thick as heck and the read lasted a long time!
Dem were da days.

I subscribe to both but don’t spend as much time with them as I used to. Just FYI, they are both about the same size now. That old, pocket-sized Absolute Sound format disappeared years ago.
I identify TAS with a lot of what’s wrong with our hobby these days. Harley and Valin are the faces of TAS, yet their articles reek of elitism, subjectivity, superficiality, and general lack of professionalism. A recent low point was their pronouncement of vinyl’s superiority over digital formats. 
I subscribed to AS in Feb and have seen 3 issues to date. 
That only after I called to get the address corrected. It appears
I will have to call for each issue. Is August worth reading?
Good to know SP is better. I will go with them next.
If you like this hobby, both magazines are worth a read. Try not to get too wrapped up in the opinions of the writers. Think of it as entertainment, that’s all there is. Great pictures!

Fortunately, Audiogon, Steve Hoffman, Analog Planet, Vinyl Engine and others have replaced my magazine interest in written commentary, opinion, specs and general entertainment (when it's kept civil) about audio equipment.
TAS: pushing the high-priced spread. "I can't believe it's not b*tter!" U or E - you choose!
Stereophile: Love all those full-page ads for cables! Gotta have 'em to keep the "True Believers" happy!
I read TAS when I need a fix, but I just think that they are tanked. Stereophile seems to be comfortable with who they are, and I really enjoy Herb Riechert and Art Dudley, and to a slightly lesser degree, Jason Victor Serinus. Their show reports are better as well. Some may consider Herb's writing a bit artsy, but that's what I like about it. He delves more deeply into his emotional reactions. I find it entertaining, and that's what it's about.
I also find myself in agreement with Art's taste in gear, although I understand why he thinks that spikes under speakers are unimportant. 
Stereophile for choice.  They do measurements which gives them more weight.  Actually I can't be bothered with mags that do not.  Hi-Choice and Hi-News also in the higher league.  Also enjoy Stereo from Germany.
I enjoy Fremer's madness, Dudley's meanderings.  Miss Marks though.
Stereophile all day, every day.  At least Art and Herb and Fremer have good (diverse) taste in music.  Sorry folks but if you want to grow the hobby, the mags need to migrate away from reviewers who play nothing but classical and vocal, and gear designed to play the same. 

I subscribed to TAS for a year and got the vibe their next lukewarm review would be their first.  
Sterophile for sure, although I also subscribe to TAS.  Recently  decided it takes too much space to store both mags, so I've been selectively re-reading and then discarding older issues of TAS.  Oddly enough, I never much liked EITHER Pearson or Holt as writers or as "gurus" and can't remember ever buying anything that either one raved about. I once had lunch with Tony Cordesman and especially enjoy both Dudley and Reichart.
There there are few similarities between the TAS of old (pre 1998ish) and today. Reviews today are, generally all positive, significantly shorter, and most significantly, have very little comparison to one or more competing products. You might get the occasional sentence saying x is more polite the y or x is a better value than a,b and c. I find these to be throw away platitudes. With no substantive (multi paragraph) comparisons taking place and general happiness, reviews are like cotton candy - easy to digest but not filling.   

To to experience the difference, open a review from the 90s and see for yourself!  The difference is quite amazing. 
I used to take both but did not renew either starting around 2003. They had both become less and less relevant to my interests, which were primarily the music, not the gear.

Friends loan me issues from time to time and nothing I have seen makes me want to subscribe again.

Now give me the Tracking Angle again and I'd be on it in a flash.
Was just having this conversation with my brother a few weeks ago.  It's all him -haw.  I don't see negative reviews from the big review machines anymore.  No longer see meaningful quantification of a product in relation to its direct competitors.  So many are rated as a value greater than their price tag, that its ridiculous. Everything seems to be evaluated as worth comparing and listening too, or a value, or performs at multiples of its price tag, that its meaningless.  This is very similar to what began happening to the automotive  press in the late 90s as well.  What i see there now is so much worse, with deliberate deceptions, than the audio press we are discussing on this thread.  The primary press money is made from the advertisers, not us buying the subscription, so who do you think they are writing for?...or more fairly said, who do you think the editors and publishers are concerned about when they pre-read a review from one of their writers before letting it go to print, or on their website?  

There are a few key things I look for in reviews now.  If the reviewer makes it part of their reference system, than that product is serious in my book.  Next thing I look for is when reviewers from 2 or more venues make the same, VERY specific, observations of certain qualities of a product...that's evidencing to me.  The downside of that, is the smaller, yet amazing companies, don't often get 2 or more reviews of a particular product.  So, then ofcourse there is AudiogoN and Steve Hoffman.
i used to read 'stereo review' magazine since 1971 to it's retirement. anybody have any thoughts on this magazine?
I used to peruse and collect both, but I decided to stop reading audio magazines when a particular issue of one of them featured not one, not two, but THREE reviews of individual components that each retailed for $45,000 or more. I don’t disapprove of anyone who likes to read such reviews, but it made me realize that those two magazines just no longer had anything to do with me. 

I don’t miss them and I’m happy I had the courage to make the change. 
Stereo Review was always panned by audiophiles for it's style of review where everything was always good, by folks who began reading Stereophile an TAS when those magazines started. n fact it seems they started partly due to the poor reviewing on "Stereo Review," and "High Fidelity" and "Audio", though Audio always had a yearly issue in October, with specs for all the components that year. It was a great issue to keep.Another popular magazine was "Grammaphone" British, it ALWAYS favored British recordings, and British made gear. Big city public libraries will still have most of those magazines available to read. Including early TAS and Stereophile..
They both completely suck. Go back and take a look at these publications when they were thoughtful, informative, and nuanced. There were in depth articles about music and high fidelity using sophisticated language that seldom hyped. They were far less commercial, with fewer ads (and those that did advertise were not allowed to quote reviews). TAS had great cover art and both were smaller, uniquely sized. I still get them because they are almost free (to boost circulation figures so that they can charge more for ad space). I look at the pretty pictures, read the vapid, nearly useless music reviews, read the occasional Art Dudley piece and recycle. 
What I remember aside from reading each review over and over, (and I have read every issue since day one, several time EACH) is the bickering. And particularly in TAS over ’digital’. The damage to TT bearings from digitally recorded LPs so called scandel. The endless insults to Enid. The fact a single review in TAS or Stereophile could easily make or break a manufacturer. (and TAS IMO singlehandedly gave Audio Research to ability to grow, (and harm them, I remember the damning with faint praise review that blew up the relationship ARC had with TAS.All the bickering is now on the web. LOLThe advertisers today do a great job of making the magazine more interesting too.I would say that the text copy a little less developed and interesting than they were just ten years ago. But part of that is the shrinking customer base, due to audiophile graying out and dying
Enid Lumley was too avant guard for her time. For ANY time. The mossbacks and backsliders will eat you alive. 
I seem to always agree with Stevecham.

"Fortunately, Audiogon, Steve Hoffman, Analog Planet, Vinyl Engine and others have replaced my magazine interest in written commentary, opinion, specs and general entertainment (when it's kept civil) about audio equipment".
BTW, I can get pretty Audio Porn pictures on the net.
Corey Greenberg was very entertaining in Stereophile. Could not wait for the next issue to arrive to read his reviews. He blended every guy logic with a  great sense of humor in all his reviews.

Right On! mg16

I miss Corey and Wes Phillips from Stereophile.

Happy subscriber to TAS and Stereophile since 1993. Happy subscriber to HiFi News & Record Review and HiFi +  since 2010. Avid reader of Stereo Review and Audio magazines from the mid-80's until publication ceased in the late 1990's. 

I read them while waiting to do something in the bathroom....  I just read on from where I left off the day before. I don't get deep into them now, the authors don't get into any of the detail anyway, just fluffy words. What I do like though, is the new music or rereleased music on offer. I have made some great library additions to these articles.
One assumes you mean while waiting to do a couple of lines of coke.
Really!!!!!!!!!
https://adbusters.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/adbusters_123_coke_S.jpg

Stereophile is the only one worth reading, only because of the bench tests, which tell far more than the waffling of most reviewers go on with. And if some of the wafflers here took the time to understand test results instead of the voodoo magic they go on with, these Audiogon pages would also be a better read.


Mid-80's to early 1990's, I enjoyed Car Audio and Car Stereo Review magazines. I forgot those guys?


Happy Listening!

Both great magazines its not a case of vs as they are both different and great in there own way.Enjoy!!
.. And whatever happened to Sensible $ound? I enjoyed that mag.
Glad to see mentioned  the Sensible $ound. Back in the late 70s and through the 80s I had subscriptions to Stereo Review, Stereophile and even the Sensible Sound.
I found each to be interesting and (in their own right) informative, but did develop a bit of discontent with each. I really liked the music reviews of Stereo Review but JH (Julian Hirsch) while giving quite decent reviews on speakers - not so much on electronics. For some reason, he had a strong view that all amps, pre-amps, etc. regardless of price, circuit design, or quality, sounded the same and (in general) the only discernible difference, from any one to another, was power output and features. I enjoyed, very much, the in depth equipment reviews and specs presented by J Gordon Holt and R Harley of Stereophile, but over the years, it seemed their reviews almost took on a tone of arrogance and the only equipment they were interested in reviewing was stuff priced considerably over my head. My, almost local, very good, audio dealer, turned me on to the Sensible Sound - at least it had quite decent and accurate reviews of a great variety of equipment, some of which I could actually afford. and presented some enlightening A/B comparisons of respectively, competitively priced components and speakers...Jim
Yup, Sensible Sound was my fave, poor folks bible .Only mag I really trust as a buyers guide is Stereo out of Germany .
Art Dudley is a gifted writer if nothing else .
I dropped my TAS subscription once I concluded the writers were just plain annoying. The “reviews” read more like advertisements. Every single issue contains the word “venerable.” And JV is just full of himself, with his use of random phrases in some non-English language (which he knows means nothing to anyone but himself).
Digital music and the internet killed HiFi....

Now reviewers are like sales people for mega buck equipment that is as much as a car... and some even a house!

There is a huge market for 'budget audiophiles' .... where are those reviewers?

What happened to a reviewer having a stable system that said reviewer compares new equipment back too? I get tired of reading something sounds 'good'... what does that mean?

And the videos on utub (spelling intentional) all sounds just like my computer speakers!  

I miss the days of having Audiophile stereo stores locally....
jhills

you wrote "...JH (Julian Hirsch) while giving quite decent reviews on speakers - not so much on electronics. For some reason, he had a strong view that all amps, pre-amps, etc. regardless of price, circuit design, or quality, sounded the same and (in general) the only discernible difference, from any one to another, was power output and features."

He must have been a proponent of Peter Azcel and The Audio Critic. 
brayeagle
He must have been a proponent of Peter Azcel and The Audio Critic
More likely the other way around. Julian Hirsch and Stereo Review predated The Audio Critic.
I subscribe to both TAS and Stereophile at this time. (just saying so you know). Both have interesting things, and neither is really great.I DO most enjoy the measurements sections of reviews in Stereophile. And all the ads. TAS has better ads IMO. Both magazine ads are like being in a candy store! I may not get to taste them all. but looking sure is fun.To me the real problem is the need for a ’relationship’ between the magazine and the manufacturer. Only stuff the maker WANTS reviewed gets in. Since the loan is from the manufacturer. So there is only a hodgepodge of reviews. That means one manufacturer can dominate just because they hand out all sorts of equipment to review. IMO someone with money needs to step up and bring in equipment to review that folks want to hear about.
And comparisons. The odd fear to do any sort of comparisons. To me without them the review is just left out to dry.
So reviewers should own a variety of equipment to say The new Bomb88 is better imaging and detail retrieval than the Hacksaw 3a, but just the equal of the Cardboard KTC. etc...
On the other hand ,there are all sorts of net forum sites... But to me that should be a large part of what these net sites should be about. And not arguing about "some folks claim they can hear differences in outlets and I think that is horse manure." sort of content. Which is too much of what passes for content here.
Someone mentioned the German magazine "Stereo" if you google it, and got to the site, you can download issues, in ENGLISH, free.
The word "comparison" and all hell breaks loose.