Stereophile on the Web

There has always been something uniquely satisfying about holding a paper magazine in your hand and riffling through its pages. Images and textures are of higher resolution than any video screen, and the ease of use of the paper-page bundle can not easily be replaced. People are developing electronic substitutes for paper, but the interesting thing is that these researchers are endeavoring to imitate the look, feel, and functionality of paper—but with digital inks and charged surfaces. For now, plain old paper and ink are just too perfect a medium to toss when it comes to packing information into a compact, portable, high-quality package.

But by December 1, Stereophile will have virtually manifested at www.stereophile.com...Note that the paper edition of Stereophile is not dead, dying, or even limping a little—quite the contrary. The website has been created to enhance the print publication, complementing it in ways possible only though the Internet. Print has thrived alongside each emerging format, and in fact there are entire print industries devoted to covering the new media approaches as they evolve. (I've even seen pulp magazines about managing a "paperless" office.)

So what you hold is the analog version of Stereophile. (If yours feels warm, then it must be the tube model.) What has just been launched is the digital version—which isn't to say that the analog version will stop covering digital audio, or the digital version will ignore analog technology.

Nope, the paper mag will stay just about the same, while the online version will add entirely new features and functionality not realized in the monthly pulp edition. The goal is to add new attributes, not reproduce existing ones.

When contemplating an electronic Stereophile, we looked hard at what was already out there and discovered a need for timely high-end audio news. There are a lot of great sites with equipment reviews, show reports, and the like (check out SoundStage, for example), but up-to-date industry news—especially news focused on high-end audio—is scarce.

Therefore, each week our online readers will find a collection of important news items of particular interest to audiophiles. The Internet allows us to track events as they unfold—in some cases almost within minutes. The paper Stereophile, on the other hand, will continue to let us ponder things at a less frantic pace, so we can concentrate on meaningful opinions and longterm developments.

We also wish to better expose your opinions on a variety of high-end audio issues. At the site you'll find a new online column called "Soapbox," where we'll encourage rants of around 300 words each week from anyone with a strong audio point of view. We'll e-publish the best received, and add a dozen of your reactions to each rant as they come in.

One of the real advantages of the Internet is as a database to ferret out information. And so we're including a searchable index that will list news items and features archived online. We'll also provide an index of past paper Stereophile issues (stretching back over 35 years!) to help you find out where and when what was reviewed, and by whom—and then make it easy for you to obtain a back issue. We also hope to make ordering and renewing magazine subscriptions less of a hassle for those of you who prefer online commerce...

A complete listing of audiophile events has been created, with listings of dealer/manufacturer seminars and trade shows from around the world. This "Events" page will be updated continually, with links to show/seminar pages where possible. Check here for your periodic audiophile communing needs.

If you wish to place a classified ad in the paper mag, you can do this online as well. And for those needing the always-fashionable Stereophile T-shirt or one of the legendary Stereophile music recordings or Test CDs, we have a quick way to set you up.

The online site will provide all the contact particulars to Stereophile, including e-mail addresses and phone numbers, where appropriate. We are including short biographies of some of our writers and staff, and background information on the magazine, the company, and the goals that drive us forward. This area will grow each month, based on your suggestions—just let us know what you want.

Another new feature especially useful to the tweak-audio cyberjunkie: "Links 2 Die 4." Stereophile contributors will periodically send in their favorite Website finds for your perusal. Not intended as a comprehensive list, this page is aimed at revealing what our writers have found to be compelling resources for their audio habits. And with input from all of you, we'll soon be developing a "Top 10 Audio Websites" list.

Like most nascent e-publications, the online Stereophile will be evolving over the next few months in response to your needs. Click by for a look and tell us what you think.

May your connections be expeditious and your data pure.

Web links database (from May 1999, Vol.22 No.5)
To all our online readers who've begged for a comprehensive set of searchable web links on the Stereophile website: your e-prayers have been answered. By the time you read this, the Stereophile website will sport one of the Internet's most comprehensive set of qualified audio and video links—2531, at last count.

About a year ago, Stereophile procured and began maintaining "The Enthusiasts Page" links database, originally developed by Ron Rathe. With the assistance of Kip Troendle, we have been combing the list for the past several months, updating it regularly. The hundreds of thousands of audiophile web surfers who have been using this resource (which was even championed in the March '99 issue of Audio magazine) will find it pretty much unchanged. (If it works, don't fix it.) All that will be new is some page formatting to bring it into the Stereophile site; the www.audio-hometheater.com link will simply redirect seekers to the Stereophile links page.

The database is searchable in a variety of ways, groups similar categories of links, and includes an automatic listing feature for those interested in signing up their sites. Go to our website and click on the "Links To Die For" button to drop into the swirl of hyperdata. Suggestions for improving the database are always welcome—feel free to contact me with your comments.—Jon Iverson

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