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Audio Research and Stereophile

I'm in the market for a new preamp and cd player and have auditioned quite a bit of gear from different manufacturers. One set up that recently caught my attention was ARC's new hybrid LS26 preamp and their CD3 MKII cd player. I noticed that Stereophile doesn't review many of their products at all, and I'm starting to wonder why, it just seems very odd that a company with such a big following as ARC's doesn't get many of their products reviewed by Stereophile. I'm not a fan of the brand per se, but during my auditioning the sound of this setup made me reconsider the options I had in mind (esoteric, meridian, ayre, etc). Looking at their products' specs, it looks as if they're not overly obsesed with them, I mean S/N ratios, channel sepration, THD+N, etc...they all look good but not excellent....but my goodness that sound!!

I have never been a buyer that goes ONLY by sound, I need hard cold data backing up the 'good' sound I'm hearing before I commit to a purchase. Is ARC concerned that if they submit their products to JA, these won't measure as good as the competitors?? Like I mentioned above, I heard a setup with esoteric gear (source/preamp) where the amp (ARC) and speakers (Pardigm S8's) remained the same, the sound was flat out subjectivey better with the arc's preamp/cd player...I just need validation from somenone that what I'm hearing is in fact a better product.

Thanks in advanced for any feedback,

Monty
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Re: Audio Research and Stereophile

Audio Research has been around longer than dirt. Top notch stuff that needs no introduction or approval. They just build great stuff that sells itself.

While a lot of companies try to repackage their products with fancy faces and cool ergonomics, AR stuff looks almost exactly like it did 20 years ago. There are a lot of tube guys that have spent many hours and lots of money trying to top AR stuff and can't do it.

If there were an audio manufacturer's hall of fame, AR would be at the head of the line for induction.

Buddha
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Re: Audio Research and Stereophile

Welcome.

AR does indeed make fine stuff.

Listen to what your ears are telling you.

What YOU think is the most imprtant thing.

Hopefully, you don't buy wine based on what Consumer Reports tells ya! Right?

I shudder to think how you'd pick a mate using your method...

"Dude, would you do her and let me know if she's as good as I think?"

__________________

Totally goofing with you, but serious about trusting what you hear.

Another thing that may help...Read other reviews of other gear and look at what things people listen for in those reviews and then apply that to listening to the AR.

Reviews of other gear can really help turn your ears on to what you listen to that hasn't been reviewed.

Maybe if Musical Fidelity runs out of different products to ship to Stereophile, AR can sneak in for a review or two.

greenelec
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Re: Audio Research and Stereophile

I use all Audio Research equipment, LS22R, VT100mkIII, CD3 mkII. The sound is awesome. I think I read somewhere that ARC does not submit much gear to mags for review since their gear is made to order. In my view the importance of sound is followed closely by the ability of the manufacturer to stay in business and support you after the sale. ARC is the industry standard in these regards. The build quality is also the standard others strive to match. Thirty years in business and still going strong. Any ARC equipment, no matter when built, can still be serviced and in some cases updated to modern standards. When you purchase ARC you have to wait for it to be built, just for you. It's like Xmas when your dealer calls to say your new equipment has arrived!

Editor
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Re: Audio Research and Stereophile


Quote:
maybe it's as simple of a matter as ARC not purchasing advertising space in the magazine?

I am so weary of seeing this ill-informed bullshit comment. No, there is no connection between whether a company advertises or not in Stereophile and whether it products get reviewed or not. In response to a question, I examined the relationship for the past 18 months or so of Stereophile issues; if I remember correctly, just over 50% of the products reviewed were from _non_advertisers!


Quote:
their new REF3 preamp has been reviewed by just about everybody except Stereophile...

Paul Bolin has the preamp in for review, I heard at it his place Tuesday.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Editor
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Re: Audio Research and Stereophile


Quote:
there is no connection between whether a company advertises or not in Stereophile and whether it products get reviewed or not. In response to a question, I examined the relationship for the past 18 months or so of Stereophile issues; if I remember correctly, just over 50% of the products reviewed were from _non_advertisers!

Here are the data I referred to: I took the list of every brand that has received more than a nominal mention in Stereophile between October 2005 and April 2006 -- ie, was written about in a formal review, a follow-up review, or in Sam's, Mikey's, Art's, Kal's, and John Marks' columns -- and split it into current advertisers in Stereophile and non-advertisers.

The data: we have published review opinions in this period on products from 42 advertisers. However, we have also published review opinions on products from 48 _non_-advertisers. It seems clear, therefore, that there is no connection between a company advertising and its products being reviewed in Stereophile.

42 Advertisers: Art Audio, AudioPhysic, Ayre, B&W, Balanced Audio Technology, Bellari, Bryston, Cary Audio Design, Cayin, Chord, Conrad-Johnson, Continuum, dCS, DeVore Fidelity, Exposure, Finite Elemente, First Watt, Focal-JMlab, Genesis, Graham Engineering, Halcro, Harbeth, HeadRoom, Linn, Mark Levinson, Monitor Audio, Musical Fidelity, Naim, NHT, Outlaw, Quad, Simaudio Moon, Sonus Faber, Spendor, Sutherland, Thiel, Usher, Velodyne, Viola Audio Laboratories, VTL, Whest, Wilson Audio Specialties

48 Non Advertisers: Alesis, Audio Analogue, Audio Research, Audio Valve, Audiopax, Bryston, Channel Islands Audio, Consonance, Cyrus, DaVinci Audio Labs, Denon, Dynavector , Eastern Electric, Ensemble, Esoteric Audio Research, ESP, Genelec, Grace, Hagerman Audio, Hannl, Hartley, Horning, Hotei, Jasmine Audio, KEF, Lipinski Sound, Locus, Magnum Dynalab, Music First, Nirvana, Nola, Olive, Panamax, Peak Consult, Penaudio, Placette, PS Audio, Ray Samuels Audio, Shun Mook, Sonic Euphoria, Sound Quest, Sugden Audio, Triangle, Trigon Elektronik, Viva Solista, Wallytools, Wharfedale, Yamamoto.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

ohfourohnine
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Re: Audio Research and Stereophile

There you go again, John, being patient with baseless crap and going to extra effort to post detailed refutations to assertions posted by individuals who won't even sign some sort of name to them. Does your mommy know you do that sort of thing?

Editor
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Re: Audio Research and Stereophile


Quote:
There you go again, John, being patient with baseless crap and going to extra effort to post detailed refutations to assertions posted by individuals who won't even sign some sort of name to them. Does your mommy know you do that sort of thing?

:-) I guess I'm just an endless disappointment to her. But I do get tired of this kind of thing being thoughtlessly thrown out.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Audio Research and Stereophile

John,

Don't worry. Me, Cheapskate, Buddha, Clifton, and Monty are KEEPING our subscriptions. That's why you are reviewing the vintage gear. Some of MY stuff might make it into Stereophile and I can feel "completed".

gkc
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Re: Audio Research and Stereophile

Amen, Jim. When you back off a bit and look at the bigger picture, it is amazing to me that, with hundreds (thousands?) of manufacturers out there, Stereophile manages to cover as diverse a sample as they do. I know their writers are always on the lookout for new gear (i.e., MF's review of the DeVore speakers awhile back -- I NEVER would have heard of this brand without Stereophile), and, since a company like ARC is SO well established, sometimes they may get neglected -- but isn't that a complement, in way, to their reputation? I mean, doesn't this mean their reputation for excellence persists unchallenged? I know their new stuff is outstanding, because I have listened to everything they have made over the years. Sure, I'm curious, but every new preamp, amp, and CD player they've made has eventually made it into some Stereophile reviewer's listening room, so I assume, in due time, their new assaults on the state of the art will get their share of ink. I hate to keep beating this dog, but I can remember when there weren't a dozen review-worthy manufacturers out there; now, Stereophile has to scramble like hell just to get a representative sampling of all the diversity that has come into the field. They do a remarkable job of bringing new names to our attention, in spite of the groundless complaints about over-reviewing the likes of Musical Fidelity and Triangle (which ARE groundless whinings). Yeah, I think I'll keep my subscription... and continue to attend the HE shows whenever possible. Can't wait 'til June!Cheers and happy tunes. Clifton.

Monty
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Re: Audio Research and Stereophile

Who in the World told you that Stereophile gets to keep the gear submitted for review? Come on, what is your real agenda here?

Editor
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Re: Audio Research and Stereophile


Quote:
is it not true that you require the company to give you the unit for free not just to use, but that you do not have to return it after the trial?

This is not true. While we have review samples on loan, they are either returned or purchased following the publication of the review. Occasionally, we do retain a product on a long-term basis, but always with the cooperation of the manufacturer and on the understanding that it remains their property.

Paul Bolin is currently auditioning the Audio Research Reference 3 preamp for an upcoming review.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

nrchy
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Re: Audio Research and Stereophile

I have ranted about some of these foolish accusations on other sites. It's kinda fun to see JA weigh in where normally people would be shooting at me.

FWIW here I go again. I'm a small business owner who is scraping by, and barely making ends meet, especially this time of year. <--- background.

It makes no business sense to write glowing reviews for gear simply because a company advertised in a magazine! After a couple of those biased reviews most people would know the reviewer/magazine could be bought, and the company would be gone. If nothing more than self preservation motivated JA and his band of ragamuffins, that alone would prevent the writing of which they are constantly accused.

Stereophile would go the way of other poor publications like Listener, and Fi. My guess is, the guys would like to keep these glamorous, high paying gigs (there is no way to express sarcasm in print, but it's there) and keep putting food on the table.

I keep subscribing because I hope if I do it long enough JA will be able to buy a nice tie. Always the altruist!

As far as ARC goes, I have heard some of their pre-amps, and they were very good, not that it helps you at all. I prefer buying based on hearing rather than recommendations and measurements.

gkc
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Re: Audio Research and Stereophile

Hi, Anonymous --
And who might YOU be? Nothing much to elaborate on, here, since the sentence is plain enough. People who whine about Stereophile reviewing too many Triangle and Musical Fidelity products are, well, whining. They might as well whine about reviewing too many Wilson, McIntosh, Mark Levinson, Revel, or Krell products. Manufacturers who are confident about the value and competence of their designs often submit products for reviewing, and, as a result, they often get reviewed. Publicity is good, and good publicity is even better. Confident, competent manufacturers know they will get good exposure. ST made it clear awhile back (in comments that I think were misunderstood) that manufacturers who simply submit their equipment, with a minimum of fuss, on time, as is, from shelf stock, and with no return demands -- THESE manufacturers get reviewed often. Those who show up at the front door with strings attached, those who are uptight about a potentially negative review, those who demand any manner of special treatment -- THOSE tend to be reviewed less often or not at all. JA's policy is out in the open for all to read. The best, least demanding folks are always anxious to get new products in front of the public because they are confident in their designs...they don't have to worry about negative reviews because they know how to design reliable, musically satisfying equipment. Art Dudley recently commented on HIS policy -- if you want a freebie trial with no negative consequences (of course, a GLOWING review will be just fine, thank you... just let me know in advance so I can kill the process before a negative one appears), and/or bring gifts and expect special treatment over dinner, forget about it. These are the rules. They are out in the open. All games have rules. They must, or the process degenerates into meaningless chaos, with no enforcable standards in control. I believe that's what ST meant when he mentioned the "reviewing game," and praised those who understood it. I frequently trade stocks and commodities futures. Imagine if I placed an order to buy (or sell short) and said, "By the way, if the trade goes the wrong way, forget I ever talked to you and pull the order." Serious money is at stake. That does NOT mean it's not a "game." Games can be serious or trivial. Baseball is a game -- try playing it without umpires. Let the managers call balls and strikes from the bench. Trivial or serious, all games require commitment to the rules, or there is no integrity, NO MEANINGFUL OUTCOME. Certain manufacturers know the rules, abide by them, and thus get more exposure than those who don't. What's the problem? I feel confident in Stereophile's handling of their review process, so I subscribe. I do NOT feel confident in the plethora of web-mavens who masquerade as "experts" (any more than I feel confident about all the stock/commodities touts out there in cyberspace) because they don't publish the rules of THEIR games. If YOU are not confident in the way Stereophile plays the game, you shouldn't subscribe. There. I guess I elaborated. Okay? Cheers, happy tunes, and happy reading. Clifton

Kal Rubinson
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Re: Audio Research and Stereophile


Quote:

It is not sufficient to sit back and wait for manufacturers to submit products. An active effort to solicitate products for review is probably called for, specially well regarded manufacturers whos products have not been received for review.


We do make this effort continually. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

Kal

ohfourohnine
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Re: Audio Research and Stereophile

1. "Who might you be?", is a reasonable question. You're not the only "anon." posting on this forum. Sign some name to your opinions, and perhaps some of us will give them more weight.

2. Try "solicit" for "solicitate". That might also help your credibility.

3. Debate, as you call it isn't the sole purpose of this forum.

4. "I would rather....voice my protest..". No doubt you would. Great sport these days protesting. Fine contribution to the world in general. You should be, and no doubt are, very proud of yourself. Good luck in your other endeavors, such as they may be.

gkc
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Re: Audio Research and Stereophile

Dear Anonymous,
"Brandishing a tenner..."? Say, WHAT? Untarnished by any context, this can just shine in its irrelevant glow. Insinuating. Hmmm. Hard to pin that one down. Malicious. Who is being maligned, and how? Unfair. To whom? In what sense? What are your standards for "fairness"? "I believe Stereophile should provide its readers a wider sampling..." Now, THERE's something I can sink my teeth into. Wider than WHAT? A double Winnebago?? Hell, there are 50 pages in the April "Recommended Components" section. 500 components!! How freakin' wide do you NEED? They review a T+A G10 R, for crissakes!! Do you know what one of THOSE is?? No fair peeking!! Can't get any wider than T&A!! Have you ever seen these guys work a show?? They are ALWAYS on the 'phone "solicitating" (thanks, Cheapskate, you beat me to that one...) new talent. It's just that...ahem, some of this great talent doesn't want to adhere to the procedures outlined by the editor. Procedures, by the way, which protect subscribers from fly-by-nighters...at least, insofar as they WANT to be protected. No pretenders allowed. I like that. If that's "waving a tenner," then start your OWN magazine. I'll give it a shot. You can keep the tenner. Once. As for the "irrelevance" of who you might be...actually, you have a point. The rules allow you, 'tis true. However, with no identity, you're, well, irrelevant. Sorry. Keep on truckin'. Clifton. Gerald K. Clifton. 2850 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles, California, 90039. Don't be shy. C'mon over and I'll buy you a cold one.

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