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Kloss
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Do you feel articles on DIY should be a part of Stereophile?

So many into DIY and the older mags back in the day used to run test on DIY kits .Why not now? Is it due to the fact that modern man cant do for themselfs? Or just no perceived interest. So many Kits and times are getting hard might be more folks willing to do some work to get better performance and save costs.I also feel that this would be good for Stereophile. There are many companies to get as advertisers and it might open up the mag to new folks.I have posted on this in the past on the asylum and I know theres a mag or 2 that does DIY. I just think more folks would be into it if there where more info available on the cost savings, easy of construction and the quality of said Kits.Or how they compare to mass produced gear.

Pjay
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repeatability

This comes up an AA and other places every now and again. I would love it, but the problem is twofold:

1. Repeatability. There are a lot of kits out there and many are good, but the results vary a lot. I have heard a number of the same speaker kit and they all sound a little different. This would make reviewing worthless as what the review hears and what the builder ends up with can be very different.

2. Consistancy. Most kits are updated all the time with some change or another. Or people mod them and you get 450 different versions, like the Gainclone. Also, kits go off and on the market a lot. So avalability is an issue.

The Magazine AudioExpress does DIY.

P

Kloss
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Re: repeatability

Hi Pjay ,While the 1st point is some what apt .I feel that a general idea on how the kit performs or how well its designed would be easy to bring out in a review and if you build the kit with supplied parts and dont tweak I dont see where there would be major diferances in sound if the kit was done rt and assembled rt.I too build many loudspeakers and I can repeat my designs they dont sound dif from each other unless I make a change.I would suggest tests on kits that have been arround with little changes, mods wouldnt be right just stock kits.Dont think massive indepth tests on all varibles would be possible and I didnt suggest such reviews or tests.There are many kits on the market dont think availbility would be a problem.As far as other mags that are DIY .I was thnking a main stream mag like phile would get the word out about these DIY options for audiophiles.It is after all a mag about audio and music, seems they are ignoring a large part of audiophilia.

Pjay
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Re: repeatability

I agree about SP being about audio. I am a DIYer so it would be nice to have another magazine. But I just don't see how I (were I the ruler of the world) could make this happen without some strict rules. Something that has been around a while, sold a lot, looks like it will be around for a while longer, looks like a sound design on paper.

While I am sure there are thousands of good DIY kits, I have heard a number which have "special mods" which have really messed up something. And ususally, the builder does not realize the error until they get to an event (which is a separate topic, how could they not have heard it?). The is a lacuna between fun building and producing a repeatable result. To get a unit from the supplier may not match how most are built.

So I like the idea. But I also like separation of mission. I don't care for SP doing so many music reviews. There are tons of music magazines, if I want music reviews, I can buy a music mag. If I want DIY reviews, I can buy other mags. If SP did some DIY items, I would read it.

The only DIY item I would like to see reviewed in SP is the Linkwitz Orion speaker.

P

Robh3606
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Re: Do you feel articles on DIY should be a part of Stereophile?

I would like to see a few. I would certainly like to see an article that gives you a list of kits offered and where to get them as well as an article on DIY in general. The hobby started as a grassroots effort in the 50's and 60's and kits were a way the average guy could get into the hobby. They still are. Today I think many don't seriously consider kit's because they either look at it like they don't have the skills, time, or don't think the kits could compete with mainstream components. In many case's the skills are simply not that hard to learn and they can offer good value. They also get you much more involved and you learn quite a bit building them.

Rob

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Re: Do you feel articles on DIY should be a part of Stereophile?

Kits are just a stepping stone to true insanity: building from scratch! All the warm fuzzies about safety in carefully controlled listening tests go out the window when you start building by the seat of your pants. Just because sometimes the sound is awesome will never tempt them. They aren't even allowed to roll tubes. Sigh. Gotta keep life simple for the simple reader, or the really simple manufacturer.

FredT300B
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Re: Do you feel articles on DIY should be a part of Stereophile?

I would like to see a monthly column dedicated to non-mainsteam high end audio, including kits and pre-built components offered by small, low profile companies that typically sell direct over the internet. Art Dudley's column includes this type of product from time to time (and it's the page I open the magazine to when I receive my copy). However, I don't expect this practice to expand because, like it or not, Stereophile is a business that relies on advertisers' revenue to exist, and these non-mainstream companies typically don't advertise in magazines like Stereophile, and they compete with the companies that do. Non-mainstream sellers whose products I have enjoyed, like Audio Mirror, Selah Audio, GR Research, Dodd Audio, Welborne Labs, Bottlehead, DIY Hi Fi, etc., will have to continue to rely almost entirely on word-of-mouth coverage on the audio BB's.

Editor
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Re: Do you feel articles on DIY should be a part of Stereophile?


Quote:
I don't expect this practice to expand because, like it or not, Stereophile is a business that relies on advertisers' revenue to exist, and these non-mainstream companies typically don't advertise in magazines like Stereophile, and they compete with the companies that do.

With all due respect, Fred T, this is bullshit. Whether or not DIY companies advertise is not my concern; what matters to me is whether a large enough proportion of the magazine's readership would want to read about DIY gear and if so, would they want to do so instead of something we currently cover.

All the feedback I receive suggests that no, not enough of Stereophile's readers want to read DIY coverage instead of some of our current content. Given that I cannot increase the size of issues to cover DIY audio, I prefer to leave DIY to AudioXpress, which does a superb job, in my opinion as someone who cut his teeth on DIY audio.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

FredT300B
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Re: Do you feel articles on DIY should be a part of Stereophile?

John, I apologize for the incorrect statement about the Stereophile editorial policy. I did some after-the-fact homework and discovered, for example, that in my most recent issue (January) only four of the fourteen manufacturers whose products were reviewed have ads in that issue! Can you see the egg on my face?

My comment wasn't about DIY. I'm sure you're correct in stating that most Stereophile readers wouldn't want to see more DIY coverage. I wouldn't. My comment was about products offered for direct sale from small non-mainstream manufacturers. I understand there may be some good reasons for not reviewing many of these products, including the fact that many small manufacturers are unable to provide a sample for review, but I still would enjoy a bit more coverage of this category, and I suspect other readers might too.

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Re: Do you feel articles on DIY should be a part of Stereophile?


Quote:
John, I apologize for the incorrect statement about the Stereophile editorial policy. I did some after-the-fact homework and discovered, for example, that in my most recent issue (January) only four of the fourteen manufacturers whose products were reviewed have ads in that issue! Can you see the egg on my face?

Egg duly noted, Fred T. Forgive my short-temperedness on this subject. Advertising has zero effect on my editorial strategies and policies, so I get fatigued when the opposite appears to be taken for granted.


Quote:
My comment wasn't about DIY. I'm sure you're correct in stating that most Stereophile readers wouldn't want to see more DIY coverage. I wouldn't. My comment was about products offered for direct sale from small non-mainstream manufacturers. I understand there may be some good reasons for not reviewing many of these products, including the fact that many small manufacturers are unable to provide a sample for review, but I still would enjoy a bit more coverage of this category, and I suspect other readers might too.

However, you still have me puzzled, as Stereophile does not ignore such companies. In recent months, for example, we have reviewed products from Ray Samuels, Channel Islands Audio, and Continuum, all of whom only sell direct. It is true that we are a bit more suspicious of direct-selling companies, because, unlike manufacturers who sell through retailers, there is no metric that demonstrates their pedigree. (See my "Five Dealer Rule" article at http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/746/ for more discussion of this subject.) But when I am convinced that a mail-order manufacturer is solidly in business and offers a money-back guarantee, we will consider such products for review.

You should also note that I have written many times that Stereophile is not in the business of aiding small companies to become established. They have to do that without our help. It is only when they become established as a business that I will consider publishing full reviews of their products (though Art, Mikey, and Sam can and do range further afield in the columns).

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

FredT300B
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Non-Mainstream Manufacturers

At risk of belaboring my point I want to reply to John's comments about Stereophile coverage of non-mainstream manufacturers. Stereophile does reveiw these manufacturers' products, and they are featured even more frequently in columns like Art's, Mikey's, and Sam's that offer useful information (and very enjoyable reading), just not in the format of a formal review. But I still would enjoy a bit more coverage of non-mainstream products, and I suspect other readers might too.

Here's why: Non-mainstream manufacturers' products frequently offer greater performance/cost value than mainsteam manufacturers' equivalent products, especially in the loudspeaker category. For example, a competently designed and tested mainstream three-way speaker pair that incorporates top quality drivers (Seas Excel, etc.) and crossover parts (Hovland, Alpha Core, etc.) in a fine furniture enclosure typically sells in the $7-12K price range, while its non-mainstream equivalent often sells for about half that amount. (Four examples from established non-mainstream sellers are the Salk Audio Varacity HT3 ($3,899) the Selah Audio Peridot ($3,650 incl shipping) and RC4 ($4,995 shipped), and the Tyler Acoustics Linbrook System II ($3,600). I am interested in mainstream products, but I'm equally interested in reading more about their non-mainstream equivalents, which receive considerably less coverage.

I hope it's clear this isn't a criticism of current practices, just a suggestion for future consideration. Unlike the "You review too many expensive products" whiners, I do plan to renew my subscription.

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Re: Non-Mainstream Manufacturers


Quote:

I hope it's clear this isn't a criticism of current practices, just a suggestion for future consideration. Unlike the "You review too many expensive products" whiners, I do plan to renew my subscription.

I take (light hearted and limited) offense to that assertion, I am one who has recently re-aligned my financial situation (grad school) and now read with interest every review of budget components, most of which are outside of mine.

Stereophile's current readership has money, but I assume they didn't when they got into hi-fi. I believe that a DIY/Intro Hi-Fi section for the magazine would be a great way to attract my peers who, while they love music and listen seriously, are scared off by the inability to put a 1000$ system together from components in the magazine, hence they tend to stick with Bose and Sony. Don

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