How could Stereophile's equipment reviews be improved? The listed choices are for your convenience; use the "Comments" box to make other suggestions.

How could <I>Stereophile</I>'s equipment reviews be improved? The listed choices are for your convenience; use the "Comments" box to make other suggestions.
More budget gear
13% (30 votes)
More mid-priced gear
20% (47 votes)
More exotic gear
4% (9 votes)
More photos of gear
4% (10 votes)
More bench tests
1% (2 votes)
More side-by-side comparisons
13% (30 votes)
More three-way (or more) comparisons
27% (62 votes)
More electronic and acoustic theory
3% (8 votes)
More consideration of compatibility with associated gear
9% (22 votes)
More emphasis on reliability
2% (5 votes)
More emphasis on upgradability
1% (3 votes)
Mention manufacturer's track record with similar products
2% (4 votes)
Total votes: 232

A continuation of last week's question. Equipment reviews are <I>Stereophile</I>'s bread and butter. Do they strike a good balance between technical details and subjective impressions? Are the measurements, charts, and graphs useful to you?

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COMMENTS
Joe's picture

Unless you are going to use a single dealer and live with the products he carries you really ned some guidelines on compatibility with other components.

Rodney Gold's picture

The perception is generated that all the stuff you test is better than sliced bread , taint so. I auditioned a set of speakers you tested and found em a throwback to 40's British sound , despite different rooms , electronices etc. I re-read the review after this extensive audition and wondered if the speakers *I* listened to were broken. The fact that one has to know the reviewer in your mag before you can analyse the review is also a no-no , perhaps a side bar re the reviewer's sonic preferences might be appropriate. Over the top tweakoid stuff , like the orientation of footers and rug naps debase your image as well , this type of thing provides targets for derision. (No matter whether you report it in a tongue in cheek manner) Dont be nice , tell it like it is , publish the bad stuff.

Karl Richichi's picture

And put it all on your web site as well...

Jim Bowdren's picture

Current reviews are good, but would be better if they included comparisons with previously reviewed equipment in the same price range. Also for Class B/C components some info on what is lacking compared to Class A equipment would be helpful. This would give a better perspective on value.

Michael Grosz's picture

I would like to see more mid priced($1500-$3000 gear in side by side comparisons. Exotic gear is nice and all, but the real world is ever so important. Instead of devoting several pages to some ultra exotic, ultra expensive piece of equipment and a page or so to gear the average Joe would purchase, how about reversing the dominance? I would also like to see more pictures of the gear(front/rear/top).

Federico Cribiore's picture

On the whole, I think the reviews are excellent. I end up really valuing Sam Tellig's reviews though as they often compare a bunch of different contenders in one catagory and comment on their various strengths and weaknesses. That is particularly useful to me, especially in this age of so many great audio products with such subtle but important differences between them!

tony esporma's picture

I love finding good sounding equipment that doesn't cost and arm and a leg. I then can enjoy the music without feeling that I must enjoy it because I spent a ton of money. Like they say, anyone can buy a great bottle of wine for $40.00. But a finding one at $5.00 is s thrill.

Curt Simon's picture

Of the items you listed, the one most lacking is comparisons; comparisons based on objective data and subjective (but blind) listening tests. However, there would appear to exist a tension between recommending equipment that gives the best sound for the dollar on the one hand, and obtaining the cooperation of manufacturers (advertising and willingnes to submit equipment for review) on the other. Given the state of the market for 2-channel audio, I question whether such a scheme has a remote chance of being profitable.

Etienne Le Flore's picture

When Stereophile reviews unique accessories such as power cords, power-line conditioners, turntable mats, or other products that claim to improve the sonic performance of an audio system, the magazine should strive to provide a scientific explaination of why this accessory has an effect on the audio performance of a stereo system. The readers of your magazine are intelligent, thinking individuals who don't mind exercising their brains, and in fact would love the opportunity to exchange scientific ideas and concepts with other audiophiles around the world. Even if your scientific theory about how some new accessory works is incorrect, there are readers out there who could shed some light on why a specific phenomenon is occurring.

Anonymous's picture

Guys, c'mon: choose only 1? As a professional researcher, I can see where you want to keep it simple, but how about top three in rank order? If you are going to solicit meaningful feedback, ask meaningful questions. It ain't that much more complicated to program and analyze...

MacGregor Rucker's picture

The equipment reviews are, overall, pretty informative, but you should think about the music reviews even moreso. I'm sure all the writers are very knowledgeable, but there's a decided lack of personality in the section. Every review reads like a Casey Kasem bit: Brief artist history, previous records, a small bit about the latest . . . It's still better than Corey Greenberg declaring somebody is God, but the writers could break format a bit and make music reviews as diverse and interesting as I'm sure the people writing them are. You do it in the equipment reviews, and they're infinitely more entertaining, yet still very informative.

Bob Casner's picture

Check "Car & Driver"---they have second opinions from three other writers for each review. I'd like to see you do something similar.

Larry Solomon's picture

I don't need to constantly be told what equip a reviewer has - - unless I buy the same gear, and have the same listening room, its not as relevant as telling me what you'd recomend using with the review piece; e.g., needs highly efficient speakers, etc. I think its just a way for you to give free plugs, so your reviewers can get free long term loans from mfgs.

Graham Moore's picture

Very few of us here in the real world can afford to buy the top of the line products from various high end manufacturers but are in the market for other products in their lines. Reviews of some of these other 'lower high end' items would be very useful and usable. gmoore@vanhosp.bc.ca

Doug Bogert's picture

I would like to see more comparisons of equipment in similar price ranges(side by side and three way). I think this type of review would be more helpful when trying to make a purchase than comparing a low price component against a high priced one. When it comes to making a decision to buy, I need to see infomation about how similar priced components compare with one another.

Al Marcy's picture

Looking at the results of last week, I am not the only one who sees too much ink spilled on the latest industry gossip and rumors. Us audio guys only want new toys to lust after. Put in pictures of naked circuits and schematics. Show us the backsides and under the stylish covers. Make us pant!

Khoi Hoang's picture

All strengths and weaknesses of the equipment must be included in the review. I think Brian Damkroger is doing the best job among all reviewers in this regard. If a piece of equipment is included in the "Recommended Components" list, it would be helpful to include the reasons why the piece of equipment is in a certain class. It's confusing for me to see that the reviews and the ratings don't match. The less confused I am, the more chance there is that I will renew my subsription.

T.  Buns's picture

It's a shame you can only make a single choice. Despite being the best in the biz, the magazine could use several of these improvements.

Anonymous's picture

I would like it if you would pay the same attention to detail in your reviews on buget and mid priced gear as you do to the expensive stuff. You may rave about an inexpensive component, state no shortcomings, but rate it class C. For the expensive stuff, you carefully scrutinize every aspect of its performance, find a few problems and concerns, but rate it class A. What's the deal? Please give more information on the strengths and weakness of the not so exotic stuff.

Anonymous's picture

Stop abusing words like 'affordable' when referring to multi-kilobuck gear. Eventhough I can afford to spend $15K on my system, I still consider $500 to be a lot of money. Don't lose you perspective.

Rollo J.  Brewster's picture

C'mon, guys, wallow on down with the kilobuck buyers and let us see and hear more about the wealth of affordable gear that's out there! Not everybody is a high-falutin audio reviewer, medical professional, or dentist. Give us some crumbs to dream about.

Mike Andrews's picture

Let's face it, I can get the plain-jane product reviews in other mags. I buy Stereophile to read about the exotic stuff (in addition to other things).

William J.  Ray III's picture

Keep up the good work and tell the people who can't afford the equipment to get a subscription to stereo review.

Philip O&#039;Hanlon's picture

More emphasis on music; reviews & interviews.

Michael Brown's picture

Magnepans (according to Stereophile polls) are the most popular "high-end" speaker system, yet Stereophile hasn't reviewed a Maggie speaker in what, 5 years? What the problem with Stereophile and Magnepan?

Jim A's picture

Review more products in one issue. The British mags have you beat by a long shot on this issue. "What Hi-Fi" is the best audio mag I have read. Please do more in showcasing more products as they come to market.

Craig Copeland's picture

I'll will try not to get into a highly critical mode here but you asked it and I think you magazine is one of the best around right now for equipment reviews, but and there is a big but, as I see it there is much room for improvement. Limiting the senders choice to just one of the above is like asking a person if they would rather have an ampliphier, a speaker or a front end piece of equipment as the one and only item with which to produce music. First, shorten the reviews. don't savor the subject at hand until you kill it with (paralysis by analysis). Same thing happens to an item of food it it is left on the warming tray too long. It loses it flavor and zing. Second, when comparisons to other previously reviewed or heard equipment are made they should only be done with equipment that is close, very close, in price to the item being reviewed. Saying an item being reviewed falls short of some other piece of equipment costing twice or more in price is simply a waste of the readers time. If on those rare occations where a piece of equipment being reviewed surpasses much more expensive equipment in significant respects yes mention that by all means because that does tell the reader something important. Third, if you are really trying to expand the reach or appeal of high end products don't make endless use of elaborate unecessarily obscure terminology and constantly make abreviated references to long ago reviews that only the die hard Stereophile reader of 10 or 15 years or more will get any meaning from. I really enjoy well reproduced music and would like to see a bigger market for the kind of equipment that is capable of making it happen. That would almost bring more manufactures into the high end arena and make it easier (read less costly) for me to enjoy this hobby. The way many Stereophile articles are written now I don't see many mainstream people looking for entertainment enjoyment struggling through the reviews to get to the bottom line of what it is will help them find what they want. One reviewer I hated to see leave your operation was Bob Harley. While his reviews tended to be somewhat long they almost never repeated (overly savored) bits of information and I never had the feeling that he had his head stuck up in clouds ignoring the fact that he was writing to an audience of just a few high end 'nerds' with endless funds to indulge their hobby. This response is I am sure a little too long and because of the tiny little box we are forced to type in not especially well constructed but if at least John Atkinson reads this and a few other readers come forth with similar opinions maybe at least a little change of direction will occur. If not the wealthy status conscious followers of this hobby will be happy but a much larger presently untapped market will remain so. I offer these comments while pretty direct are offered in hopes positive changes will occur.

Gordon White's picture

Budget gear comparisons like six of the best budget speakers under $500 compared.

Bob Lowery's picture

Not listed: More emphasis on musicality.

herve.deletraz@ville-ge.ch's picture

I like your reviews the way the reviewers do them. I also like your measurement benches. For the latter, I would appreciate if you would be more consistent in the tests you perform. Sometimes we see (for example) an amp's squarewave response, sometimes not. Not easy, then, to technically compare two boxes if they aren't tested exactly in the same way. But the most I miss is MORE pictures, especially guts-gear ones.

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