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

Stereophile's picture
A continuation of last week's question. Equipment reviews are Stereophile'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?
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
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Comments
Troy McHenry's picture

Your last review with the MSB DAC, Alpha 9, and Cal labs was great! I can't wait to fit that DAC to my Alpha 7 CD player.

Scot Forier's picture

There are just to many choices to pick from on this Vote. I would like to see more of all the choices in the reviews.

J.  Vincent's picture

I, as most, greatly enjoy reading the reviews. I would like to see more reviews detailing compatible components; for example, types of amps and recommended models that seem to mate well with electrostatic speakers. Also, a suggestion: Put your review archives online and charge a monthly fee for access, as Consumer Reports does. This would be invaluable to a person doing system research, and worth a monthly fee.

Frank B's picture

What would have been hi-end gear just a few years ago is now dead-cheap. I think the methods used to rate equipment are getting so much more sophisticated that I have had audiophile friends try to spot the difference between gear rated poor and excellent. Usually they can't tell the difference. I'd like to see more info on the excellent budget gear out there.

Joel's picture

I don't think the reviews of the products you choose should change; the reviews are fine. But it would be nice if, after the review, you could have a list of compatable products. If a CD player were reviewed, you could list what cables match well with that specific product, in your opinion, and not just what accessories you used in testing.

Dave's picture

Almost all of the above. I think you already produce enough reports on the you-can't-affort-it type of gear. More photos aren't necessary. Otherwise, I would like to see more comparative reports, more affordable equipment (US$2500 for a black-box doohicky isn't really affordable!), and more concern for the track records of the manufacturers. Most of us need to make our gear last a good, long time, and would rather not support manufacturers that build gear that will fall apart in a year or two. I also wish you would include listening reports from more than one reviewer. The secondary reviewer(s) could have their own, separate article, or at least a sidebar. More Follow-Ups. Thanks for asking, and thanks for a strong magazine.

Sam Tam's picture

I could choose at least six more: more photos (including the innards), more three-way or more comparisons, more electronic and acoustic theory reliability, upgradeability, and track record---all very important to me.

John Lum's picture

I wish I could have chosen more than one from the above.

Woody Battle's picture

More reviews. More different manufacturers.

Jeffrey Teuber's picture

Stereophile's reviews are the best in the business, from the charming eccentricities of Mr. Scull to the technical acumen of Mr. Atkinson. Let's see additional technical data attempting to characterize loudspeaker performance. For example, showing a graph depicting bass flat to 40Hz doesn't really tell the whole story if IM or THD are 10-50% at any level over 80dB. Distortion measurements should be included. Many questions remain about the gray area between subjective appreciation and technical measurement. Why do some $15,000+ loudspeakers like the EgglestonWorks and the Artemis, which border on technical incompetence, get rave reviews? Is there something magically right about them that measurements are not yet able to reveal? Are reviewers swayed by a more-is-better price mentality? How come Paul Barton, Richard Vandersteen, Peter Walker, and others can design speakers that, technically at least, outperform these multikilobuck s.o.t.a. flavors of the month at a fraction of the price? Who is right? What matters, what doesn't? More of this kind of stuff for me.

Kirk Spencer's picture

Sam Tellig's recent series of integrated amplifier reviews illustrate how Stereophile equipment reviews could be improved. ST's comparisons have been useful and enjoyable, though the articles would have been even better if he had been a bit more heavy-handed. Would like to see this approach used in all of Stereophile's reviews---comparing the item under review to the top performers that Stereophile writers have identified at the relevant price point.

Devanshu Kansara's picture

I never buy your magazine anymore because nothing you review is ever something that 99.99999% of people can afford. I don't want reviews of budget stuff like technics, etc. But how about affordable equipment once in a while?

Joe Hartmann's picture

As I read reviews I wonder if the compotent will work with my setup. Phono pickups with my arm and table? What was the loading of the pre amp used. Are there any differences with balance imput etc.

Dean W.  Smith's picture

Would like more DIY amp and preamp projects, but don't cut back anything else! It's very hard to judge a review unless there is a comparison to one or (preferably) more products. Example: Brian Damkroger wrote a very interesting article on the Entech D/A processors in the December issue, but since I am not as familiar with his review style, it's hard to tell how these units would stack up against more expensive D/A converters. I need to know how close I can get to the state of the art for $450. The specs look great. Would be nice to read how it compared to something else---say, Classe, which Harley raved about.

Alexander Hawson's picture

Computer components are consistently benchmarked and evaluated in bunches, and the findings are presented in a single article in computer publications. While doing this is understandably more difficult with audio components because of the logistics involved, it would certainly make readers' lives easier when it comes to comparing components. I've read many articles about good components, but I would also like to read about HOW exactly they are good relative to their competition. An article that can take the good and bad qualities of many components and then put them in a matrix would go a long way toward that end! If not that, then get several people to contribute to one article about a component. That reduces some of the subjectivity involved by getting more than one opinion and putting the component through its paces in more than one system.

Todd R's picture

I've said it before and I'll say it again: You guys need to review gear that people can actually afford! What's the point of reviewing speakers that go for, oh, let's say $20,000? How many people are you serving? Maybe a couple of hundred who are willing to pay that much for a pair of speakers? You need to review equipment that is more reasonably priced, thereby giving MORE people the service of your reviews. Personally, I depend on reviews since I live quite far from good high-end stores. I don't make a 3-hour drive to hear something unless I've read a few reviews about it first.

David S.  Dodd's picture

I detest it when your letter writers ask for more budget reviews . . . don't they read your masthead??? Stereophile is, first and foremost, a journal for the serious audiophile with serious audiophile interests and tastes (even if they don't have high-end budgets). Let the complainers eat cake (i.e., read Stereo Review or some such schlock).

john romans's picture

don't call comparisons of a product in a review of another product a followup it only helps you to make your list of reviews look longer than it really is.

Omer Shibolet's picture

Reviews of mid-priced (1000$-3000$) gear is required, And compatability considerations would also help. Also European (british) stuff is good and could be reviewed more often.

S.H.  Yeo's picture

While all reviewers may have different reference equipment at home, and much of their reviews is subjective, all reviewers should ALSO be made to benchmark their reviews with a standard yardstick---such as comparison with reference equipment in Stereophile's offices.

Rene Vega's picture

A star rating system along with the equipment review article. It should include categories like reliability, value, dynamics, neutrality, imaging, etc. Also, recommendations on which components best match together.

Mike Hammill's picture

best budget cartridges,integrated amps,cd players,and efficient speakers.

C.SMITH, SIMPLE@TVCABLE.COM.MX's picture

YOUR CONTINUOUS EFFORT IN SELF-IMPROVEMENT IS HIGHLY APPRECIATED. SURELY YOU COULD INCLUDE THE WARRANTY DURATION IN EVERY REPORT. ALL CONSUMERS WANT LONGER MANUFACTURER WARRANTIES FOR THEIR COMPONENTS; AFTER ALL, HIGH QUALITY SOUND IS VERY MUCH DEVALUED WITHOUT HIGH RELIABILITY. STEREOPHILE WILL BE EVEN MORE VALUABLE WITH MORE MID-PRICED GEAR REPORTS, MORE 3-WAY COMPARISONS, MORE COMPATIBILITY CONSIDERATIONS, AND DEFINITELY MORE EMPHASIS ON RELIABILITY. REGARDS AND HAPPY LISTENING TO ALL.

Chris Morris's picture

When you lay down money for any equipment you want to be assured of value. Value to me is component flexibility and compatability with other equipment.

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