Our recent price increase at the end of 1969 elicited numerous letters telling us the magazine was exorbitant at $4 a subscription and is outrageous at $5, and supporting their contention with comparisons between the price per page of the Stereophile and one or another of the commercial hi-fi magazines. We will answer this once, here and now, and then let the matter drop.
First, we should like to point out that the Stereophile is not really comparable to the commercial hi-fi publications, because it isn't competitive with them. It is, rather. an adjunct to them.
The commercial hi-fi magazines are a showcase for components. They publish the ads that list each component's salient features, and the equipment reports that show how they measure up in objective tests. We carry no ads, publish few objective measurements, but report on how components sound in actual use. The commercial magazines report on many more products than we do, but they do not attempt to compare competing products, which we do. They run numerous record reviews, with the emphasis on performance; we run very few, with the emphasis on sound. In other words, the commercial magazines show you what's available, and the Stereophile provides the data the perfectionist needs to select those components that will measure up to his standards of sonic quality.
Generally, used audio components have little resale value. If you buy a $40 phono cartridge and then find it isn't as good as you had hoped, you'll be lucky to get $20 for it on trade-in, and the more you paid for something, the more you'll pay for a mistake. The Stereophile can't guarantee that it will save you from such mistakes, but it does tell you more than that something measures "very well" and sounds "fine," and it does compare the sound of competing products. And if that can save you from just one misguided purchase, you've already saved more than the price of admission. Isn't that worth $5 for 4 issues?J. Gordon Holt