You are here

Log in or register to post comments
jdmccall56
jdmccall56's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: Apr 5 2011 - 11:31am
SM in S'phile

I hope this does not come off as mean spirited as that is not my intent, but I have some issues with Stephen Mejias' writings for Stereophile.  Number one, why is he writing for Stereophile in the first place?  What are his "audiophile credentials"?  He writes a column called "The Entry Level".  It seems to me he should be reading a column by that name instead.  One written by an experienced audiophile.   And now he's reviewing cables.  Again, a task that would seem more appropriate for a seasoned veteran than for "the kid".

Natalie and Nicole:  OK, a little injection of Stephens personal life into his writing is not necessarily a bad thing.  My problem is with the degree.  Is it an audio column or is it Dear Diary?

And behind door number three:  Why does practically every month's column have to have one instance of needless vulgarity or profanity?  Is it just like a lot of young guys who think they have to talk that way to sound grown up or street-tough?  I just don't see the point in it.

I'm sure Stephen is a fine fellow, and he obviously has some writing talent.  And a column about a newby audiophiles progression is not a bad idea.  But either he's a newb who's journey we may be entertained by, or he's a sage dispensing aquired wisdom.  He can't be both simultaneously.

dumbo
dumbo's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Sep 26 2009 - 6:59pm
Well

I guess the easy answer here would be to not read the column if it offends you or brings you such discomfort.

Personally I find it interesting to read about the many ways someone can have so much fun in dirty Jersey City cheeky while at the same time including an audio/music related twist

JIMV
JIMV's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Jan 31 2008 - 1:46pm
His writing is entertaining...

And he has not yet tried to review something costing more than my home.

kager
kager's picture
Offline
Last seen: 12 months 3 days ago
Joined: Oct 1 2006 - 8:28pm
mean spirited

 

I hope this does not come off as mean spirited as that is not my intent, but I have some issues with Stephen Mejias' writings for Stereophile.  Number one, why is he writing for Stereophile in the first place?  What are his "audiophile credentials"?  He writes a column called "The Entry Level".  It seems to me he should be reading a column by that name instead.  One written by an experienced audiophile.   And now he's reviewing cables.  Again, a task that would seem more appropriate for a seasoned veteran than for "the kid".

Natalie and Nicole:  OK, a little injection of Stephens personal life into his writing is not necessarily a bad thing.  My problem is with the degree.  Is it an audio column or is it Dear Diary?

And behind door number three:  Why does practically every month's column have to have one instance of needless vulgarity or profanity?  Is it just like a lot of young guys who think they have to talk that way to sound grown up or street-tough?  I just don't see the point in it.

I'm sure Stephen is a fine fellow, and he obviously has some writing talent.  And a column about a newby audiophiles progression is not a bad idea.  But either he's a newb who's journey we may be entertained by, or he's a sage dispensing acquired wisdom.  He can't be both simultaneously.

 

"not to mean spirited" your kidding right? I happen to think Mr. Mejias is doing a fine job and I do read his column every month. Besides, everyone has to start somewhere. Dumbo is right, if you don't like it why not move on to the next column.. I could be wrong but it seems to me he works very hard. Yes, he might be having some fun in the process while doing it but so would everyone.

Keep up the good work Stephen.

tom collins
tom collins's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 3 months ago
Joined: Apr 3 2007 - 11:54am
can't agree with you

jdm:

 

Can't agree with you.  I find SM's musings to be a welcome change to the normally clinical writing found in most mags of this type.  I agree with dumbo, pass it over.  I seldom read the surround sound column and do not feel like I am getting taken advantage of.

Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 months 5 days ago
Joined: Nov 7 2010 - 3:35pm
audiophile credentials

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

jdmccall56 wrote:
I hope this does not come off as mean spirited as that is not my intent, but I have some issues with Stephen Mejias' writings for Stereophile.  Number one, why is he writing for Stereophile in the first place?  What are his "audiophile credentials"?  He writes a column called "The Entry Level".  It seems to me he should be reading a column by that name instead.  One written by an experienced audiophile.   And now he's reviewing cables.  Again, a task that would seem more appropriate for a seasoned veteran than for "the kid".

Just to address your concern about my "audiophile credentials": I've been working at Stereophile for 11 years. While I came into the job as a complete newbie, I've learned a lot since then, proofing our pages, attending hi-fi shows, listening to lots of gear, and studying under some of the most experienced people in hi-fi. I think I'm very fortunate to have had such excellent mentors.

I don't take for granted my position at this magazine. It's an honor and privilege, and I'm very grateful to John Atkinson for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences with readers all over the world.

"The Entry Level" isn't as much of a journey of the audio newbie as was my blog, "Elements of Our Enthusiasm," which we started in September 2005 and soon became one of the most-visited pages on our website.

Especially now, in a time when the internet (and our use of it) blurs the lines between excellence and mediocrity, I intend to be as careful and thorough as possible. Most of all, I intend to give the gear, the music, the magazine, and our readers the respect and attention they deserve.

soulful.terrain
soulful.terrain's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 4 weeks ago
Joined: Nov 22 2010 - 12:15pm
Stephen Mejias

 

I think Stephen has elevated Stereophile to whole new level of enjoyment. His writings are interesting, his reviews are honest and forthright. If anyone at Stereophile loves music..it is Stephen. Stephen has exposed me to new music that I would have never known existed if it would not have been for his research.

I always walk away happier after reading what Stephen has to say. As a matter of fact, Stephen is why I renewed my subscription.

Kudo's also for the addition of Ariel Bitran. Very Cool guy and great guitarist to boot!

On the other hand, the brutal truth is some of the old heads need to go, plain and simple. Those who interject political rants in their music or artist reviews would be more apt to write for The New Progressive or some other leftist rag. This is what ran off many long-time subscribers especially during the mid to late 90's.

Demondog
Demondog's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 days ago
Joined: Feb 22 2009 - 5:01pm
The Entry Level

I find the column somewhat entertaining, and like that it's written in a different style than can be found in the rest of the magazine.  I also like that the product comments seem to come from a different perspective.  I enjoy reading the column.  There are other sections of the magazine that I enjoy less.

JIMV
JIMV's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Jan 31 2008 - 1:46pm
SM

I am an old fart and enjoy your style and choice of products to consider. I suspect you might appeal to an audience a few decades younger than I and that is a good thing in a hobby priced for oldies and filled with folk who remember Elvis, and 'liked Ike'...

Drtrey3
Drtrey3's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Aug 17 2008 - 2:52pm
SM is my cup of tea

I enjoy and appreciate his column and record reviews a lot. JD, you don't get his writing style. Nothing wrong with that, but there are a lot of us who appreciate what SM brings to the rag.

Trey

jdmccall56
jdmccall56's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 1 month ago
Joined: Apr 5 2011 - 11:31am
oh brother

I "get" his style.  As I said at the outset, I just have some issues with it.  I do read his column.  It doesn't bring me "discomfort".  There are elements I like and so, overall, I don't dislike it and I certainly don't dislike Stephen!  I'm simply offering up what I thought to be some constructive criticism.  And I've covered those, so I won't rehash.

I just get the sense that eleven years ago, if Stephen had gotten a job with "CAR AND DRIVER", he'd be writing about the new Fiat 500 today, instead of USB turntables and RadioShack wires.  IOW, my take is that his "audiophilia" may be learned behavior and not intrinsic to who he is.  Of course, to an extent that might be said about us all, but that's another argument for another time.  Put another way, if JA came home early one night and found SM, Natalie and Nicole, all drunk as skunks, cavorting around his house in JA's pajamas and tap dancing on LP's strewn all over the floor, would that be the end of SM's audiophilia?  Would that be the Exit Level?

Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 months 5 days ago
Joined: Nov 7 2010 - 3:35pm
weird

jdmccall56 wrote:
I just get the sense that eleven years ago, if Stephen had gotten a job with "CAR AND DRIVER", he'd be writing about the new Fiat 500 today, instead of USB turntables and RadioShack wires.

I wouldn't have taken a job with Car and Driver.  I don't really care about cars, but I've always been deeply interested in music.

jdmccall56 wrote:
IOW, my take is that his "audiophilia" may be learned behavior and not intrinsic to who he is.  Of course, to an extent that might be said about us all, but that's another argument for another time.

Is anyone born as an audiophile?  I received hundreds of responses to my first "Entry Level" column from people explaining how they got into the hobby.  I was touched by how many of those e-mails included the word "father."  Most people got into the hobby through the influence of an older relative or close friend, but no one has ever told me that audiophilia was an intrinsic aspect of their character.

jdmccall56 wrote:
Put another way, if JA came home early one night and found SM, Natalie and Nicole, all drunk as skunks, cavorting around his house in JA's pajamas and tap dancing on LP's strewn all over the floor, would that be the end of SM's audiophilia?  Would that be the Exit Level?

That's just weird. I would never let the girls tap dance on LPs, and JA's pajamas are too big for me.

soulful.terrain
soulful.terrain's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 4 weeks ago
Joined: Nov 22 2010 - 12:15pm
Levity
jdmccall56 wrote:

  Put another way, if JA came home early one night and found SM, Natalie and Nicole, all drunk as skunks, cavorting around his house in JA's pajamas and tap dancing on LP's strewn all over the floor, would that be the end of SM's audiophilia?  Would that be the Exit Level?

I would say that the party just got started. Relax, pop open a cold one, or whatever your indulgent pleasure is, and roll with it baby.

Simply put, Stereophile needed someone like Stephen to make the reading even more interesting, funny and informative. Especially after the vivacious Jonathan Scull left, of whom I miss.sad

Mark

Poor Audiophile
Poor Audiophile's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: Feb 14 2006 - 7:35pm
SM in S'phile

Great column! Keep it up!! The only thing that confuses me(?), is that SM has stated that some of the column is fiction; why & how can I tell what is real & what is not? Or am I not supposed to know? cool

Anton
Anton's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: Apr 30 2011 - 1:31pm
First, the big news: My September issue arrived!

As to the subject....

I love everything about Stephen's column.

It's a pleasant and kindly worded monthly check-in with a fellow human who likes to listen to music on the Hi Fi!

But that ain't all.

It's modern gonzo journalism, in the tradition of the late great Hunter S Thompson, only with less drugs and overt debauchery, similarly frequent mentions of vodka,and maybe a little more dancing. 

Stephen's column is immersive. Sam and Art have been doing this for years, but Stephen takes it beyond Musical Fidelity, used Thorens tables, and Triangle.

Stephen's zone could have just as easily been made a reincarnation of the Audio Cheapskate, but it's been smartly rebadged as a look at how easy it is to enter the hobby. That's a great idea. GREAT!

"Entry level" does imply interacting with non-audiophiles and how they may perceive the hobby; or become interested in it, or not. Natalie and Nicole, in addition to having cool musical predilections, are great literary devices (no offense, I'm sure they are great people as well) that give us a view of the hobby from different perspectives. They even like to dance and clean house to music. (I may curse Stephen for not getting into what they are wearing while they clean house, but I digress....)

As an audiophile, other than tossing lifestyle integration off as WAF, I like Stephen's melding of his Hi Fi leanings into a world that contains people who may not share his passion for audio toys. Inviting someone to share his version of the perfect meatloaf is similar. Stephen, as opposed to any of the other columnists there, puts himself on the line in a world with other people in it. Wondering what a chick may think of your "Q" shaped damping feet is pretty great audio chat!

Times have changed around us, too. I listen to ESPN on the way to work - it has morphed from 'pure' sports to an almost 'lifestyle' thing over the past several years. Stephen is incorporating the new media shift toward including other things that may interest a target demographic. I.e. girls, the bar scene, liking music, interacting with other people, not having a solopsistic 30' X 45' dedicated audio sanctum, and how his take on Hi Fi works into the mix of life.

So, mark me down as solidly enjoying SM's presence.

 

Now, as to "audiophile credentials."

I know for a fact that Stephen likes to downplay his bonafides. True, he does not have an Ivy League diploma in "Listening for almost infinitesmially small differences and translating that variation into hyperbole," but he is as qualified as you or I.

wink

Maybe we can take side bets and put his aural acuity measurements up against those of his critics?

Now, if Natalie turns out to be some  sort of "Fight Club" alter-ego, or a Jame Gumb kind of thing,  then I might be a little disturbed.

Stephen Mejias
Stephen Mejias's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 months 5 days ago
Joined: Nov 7 2010 - 3:35pm
thank you

Thanks so much, Anton.  I've passed your comments along to Nat and Nicole, too.

: )

JIMV
JIMV's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Jan 31 2008 - 1:46pm
Anton, about morphing..

I was reading your post when my adored spouse, reading the paper about an entertertainers local appearance, noted how nasty and political Garrison Keillor had become. I had to tell her about the fellow way back in the 80's when his stories were almost always dare I say, sweet and endearing, and not political and nasty as they have been for the last decade or so. Some things morph from good to not....

I like the way the magazie is morphing (mostly) and particuarly like the SM bits. Entertainng as well as informative.

ArthurPE
ArthurPE's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: Oct 1 2011 - 7:13pm
his stuff is one of the first

his stuff is one of the first things I read...

and I first subscribed in the early 70's when the mag was 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper folded and stapled, and you never knew when it would arrive...but I always eagerly waited for it

 

change is good...and we need to get new blood into the hobby or it will fade away

dbowker
dbowker's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 months 1 week ago
Joined: May 8 2007 - 6:37am
I'm with Stephen!

With respect to the original poster: your attitude from start to finish is indicative of one of the most prevalent problems for the whole concept of an audiophile community: uptight elitism. Who would want to be in a "club" that sounds like a cross between a musical monastery and an engineering class run by nuns? Every time I read a review that puts equipment through it's paces via organ music, Baroque chorales and 1950's Living Presence recordings I cringe, thinking how stuffy and fringe it all sounds. I don't mind reading the occasional piece on an amp costing more than most cars either, but I can't relate much to them. Apparently there's not enough of that for you though?

I am a long time reader, in fact it's nearly 25 years since I started reading the magazine as a Freshman in college. Most of it was way out of my league, and well over my head, but I did love music, and knew when it sounded better, it was great. But I could never relate much to the actual writers in the magazine, then or now. Maybe a few, but they all seemed so much more serious than the music enthusiasts I knew. Even today, to me, great sound is not divorced from friends, enjoying a drink and the latest find, and curiosity of what's next.

First with his blog, and now his column, Stephan has brought the single best chance for the magazine to even have any relevance into the next 25 years. And you actually brought up the occasional profanity? Come on, this is a publication for adults, isn't it? I guess you don't watch any TV past 7PM or see any movies not rated G either?

The last thing we need is more writings from on high, by old men who can't remember anymore what it feels like to go out past 10pm, get in at 3am, or have no plan for a weekend that doesn't involve Home Depot. We need writers who care about sound and actually know how much great new music is being made today. Writers that don't see music as something that only happens in a concert hall, or in their separate listening room that is size of many people's entire house dimensions.

Some of that is fine, but by and large, it's the bulk of the magazine. Why do we need more of the same? Yes: need the old guard too; the ones that have years of experience. But all those years can be just as much a barrier too, especially to a newcomer. Most of the long time writer try, at least somewhat, to be welcoming to new readers and enthusiasts. But in many ways they can't help but be the experts they are. and in that they may miss teaching what to them is the obvious. Every time that happens it makes the wall to entry a little higher. Stephen's column isn't just a window into the audiophile world, it's more like an open door and a friendly hand, saying "Come on in and hang for awhile!" To me, you can't have enough of that.

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading