Stereophile  |  Mar 15, 1998  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  81 comments

The world used to be a simple place, where a record would sell only if it was big on the radio. These days, folks get their information about music from all over the map. Where do you get yours?

How do you find out about the music you buy?
16% (29 votes)
Magazine reviews
40% (71 votes)
Word of mouth
12% (21 votes)
Record store
9% (16 votes)
Internet reviews/samples
6% (11 votes)
Live venues
2% (3 votes)
Other (please explain)
16% (28 votes)
Total votes: 179
Barry Willis  |  Mar 08, 1998  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  122 comments

Although standalone music systems will always be part of the audio hobby, it appears that computers are becoming increasingly important. Improvements in data transmission and storage are reported almost daily, and several services now offer downloads of music. When will a computer become part of <i>your</i> music system?

Do you plan to integrate a computer into your music system?
No! Never!
35% (90 votes)
Maybe someday.
45% (116 votes)
8% (21 votes)
Did it recently.
4% (9 votes)
Have had one for years.
4% (9 votes)
Other? ( . . . )
4% (10 votes)
Total votes: 255
Stereophile  |  Mar 01, 1998  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  123 comments

Other people usually have experiences or insights that we lack, and their opinions can be extremely useful when we make our own decisions. This is especially true when it comes to forking over big bucks for new equipment. Below is a list of expert sources. When you are considering a purchase, which do you find most reliable?

Who or what do you trust the most for useful information about audio products?
Professional reviewers
18% (46 votes)
Internet newsgroups
2% (6 votes)
Audio journals
6% (14 votes)
Sales people
0% (1 vote)
Service Technicians
0% (1 vote)
Manufacturers' Web sites
0% (0 votes)
3% (7 votes)
Mail-order operators
0% (1 vote)
0% (1 vote)
My ears
69% (172 votes)
Total votes: 249
Stereophile  |  Feb 23, 1998  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

It is often said that an audiophile is someone who spends half his time feeling unhappy with his system and the other half tweaking it. Is your audio life heaven or hell? After choosing your answer, tell us why you feel that way.

Are you happy with your audio system?
Extremely happy
15% (49 votes)
Very happy
43% (139 votes)
Moderately happy
28% (91 votes)
4% (14 votes)
A little disappointed
3% (9 votes)
4% (13 votes)
Don't even ask . . .
2% (8 votes)
Total votes: 323
Stereophile  |  Feb 15, 1998  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  71 comments

High-end audio has always supported a fringe element of manufacturers who make bizarre products backed up by loopy "research." Curious, strange, or just plain silly, these products, and the claims made for them, have given the audio hobby a sort of "Flat Earth Society" cult reputation.

What is the goofiest product or product category in high-end audio?
Ultra-expensive low-power amplifiers
7% (14 votes)
Ceremonial listening aids (small items that affect sound)
34% (67 votes)
Magic clocks with "programmed electrons"
17% (34 votes)
Cable "trees"
1% (2 votes)
Water-encased speaker cables
12% (24 votes)
Illuminated speaker cables
12% (23 votes)
Other (please explain)
16% (31 votes)
Total votes: 195
Stereophile  |  Feb 08, 1998  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  142 comments

Many audiophiles soften the financial shock of upgrading or expanding their systems by buying used equipment, which typically sells at 50% (or less) of the original retail price. Sometimes, used audio gems are still state-of-the-art, and brand new is not always better. Other times, new equipment is the only way keep up. What is your strategy?

What proportion of your overall audio purchasing is used or new equipment?
Always buy used
3% (9 votes)
Mostly used
19% (61 votes)
50/50 new vs. used
24% (76 votes)
Mostly new
35% (109 votes)
Always new
19% (60 votes)
Total votes: 315
Dave Brown  |  Feb 02, 1998  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

Several years back, sales of multidisc CD changers overtook single-disc players in the lower end of the consumer market. New multidisc machines from California Audio Labs and others have pushed this trend toward the high end, but will they overtake tweak single-disc player sales?

Do you have, or have plans to buy, a multidisc transport/player?
Already have multidisc
13% (50 votes)
Single disc and happy
57% (210 votes)
Have both multi and single
20% (74 votes)
Single disc, ready to change
4% (14 votes)
Waiting for better high-end multidisc
6% (23 votes)
Total votes: 371
Stereophile  |  Jan 25, 1998  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

Conventional wisdom has always held that a pair of speakers can make the biggest difference in how a system sounds. But these days other components may be equally or more important, depending on the situation.

What, in your opinion, has the greatest effect on a system's "sound"?
38% (163 votes)
6% (26 votes)
Source: CD player or turntable, etc.
9% (38 votes)
Cables and tweaks
1% (5 votes)
The room
18% (77 votes)
Listener's state of mind
6% (25 votes)
Equal amounts of everything
21% (90 votes)
Total votes: 424
Stereophile  |  Jan 20, 1998  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  162 comments

It's not easy being an audiophile. Once you finally get that perfect (or near-perfect) pair of speakers, you've got to find a good location for them in your room, along with your other furniture. Did you build your room around your stereo, or do you prefer your stereo to fit into your mixed-use room?

How do you have your audio system set up in your listening room?
I have a dedicated listening room
23% (82 votes)
I changed the layout of my room to favor the audio system
42% (151 votes)
It's a constant struggle between good sound and functional living
33% (118 votes)
An audio system is better heard and not seen
3% (9 votes)
Total votes: 360
David Gulliver  |  Jan 12, 1998  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

Based on the replies from an earlier "Vote!" about the future of high-end audio, many audiophiles predict a continually diminishing market for high-end gear.

What would you, as a consumer, suggest the industry do in order to ensure high-end audio's survival?
Price reductions and greater availability of existing equipment
44% (104 votes)
Higher and higher levels of quality, even if the costs go up
6% (13 votes)
Better advertising to reach a broader market, even if it means higher prices
17% (41 votes)
Enter new markets, like computer audio, car audio, and home theater
7% (17 votes)
Nothing---everything's fine!
4% (10 votes)
Other (add comment)
21% (50 votes)
Total votes: 235
Stereophile  |  Jan 04, 1998  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

Some claim that FM radio for serious musical enjoyment is dead, while others say it is only sleeping. Certainly some of you have favorite music stations you listen to once in a while. Don't you?

Compared to CDs or vinyl, how often do you listen to music on FM radio?
More than CDs or vinyl
12% (8 votes)
Less than CDs or vinyl
27% (18 votes)
About the same
21% (14 votes)
Only in the car
35% (23 votes)
5% (3 votes)
Total votes: 66
Dan Rust  |  Jan 04, 1998  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  186 comments

Reader Dan Rust decides to rip open the can o' worms about audiophiles spending extra bucks on the wire in their systems. We're curious about your experiences: How important are speaker-cable and interconnect upgrades to you?

Have you found that cable upgrades make a difference in your system?
Yes, big difference
31% (93 votes)
Yes, worthy difference
38% (115 votes)
Yes, subtle difference
18% (54 votes)
No, waste of dough
10% (31 votes)
Haven't upgraded yet
2% (6 votes)
Total votes: 299
Barry Willis  |  Dec 22, 1997  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  56 comments

Recording and music production technology has seen enormous change in recent years. Engineers and producers now have unprecedented power to manipulate the tinest details in recordings using computers and other tools. But the process may be taking the life and soul out of music. Some feel that commercial recordings lack the spontaneity that makes live music so immediate and satisfying. Others prefer the "perfection."

Changes in recording technology have made music:
Much better
27% (29 votes)
Slightly better
27% (29 votes)
No change
8% (9 votes)
A little worse
22% (24 votes)
Much worse
16% (17 votes)
Total votes: 108
Gary Ang & Stereophile Staff  |  Dec 14, 1997  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  106 comments

In the January '98 <i>Stereophile</i>, Michael Zeugin of Audio Influx asserts that high-end audio is being sucked into a "Black Hole" for a variety of reasons. These include: goofy products, computers taking over the youth market, and boomers' limited income being channeled elsewhere. What do you think?

Will the market for high-end audio get better or worse?
He's nuts---it'll get better
29% (56 votes)
Worse: limited income
8% (16 votes)
Worse: goofy products
5% (10 votes)
Worse: computers
13% (24 votes)
Worse: all of the above
21% (40 votes)
Worse: other (add comment)
24% (46 votes)
Total votes: 192
Stereophile Staff  |  Dec 07, 1997  |  First Published: Dec 31, 1969  |  0 comments

Bits <I>vs</I> atoms! The new frontier of audio distribution is said to include downloading recordings over the internet onto a CD or DVD recorder for a modest fee. We'll assume for the moment that bandwidth has improved to the point where this is not a painful process, and data compression is not needed. But the question remains: Are you a collector who wants the original disc, or do you just want the music fast and cheap?

Which would you prefer: purchasing hard copies of new recordings, or paying for a download onto your CD or DVD recorder?
Purchase the actual disc
76% (210 votes)
Download and record
6% (17 votes)
Depends on the music/artist
6% (18 votes)
Depends on the cost to download
12% (33 votes)
Total votes: 278