Merry Christmas Indeed

Editor's Note: The editorial leader for the seventh issue of what was then called The Stereophile, cover-dated April 1964, was the first to introduce a recurring theme to the magazine's first 20 years of publication: an apology to subscribers for being late.—John Atkinson

Those of you who have a mind for dates may have noticed that this issue of The Stereophile is very, very late. This, the seventh issue, was supposed to have been a Merry Christmas November–December issue, but as things worked out, it doesn't even deserve the title of January–February issue. So, we think a few words of explanation are in order.

As you may have guessed, we ran into financial problems. The post office department fouled us up on a large mailing, sitting on the things for several weeks before sending them out, and one of the other hi-fi publications (which shall remain nameless) agreed to take an ad from us, mulled over it for a couple of weeks after we submitted it, and then had a change of heart, just in time for us to miss the deadlines of all the other monthly publications. As a result, there were several weeks during which our income dropped practically to zero, and we had to say goodbye to what little full-time office staff we were able to hire when there was some money coming in.

This meant the Ye Editor and some part-time help were forced to run the whole cotton-picking operation—writing the staff-written material, filing, typing, answering correspondence (including an avalanche of inquiries as to what happened to the magazine?), preparing illustrations, proofreading, laying out the pages, adjusting copy length to fit the assigned spaces, warding off creditors and, occasionally, organizing the piles of paper on the desks into neat piles to make room for more piles of back-logged work.

So, while we apologize profoundly for having made you wait over four months for this issue, we think you'll understand why the thing is so late, and we hope you'll bear with us if the next issue takes longer than its nominal two months to get out.


We're glad to say, though, that the crisis is past, we're out of danger for the foreseeable future, and we should be able to hew a bit closer to our publishing schedule (such as it is) for future issues. We still aren't out of the woods as far as back work is concerned, though, which may explain why we've been taking longer than usual to answer your letters. But if you did write to us, about your subscription or about anything else, we can assure you that we will answer your letter some time in the near future. Now that issue Number 7 is out of the way, we're catching up on our backlog of correspondence, and if you wrote to us some time ago, your reply is probably in the mail now, if it hasn't already arrived.

We have made one change in the magazine, as a result of this recent fiasco. We are no longer putting the issue date on the cover, but will identify future issues by number only, until we are certain we can meet our deadlines on all subsequent issues. After all, all it takes is a half a week of delay per month to throw our cover dates entirely out of whack for a whole year. With numbers on the cover (and dates in small, fine print on page 2, so you'll have some idea of the publication date), we are hoping that nobody will mind too much if it takes us nine weeks to publish each issue for the next few months.

On the other hand, we do occasionally get fouled up in the circulation department, and copies of the magazine sometimes get lost in the mails, so if you find yourself waiting four months for the next issue, we'd suggest dropping us a post card asking what's up, just in case you did somehow miss an issue.

This, then, might be considered our New Year's issue—it is the first in 1964—but before we close the door on 1963, we would like to say thanks to all the Stereophile readers who've put up with our growing pains, and have even taken the trouble to round us up some new readers and to write us their suggestions for improving The Stereophile. The "Roundup"-type articles (of which "Headphones," in the last issue, was the first of a series) and the "Recommended Components" section are a direct result of readers' suggestions, and some of our upcoming articles and departments were suggested by readers. So, if you haven't written to us, and have some ideas of your own, let us hear from you.

This issue introduces a couple of changes that should be welcomed by readers. First, we are finally equipped to review 4-track tapes, and are devoting this issue's "Recordings" section to catching up on reviews of the UST tapes for the past few months. And second, we are welcoming Robert J. Kerr, a genuine tape expert, as a regular contributor to the "On Tape" department.

We are also planning to branch out into the field of construction articles, partly because a number of readers have requested these, and partly because there's a need for certain specialized, high-quality devices which no manufacturers appear to be interested in producing commercially.

One of these will be a comprehensive equalizer-control unit to provide the maximum possible equalization accuracy with a hitherto unheard-of minimum of distortion. Another will be a versatile headphone control center for the hobbyist who wants to do more than just listen, and a third one in the mill now, but still a long way from completion, is a deluxe version of a top-notch power amplifier, with built-in test facilities and a rock-solid power supply.

But then, that's all for the future. Which, come to think of it, is something we weren't at all sure we had, as of a couple of months ago.—J. Gordon Holt

dalethorn's picture

I got one of those issues which concluded with "Happy New Year (just don't ask which year)".

JohnG's picture

"But then, that's all for the future. Which, come to think of it, is something we weren't at all sure we had, as of a couple of months ago."

I presume Mr Holt was talking about the Cuban missile crisis, when the world stood on the brink of nuclear war.

rt66indierock's picture

Sorry but the Cuban Missile Crisis was in October of 1962. Now back to my own little comma war.