Garbage In, Garbage Out

Each morning, before heading to the Palace Hotel, I’d stop at the Stereophile office to check on the state of our current issue and answer any important email. On Friday morning, I noticed an email whose subject line was made of a single intriguing word: cancelled.

I opened the email to find the following:

I just cancelled my Stereophile subscription because of

a) the cover

b) I skipped to your article and it’s just garbage.

In retrospect, I do appreciate the letter’s poetic line breaks and, as my friend Nicole pointed out, it’s sort of nice that the reader skipped immediately to my column. But, still: At the time, the email really ticked me off. It was an unfortunate way to start the day.

Happily, at the New York Audio Show, things were very different. I met with so many kind and generous people who not only loved the latest cover of Stereophile, but who expressed genuine enthusiasm for music, audio, our magazine, and the show itself.

Those brief encounters alone made the show worthwhile.

Bill B's picture

Haters gonna hate. 

audiodoctornj's picture

Dear Stephen,

As both a reader of Stereophile and someone who also knows you personally,I would say this gentleman is full of it. As with any human endevor it is nearly impossible to please everyone, however, to cancel a magazine based on one column is both silly as well as unrealistic. 

You are a wonderful writer and you bring a youth perspective of uncovering and discovering high end for the first time, which is something  which is fun to read from us older audiophiles. 

Just remember it is impossibel to please everyone, and I think you please a hell of a lot of readers. 

JasonVSerinus's picture

That says it all.

Jeff0000's picture

I would suggest that the writer of the email take a yoga class so that they might gain the necessary flexibility to stick their head up their backside.

Et Quelle's picture

With all expensive items, you'll find the guy with his arms crossed. He believes hi-end is for the avant garde, opulent and sosphisticated. "How dare you put Skullcandy and Beats on the cover, I never" (he thinks). "And you never will" lol!

Audio Legend's picture

Gotta give him credit for getting to the point.

I don't agree your column sucks. However you DO represent the self absorption of your generation.

I get the feeling your column sometimes is a vehicle for a socially awkward person to communicate with the world . Kinda like people who make Youtube vidoes of them selves thinking people ACTUALLY want to see them...

Regadude's picture

Audio legend wrote: "Kinda like people who make Youtube vidoes of them selves thinking people ACTUALLY want to see them..."

Yup, kinda like guys who call themseleves "legend" and think people ACTUALLY want to read their posts...

Audio Legend's picture

Bow and kiss the ring of your Audio Legend...muahahahah. Lighten up Regadude!


Bill Leebens's picture

You call yourself "Audio Legend", and you're sniffily pontificating about someone ELSE'S self- absorption? 

Care to rethink that?

Audio Legend's picture

Cool it Gramps. 

No pontificating here. Just a curious observation of the need of some, in todays self absorbed social media atmosphere, to blog about every thought that enters their Vitamin Water fueled heads, or about how they got their feelings hurt. Boo Hoo.

dalethorn's picture

Gramps? Didn't Randy Newman do a song about terminating old people? Oh, sorry - that was *short* people. Phew! Looks like us old people have some time left....

Paul Luscusk's picture

folks  "Who Do't Know Their  Ass From A Hole In The Ground". Must have been talking about somebody here!

remlab's picture

..headphones like the ones on the cover are probably more responsible for getting "average" people involved with the high end than any other products currently available. We need more covers like that to "trick"(Heh heh) average consumers  into picking up the magazine(and hopefully buying it) at news stands. Great job, Stephen!

By the way, you're really finding your writing voice, keep it up bro!

corrective_unconscious's picture

A column intended for beginners should not mean the author is him or herself just now learning about things like budget subwoofers or budget interconnects, or experiencing with wonder these things for the first time.


Nor do I find the constant invocation of the repertory company, platonic, female friends' commentary and comings and goings to be exactly of Jane Austen caliber. Nor even "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman." And surely not "Pink Flamingos."


However, the writer does seem to follow current, semi esoteric music releases pretty closely, so that's a definite plus.

Paul Luscusk's picture

A John Waters reference on a Stereophile blog comment page !

Jeff Joseph's picture (Real Actors Read Yelp Reviews)

shaynet98's picture

What is it about a hobby/passion that we are supposed to ENJOY that brings out so much angst.  So many letters filled with anger.  Clearly, they just went to Dunkin Donuts themselves and realized that there was far too little cream cheese.  I agree with Jeff - we need that actress to read many of the letters to the editor.

Stephen - keep up the good work.  I enjoy your writing and your voyage of discovery.