Happy Birthday www.stereophile.com

On Sunday, December 1, 2002, we celebrated five years of uninterrupted webcasting, our website having emerged from the Internet darkness on December 1, 1997 to become, at least in my eyes, an institution. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that "an institution is the lengthened shadow of one man," and www.stereophile.com is definitely the shadow of erstwhile high-end audio retailer Jon Iverson.

It was Jon, who is still our webmaster—or "web monkey," as he prefers to be called—who came up with the idea that timely audio news presented regularly would generate the repeat visits that are a website's oxygen. To the five or six stories that have been posted every Monday morning of the past five years, we have added weekly Votes and Soapboxes that allow visitors to take part in dialogues, a comprehensive audio-related links database, e-commerce pages to promote (among other things) Stereophile's ventures into recording, and a subscriber service page to hasten the resolution of problems with readers' subscriptions.

But most important, from this editor's point of view, has been the posting of the paper magazine's content in the on-line archives. Since December 1998, we have put up at least five archive items every week. As Jon Iverson has noted, we are now making "Recommended Components"—sometimes copied, never equaled—available on the site as .pdf files, starting with the complete 2002 and 2001 listings. The economics of Web publishing dictate that we must charge for the RC files, but by December 1, there were well over 700 equipment reviews, articles, and columns from Stereophile's first 40 years available free of charge in the site's archives.

Our "Records To Die For" features are there, as are our "Recordings of the Month" and lengthy interviews with industry figures like Jim Thiel, Andy Singer, Charlie Hansen, David Wilson, Jacques Mahul, Gayle Sanders, and John Dunlavy.

And, of course, you'll find Stereophile's equipment reports, which assess components both on how they sound and how they measure. Sounds great but measures bad, as I discuss in the December issue's "As We See It"? You'll find it all in the Web reprints, which sometimes include measurement graphs that we didn't have room for in the print edition.

In addition to having relatively unlimited space, one of the beauties of the Web is that it allows publishing time to be compressed or discarded. Many of our Web reprints therefore include all of the magazine's coverage of a product. For example, the archived version of our report on Sony's first-ever CD player, the CDP-101, contains not only J. Gordon Holt's January 1983 review but his August 1983 Follow-Up, his comments on the sound of the first CDs, readers' letters responding negatively to JGH's advocacy of the CD medium, Holt's response to a December 1983 Stereophile article condemning the then-new digital medium by Doug Sax of Sheffield Labs and The Mastering Lab, as well as his year-later thoughts from February 1984. And we have some major upgrades planned for the future to make using the archives even easier.

It is a tribute to the guys who put together www.stereophile.com that I can no longer envisage publishing a print magazine without it being run in harness with a symbiotic website. A lift of the glass, therefore, to Jon Iverson for his web-monkeying, to Barry Willis for his abilities as a newshound, to Wes Phillips and Richard Lehnert for their copy-editing skills, to James Wigger for his web-page designs, to Kip Troendle for his weekly additions to the links archive, to Tristen Lawrence for his programming prowess, and to all of you who have become regular surfers. Salut.