The April 2006 Edition of Our Little Darling

Okay, now that we've sent the March issue off to become beautiful and real, it's time to move on to the April issue.

"Do we have to?" JA asks.
"Sure, why not?" we reply.

April, of course, means [Shh! Don't say it!] "Recommended Components" [Oh, damn, he said it!].

I sigh. That's right: "Recommended Components," the issue people love to love and love to hate and hate to love and and and. For you, it may be a guide or a resource; for me, it's something much different. For me, it's a mission. A mountain to climb, a wall to knock down, a song to compose, a story to tell, a neck to bite.

Of course, we mean it simply to be a thoughtful and informed collection of recommendations:

Carefully read our descriptions here, the original reviews, and (heaven forbid) reviews in other magazines to put together a short list of components to choose from. Evaluate your room, your source material and front-end(s), your speakers, and your tastes. With luck, you may come up with a selection to audition at your favorite dealer(s). "Recommended Components" will not tell you what to buy any more than Consumer Reports would presume to tell you whom to marry!

That says it all, really. Doesn't it? We begin each listing with that explanation. Why does it seem no one ever reads it?

Anyway. It's time to create the April 2006 edition of our little darling.

There's this thing that happens to me around this time of year; I start talking, writing, and thinking like a blurb. I'm all:

"The revived 75Wpc MC275 preserves the look of the original while adding modern innovations. Chimneys are used to cool the tubes by convection, and three circuit boards have been replaced by a single board on which are mounted all components, tube sockets, and power-supply parts..."

My friends love it. It's incredibly exciting, really.

Maybe, in the days to come, I'll tell you a bit more about the process. Then again, maybe I'll be too tired to even try.

Stephen Mejias's picture

I just re-read this entry, and - sheesh - I sound cranky. Sorry about that. It's been a long day. Still rocking, though.

Monty's picture

I guess JA hasn't told you about the complete index of all previous and current recommended components that he is planning for later this year? I hear it will look like a Chicago phone book and come with a subscription to Audiogon. He did say something about needing to correct some typos, but couldn't remember which review summaries needed to be corrected..................................................................................................I'm lying! Not really!.......................but, it is an idea that could fetch a few greenbacks as a special edition.

John Atkinson's picture

You may be jesting, Monty, but one of the first things Stephen did when he joined Stereophile was to creat a database in Microsoft Word containing our Recommended Components listing. This database is updated twice a year with the new entries, so in theory, we could produce a portmanteau list, containing everything back to April 2001, with only a little extra work. But we would need to hire someone to do that work :-(

Wes Phillips's picture

There are a lot of things I miss about working fulltime at Stereophile, but having to put my head into blurb mode twice a year isn't one of them.With some writers, all I had to do was go straight to the summary; with others, I couldn't find a clear statement with a bolodhound and a psychic. Then there was the writer who loved to change hs mind between the review and the RekCom. But probably the worst part was having to re-read my own stuff and find something quotablee.Stephen's biggest problem is that he makes it look easy—which it definitely ain't.

Wes Phillips's picture

BTW, a bolodhound is precisely 2.2 bloodhounds. It's a Southern thing.

Stephen Mejias's picture

>With some writers, all I had to do was go straight to the summary; with others, I couldn't find a clear statement with a bolodhound and a psychic. I'm happy to say that I really enjoy going back and re-reading your reviews, Wes. It's always a pleasure. If I do a good job here, it's because I've learned from the best.

Wes Phillips's picture

That's a rational, well-reasoned argument, Mr. Pan. Its only flaw is that those two issues remain the best-selling Stereophiles at the news stands. JA and JI have done a wonderful job of archiving a huge number of the magazine's reviews (an on-going job), but obviously people still seem to want the RekComs as well. Since, as you observe, Stereophile's review archives aren't behind a paid firewall, it seems like win/win situation.

Wilbur Pan's picture

Best-selling issues or not, the point still stands that if the best way for readers to put together a short list of audio components is to read the complete, original, unabridged review of the component, then by publishing the Recommended Components issue, you really aren't doing anyone any favors. Instead, you are only enabling bad behavior in the name of newsstand sales.

Monty's picture

Magazines don't kill people, magazine editors kill people?