Stereophile  |  Mar 15, 1998  |  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  |  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  |  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  |  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  |  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  |  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  |  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  |  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  |  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  |  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