I quit reading the audio press a long time ago; I prefer to find out about new things on forums and on YouTube.
Heck no! They have run out of new silly superlatives to say the same old thing.
Basically they have become sold out shills for the highest bidder (advertiser) and untrustworthy.
The other thing that bugs me is the underlying 60 cycle hum of "your system isn't as good as you think, and you have to buy [ ] to be really happy with it."
I am not sure that excited is the right word, but a good review can still raise my interest in a product. And I agree with @jasonbourne71, Herb Reichert is a standout, he could get me to buy cable lifters.
I read Stereophile and TAS and enjoy them both. The review of the Estelon xb Diamond Mk II review in Stereophile was interesting and even exciting. I may do a major speaker upgrade in the next couple years and the Estelon would be on the short list. In general I appreciate the work of professional reviewers because they do a detailed examination of the component and they report on features, usability, and SQ. They also have a reputation to protect so they do not make stupid hater comments like the self appointed audio experts on forums.
@curiousjim The mainstream press (Stereophile, TAS) has been clear about their review policy. They simply don't seek out bad components for review. They feel it is wasted space and doesn't serve their reader's interest. But if you read them carefully you will find bad reviews. I've seen pretty negative reviews for PS Audio and B&W for example - two major advertisers. The other factor is that the SQ of modern stereo gear has become much more consistent over the last couple decades and it is hard to find a component that truly sounds bad. Digital gear is the best example. ABX testing has shown that golden ear listeners can't tell one DAC from another if they don't know the brand and see the component. The dramatic superlatives that forum members report on their latest purchase tend to disappear under blind listening conditions. Even professional reviewers are beginning to admit this.
My last point is that I find professional reviews useful because I don't/can't audition new gear in my system before I buy it. I would love to hear a pair of MBL 101 E Mk II speakers in my system but that is simply not practical. Most of the gear I buy is used or mail order (I live in a small rural community that is hours or days from any audio dealers) so I try to learn everything I can before making a purchase. I find that the best information comes from the professional audio press and audio shows (I've been to three). I have found that the least useful information to be on forums populated by people who's main interest seems to be justifying their latest purchase.
I’m glad you mentioned PS Audio as I was looking at getting a pair of their mono blocks. If you can remember where you read those bad reports, would you DM me?
It would be most helpful.
Haven’t been excited by/about the audio press for years. The writers of yore though - some of them at least, from Stereophile and TAS in particular - had the younger me glued to the pages through quite a few reviews and the both entertaining and enlightening writing in there, some of which I used as a "double check" measure for products I was interested in, in conjunction with listening impressions at local dealers. Later on I started developing an interest in products and ways in home audio reproduction that weren’t readily covered by audio magazines, and coupled with a progressing sense of audio press/audiophilia fatigue and a same-same feeling I slowly "devolved" out of the whole thing. Now and then I do however watch YouTube videos from OMA and others.
It's a very curious Role they play.
They display a lovely amplifier or speaker they just received and they're in love with it. When was the last time you see them not being in love with something.
It's a little bit compelling to watch these guys manipulate attitudes. I don't trust anything they have to say. When I do listen I hopefully will learn something about how a device works and put together but they rarely talk about this.
Clearly they are all compromised, and biased.
I give 'em a 'flip-through' when finding self in a B&N book (remember them?) store....try to convince self it's not as bad as it may seem to the jaundiced eye...;)
It's so much more convenient to browse (some say troll.... IknowWhoUR&whereU*SelfSlap* >circled 'R': no slash <
I needed that....*pardon*
the glowing and/or growling pearls of
(...which makes this place ripe for a Bored of the Rings v.2 bowshot....;)....)
'All the handles have been turned over to the vandals....'
"....where IS that large automobile?!"
Happy to see that Stop Making Sense has been 4K'd and re-released....
As for magazines....I still prefer to get the biased unedited 'reviews' and comments from y'all.
...if you're lucky, you may get an echo....generally....crickets....
Not excited, no. After reading somewhere between 500-1000 reviews they all start to sound the same. AI could probably write them now, they’re so similar. Waste 200 words on the company history, throw in a ‘sublime’, an ‘aplomb’, and a ‘gobsmacked’, say how your wife or kid immediately noticed something changed in the system (for the better of course), and list a few songs you listened to with it and how it sounded, with no comparison to other equipment, and it’s done…
Not excited, but they do provide good reference info sometimes, at least the specifications/price, etc. I finally gave up my Stereophile subscription a couple years ago after 20 some years…still have the absolute sound. The music reviews are the most useful, for me.
I find the print media to be almost useless, except for Stereophile and TAS. I do watch youtube reviews, but take them with a heavy grain of salt....for me I only use them for finding new products.
My purchase pattern usually is (and yes I know everyone has an agenda):
(1) Find a product from online, print media, forums or youtubers
(2) Come to forums to do more research, read reviews in print or media
(3) Reach out to dealers and vendors to get my specific questions answered....usually about product questions, customer service, and repair process
Without some form of process I never would have discovered Buchardt, Denafrips, Zavfino, Supra Cables, DHLabs, Audiolab CDT, Joseph Audio, Fyne Audio, Tannoy, etc.
Most importantly I am blessed to have a really good group of golfing buddies and friends who are crazy audiophiles, who always want to discuss products....but most importantly lend out things to test.
I am use YouTube almost 100% for audio reviews and press releases. I just listen while I am out and about. But for me it is just entertainment.
I am pretty much done with my system or least know my next few upgrades as money allows. Where I am at now every upgrade comes with pretty high cost so they are much more planned and less impulsive these days.
+1, Post from above “I think Stereophile does a good job. In addition to the reviews, it also has other useful features, including industry news and articles about music and recordings”.
I recently switched from TAS to Stereophile and like it very much. In any case, regardless of what they say, I make my own decisions when it comes to purchasing audio equipment.