Has something gone wrong @ Stereophile?

My subscription ran out.  Their renewal option on the website was broken, and now there isn’t one. I tried to start a “new” subscription, but it won't accept it unless automatic renewal is selected.  Sorry, I don’t authorize auto-renew if I can possibly avoid it, as a matter if policy - it can be a nightmare canceling those things. 

they’re asleep at the wheel, compared to the renewal bombardment reminders  from The Smithstonian.  I consider Stereophile quite entertaining.  Miss AD, won’t miss MF.  Wondering  if something has happened to them…?


i got my December issue of Stereophile today.  My subscription renewed this month until December 2023. I have used reoccurring billing for years and never miss out on an issue.  My subscription just renewed and is good until December 2023.  They will notify you two months in advance about the upcoming charge.  The December issue looks promising, a full review of the Technics Sl1200G, a review of the Hi Fi Rose Integrated, but why 4 channel?

When you elect recurring billing I believe you have the option to cancel rebills afterward. The question I always have about audio publications is how much freedom they have to bear bad news when they are dependent on advertising from audio companies. I never know quite how to figure that.


Two personal observations, if you read the 'positive' reviews closely, you can sense they do not really like it, but yes, they don't want to piss off an advertiser. I always look for reviewers that buy the equipment or the equipment they already own that they are obviously happy with already. And, although it's true they can't review everything thing, I always watch for brands they don't review, or a brand that has a nice selection of items, but still don't get review. Also, if the equipment has alreayd been review by another mag/blog, they may not brother to review it. I do not believe they are rating junk or even average equipment as five stars or whatever, as their own reputations would get destroyed eventually. Several mags and blogs have gone under in the last 15 years. 

Not perfect, but if they didn't take ads the subscriptions were would ten or twenty times as much. I base this on professional publications that get no little to no ads. 

Why don't you renew at discount mags? So much cheaper than the prices directly from Stereophile. I've been doing it for years. Wait for their sales and you can get a 2-year renewal for almost nothing!

I have taken Stereophile for more than 30 years and they send it to me here in England.  Had one renewal problem about 8 years ago but very quickly sorted by a nice lady on the telephone.

Responses here so far suggest there is no problem.

@lloydc why not try phoning them?

Yes, they are challenged in the subscription area. I subscribed a couple years ago and it took them 9 months to get me my first issue.  No reply to emails or voicemails. --jerry

MF hasn't retired but moved to TAS.

Yes it is sometimes cheaper to renew with a different magazine seller.


I've been a subscriber since 1983!  Never missed an issue.  I get a renewal notice(s) about 6-9 months out every two years.

I've had a few issues destroyed by the Post Office, but Stereophile had always replaced them without question.

I’m pretty sure I heard a reviewer once say that the general practice in the industry is if they don’t like a product they just don’t publish the review and send it back. That’s why almost all reviews are a collection of positives and a listing of the attributes of the equipment. And then you have to read between the lines to determine how much the reviewer actually liked it.

Not to shift gears, but what do you all do with accumulated back issues.  I have complete issues going back several years of both TAS and Stereophile.  I would be happy to give them away if anyone wants them. PM me if interested.

a little further explanation about "positive reviews" . . . 


I have six reviews and twelve column per year.  Why would I waste precious words  telling readers about a less than wonderful product? 

If you read me regularly you can guess what pleases – and displeases – me without a review 

It is that simple



Hi Herb,

I have always had a high regard for your reviews and colorful, engaging narratives. Thank you for your contributions to the audio world.  Keep up the good work.

Hi Herb, I recall you foreshadowed a review of Micromega’s great-looking integrated amp. Did something go wrong with logistics? Or did it arrive and and you end up not liking it? Blink once for yes, twice for no. 🙂

Fyi I did buy one (M100) really liked the build quality, design and features, but never gelled with the sonics. At least with my speakers (Audio Physic Sitara at that stage) and in my room the stereo image was rather constrained and bass timbre was a bit tight (in a not-so-good way). With and without Sonarworks EQ. No idea why really, but it wasn’t the DAC/pre part ... running the XLR pre-out to a (modest KAV-series) Krell power amp fixed those things entirely.

You can read Stereophile, as well as Sound and Vision, if you have an apple news subscription. 



 readers shouldn’t have to read between the lines to figure out what you really mean.  Your comments indicate that you aren’t allowed to say what you feel for fear of irritating advertisers.  As a reader I shouldn’t have to thinking like a listener to Shostakovich Fifth Symphony (Is he endorsing or criticizing Communism?).  A negative review won’t land a Stereophile reviewer in the Gulag.  Stereophile is the top magazine in it’s field; it ought to be able to survive an occasional upset manufacturer 

For me these reviews are no foundation for a buying decision as direct comparisons are mostly missing and there is no common baseline. Further they are written overly complicated and leave room for interpretation. 

For me a quick response from a forum member is more valuable as you get a straight answer. I.e. too bright, bass not defined as…

However I do like the show reports from Stereophile as I can compare their opinions to my own ears. 

Grabbing an opportunity to acknowledge and thank herbreichert.   Herb, you are certainly rolled into my top 5-7 audio writers that include dearly missed Art, HP & JGH.  There is an authenticity gleaming from your hand's-on history and passion in our hobby.  Your writing feels like visiting a pal for a pot of tea and a tube listen.  Trust comes hard-earned in our hobby, and you certainly have mine.  In the hinterlands of Maine, reading the journals in search of music and the ongoing journey of improving my sweet spot has been invaluable, over decades.  Ours is a tight, intimate society...diverse, often delightfully rascally...driven towards our truths, as only we can define them.  Thanks, Herb, for sharing many a cold winter's night, curled up with a read and a warm beverage, followed by a snuggle with the Sweetspot-Siren. 

Pin (Tim)          More Peace    (useage of bold print is simply to help old eyes) 

thank you Kindly pint thrift 

the primary joy of writing this stuff is when someone like you says they enjoyed reading it. I am grateful for your time and attention.


Also, I am honored to be put in the same club as AD (a God), HP (the man I still learn from, and JGH (the man who started it all).  

Ff you have any ideas on how I can improve please fire away! 






Thanks for all the responses.  I went ahead and renewed at the mag’s site, and accepted the automatic renewal. 

Herb, I enjoy your writings more than all the other Stereophile writers combined. I have great respect for your knowledge and opinions, and share many of your apparent preferences (e.g., tubes!).  That makes your recent cable reviews - implying that incredibly expensive cables may actually be worth their cost - disturbing.