New Stereophile recommended list

STEREOPHILE says it will disclose the reason why a component is deleted from the recommended list, but last year Class B Musical Fidelity A3 CDP disapears on this issue without any mention. Is it a political(fund raising?) kind of move?
And why was Triangle Antal rated in "FULL RANGE" category, when according to factory sheet their Frq. range is 50hz??
What do you expect from a "commercial" type mag. There is a reason the "old pro's" that used to write for them are no longer there. Even the arrongant former writers at least could justify their attitude (ever go to the Stereophile show in NYC?) The Aboslute Sound might be stuffy, but at least they still hae a soul. By the way, Listener is like watching rugrats with your kids, I smile when I read it but so what (Clara Peller where's the beef?.

Good Luck!
Let's face it...all too many of the listed items in the "guide" got to be where they're at, or weren't at, as a result of way too many schmooze dinners, gifts, and favors of sorts!...or lack there of in the case of a deletion or demotion!!! Money talks baby!
search for the thread "reviewing the reviewers". The first post has a link to an in teresting website with a stinging commentary about the recommended list.
I agree with Tubeperson. Stereophile is a shadow of it's former self; Listener is a good read, but generally thin on actual audio substance; TAS, while far from perfect, seems to have the best balance of writing and usable information.

Regarding unexplained deletions from recommended lists, I say "so what?" These lists should only be used as a guide anyway. If you bought something just because it was on the list, then of course you will be disappointed if it unexpectedly falls off the list.

Conversely, if you AUDITIONED something because it was on the list, liked what you heard, then bought it - you shouldn't give a rip if it subsequently falls off the list because it still sounds just as good as when you bought it.
If a new product comes along that is so superior to all others regardless of price why does Stereophile feel the need to create a A+ category? Why not put it in A and put the lesser components in B? This rating system has become an absolute joke IMO. Next they'll have a curve scale of price/performance value and who knows what the future holds, maybe A-; B+,B-, come on give me a break. It holds little value to me. I find there is better information provided on this forum. At least more honest and less politically/advertising motivated. Tubeguy right on!! Stereophile has become the Stereo Review of high end, Listener is an entertaining read if little else and The Absolute Sound is where the beef's at and Clara Peller's soul resides.
Sorry Tubeperson, I may have been "politically incorrect" is assuming you were a guy.
Example why the SRL is B.S. DUNLAVY-IVA, after a follow up review by JA , admittedly agreed the speaker to have low freq (20hz) , at least should be in restricted Class A, but NOoooo, they found something wrong with them and put in class B. Cary's big two story $40000 monoblocks clearly came out from review anything but class A, but obviously ended in class A. Other smaller Carys I don't have problem with. Now consider this: Dunlavy puts a lot smaller ad in stereophile v/s Carys consistent full page ad.
Amen,Tube groover! There is absolutely no reason to, after 20 years, develop an A+ rating. Unless you are pandering to the manufacturers who don't want to see the "Almight" recommended list down grade their product to clss B-C-E or, god for bid, not be listed. If a new product comes out that is so good that it is above the prior best then either the prior is down graded or deleted due to it no longer being a good value!

There new A+ has really compromised Stereophile's integrity, IMO.

Also, I don't let Stereophile make any chioces for me. I use it as a reference for equipment to listen to now so that later I can consider purchasing on the used market for reduced prices.

With the price of quality new stuff I can only afford quality used stuff, which I snatch up from those that have the new, must have, gee wiz products.
The real reason things fall off the RC list is a little-known phenomenon: After components have been on the market for several years, they begin to suffer subtle degradations in sound quality. Science can't explain this, of course, but what does science know? By the way, there is now a name for this phenomenon. It's called Component Burn-Out.
What is Stereophile? Is that the same as an audiophile? If not, which is better audio or stereo? I want the one that is better. But really, what am I getting for my magazine dollars? DO I really need some jackass to tell me that a $75000 air driven turntable represents an "achivement (sic) that will floor me"? IF I paid the money for one and it doesn't floor me, I'm chucking it through the front window of the place I got it. Another joke.
The only similarity between Stereophile today and the orginal Stereophile that J. Gorden Holt published, is the name.

The magazine has gone through a series of degradations, which have included new ownerships, commercialism and John Atkinson. All of these events have added to the deterioration of the quality of the publication.

As for other publications 'Listener' is good read, but they have to keep the politics out of the pages. The new 'Attainable Audio' has posibilities but it is still early in the game; which leaves TAS as the best of the rest. While not perfect they are far superior to the rest that are now available.

Regard and good listening.
>>>"As for other publications 'Listener' is good read, but they have to keep the politics out of the pages."<<<

Could you expand on your point?I'm not sure I understand what you are saying in regards to "politics" and "Listener".
What I hate most abot Stereophile is that all the reviews seem to be glowing. Every component seems to be groundbreaking and highly recommended. I really miss the likes of HiFi News Record Review and HiFi Choice which have, at least sometimes, given deliciously scathing reviews of equipment.

That said, I must confess to heeding some of Stereophile's recommendations. I mean, if you're going to buy some new equipment, you can do worse than buy a piece that falls into Stereophile's recommended list. A case in point would be something like a pair of B&W Nautilus 805 Speakers. I picked them up new for about $1,800 a year and a half ago. Now, if I wanted to upgrade, I could probably offload the 805s for $1,500 or so on Audiogon. That's not a bad loss on investment, and I think the Stereophile review plays a large part in keeping the value up. I'm not excusing Streophile or anything, but just noting that my buying behavior is impacted somewhat by their reviews.
So from time to time you consider purchasing used/demo equipment on this site for say medium to serious money? Perhaps you want to purchase new and surf the sonic curve as it were? Why quibble about a magazine that costs next to nothing on a subscription basis; yet may well aid you in your decision making process?
There are all too few publications that grant us a glimpse of what is new and sometimes classic equipment. Though there are some that are unredeemingly pathetic, certainly TAS and Stereophile, to name a few, review and elaborate upon equipment that I enjoy learning a bit about. If one chooses to object about a plus or minus here or there in A, B or C category strikes me as as part of a game not unlike trading cards.
How dare they reduce the worth of my whatever because it's older, creased or worse not traded at all.
Read the reviews, articles and columns from these magazines. Make your own assessments and then go listen for yourself. To keep blaming editors, management, advertisers, etc is in some fashion to ignore what they do well and remove from you the ultimate responsibilty of listening and deciding for yourself. I truly enjoy these magazines. It grants me a glimpse of equipment I'll never be able to afford, excitement that I do want to listen to this or that and a sense of moving a chess piece in the never ending ploy to reach a satisfying goal. Do I disagree with these publications from time to time. Of course I do. Do I sulk? No I go and listen to music and relish the enjoyment this wonderfully expressive and exuberant medium grants me. And part of this experience is not only this great site, but publications such as TAS and Stereophile. If you don't agree, send me all those issues that make you so irritated.
Who gives a damn what any reviewer says about a product they are all sell outs.
I read and enjoy Stereophile even though they have gone "downhill" the last few years. Victor makes a compelling, well stated argument. At first, Stereophile just used the A+ rating for digital "stuff" which I could make a case for-- but the A+ class in turntables??? What's next? Still, many Agon members, including me, use STPH ratings as a baseline with which to compare competing products. I see it in Audiogon ads all the time, and have used their ratings myself to help sell equipment. Cheers. Craig.
No Tireguy, reveiwers aren't sell outs, they are just businessmen. Why give a lousy reveiw if you recieved the product for free from the manufacturer, and plan on selling it within a few months? A bad reveiw makes your boss, (senior editor) mad and cuts the profit from your sale.

P.S. There are reveiwers out there that have their "friends" sell their equipment for them, so as to save face. Watch the ads.
Listener is kind of fun to read in an "amusing" way. I think that it would be way better if they lost the self proclaimed "Gizmo" for both "political" and "personal" reasons.

As to Stereophile, as much as we knock them, they still have the most in-depth technical reports out of ALL of the audio based mags. As much as you "musical" folks piss and moan about "specs mean nothing", i KNOW that you still read them and take note of them. I just wish TAS did testing like Stereophile so that we could get twice the coverage and even sometimes be able to do a direct comparison between two different test labs.

As such, i find that ALL of the major "glossies" kind of take for granted that we read every audio based rag out there. I find that Stereophile, TAS, etc.. and even sometimes Listener and the "internet mag's" refer to reviews of the same product in their competitors pages. The funny part is that they assume that we know exactly what was said in those reviews and work off of them. Many times we just don't have them at our disposal as points of reference, so the meaning of what they are trying to say is completely lost.

Since they do refer to each other and appear to be "buddy-buddy" with the competition, it is more like a "brotherhood" with nobody worried about upsetting anybody else's apple cart. It's kind of like "Fred said it was good in Audioschlep, Barney from Audiosnooze liked it too and i'm telling you the same thing here. Buy this product." As such, WHERE are the guys and gals that "tell it like it is" anymore ??? While i understand that the overall level of electronics is much higher (as a general rule) than what it was 20+ years ago, come on folks. I have run across WAY too much "crapola" that has been "highly touted" to know that something funny is going on in some of these reviews.

This is not to mention that some manufacturers and audio supply houses get mentioned in every other issue or article by some of these writers. I especially like it when a writer says "Curley from Audio Absolute insisted that i check out the latest from Crapco". Nothing like a blatant plug, huh ??? And then there's that "I liked it so much i bought it and will be using it for my reference" line. You BOUGHT it ??? With what, the 25 plugs that you've given them in the last year ??? And using it as a "reference" ??? For how long ??? Probably until the next time ( 2 months or so ) Audio Absolute sends something else over for you to rave about ???

Don't you find it "interesting" that some brands get reviewed and "place" in the rankings on an extremely regular basis ? Just count how many Adcom, Musical Fidelity, Madrigal, etc... products are listed in the last several years worth of Stereophile's recommended components lists and you'll see EXACTLY what i'm talking about. Out of the HUNDREDS of audio companies out there, do you think that there are only a dozen or so companies out that would like to get their products reviewed or are good value / excellent performers ???

There is NO conspiracy or "secret agenda" here. It is out in the open and they are rubbing our noses in it. The only problem is that ALL of the mags are in on it. The only difference is how they display the pictures and what words they use to rave about this months "doo-doo". After all, it isn't "crap", it's "art" if you look at it in the "right context".... Sean

From the standpoint of a manufacturer with his product undergoing its first major magazine review, I see an entirely different picture of the process and relationships between manufacturer and magazine than the negative one that seems to be favored by most of the responders to this thread.
I do not know nor can I comment on how the other audio publications do their selection and determine their policies but my experience has been one of an immense admiration for ethical behavior on the part of Listener magazine.
It has also come at great uncertainty for myself, my product and my small company.
Last July, I received an e mail from one of the Listener review staff who was preparing a review of a competitors product.He had heard some scuttlebutt about my own product and asked if I would like to participate in an expanded comparison review.
I agreed and forwarded several samples to this reviewer and an associate of his.He arranged a single 20 minute telephone "interview" and we exchanged a single e mail correspondence over set up details for my product in his personal system in early August.At this point, all communications were halted in a total blackout and my only contact since then between either of the reviewers or the magazine was not made until several weeks ago( nearly 7 months total time).
What I was told was that the review process had been completed, the samples returned and an approx. date for publishing of the article(a late spring or early summer 2001 issue is all the more I know).
I do not have advertising with the magazine, nor have I ever been approached to do so.
I have no ties with the reviewers nor have I ever met them.
Nothing was ever asked of me nor inferred.
I will not be aware of the contents of the review until it arrives at my doorstep and is simultaneously being read by Listeners readership.
Now could someone please tell me the whereabouts of that smoking gun and evidence of conspiracy and collusion?

Ken Lyon
If there is good writing, I'll read it. If the article is something I want to read I'll buy it. We may be putting too much importance in a list of components. Buying blindly from said list will not bring you instant nirvana. I may not always agree with it but so what? A lot of good posts here.
Magazines make a certain high percentage of their money selling advertisements. Many audio magazines charge $5K per page for those wonderful ads if bought just once. They, like all businesses, like to set up contracts for the entire year, this gives the magazines their security of continued revenue. Usually a break is given for a year long contract, let's say that they reduce the price to $3.5K per issue. Twelve times $3.5K equals $40K for a years worth of advertising, and that's just ONE magazine. No conspiracy theory Ken, just simple common sense. Hmm, how do we insure that Company A can afford to pay their contract obligation? Maybe this is why there is the "Component of the month", like so many of us consumers seem to notice in the magazines?

And speaking of Listener magazine, Ken, did you see where Artie himself mentioned that some reveiwers have recieved illegal drugs and other forms of compensation from certain manufacturers? He had mentioned it in the Intro section about a year ago. It's a must read. I'll agree that Listener has scruples, how about the big guys?

I could be completely wrong here, however it does make you think.
My issue here is this, which I will repeat, and please give me a rational, "how, after 20+ years of using a grading system, going from A to whatever, be changed?" IF "A" IS A MEASURE OF THE STATE OF THE ART THEN THAT PRODUCT IS RATED AN A. IF ANOTHER PRODUCT COMES ALONG THAT IS BETTER (than the prior) THEN THE PRIOR SHOULD BE DROPPED OR DOWN GRADED! If you don't think there is another hidden agended when "poof," a new grading system appears inorder rate the best, well.... you want to buy a bridge?

Listen, I'm not a Sterophile basher, but to me this absolutely makes no sense!
Ramstl, if this makes no sense, don't ever read Stereophile's Guide to Home Theater! I've read Stereophile for 15 years and picked up my first copy of SGHT with recommende components. Oh my God! Top class is AAA then AA then A then B !!! What the hell is this???? I really don't pay much attention to these ratings, although I do notice on the used market they carry major weight in resale value. I listen and judge for myself, and sometimes even think a Class B better than a Class A product. (gasp). It's only one person's opinion, I don't know his bias' or what his agenda is. I more read these magazines for information on what is out there and what features new interesting products have. If interested I go form my own opinion. My money always gets spent on my opinion, not someone else's.
So what do I do if I am trying to sell something that WAS on the list? Do I say this thing used to be a stereophile recommended component, but no longer is? Can I say it is still a recommended component and stereophile cannot change their minds on me? OR is the proper way to plug the list in your ad, this thing is/was a recommended component? Talk about uncertanty in the market place. Seriously, which is proper? Once its gone its gone???????????????????????????
Well judging by my ratings on this thread there are either some reviewer(sell outs) or friends of reviewers(sell outs!). I guess some of you can't think for your self and like to be told what sounds good, for you people that is what Stereopile(not a typo) is for. I have perused the page from time to time, I would never believe what they say as they do recieve payment(sometimes in the form of free equipment) to let the world know how great a product is. I am a salesmen(fairly successfull I might add) and am always asked my opinion and do I recommend product "A" because they pay me or do I recommend product "B" because it will do a better job? I think it comes down to a matter of ethics and morals both of which most reviewer's have NO concept of. Good Day Gentleman and untill that day comes keep your ear to the grind stone.
I think having a list at all is problematic. It divides components in to four or five categories of quality that a lot of people feel they need to adhere to when assembling thier system. The list elimates potentially good alternatives to buying a system with all class 'a' or 'b' components just so the consumer can feel good about what they bought. It creates bias and pissing contests for people who are too lazy or too busy to read, ask questions or audition. But people like lists. They like thier answers short and simple. Too bad those kinds of answers are usually wrong.
I have several problems with the Stereophile list. Let's start with the basic premise of the ratings. The descriptions say that Class A should be best attainable sound. Class C seems to infer that the majority of components belong in that category. However these days, Class A is huge, and Class C barren. Maybe I am mistaken, but I guess most of what is reviewed by the magazine these days falls under the category of "best". Now, allow me to turn my focus to the companies. Some products should just be permanently on the list. Their reviews being updated every couple of years. They are benchmark products in the industry. Example, the Vandersteen 3A speaker. The fact that it does not appear on the list is an abomination. Maybe it's just me, but keeping a current review of that speaker seems more relevant than a soundcard or computer speaker. Then there are overrated products that are perpetually on the top of the list. Like just about anything from Audio Research(do they actually get reviewed, or just automatically get put in Class A?). Next are the companies that get the Stereophile shaft. Coincident being a great example. Three products reviewed by Stereophile(Troubador, Eclipse, and CST phono cable). All pretty much written off as nothing. Curiously, the Eclipse seems to be one of the only products I can recall being reviewed and not appearing on the list. Not even Class D or E? Come on, there are a legion of us out here who can attest that Coincident products are first rate. Certainly, the equal of B&W, Paradigm, PSB, Thiel, Vandersteen, etc. One could argue better in many cases. And what about a Legacy review? We've only been waiting for 10 long years. How about Sunfire, Jadis, Antique Sound Labs, Silver Audio, Quicksilver, Jolida, etc.? Then there are the reviewers. Would it kill them to review a cross section of components? I mean would Scull drop dead if, God for bid, he had to review something without a 4 or 5 digit pricetag? The one time he did(Richard Gray's Power Station), he launched into his only negative review. Guess that'll teach them to have him review something below $1000. If Richard just made the price $5 higher... Michael Fremer's opinions are less informed than so many people on Audiogon that someone like you is probably more adept at reviewing a component than he. How about the fact that he didn't know that AudioResearch sounded more neutral than tubelike? That's like an auto reviewer being suprised that a V8 engine seemed to deliver poor gas mileage. Or the fact that he didn't have a balanced interconnect. And just take a look at his cable inventory. As sparse as his knowledge. A great moment was when he reviewed the KR amps. He needed a new pair of pants when he saw the amps' measurements. At least have the guts to stand by what you heard, without first turning white as a sheet. Stereophile, not what it used to be. But, far too necessary for me to cancel my subscription.
I find the list interesting as a starting point. But I've said before, it's distressing how hard it is to sell something that isn't on the list and ridiculous how fast things sell, unheard, when they are recommended. The difference between Class B and C is . . . what? Anybody know? Don't guess or offer an opinon here because nobody at Stereophile knows. One of the real problems in my mind is that they refuse to review/rate products that are not widely available in the US or sold by Audio Advisor. I would appreciate reviews and ratings of products that I can buy over the internet from abroad. The other is, as has been noted by many observers, grade inflation. Class C of anything ought to be more populous than Class A.

In response to Trejla's last comment. I've never paid for an issue of Stereophile. My subscriptions have always been Christmas presents. Frankly, I miss High Fidelity.
Paulwp if you don't mind, I would like to give you my definition of the difference between Class B and C. Price.
Way to air it all out Trelja. I am starting to look at steroephile as an advertising racket and nothing more. Ever noticed how little they say about anything they review? I have never seen so much writing say nothing. I wonder what the actual correlation is between advertising and reviews? In any other situation I can think of, the legitimacy of the endorsement would be closely scrutinized because of apparent conflicts of interest.
The comment by Chstob above "hit the nail" on the head that Stereophile is a marketing and advertising business and has little to do with quality audio product review any more. I do not trust their ears or their recommended product list. I scan the magazine for interesting companys and products but may little attention to any of their product reviews.
Those Triangle Antals rated a B - Full Range and at the beginning of the Speaker Recomendations the editor says they have to go below 40hz, I think. I'm sure they're good speakers but to go against your own criteria is dishonest. No explanation was ever forthcoming even though a letter to the editor was published. I thought it was an anomoly and then they did it in April! Those Cary monoblocks? The explanation given a couple of issues later didn't make any sense to me and seemed to fly in the face of what I had read there and on Audiogon. I agree with Trelja on the difference between B and C and always look at the C recomendations. I enjoy reading about this stuff but those listings raise some serious credibility issues for the publication.
I just won an auction on e-bay: 3 year subscription to Stereophile, $8! If i acctualy ever get that subscription delivered, i think it will be worth it. At, most!
I found HiFi Plus, absolutely superb magazine, now available by US Distibutor for 10% discount, still pricey, but well worth it.