Stereophile "coverage"

Stereophile must enjoy all the negative reaction they get out of their choices of what to cover. Witness the latest cover story, the new Krell LAT-1 speaker. Here, from the biggest of the big advertisers, we get basically immediate cover-story coverage of their latest release, a $37,500 speaker. Stratospheric. The reviewer (who amazingly wasn't Jonathon Scull, with something of this price), is extremely positive while almost seeming to forget the price of this beast. It doesn't go much below 40Hz and it measures horribly. I guess you'll have to wait for their $75K model to get around those obstacles, though the option to pair the LAT-1's with some Krell Master subs is offered up to get down below 40Hz.

So, a super-expensive speaker coupled with other reviews of >$8K components ("you guys never review affordable stuff!"), immediate, feature coverage of a new Krell product ("You guys pander to your advertisers!"), and a very positive review of gear that nobody would argue measures respectably (at any price) ("You guys always give good reviews!"), on top of the usual reduced size of the magazine in the middle of the summer - the August issue should keep the negative feedback coming in full doses.

I sold all my Stereophiles a while back and didnt renew my subscription.I got frequent mail from them to come back and finally gave in when I saw I could get a year for $11.95 I guess its worth a buck an issue and it will keep them off my back for a while.
I can't help but think that a lot of the problem is that there is a kind of doldrums going on now in equipment-land. Noone knows if any of the new formats will succeed - there's little indication that any will - but the uncertainty has the effect of chilling the existing format. Add to that a cooling economy , the fairly lame state of 'popular' (read: dominated by huge multinational companies) music, the huge success of MP3 and home theater. So what's a poor magazine like Stereophile to do? I agree this issue was about a 10 minute read, but it seems to me that if your premise is that 2 channel is just fine, you're left with a hell of a lot of gear that's been out for a while which does the job beautifully (no news there) and the sad but moot discussion of SACD vs. DVDaudio (moot because neither will likely succeed). I think that better information on these issues (1.what equipment, old and new, works best and has the most value? and 2.are the new products any good?) can be found in discussion forums like this or audioasylum, taking things with a great many grains of salt of course (look out for contributors with an ulterior motive).
I liked the coverage of the Denon receiver, the computer speakers, and especially the sound cards - I had no real interest in purchasing the first two, and only a modest interest in the last one, but I was very interested to see how experienced reviewers compared these to the usual fare, since they don't usually get coverage in a way that they can be compared to the higher-end stuff.

When they put the Denon receiver on the cover and took all the heat for it (not from me), they said they wanted to grab more people's eyes, draw them into picking up and hopefully buying / reading the magazine - extend the reach of the hobby. Great, makes sense, I'm all for it. Now you've got some interested newcomers and you shift into your alter-ego and produce an issue with nothing reviewed under $8K. I'm still reading because I was already reading, but anybody who you happened to snag with your coverage of the Denon is scratching their head and re-confirming that audiophiles are completely out of touch. Sam's space was filled with a rant about how terrible it is that anyone would even consider surround sound (something you might have wanted the Denon for), but more importantly was NOT filled with the usual coverage of something considerably more affordable along with his obvious enjoyment of same. Fremer's column was coverage of the show, which necessarily meant brief coverage of very high-priced analog gear so, again, nothing a newcomer would immediately relate to.

Maybe they're just searching, trying new things and seeing what is well received, what isn't, etc. I'm sure it's tough times to be an audio magazine and I'm glad to see them trying different things. But I also think they're aware of what they're doing and the type of reaction they're going to get, and given the number of instances they provide of things they have to know are going to draw criticism, I have to assume they enjoy it. -Kirk

I have no problem with Stereophile reviewing $37500 speakers or $500 speakers but I do have a problem when a $37500 speaker that won't go much below 40hz gets a favorable review with the mention of the necessity to purchase the yet un-priced huge 450lb subwoofer to go with these lame duck speakers plus the need to play at over 100 db to sound right, probably to blast the sound past the rubber band grille. I'm sure if these speakers were made by a new unheard of company that didn't advertise in their magazine they would not even be reviewed, and if they were reviewed they would be severely trashed. The speakers may not suck but for the price ratio I'd say they do. Krell advertising dollars at work here.