TAS. The Absolute Sound?

Has it lost its way? 

I just happened on Bob Harleys' Ref System. Does this have relevance?




The Absolute Sound, Stereophile, and HiFi+ are outstanding sources of information and comparisons. While there is some variability in neutrality, it pales in insignificance to other sources…  forums, marketing info, etc. They use accepted terminology, typically identify their components, venue, and history. They review a significant number of core contemporary components. Critical in this is very high end components that we cannot afford. It identifies the state of the art, providing a reference to what can be achieved at the cost no object level, so they (and we) can assess lessor products.

I have read these magazines more or less continuously since around 1980. The landscape is many times more difficult to assess because of the incredible proliferation and diversification of products. This is the place to start if you are serious about high end audio. Read about every product you can. Then go listen to them. Over time you will understand what they are saying and will be able (this takes a long time) to read a review and go in to audition a component and know what it will sound like.

High end audio is a very complex and ambiguous pursuit… these publications… although not perfect are outstanding guides. Never read marketing info… now that’s not going to tell you anything.

I guess i am old too, well 66. Big learning curve. I am probably more causal, like once a week but you know if busy doing stuff around the house the JBL blue tooth has made me cry a bit, grabbed my heart. Enjoy.   


TAS and Stereophile, as well as many of the online only review sites have reduced themselves to audiophile porn.  Highlighting that which is only attainable by a wealthy few, leaving those of us for whom it is unattainable drooling

I can't speak for TAS, which I don't follow closely, but as for Stereophile, you might be overstating this just a bit.

In the last few years, Stereophile has reviewed the Apple AirPods Pro II, SVS' Prime Pro II speakers, the Naim Muso 2 wireless, the LSA VT-70 integrated amp, Topping's Pre90 preamp, several Schiit components (I recall the Aegir and the Freya +), the Cambridge Audio CXA81, and much more.

Are these "attainable only by a wealthy few"? Nah. Most products I just mentioned are a thousand dollars or less. The AirPods are $249!

The reviews of hyper-expensive audio products probably receive the most online buzz, but I don't think that's something Stereophile controls.