Stereophile Buyer’s Guide — new and revised for 2010

by admin on November 15, 2009 · 7 comments

in Misc

by Anthony Kershaw

I’ve read more than a few blog posts this weekend touting the venerable Stereophile Buyers Guide. For sure, a compact, useful resource encapsulating the magazine’s writers’ choices for quality components. I love magazines like this and pour over them endlessly. But never once, not once have I used a review in Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, or, in Audiophilia for that matter (other than my own! Duh!), as anything but a guide and an audio gear carrot. Listen for yourselves. It’s the *only* answer when investing in high end gear. Is it from a reputable company that will support it when it needs repairs (it will), do you like the sound (double duh!), does it work in your room, are your ancillaries up to the job, is the system synergy right, and is it within your budget (oh, the stories of buyer’s remorse that I hear)? This is where your trusted local dealer is invaluable.

The Internet, blogs, e magazines like ours, and the aforementioned two great audiophile print mags, are nothing but other folks’ ideas about what they like, how they listen, and to what type of music. Each person’s views on audio equipment is as singular as their personalities. Roy Harris tells me all the time, ‘put five audiophiles in one room and you’ll get six opinions!’

As such, enjoy the new Buyer’s Guide. I will. But use it as a starting point. You have the audio world at your cursor. Research, choose, listen. Then listen again. And remember that this avocation of ours is fun. Fun, damnit!

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Audiophiles connecting and giving through Social Media and the 90/10 relationship. — Audiophilia
11.18.09 at 9:03 am

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill Woods 11.17.09 at 8:33 pm

As a subscriber to Stereophile for several years, I concur with Mr. Kershaw’s assertion that such reference materials are best used as a starting point, and even more strongly agree with his closing comment (which often gets forgotten amidst frequency responses and cabinet colorations) that our avocation is fun! Unfortunately, my personal finances dictate that about 98% of everything I read about in those magazines is out of reach, and I always cringe when Art Dudley tells me that some analogue cartridge carved from dinosaur’s hip socket is a ’steal’ at $7,500.00. That same cringe may evolve into full-blown nausea when I turn the page and see inter-connect cables going for the ‘rock-bottom’ price of $1,250.00 per ft. Alas, I only feel the misery of an audiopphile who cannot afford everything his heart desires. It could be worse I suppose. What if I were one of those audiophiles who could? (Upgrade-itis is alive and well in all of us). Either way, I will still always love looking at pictures of audio jewelry, as well as be completely awestruck with the artisan engineers & craftsmen who pour their passion into the reproduction of music. I’m not able to travel to all of the high end boutiques across the globe, and sample the stratospheric heights of audio technology. But those journalists who write about and review those unobtainable objects of desire, often equal the passion of those artisans. Cheers Audiophilia, and thank you Stereophile. You’re the next best thing to being there.

admin 11.17.09 at 8:45 pm

‘carved from dinosaur’s hip socket’ LOL Great stuff, Bill.

Thanks for the great comment and very kind words.

Cheers, Anthony

Jay 11.18.09 at 3:16 pm

I agree - my motto: at this level, it’s a matter of personal preference.

admin 11.18.09 at 3:41 pm

Cheers, Jay.

AnalogJ 12.07.09 at 5:32 pm

Listening IS the best way, and should be the only way, but how does one do that for equipment not available locally for which to listen. How does one audition phono cartridges? I have been in the market for headphones and a headphone amp. I have a local purveyor of headphones, but he doesn’t carry a variety of headphone amps? Particularly if I want to support local retailers, how do I go about doing audition products when they aren’t available to audition them.

Having publications such as Stereophile’s Buyer’s Guide only goes so far, as the guide does not tell me how well a particular component will integrate with my system. The higher end the component, the greater the cost and the greater risk there is in simply buying it. At least going into the used market, one can likely get back what is spent, but that doesn’t help the new retailer either.

Reviewers get to hear all of these fine pieces of equipment in and out of their systems, but that is a rare opportunity for most of the buying public. I don’t know how the audio industry can hope for an educated public if it is so hard to hear equipment alternatives for themselves before buying.

admin 12.07.09 at 6:19 pm

Thanks for the great comment, AnalogJ.

Cheers, a

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