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boom3

Popular Photography mag is dead, Audiophile mags next?

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https://petapixel.com/2017/03/07/popular-photography-dead-80-years-top-photo-magazine/

 

Audiophile mags and print mags in general are in a bind [no pun intended] , although book sales are up...

So the argument is: can independent websites be more objective than print mags or websites that take advertising? In the heyday of Stereo Review and High Fidelity, I noticed they almost never said anything negative about gear that was advertised in the mag. Yet I believe the technical aspects of the reviews were pretty solid; but conclusions seemed too generous.  Stereophile has the resources to be less than fawning over every piece of gear. I'm not familiar enough with What HiFi or other Euro mags to speak to them. The other mags have all gone home theatre. If you don't have the resources-the budget, the experts, the measuring equipment-can you really establish credibility as an authoritative review, or does a site join the ranks of "toe tapping rhythm and pacing" and "Diana Krall's voice was not perfect" web-noise?

 

I'm sorry Pop Photo is gone, and I fear the print audiophile mags will be next up for extinction...

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All magazines are dead... its a dead media (along with newspapers).

Online is where its at... 

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Think a few will hold out.  Won't say which, though I take several that are great quality and offer exceptional value.  I suppose folks sit on the toilet and stare at their phones these days.  Whether there, or on the deck in the morning, I prefer paper in my hands to a screen with my coffee.  Much faster random access and such.  Guess we'll all die out. 

 

Online may be where it is, but it isn't where it's at. 

 

Dave

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4 hours ago, boom3 said:

I noticed they almost never said anything negative about gear that was advertised in the mag. Yet I believe the technical aspects of the reviews were pretty solid; but conclusions seemed too generous.  Stereophile has the resources to be less than fawning over every piece of gear.

I agree, part of the reason I stopped reading them even before the internet. Also didn't like the mostly "if it cost more it must be better"  way of thinking.

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Print media is declining for sure. This may be a good thing, as most of the surviving audio magazines are of dubious value. Stereophile is about the best if the survivors, The Absolute Sound is about the worst. I would not consider any current consumer audio publication trustworthy, as the equipment reviews are opinion pieces, influenced by advertising dollars and freebies from the manufacturers.

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First it was Kodachrome, now Popular Photography.  Two of the oldest names in photography no longer economically viable, both victims of digital technology and the instant gratification culture.

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I'm not sure that I've ever bought an audio magazine--even off of a news stand (30+ years ago).  Every one that I've picked up had significant "meme" issues (i.e., information not learned first hand but rather accepted as fact) that I couldn't get past--completely filling their pages.  I strongly disagreed with something in each issue, even back in the 70's when some of them were supposed to be good sources of information.  That isn't a good indicator. 

 

The audio equipment reviews done by Consumer Reports were even worse. I'm talking about being in high school and knowing that the rankings were based on severely flawed criteria.  CR has never revealed their exact ranking criteria for anything that they review, only "aggregated criteria".  That's a really bad indicator. 

 

I've found that first-hand reviews online by owners seem to have the best information, but even that needs a good bit of filtering to sift the wheat from the chaff.  That's how I learned about and eventually invested in Klipsch Jubilees nine years ago, i.e., the ones that I'm currently listening to.  That was probably the best buying decision that I've made on a bought product, even though they didn't come "turnkey".  They required a significant amount of familiarization, tweaking, and learning about the physics and psychophysics of good sound in-room that I didn't really have when I bought them.  That's been a really good journey, and one that has been removed from "memes", substituting first-hand learning instead.  They've become exactly what I want them to be: much better than "studio monitors".

 

I'm still amazed by the levels of BS that I see in online publications--especially the ones that some of the best equipment manufacturers use to sling their wares through ostensive "product reviews" (e.g., First Watt uses the most disreputable guy/output that I've ever seen).  Most of these reviews are bad if you really look at them closely: they're filled with inane measurements and "observations" that my teenage children would have gotten much better (my children have since grown up, and I trust their product and service judgments much more implicitly than any magazine).  When it comes down to real decision making criteria that will withstand the test of time, no magazine review has done that for me (except one...on the Klipschorn by Richard Heyser shortly before his passing...which is still the best hi-fi product review that I've read...RIP.) 

 

In fact, I usually look at those reviews and write down the memes that I find that they're selling to their readers. When finished writing them down, I stand back at really look at them: they're almost comical in their incompleteness and shallowness, putting decision criteria on how products look over how that actually perform in their intended function.  All one needs to judge for themselves on those type of criteria (looks) is a series of pictures or perhaps a YouTube video while they're in use (which does absolutely nothing in terms of how they actually sound...which is an incredible truism of our times, I'm afraid). 

 

What people really need in terms of evaluating audio gear is:

  1. listening to them in a well-set-up room versus competing products, in A-B fashion
  2. someone in the room that isn't on commission that can help the listener interpret the differences, and separate the performance of the gear from the quality of the music that's being played on them, and
  3. time to develop their listening opinions without outside interruptions or psyops-style suggestions from bystanders with an axe to grind

As you can see, the only way you're going to get anywhere close to those three conditions nowadays, or at any time in the past, is by listening to them in someone's home or reading about the listening impressions of others that are similarly listening and evaluating.

 

The value of this forum over any of those "horn-hating magazines" is difficult for me to overstate. 

 

Chris

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There is little truth in audio magazine advertisements and reviews. This also holds true for most postings in public forums. Fortunately, every now and then there is a forum member who actually comments based on knowledge and facts, e.g., Chris A. I have been surprised at the high number of members on the Klipsch forum who still use old used audio gear and think it sounds good. Why not update and start enjoying high-quality music reproduction in the home.

 

I wish Klipsch employees would post more on this forum but when they do it seems that many audio knuckleheads try to tear them down. I have benefited somewhat from reading past comments by Roy Delgado but because he often talks in circles it is sometimes hard to understand what is saying.    

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Well, clearly the Klipsch forum isn't a one-size-fits-all affair and there are many types of users that benefit from this forum. 

 

One of the major slices or segments is the old equipment crowd.  This includes very old Klipsch loudspeakers that still have very good performance.  There are a lot of these guys that come here, continuously watching the Alerts and Garage Sale sections like a hawk in order to hoard more old Klipsch loudspeakers into their ever growing collections.  (The only issue that I see with this is that the more these older guys hoard old Heritage loudspeakers, etc., the fewer of these good low price Heritage are available to younger hi-fi newcomers that are even more budget-constrained than the least wealthy older guys. For me, one good home setup is more than sufficient for me-especially since mine is designed to cover both two-channel and multichannel with equal hi-fi performance...but that's another topic for another thread.)

 

Another might be the analog-only guys and there are many of these held over from the 80s to the present that I firmly believe got their start due to the really poorly mastered early CDs that enabled much louder CDs than vinyl records due to the increased format performance that could be turned to "the dark side" loudness war practices and non-hifi use.  I've found real gold in demastering those older CDs with very high dynamic range before the multi-band compressors and extreme amounts of limiting (clipping) started to be applied in ~1991.  Vinyl records is one place that these guys have gone to lessen these effects of Loudness War fidelity-crushing record industry practices.  I understand this retreat from really bad digital mastering practices, but most of these guys really don't understand that its not the analog format that sounds better (...in point of fact, it doesn't...), rather it's the inability of the record company execs to crush the fidelity out of phonograph record music releases to the same degree as CDs and downloads.

 

There are also "pure nostalgia" guys that are into anything old when it comes to audio reproduction.  This includes phonographs, old loudspeakers that aren't Heritage, tube electronics, old 70s-80s SS receivers, etc.  "Whatever" is my viewpoint on this subject.  More power to 'em. 

 

There are the earbud guys (very few) and professional/cinema guys.  I do understand that second group mentioned here well and why it exists: the reason is increased audio performance.

 

Lastly, there are new hi-fi loudspeaker guys that are looking for new improvements in home consumer loudspeakers. They are looking for all the knowledge and experience of the Klipsch enterprise in horn-loading drivers and providing better sound in general, and oftentimes at a fraction of the price of their competitors.

 

Many people who aren't Klipsch forum inhabitants I think believe that the majority of the membership of this forum should be of this last type.  Such is, apparently, not the case. There are many more interest groups represented here.  This is the group that probably reads the hi-fi magazines (and that term "hi-fi magazine" is an oxymoron at best). 

 

Finally, the comment about forum members here treating the Klipsch engineers that post here badly: that's my observation, too.  I am embarrassed for these guys every time they start in on Roy or Kerry, etc. These guys will probably never live to realize what they have done, and cringe at their intense display of ignorance, IMO.  It's very sad, but true.

 

YMMV.

 

Chris

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Chris, excellent post. I understand and except the fact that some want to own older gear and past technologies (for whatever reason) but I think it is silly when they postulate that performance is just as good as current state-of-the-art. For example, many are perfectly happy with original Forte I and II speakers. But the fact is they will not perform as well as the new Forte III. Roy made that point repeatedly with his comments in the recent Forte III thread. Yet some questioned and challenged him with ridiculous assertions and comparisons about the past and the present.    

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14 hours ago, Mallette said:

Think a few will hold out.  Won't say which, though I take several that are great quality and offer exceptional value.  I suppose folks sit on the toilet and stare at their phones these days.  Whether there, or on the deck in the morning, I prefer paper in my hands to a screen with my coffee.  Much faster random access and such.  Guess we'll all die out. 

 

Online may be where it is, but it isn't where it's at. 

 

Dave

I have the full Parts Express catalog in my bathroom and think up new projects for amps, boomboxes etc every time I do my business.

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6 hours ago, Seadog said:

First it was Kodachrome, now Popular Photography.  Two of the oldest names in photography no longer economically viable, both victims of digital technology and the instant gratification culture.

Professional photography in general has taken a beating lately with a sudden influx of quasi professionals who have decent equipment and can undercut the true pros on price. Especially when many clients dont know the difference in quality a true pro can offer over someone who will rattle off "Journalistic" shots and throw a few "Summer Haze" filters over everything.

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54 minutes ago, twk123 said:

I have the full Parts Express catalog in my bathroom and think up new projects for amps, boomboxes etc every time I do my business.

Yes, it still works for them.  I probably order something every second catalog they send.  I keep mine on a table on the porch where I smoke cigars and have a whisky in the evening.  They are true wizards of excellent price/performance, customer service, and marketing.  Reminds me of Allied in the old days.

 

Dave

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Some of the magazine subscriptions today are so cheap. 6-9 dollars a year.

I get seven a month. 

I agree online reviews are way more accurate than any print media.

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On 03/10/2017 at 1:26 PM, Chris A said:

"For me, one good home setup is more than sufficient for me-especially since mine is designed to cover both two-channel and multichannel with equal hi-fi performance...but that's another topic for another thread.)

 

 

Couldn't agree more. While I have an older SS receiver for audio use in the livingroom (hooked up to the TV), it doesn't hold a candle to newer equipment. Even though I really like the SETs I use on my La Scalas, I also understand the limitations. When my wife and I move (upon retirement), I will probably get rid of it all and not look back.

 

Bruce

 

 

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On ‎3‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 1:49 PM, twk123 said:

Professional photography in general has taken a beating lately with a sudden influx of quasi professionals who have decent equipment and can undercut the true pros on price. Especially when many clients dont know the difference in quality a true pro can offer over someone who will rattle off "Journalistic" shots and throw a few "Summer Haze" filters over everything.

Man, SO true!  A real pro is magic...but for most people it's like audiophile equipment and they don't appreciate the difference.  It's a pleasure to watch a pro photographer work and see how the mundane can be special.  Guess it may be a bit like when the 10s of thousands of great press artists in the 19th century were taken out by photography.  The photography was more accurate to the scene, but at the highest levels of skill the artist was FAR more true to the event.  "Titanic", Civil War battles, etc. are great examples.  Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and Harper's were among the best.

 

Dave

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Got to thinking about the above, and felt a comparison in order.  Pre-photography artists were much better than earlier photographers in getting the STORY, not just a picture of the scene.  It wasn't until the depression and WWII that photographers caught up.  Winslow Homer, among others, was an especially great lithographer.  As we know, even when photographers really became great artists the odds of them being at the right place and time wasn't good.  The artist could ALWAYS get the "right shot." 

 

Dave

 

hw5362d.jpg

Zouaves.jpg

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Shepley-Fig5.jpg

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Dave, thanks for posting those old illustrations. Before real-time photography, these engravings were the only way to show the public the reality of events. There are some photos from the Civil War, by Gardener, Brady and others, that show the aftermath of combat (and some of these were  "enhanced" by re-arranging corpses) but the process would be too slow to capture fast events before the early 20th c. Engravings could also show the overall event over a span of time and not just an instant or two. 

-break-

 "I wish Klipsch employees would post more on this forum but when they do it seems that many audio knuckleheads try to tear them down. "

 

Indeed that's true. I am an Apple, Canon and Klipsch guy. All three firms have disappointed my fan-boy expectations because I, and I suspect others, feel a sense of entitlement because we buy these products over the years and do our best to talk them up to our friends. Yet that's a bogus sense of entitlement because, at the end of the day  none of these firms owes us anything beyond warranty support. Klipsch has traditionally gone above and beyond to help its owners and I've benefitted by that. That does not entitle me, or anyone else, to demand proprietary information, or make criticisms without knowing both engineering and marketing strategies. If you read the memoirs of any prominent audio engineer who worked for the big firms, you see that all of them had, at one time or another, their best efforts undone by the marketing people. That's the "other half" of product development that most consumers are unaware of, yet it is part of the reason that favorite products vanish and dreck takes their place. 

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Does this mean that Bose won't be suing as many magazines for writing a bad review about their product?

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