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Thread: How Audio Writers Are Killing the Audio Industry

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    Senior Member Odd's Avatar
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    How Audio Writers Are Killing the Audio Industry

    How Audio Writers Are Killing the Audio Industry.



    By Brent Butterworth

    Soundstagesolo
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    Senior Member edgewound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd View Post
    How Audio Writers Are Killing the Audio Industry.



    By Brent Butterworth

    Soundstagesolo
    Thanks for posting this.

    I shared it over at AudioGon. It's ruffled a few feathers
    Edgewound...JBL Pro Authorized...since 1988
    Upland Loudspeaker Service, Upland, CA

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    I mostly agree with the author of that article. For decades I ridiculed Julian Hirsch and his "tin eared" reviews. During this past Covid year, I dug out my stored collections of Stereo Review, High Fidelity, and Audio magazines. Re-reading the articles, now with the experience of decades of fairly advanced DIY speaker design and study, as well as being in the industry which gives me access to the designers and most of the gear I want to try out, I have so much more respect for his and others' columns.

    Reading these articles with a very different viewpoint as well as knowing what they didn't at the time (what new developments would pan out and which would die quietly into history) I find so much of what they were discussing to be quite relevant and still useful today. And the music reviews are too much fun!

    For those who love speakers with rhythm and pace, and all that... more power to ya. I can set you up with all manner of crazy expensive gear.

    That said, I am no fan of ANY contemporary AVR. And while DSP room correction is powerful and can be amazing, until you get into stupid expensive gear, the stuff that offers it is mostly pretty uninspired sounding. To make things worse, many versions of room correction actually muck up the sound more than they help. I have stacks of anecdotes but will spare you the details. In many cases a simple 1970s midfi system will sound better than most affordable systems today.


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    Administrator Robh3606's Avatar
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    I grew up reading Stereo Review High Fidelity and Audio Magazines. I always enjoyed them and found them informative and helpful. The reviews??? Julian Hirsch became the No Review guy after a while as it was all good. Then you had TAS which I never got into.

    Today anyone with a keyboard can be an online reviewer or influencer. There is so much bullshit out there it's hard to take any of it serious or use as a serious reference.

    Funny about MQA another way to add yet another copy of DSOTM to your music library.

    I don't think it's just the writers the industry has it's own hands in the mix. Way to much snake oil.

    Rob
    "I could be arguing in my spare time"

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robh3606 View Post
    I don't think it's just the writers the industry has it's own hands in the mix. Way to much snake oil.
    I was thinking about that and I think many customers also want snake oil. Science is not as exciting as magic.

    Stick a vacuum tube on an otherwise basic piece of gear and voila!


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    Administrator Robh3606's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    I was thinking about that and I think many customers also want snake oil. Science is not as exciting as magic.

    Stick a vacuum tube on an otherwise basic piece of gear and voila!


    Widget

    Hello Widget

    Point about magic being more exciting is spot on. You could cryo it or add boutique capacitors or any number of things to make your gear stand out. I think your right the more mumbo jumbo the more selling points!

    Kind of like Joes used car lot. Where every one has a story!

    Rob
    "I could be arguing in my spare time"

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    I think it's mostly the Millennial influencers on the YouTube killing things. When you read Stereophile, you learned over time what say, John, Art, and Herb like and don't like by listening to those pieces, and you got good writing to boot. Now, everything is great with everything. Great features, great aluminum faceplate, etc. in a 20 minute video that really tells you nothing and is making those people rich. It's crazy. New Record Day is a good example of this. Be sure to unsubscribe.

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    Senior Member DavidF's Avatar
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    I tended to give Julian Hirsch his due considering his role a tech reviewer, not focused primarily on sound quality. You could counter that good specs don't necessarily lead to good sound, sure. Consider, though, the huge expansion of the home audio market in the 60's and 70's when manufacturers were marketing based upon specs trying to differentiate equipment that looked pretty much the same on the outside. The print media came up with all kinds of spin mostly based upon specs or upon this-and-that feature that competitors left out in their models. Hard for an average consumer to separate the wheat and chaff unless someone can confirm the equipment at the least lives up to the marketing hype. It was up to the customer-dealer interaction to decide what to buy based upon sound. Even then, it was caveat emptor in a big way. I don't believe Hirsch considered his role to guide people on the subjective side of a purchase though he would venture into the value aspect of certain equipment.
    David F
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    Senior Member edgewound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    I was thinking about that and I think many customers also want snake oil. Science is not as exciting as magic.

    Stick a vacuum tube on an otherwise basic piece of gear and voila!


    Widget
    I got some snake oil...more like excrement...for you. Audiophile fuses. The world has gone mad.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4klB7LJ9CA
    Edgewound...JBL Pro Authorized...since 1988
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    Senior Member RMC's Avatar
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    Same here, Audio, High Fidelity and Stereo Review in the 70's, plus The Audio Critic sometimes with its colorful language (had some good laughs there), then let go the last three after a while, Sansui receiver type reviews wasn't my thing, kept reading Audio little longer, and around 80's transitioned to Pro gear magazines up until they folded or became internet reading, which i don't like: EQ Magazine, Modern Recording and Music, Professional Sound, Canadian Musician, Sono Magazine (France), Systems Contractor News and Pro Sound News, the last two having a relatively large non-standard size (not practical), but interesting content.

    Except for a small pile of 40 issues of Prof. Sound and one of Sono, never kept the magazines, takes too much space i don't have, only kept in binders the technical articles of interest from all the above, many good ones. The magazines' reader question section with industry Pros answering them, led to some interesting things.

    One of these could particularly interest Meyer Sound fans (probably justified nowadays), but things haven't always been this way for Meyer. In the pages of Modern Recording (about 1980, pretty sure i still have it) John Meyer had a somewhat rocky start in the Q & A section, where he took a beating from Drew Daniels who corrected him on technical matters like a teacher corrects the student! John is wrong in stating... with Daniels explaning why, or John is correct re... but Daniels adding some stuff, this item by item.

    Meyer never replied to Daniels in those pages, guess somewhat embarrassed? I think Meyer wished he could have turned back the clock and let the Engineering staff reply to reader questions, which he should have done first. Pretty sure Daniels never worked at Meyer Sound Labs after this. We (me included) all screw up at one time or another, having not so glorious audio event(s), its part of life. But as Meyer Sound President it sure didn't make him look good.

    Daniels had two episodes at JBL, 5 years as Lab Technician and 5 years as Applications Engineer. When he replied to Meyer he was Applications Engineer at Tascam, i think his Tascam time might be between the two JBL jobs. Letting Engineering reply (instead of the President) is what EV did for example, by sending to bat their Chief of Loudspeaker Engineering with regards to a reader question about sound reinforcement horn coverage patterns, this guy obviously knew what he's talking about. Such horn coverage subject might even be relevant here, regardless of EV.

    The Meyer/Daniels event is public domain, having been published in a magazine, its not defamatory or insulting, just straight technical stuff, but it might have been an ego cruncher for Meyer though.

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    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    I thought the article was simply sensationalist in its view points.

    This guy is a non conformer to parted the industry on unfavourable terms.

    He did no state why the NY HIFi Salon closed. Did the owner simply retire like Needle Doctor. Or was a having a seniors moment and missed it!

    The notion of continual innovation does not bring about growth opportunities or survival in all markets. The opposite in some cases. In many cases it’s incremental improvements in chip technology. Sudden shifts in innovation have a history of failure or are short lived in the hifi business. Hi end audio is a traditionalist buyer. If he likes a brand he will stay with it.

    The article fell short of surveying and comparing a wide range of publications such as Australian HiFi, a number of Uk and EU publications and online publications.

    The quantity of hi end hifi product sold is actually quite small compared to real hifi at sensible prices and most publications identify between the two segments. As an industry the publication business is actually doing well particularly with digital subscription now wide spread. This means the savvy consumers like what they read. The impact of COVID has it consumer electronics hard because of stock availability but they are still open for business. The distribution models are changing and now the likes of B&W have their own regional sales centres removing the importer.

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    RIP 2021 SEAWOLF97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rusty jefferson View Post
    I think it's mostly the Millennial influencers on the YouTube killing things. When you read Stereophile, you learned over time what say, John, Art, and Herb like and don't like by listening to those pieces, and you got good writing to boot. Now, everything is great with everything. Great features, great aluminum faceplate, etc. in a 20 minute video that really tells you nothing and is making those people rich. It's crazy. New Record Day is a good example of this. Be sure to unsubscribe.
    yeah , got my feet wet with Julien at SR. Tried Stereopile , their subscriptions are at giveaway rates , but babbling about cats & shaving brushes was worthless. JA was the only person interesting.

    Let my acct. run out after a year and never renewed despite so many begs to come back.
    Some kind of happiness is measured out in miles

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    I'm not sure if this has been posted here before but if anyone is interested in a trip down memory lane here is a link to where you can read old reviews from Audio Magazine:


    https://www.gammaelectronics.xyz/ind...ag--equip.html

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    Senior Member Ducatista47's Avatar
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    Extinction

    Following a few links from the source I ran across this: "The video game industry today does more business than all of Hollywood, all of the music industry and all of the book publishing business combined."

    The people I most frequently interact with (with one exception) are all thirty years old or less. I'm seventy-three. As if high end audio was not threatened enough by difficulties it creates with no outside help, the very rareness today of dedicated music listening renders our entire hobby irrelevant. While the three above mentioned industries finances are all being profoundly changed by modern delivery systems, only music is becoming extinct through lack of interest. None of those younger friends I mentioned listen to music except as a background to some other activity (like driving or playing games).

    It is no wonder why everything I read about this is urging the merging of listening gear with AV home systems/installations. It will soon be the only foot in the door for dedicated listening. I can imagine the enthusiasts like ourselves, present and future, surviving with headphone systems. They do not disrupt households spatially, culturally, or physically, and since almost virtually no women do this (increasing the likelihood of a single listener in a household) and the sound quality is excellent, some sort of personal listening could easily survive the slaughter. The relative affordability of headphone systems could also help stem the bleeding of our numbers. Forget our youthful bonding over music with friends in our apartments or dorm rooms - totally replaced with video games already. All the articles I was led to could not ignore how the nonsensical wrong turns of vinyl, tubes, and retro based gear were/are so embraced by the audio press and its readers. MQA is the recent poster child for this larcenous insanity. In an era when streaming makes infinitely more sense for most younger listeners than playing media, the MQA mess is the last thing we needed.

    https://www.audioholics.com/editoria...ophile-systems

    https://www.audioholics.com/editoria...re-audiophiles
    Information is not Knowledge; Knowledge is not Wisdom
    Too many audiophiles listen with their eyes instead of their ears


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    Senior Member RMC's Avatar
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    Thanks Cadguy, didn't know this link, some interesting stuff from the past there!

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