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  1. #1
    Ajani
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    What's your favourite Audio Brand & Magazine?

    So I was bored again and got to thinking about reviews and gear.... anyway, to cut a long story short.....

    What's your favourite Audio Brand & Magazine?

    Your favourite brand can be based on pretty much anything... sound quality, aesthetics, research, enviromental policies, whatever....

    And the magazine (assuming you read them).... well, any reason you like.... even Playboy counts... lol (hey from what I remember they reviewed tech/gadgets as well)...


    My fav brand:

    Musical Fidelity - Partially because I like the sound of their products.... but mainly because of their R&D practices... I'm really happy to see an audio company break away from the standard 5 year product lifecycle, and introduce new products to the market regularly... I think part of what has made high-end audio less exciting and less afordable than it could be, is the fact that products have such long shelf lives... Every year bigger, better and cheaper tvs comes out... but audio lags behind.... ever so slowly getting better and more affordable....

    My fav Mag

    Well I had to chose between the good old brittish What Hifi? which I like for the number of reviews of products across all price ranges and group tests...

    &

    Stereophile - in the end I chose Stereophile.... yeah I know there are numerous valid criticisms of this mag... some of the most obvious being 1) They pretty much never bash any products & 2) They review too many exotic and totally unaffordable gear to be of much use to the majority of the buying public....

    but despite those hangups I do love two things about their mag 1) The Measurements done after the subjective review - its great too see whether a 150 watt amp really generates 150 watts... & 2) They have the audacity to compare really expensive with relatively affordable gear... just check out their 'recommended products' issue and you see $1K CD players rated at class A, along with $5K ones... and $1.5K speakers rated at Class B alongside $7K ones... one of the best examples was a review of the Revel Concerta F12s..... the reviewer actually used those $1.5K speakers in a setup designed for his reference gear of Revel Studios and B&W 802D..... and was willing to admit that the differences were only dramatic untill he closed his eyes and listened to the music... That takes guts and humility to admit that gear costing 1 tenth of the price of your own is not that far off in quality...

    Anyway,

    What's your favourite Audio Brand & Magazine? And why?

  2. #2
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    Favorite audio brand? I think I'm still searching for that answer but my past was filled with Pioneer products. Two receivers, two turntables, a dual cassette deck and a CD player. Oh and a pair of Pioneer "Sonic" speakers. (Three way with dual tweeters & 12" base)

    I'm currently reading Sound & Vision magazine (after recommendations I got here), and I'm also sub'ed to Maximum PC and Men's Fitness.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    i personally dislike what hi-fi. It's hard to explain exactly why, so I won't go into it. But i don't like 'em. Maybe it's because they constantly review the same sh*t over and over again.

  4. #4
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    Mag

    Sound & Vision.

  5. #5
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Bose.....
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

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    You're so mainstream LDB.

  7. #7
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    favourite brand should be a dead giveaway:

    Mcintosh & Thiel, especially the both combined. Why? Because I own them. I have alot of favorite brands, but I know these 2 the best, so I took them.

    I like Mcintosh & Thiel for their sound (obviously), but also for their build quality, their finish is exellent, and the looks on them. The thiels look mighty impressive, and much larger than their actual size. And the Mcintosh looks so robust, yet refined, and also very classy...


    favorite mag:
    well, I'd say Stereophile, but I think audio magazines also tell alot of lies, so I'm not a big magazine fan. Although Stereophile is sometimes amusing to read, and their articles are quite objective most of the time...

    Keep them spinning,
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    Life is music!

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    I'm a happy 20 year old...

  8. #8
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Mag: TAS/AVGuide.com

    Brand: I have none. Manytimes I'll like the people behind the product more than the product itself. For example, Paul McGowan of PS Audio is a genuinely nice guy and I've enjoyed PSA products for many decades, none of which have ever let me down from both a functional or musical standpoint. However, I didn't warm to the GCA series of amps and the high price of their power products makes them hard to recommend, despite their superiority. The same goes for Albert Von Schweikert, an extremely talented and obviously passionate designer. As a person he's very down to Earth, unfortunately his pricing is now anything but. He reinvented Von Schweikert Audio into "V Speakers," dumped his most affordable (and multiple award winning) speakers and instead of pricing starting at $990, if you want a VSA, er...V speaker, you now have to pony up nearly $6,000!!! I s'pose this is par for course in the world of the "Hi End." I call it BS and never recommend VSA unless there's a used pair on a'gon. I still like Albert, I just don't care for his strategy.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    My favorite magazine is Sterophile. After all they have Sam Tellig, Michael Fremer and the incredible Art Dudley. I also subscribe to Absolute Sound and enjoy it but not as consistantly as Stereophile.

    Owning a Marantz CD5001 and an SA8001 I am impressed with what Marantz is doing for digital in the lower price ranges. I am also a Rega turntable fan.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
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  10. #10
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    I like the Absolute Sound.

    I disagree with Ajani about fast turnover of new products. There's not that much new about how to build an amplifier and I like the idea of a series of quiet upgrades each removing another rough edge.

    As to brand, this is tough. My experience is that those very expensive high end brands all sound pretty good. They cost too much for me to have owned a serious cross section and I know that beyond a certain quality level a 1 hour session in a sales room can't be used as a true evaluation of the sound quality.

    Currently I own a Pass Labs amp that I think is excellent and I have owned two pieces of Levinson gear also very good indeed. My previous system was all Conrad Johnson gear and their brand is very listenable.
    Herman;

    My stuff:
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    Pass Labs X250
    Martin Logan ReQuests.

  11. #11
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by hermanv
    I like the Absolute Sound.

    I disagree with Ajani about fast turnover of new products. There's not that much new about how to build an amplifier and I like the idea of a series of quiet upgrades each removing another rough edge.

    As to brand, this is tough. My experience is that those very expensive high end brands all sound pretty good. They cost too much for me to have owned a serious cross section and I know that beyond a certain quality level a 1 hour session in a sales room can't be used as a true evaluation of the sound quality.

    Currently I own a Pass Labs amp that I think is excellent and I have owned two pieces of Levinson gear also very good indeed. My previous system was all Conrad Johnson gear and their brand is very listenable.
    To each his own.... though I disagree that that there's not much new in building an amp... I think that has to do with the slow turnover that you like....

    Digital Amplification is fairly recent and is gaining greater prominence in the amp world... Companies like Cambridge Audio have a class XD Amp (840A) that's supposed to be a fresh way to move between class A/B amplification... and Musical Fidelity has just dropped the 550K & 750K Superchargers... essentially monoblocks that go between an existing amp and the speakers (so they don't require any kind of preamp output directly to them)... There are changes and I believe that with better turnover, we'd see the quality of high end both increase and become more affordable...

    I respect your position, though it reminds me of a criticism I saw of a Musical Fidelity product in the consumer reviews portion of this website... the guy was essentially complaining that MF was turning over products too fast and hence killing their resale value... For persons who have invested heavily in a very expensive and high quality audio setup, the thought of rapid change in technology and sound quality is likely to be less appealing than for the average consumer...

    If I had a $30K setup and then realized that 5 years later, due to changes in technology someone could buy a setup sounding as good as mine for just $6K, I'd probably feel ripped off... I believe that the desire to keep High-End expensive is a strong part of why turnover is so slow...

    Anyway, those are just my thoughts on the issue....
    Last edited by Ajani; 02-03-2008 at 07:31 PM.

  12. #12
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Tyler Acoustics

    High quality parts with exceptional cabinetry.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    To each his own.... though I disagree that that there's not much new in building an amp... I think that has to do with the slow turnover that you like....

    Digital Amplification is fairly recent and is gaining greater prominence in the amp world... Companies like Cambridge Audio have a class XD Amp (840A) that's supposed to be a fresh way to move between class A/B amplification... and Musical Fidelity has just dropped the 550K & 750K Superchargers... essentially monoblocks that go between an existing amp and the speakers (so they don't require any kind of preamp output directly to them)... There are changes and I believe that with better turnover, we'd see the quality of high end both increase and become more affordable...

    I respect your position, though it reminds me of a criticism I saw of a Musical Fidelity product in the consumer reviews portion of this website... the guy was essentially complaining that MF was turning over products too fast and hence killing their resale value... For persons who have invested heavily in a very expensive and high quality audio setup, the thought of rapid change in technology and sound quality is likely to be less appealing than for the average consumer...

    If I had a $30K setup and then realized that 5 years later, due to changes in technology someone could buy a setup sounding as good as mine for just $6K, I'd probably feel ripped off... I believe that the desire to keep High-End expensive is a strong part of why turnover is so slow...

    Anyway, those are just my thoughts on the issue....
    My thoughts are quite different than yours. They are opinions, but there are years of experience and the fact that I am an EE to back them up. A lot of ground to cover.

    1. I know that clock rates for digital amplifiers are about an order of magnitude too slow to recreate truly high end music. They keep improving, but they are most certainly not a new idea. I have used them for low bandwidth applications for over 25 years.

    2. The idea of putting an amp between an existing amp and the speakers just adds more parts, it's a little like taking the output stage from your current amp and putting it in a separate box, lots of complexity, more parts and cost, more distortion and the opposite of minimalist design that seems so popular today. You can never make an analog signal better by adding more stages not integrated into the design in series with existing circuits designed to stand alone.

    3. I've built some gear for myself designed to compete with the high end, parts cost is phenomenal. A $0.01 resistor becomes $11.00 each if you use bulk foil on a glass or ceramic substrate like the Vishay S102. This says nothing of capacitor prices (I've paid $50 for one and that's not trying very hard) or silver wire and connectors. Unfortunately these over priced parts just plain sound better, at least to me and many others. Yes there is mark-up, but at those low volumes these devices are hardly rip-offs. In a "free market" economy you bet someone would market a competitor to a Levinson amp for half the money if they could.

    Anyway no slight intended, it just a hobby, and if it sounds good to you then that's all that matters, enjoy.
    Herman;

    My stuff:
    Olive Musica/transport and server
    Mark Levinson No.360S D to A
    Passive pre (homemade; Shallco, Vishay, Cardas wire/connectors)
    Cardas Golden Presence IC
    Pass Labs X250
    Martin Logan ReQuests.

  14. #14
    Rep points are my LIFE!! Groundbeef's Avatar
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    I am partial to Pioneer. I know there is much better out there, but for my money, its the best I can afford.

    Mags:
    Playboy
    PC Gamer
    Offical XBOX Magazine

    I used to subscribe to Newsweek. I've cancled it though, and have resorted to going to my library and reading old copies of LIFE on microfishe. Because as you all know, life was better in the 50's. Why bother with the new stuff.

    As far as Playboy goes, I think many of their reviews are absolute bunk. They tend to either highlight super-duper high end A/V (I'm not contending they are bunk...simply out of reach). I'm talking $250,000 for a pair of speakers etc. Or their reviews contridict anything I've read anywhere else. Mainly their game/console reviews suck. They consistantly grade sub-par games very high.

    The worst was when they reviewed "Playboy-The Game". It was pretty much trashed in every other game publication, and online reviews. And yet somehow it got the coveted "4 Bunny" sticker of approval. Whithout a hint of irony in the review I might add.

    The ladies are nice (of course) but as the old joke goes "I read it for the articles". The interviews are always entertaining, as well as the 20Q section. And, as a bonus my wife doesn't care that I get them!
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    I think Hugh Heffner's daughter has too much influence in the content of Playboy magazine anymore. Too much is being left to the imagination now. I don't like it!

  16. #16
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    ...

    Anyway,

    What's your favourite Audio Brand & Magazine? And why?
    I certainly don't have a single favorite brand, however there are a few that stand out ...
    • Magnepan: speakers
    • Monarchy: amps & DACs
    • PS Audio: amps & DACs
    If I had a great deal more money to play with, I'd add ..
    • Pass Labs: amps
    • Ayre: amps & digital players
    As for mags and online sources ...
    • Stereophile; marginally more so that TAS, mostly because of John Atkinson's technical reviews -- both of these mags' reviewers are windbags and I lack implicit trust in any of them
    • Hi-Fi Plus: review from entry to high-end with much less hot air and fewer personal anecdotes than 'Phile or TAS.
    • 6 Moons, online: fun to read, in-depth reviews, IMO

  17. #17
    Rep points are my LIFE!! Groundbeef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    I think Hugh Heffner's daughter has too much influence in the content of Playboy magazine anymore. Too much is being left to the imagination now. I don't like it!
    Perhaps Hustler would be more your speed. Not much left to the imagination in that one.
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  18. #18
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMichael
    My favorite magazine is Sterophile. After all they have Sam Tellig, Michael Fremer and the incredible Art Dudley. I also subscribe to Absolute Sound and enjoy it but not as consistantly as Stereophile.

    Owning a Marantz CD5001 and an SA8001 I am impressed with what Marantz is doing for digital in the lower price ranges. I am also a Rega turntable fan.
    Hey JohnMichael...I read about the change in fuses in the 9555. Is that hi fi tuning fuse really that good over the stock fuse? Does it make it sound that much better?

    frenchmon

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    A bit too extreme in the other direction beefy.

  20. #20
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon
    Hey JohnMichael...I read about the change in fuses in the 9555. Is that hi fi tuning fuse really that good over the stock fuse? Does it make it sound that much better?

    frenchmon


    I was amazed that it worked. I ordered it expecting to chalk it up to live and learn but there was an improvement. Cleaner imaging, less electronic sounding and smoother is what I noticed. It would be fun to have a demo of the old vs the new. I would like to see peoples' reactions. I will be popping the top off of the SA8001 soon and ordering a fuse for it. I am also curious as to the improvement it would make in the Marantz CD5001.
    JohnMichael
    Vinyl Rega Planar 2, Incognito rewire, Deepgroove subplatter, ceramic bearing, Michell Technoweight, Rega 24V motor, TTPSU, FunkFirm Achroplat platter, Michael Lim top and bottom braces, 2 Rega feet and one RDC cones. Grado Sonata, Moon 110 LP phono.
    Digital
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  21. #21
    Rep points are my LIFE!! Groundbeef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich-n-Texas
    A bit too extreme in the other direction beefy.
    I'm not sure what the middle ground would be.
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  22. #22
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Fav Brand: Apogee Acoustics "Duh!"
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    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  23. #23
    Forum Regular anamorphic96's Avatar
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    Rotel, NAD, and Marantz would be my choices for entry level and midlevel.

    Granted NAD seems to have more bad batches of equipment than most. But not so much in the past couple of years. They seem to be more on the ball. Hopefully the new line of AV receivers are as good as they look. But all in all they have a sound that is hard to beat at it's price point.

    If I could afford to step into the higher end equipment I would probably end up with something from Pass Labs, Accuphase, Musical Fidelity, Conrad Johnson, or Krell.

    For speakers I would definitely be looking at PSB, Dynaudio,Vandersteen, B&W or Totem.

    Without a doubt PSB would be my choice at less than 600.

  24. #24
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by anamorphic96
    Rotel, NAD, and Marantz would be my choices for entry level and midlevel.

    Granted NAD seems to have more bad batches of equipment than most. But not so much in the past couple of years. They seem to be more on the ball. Hopefully the new line of AV receivers are as good as they look. But all in all they have a sound that is hard to beat at it's price point.

    If I could afford to step into the higher end equipment I would probably end up with something from Pass Labs, Accuphase, Musical Fidelity, Conrad Johnson, or Krell.

    For speakers I would definitely be looking at PSB, Dynaudio,Vandersteen, B&W or Totem.

    Without a doubt PSB would be my choice at less than 600.
    I agree... I've owned all 3... my favourite was Rotel, followed by Marantz and NAD was last mostly because they had a few bugs....

    Have you tried listening to Revel or Monitor Audio?.... those are my two favourite speaker brands....

  25. #25
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMichael
    I was amazed that it worked. I ordered it expecting to chalk it up to live and learn but there was an improvement. Cleaner imaging, less electronic sounding and smoother is what I noticed. It would be fun to have a demo of the old vs the new. I would like to see peoples' reactions. I will be popping the top off of the SA8001 soon and ordering a fuse for it. I am also curious as to the improvement it would make in the Marantz CD5001.
    John,

    SA8001 isnt fuse loaded. I know that you love undressing lovely "objects", but SA8001 shouldnt be one of them.

    I thought I posted a pic to clarify that with you.. But hey, you can always find out for yourself.

    Regards,
    J

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