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“The Sensible Sound” magazine the ASR forum of pre-internet days?

jim1274

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This my first forum thread started, so palms are sweating, but seems a safe non-controversial subject, maybe of interest to the old guys on the forum…so…here goes…

I found maybe one mention of “The Sensible Sound” (T$S) magazine in the forum, probably because it was well before 90% of members’ audio adventure started. It was a little different than other audio publications of that era (and a stark contrast to say “The Assolute Sound”) in that while not being as measurements based, more subjective, but with the same common sense approach and focus on value. Had there been Monoprice or Amazon Basics cables back then, they surely would have been reviewed in T$S and received the highest recommendation. Printed publications were the only source of equipment reviews back in the day, and T$S was my guidepost, never letting me down that I recall. They would recommend some more expensive gear only if it offered more than a less expensive option, just like ASR. You would not see any $1000 cables or $10,000 amps getting a thumbs up. As a budget audiophile, it was a godsend. I still have and use at least some speakers from reviews on T$S, and even a few other types of gear until they became obsolete when deploying a Roon based server about 5 years ago. I had every issue and used them for years after the publication ceased, basically because gear they recommended was so long ago, became riskier to buy used if you could even find it.

Anybody else out there who used T$S as their “bible” for finding gear back in the day? They had a real knack for finding things they punched well above their weight. It as a different game in pre-internet days…
 
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jim1274

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I didn’t want to get long-winded in my opener, but my whole early days of the lifelong audio adventure was a flashback after my post. This is truly a golden age of audio—putting together a pretty good sounding system is relatively cheap and easily put together just trolling the ASR forum. Not even adjusting for inflation, one could get a system that delivered the same goods for less than my “high end on a beer budget” back in 1984. Add to the fact that there are so many consumer direct options without middlemen, especially for speakers, these days you can get an even better bang for your buck compared to only gear available had a dealer mark-up back in the day.

I’m really not sure what the audio botique scene is like these days, but there sure were some unique and interesting places in 1984. The one where I bought my first complete system in 1984 after a hodge podge of upgrades, is long gone.

I suppose if no members respond, it means there are very few old geezers here…or that I suck and started a mundane topic even to the other old geezers around…

That’s ok too…
 

Power Pop 23

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I didn’t want to get long-winded in my opener, but my whole early days of the lifelong audio adventure was a flashback after my post. This is truly a golden age of audio—putting together a pretty good sounding system is relatively cheap and easily put together just trolling the ASR forum. Not even adjusting for inflation, one could get a system that delivered the same goods for less than my “high end on a beer budget” back in 1984. Add to the fact that there are so many consumer direct options without middlemen, especially for speakers, these days you can get an even better bang for your buck compared to only gear available had a dealer mark-up back in the day.

I’m really not sure what the audio botique scene is like these days, but there sure were some unique and interesting places in 1984. The one where I bought my first complete system in 1984 after a hodge podge of upgrades, is long gone.

I suppose if no members respond, it means there are very few old geezers here…or that I suck and started a mundane topic even to the other old geezers around…

That’s ok too…

I didn't respond because I relied on the testing of Dr. Julian Hirsch in Stereo Review magazine. Spending money on other audio magazines meant less money for vinyl. I did make an exception to purchase the Annual Equipment Directory from Audio magazine.
 

Duke

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My gateway drug was "Speaker Builder" magazine.
 
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jim1274

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I didn't respond because I relied on the testing of Dr. Julian Hirsch in Stereo Review magazine. Spending money on other audio magazines meant less money for vinyl. I did make an exception to purchase the Annual Equipment Directory from Audio magazine.

Did you ever peruse or read T$S back in that era? Think I read all of them except “Absolute Sound”, about the extreme opposite of T$S. Thinking this thread would be not controversial may have been a bad assumption…

Still this could get interesting. I’ll need to go see if any reviews of things purchased then based on T$S were reviewed elsewhere, like Stereo Review. I will say that was my second favorite audio magazine from that era. I recall at least my preamp was highly lauded by Stereophile—will see if Stereo Review covered it. Might be hard to find old magazine reviews unless someone has the old paper copies and can find and post. This might get interesting after all…
 

Blumlein 88

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Some bits of it here.

I think I subscribed for a couple years when it started. They got my name from being a Stereophile subscriber.
If I remember rightly the publisher was deaf in one ear, yet did do reviews of some gear.

Earlier I read Stereo Review and subbed to Audio magazine. I actually saw TAS in the local library. Some patron gave them a subscription each year. I read it for awhile and subbed to it as well. I wouldn't say it was the print version of ASR. The Audio Skeptic was closer to that.

TAS actually was trying to be like the Sensible Sound early on. It over time became more of a voodoo price equals quality mag. It was the magazine that coined the term High End audio. High End anything actually was derived from them. In the early days nearly all the writers had PhD's in some field, and one was a defense consultant for the gov't. You'd read his reviews and might well seem him interviewed on the evening news.
 
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jim1274

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My gateway drug was "Speaker Builder" magazine.
That’s kinda cheating…was that the same era? I read that too, but was thinking a little later in time.

Good thing I fact checked myself…


1980

Still kinda cheating, but my fault for not being more specific in stating review magazines. Gotta parse every word here or be ready to eat your words or mount a defense. At least this is subjective, so won’t need to read any technical journals or scientific studies to further fry my brain…
 

Power Pop 23

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Did you ever peruse or read T$S back in that era? Think I read all of them except “Absolute Sound”, about the extreme opposite of T$S. Thinking this thread would be not controversial may have been a bad assumption…

Still this could get interesting. I’ll need to go see if any reviews of things purchased then based on T$S were reviewed elsewhere, like Stereo Review. I will say that was my second favorite audio magazine from that era. I recall at least my preamp was highly lauded by Stereophile—will see if Stereo Review covered it. Might be hard to find old magazine reviews unless someone has the old paper copies and can find and post. This might get interesting after all…
I didn't really 'read' other audio magazine except to check them out on the local magazine rack to see what equipment was being reviewed.
 

Power Pop 23

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FYI

back issues of Stereo Review scanned for viewing

 
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jim1274

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Some bits of it here.

I think I subscribed for a couple years when it started. They got my name from being a Stereophile subscriber.
If I remember rightly the publisher was deaf in one ear, yet did do reviews of some gear.

Earlier I read Stereo Review and subbed to Audio magazine. I actually saw TAS in the local library. Some patron gave them a subscription each year. I read it for awhile and subbed to it as well. I wouldn't say it was the print version of ASR. The Audio Skeptic was closer to that.

TAS actually was trying to be like the Sensible Sound early on. It over time became more of a voodoo price equals quality mag. It was the magazine that coined the term High End audio. High End anything actually was derived from them. In the early days nearly all the writers had PhD's in some field, and one was a defense consultant for the gov't. You'd read his reviews and might well seem him interviewed on the evening news.
Uh oh…i know you…I have not even read your post yet but palms already sweating. I hope this isn’t going to get me in deep water like the Omni thread..

Well, you let me off easier than I was expecting. Maybe I liked T$S better because of having such a tight budget and they seemed to find some gear that really delivered for the money?

Do you know what years Audio Skeptic was published? I stopped my reply and tried a google search but came up empty.
 
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jim1274

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Some bits of it here.

I think I subscribed for a couple years when it started. They got my name from being a Stereophile subscriber.
If I remember rightly the publisher was deaf in one ear, yet did do reviews of some gear.

Earlier I read Stereo Review and subbed to Audio magazine. I actually saw TAS in the local library. Some patron gave them a subscription each year. I read it for awhile and subbed to it as well. I wouldn't say it was the print version of ASR. The Audio Skeptic was closer to that.

TAS actually was trying to be like the Sensible Sound early on. It over time became more of a voodoo price equals quality mag. It was the magazine that coined the term High End audio. High End anything actually was derived from them. In the early days nearly all the writers had PhD's in some field, and one was a defense consultant for the gov't. You'd read his reviews and might well seem him interviewed on the evening news.

Audio Skeptic:

1704601110973.png
 

Duke

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That’s kinda cheating…was that the same era? I read that too, but was thinking a little later in time.

Well Speaker Builder wasn't really a review magazine, but it was the first audio magazine I subscribed to. They even published a couple of articles I wrote, I think the years were 1986 and 1987.
 
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jim1274

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I didn't really 'read' other audio magazine except to check them out on the local magazine rack to see what equipment was being reviewed.
I only meant in the context of being familiar and perusing T$S. It was not the kind of mag like Stereo Review and others you could find at the newsstand or pharmacy or some such around here.
 

Platypus20

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I didn't respond because I relied on the testing of Dr. Julian Hirsch in Stereo Review magazine. Spending money on other audio magazines meant less money for vinyl. I did make an exception to purchase the Annual Equipment Directory from Audio magazine.
I read for years, did Julian ever dislike any equipment that crossed his path ??
 

Blumlein 88

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I read for years, did Julian ever dislike any equipment that crossed his path ??
Not that I recall. Seemed to me all of his reviews would describe the item, and then basically come to the conclusion, of all the items I've reviewed this is one, and you may find it useful depending upon your needs.
 
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