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

Sal1950

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Julian stated in at least one issue that any products that they received were tested and performed poorly were simply returned to the manufacturer rather than waste space in the magazine.
Yea, that's been the excuse we hear to this day from most all sources that accept advertising and never publish a bad review.
Ya just can't piss off the guys paying the bills.
 

anmpr1

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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.

May have already been mentioned, but that was Anthony Cordesman. Tony also wrote for Audio magazine. Audio was mostly grounded in measurements, but featured a couple of 'subjective' impressionistic reviewers, Bascom King being the most well known, probably. King would measure the gear like Hirsch and Feldman, but then talk about what he said he heard. Mostly amps and preamps. Feldman was the tuner maven, with Richard Heyser doing the heavy lifting in the loudspeaker department.

And Ed Canby, whom no one could figure out what he was writing about. :)

It was a sad day when Audio left the building.
 

anmpr1

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I read for years, did Julian ever dislike any equipment that crossed his path ??

Occasionally. With Hirsch you had to 'read between the lines'. Sometimes his critique turned on ergonomics and aesthetics. His review of the Garrard GT-55 (successor to the Zero 100 record player) comes to mind. Said it looked cheap with wonky controls (paraphrasing)--not worthy of a top of the line product.
 

Power Pop 23

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Occasionally. With Hirsch you had to 'read between the lines'. Sometimes his critique turned on ergonomics and aesthetics. His review of the Garrard GT-55 (successor to the Zero 100 record player) comes to mind. Said it looked cheap with wonky controls (paraphrasing)--not worthy of a top of the line product.
Agreed. Julian Hirsch never used the word 'meh' to describe the performance of gear he tested. I could discern when he did not consider the measured performance to be competitive.
 

Sal1950

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May have already been mentioned, but that was Anthony Cordesman. Tony also wrote for Audio magazine.
I had a lot of respect for Anthony back then. Sadly he fell in with a bad crowd and has been writing for The Absolute Sound now for decades.

It was a sad day when Audio left the building.
AMEN
 

anmpr1

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I found maybe one mention of “The Sensible Sound” (T$S) magazine ...

One of the more reliable SS reviewers was David Rich, who also did gear teardowns for Aczel's Audio Critic. Today? Occasionally Rich shows up with (of all things!) record player and cartridge measurements, over at the Secrets of Home Audio Webzine.

Gordon Holt more or less started it all, and you have to give him credit in the keep on keeping on department. Those were pretty lean years. Publishing a magazine with any frequency was more than most could pull off--and without advertising. Stereophile in its early iteration was really an annual, maybe twice a year if you were lucky. At least until he sold the farm. Then things improved (as far as mailings went).

Same with Aczel. Promised six issue a year... that lasted about four years, nine full issues (plus a few 'newsletters'). Later, with his resurrection, his publishing schedule was pretty consistent.

Pearson did a pretty good job in the 'get it out the door with reasonable consistency' department. But once you started flipping pages, it was mostly interminable blather. And, of course, Harry's charming personality in print. Enid Lumley was worth reading because she was so neurotically funny, although at the time she certainly didn't realize it, or mean it that way.

There was a bunch, actually. StereOpus, Hi Fi Heretic, Sound Advice, Audiogram, International Audio Review...

Probably the longest lived publication is that of the Boston Audio Society--the Speaker still soldiers on in its own way.
 

SteveC

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I have vague memories of Sensible Sound, but there used to be so many audio magazines that it was hard to keep up with them all! I should add that I am an old geezer! Not sure when I read my first audio magazine. Probably after I started high school in 1971. No middle school where I grew up. Grade school went to 8th grade, then you went to high school. Chiseling homework into stone was much harder than typing it into a laptop. :cool:
 

anmpr1

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Other than nostalgia, the interesting and important observation gained from these old magazines, at least IMO, is to weigh how reviewers have developed in their views over the years. Or whether they have developed at all. Most of the crowd from the 'early days' have left the scene, but a few remain.

I think the biggest change (and for many a 'surprise') was Aczel. He told me that he was frankly embarrassed about his early work, and for a long time he didn't want any of it to be made available, on-line. I told him that if he was reluctant and felt self-conscious over it, then what can be said about the rest of us who were following along blindly? Were we not even more foolish--or at the very least, just as ridiculous? Or perhaps 'ignorant' was the best description?

I'm happy that he relented and put everything in the public domain, from beginning to end. In ways, a man who writes publicly over the years becomes himself an open book. For better or worse.
 

Sal1950

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Chiseling homework into stone was much harder than typing it into a laptop. :cool:
Yea, and my backpack was so freakin heavy as I walked 35 miles, thru snow and ice, having to swim 2 rivers, (each way) to school !!!
 

fpitas

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I really paid no attention to audio stuff in magazines. I had a few textbooks, but that was it. I'm thinking I was lucky!
 

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jim1274

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One of the more reliable SS reviewers was David Rich, who also did gear teardowns for Aczel's Audio Critic. Today? Occasionally Rich shows up with (of all things!) record player and cartridge measurements, over at the Secrets of Home Audio Webzine.

Gordon Holt more or less started it all, and you have to give him credit in the keep on keeping on department. Those were pretty lean years. Publishing a magazine with any frequency was more than most could pull off--and without advertising. Stereophile in its early iteration was really an annual, maybe twice a year if you were lucky. At least until he sold the farm. Then things improved (as far as mailings went).

Same with Aczel. Promised six issue a year... that lasted about four years, nine full issues (plus a few 'newsletters'). Later, with his resurrection, his publishing schedule was pretty consistent.

Pearson did a pretty good job in the 'get it out the door with reasonable consistency' department. But once you started flipping pages, it was mostly interminable blather. And, of course, Harry's charming personality in print. Enid Lumley was worth reading because she was so neurotically funny, although at the time she certainly didn't realize it, or mean it that way.

There was a bunch, actually. StereOpus, Hi Fi Heretic, Sound Advice, Audiogram, International Audio Review...

Probably the longest lived publication is that of the Boston Audio Society--the Speaker still soldiers on in its own way.
Sounds like I just got lucky basing all my earliest gear choices on TSS, but odds increased by focusing on the handful of equipment they really raved about, the ones that were called “best bargains in audio” or some such, mostly very late 70’s to mid 80’s—more or less in order of acquisition when upgrading from a modest Sherwood receiver based rig:

1979-80?
3D Acoustics 3D610B speaker system (6” 2-way w/10” sub)
Hafler DH-500 amp & 110 preamp

1984:
Superphon Revelation preamp & DM 220 amp
Systemdek IIX turntable
Dynaudio DAK 4-way kit speaker (only because budget constrained buying the TSS find Energy 22
Reference—bought 2 pairs later used)

Also:
Signet SL-260
CD player in 1985 but can’t recall specifics

The only thing I can recall not scored from the pages of TSS was a Technics RSM-85 mk2 cassette deck in about 1979-1980 on a deal from a work buddy who built a recording studio and bought a whole bank of them wholesale:

 

Sal1950

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MattHooper

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I like "Enjoy The Music.com"... just wow....

I almost perversely fascinated with the decrepitude of that site. Long ago it used to be one of the players in the on line audio mags, but for a long time it's been this weird combination of almost dormant, an aesthetic style unchanged since the 90's or early 2,000s, their occasional show reports look like they were "shot with a potato" (I am flummoxed by how they mange such routinely low image quality, given today's phone cameras), and mostly they just keep recycling old reviews.
 

Blumlein 88

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I almost perversely fascinated with the decrepitude of that site. Long ago it used to be one of the players in the on line audio mags, but for a long time it's been this weird combination of almost dormant, an aesthetic style unchanged since the 90's or early 2,000s, their occasional show reports look like they were "shot with a potato" (I am flummoxed by how they mange such routinely low image quality, given today's phone cameras), and mostly they just keep recycling old reviews.
The images are always less than 600 pixels a side often around 400 pixels. That is how they look so terrible. And how can you read it with all the ad material? It is like visual vomit.
 

Byrdsmaniac

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I read for years, did Julian ever dislike any equipment that crossed his path ??
He did, but the policy was to not publish bad reviews. If you read enough of his copy, it was easy to tell when he thought something was exceptionally good or fell short in one way or another. He stuck to the factual language of reports for the most part. If you read the reviews with that in mind, it's clear enough where he stood.
 
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