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Stereophiles editor Jim Austin publicly disagreeing with Kal Rubinson

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Sal1950

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After subscribing to Stereophile since the 80s I have weaned myself over the last year or so. My subscription still has a few more months but I haven't read the last 6+ issues. ASR confirms a lot of what I felt/ suspected. Gear prices kept skyrocketing and the benefits were dubious at best. Some past writers were entertaining, but there has been an increasing gap between reviewer claims and JA's measurements that gets glossed over. And I do not enjoy Mr Austin's essays.
Like Playboy, I only read Stereophile for the ah, LOL
I do enjoy the music reviews but TAS is much superior in that, at least the number of reviews and interviews with artists.
Since Jim Austin took over, I feel the mag has take a turn for the worse. Maybe due to our influence, maybe not, but as the topic of
this thread points out there seems to be a level of paranoia in his writing that wasn't visible from J Atkinson. So many of his front page "As We See It" have been written from what I feel was a very defensive posture towards the objective community.
Thankfully I just got the December issue yesterday and this month he filled the whole page talking about his new dog Ella Wren. Yes, seriously. LOL
 

Astoneroad

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Like Playboy, I only read Stereophile for the ah, LOL
I do enjoy the music reviews but TAS is much superior in that, at least the number of reviews and interviews with artists.
Since Jim Austin took over, I feel the mag has take a turn for the worse. Maybe due to our influence, maybe not, but as the topic of
this thread points out there seems to be a level of paranoia in his writing that wasn't visible from J Atkinson. So many of his front page "As We See It" have been written from what I feel was a very defensive posture towards the objective community.
Thankfully I just got the December issue yesterday and this month he filled the whole page talking about his new dog Ella Wren. Yes, seriously. LOL
1668113710435.jpeg
 

AdamG247

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The psychology is really interesting, so much more than just the financial investment the whole ego/self worth fascinating really.
Keith
Distilled down to perfection Sir!
 

MAB

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Like Playboy, I only read Stereophile for the ah, LOL
I do enjoy the music reviews but TAS is much superior in that, at least the number of reviews and interviews with artists.
Since Jim Austin took over, I feel the mag has take a turn for the worse. Maybe due to our influence, maybe not, but as the topic of
this thread points out there seems to be a level of paranoia in his writing that wasn't visible from J Atkinson. So many of his front page "As We See It" have been written from what I feel was a very defensive posture towards the objective community.
Thankfully I just got the December issue yesterday and this month he filled the whole page talking about his new dog Ella Wren. Yes, seriously. LOL
Agreed, it does seem paranoid. Jim Austin could have responded so many ways that allow room for reasoned objective thought and allow room for the bi-wire folks. Odd that he felt the need to defend such a fringe poster who was ranting.
 

fpitas

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Heck yeah! If I had a big fat spool of van den hul MC-Grand-Kyber-Crystal-CRYO;), no driver would ever have to share the same conductor again!!!

Like @RayDunzl said, "because I can":
Yeah, I very much doubt it made a sonic difference. But now I'm in the exclusive bi-wiring club. As well as tri-amping.
 

birdog1960

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Your not far off the mark here. We are here to serve the Consumer by providing actual performance metrics for products and services when and where we can. Up against a world full of chiselers and scammers and outright liars who will say anything, and make any claim, about what their products do. The more people they trick the more money they make. Sadly the Audio world is ripe with this nonsense and Consumers are being taken advantage of at every turn. All of this B.S is being hidden behind a curtain of false and misleading scientific claims. Just look no further than the Audio Cable Market. I bet just about everyone here has fallen for the expensive cable bit. Sold to you as an add on must by the friendly salesperson at Circuit City or Best Buy. Then realize that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

As a growing Community in the Audio World we find ourselves in the position of trying to be Truth Tellers to an audience that many times doesn’t want to hear the truth. Primary because it will expose their own gullibility and bad judgment in the gear they have bought. Ownership Bias can be a painful thing to expose and experience. Admitting that you were fooled is another mental hurdle that sometimes is a bridge to far for some.

So yeah, we feel your point. Trying to open people’s eyes and minds every day, over and over again. Becomes a endless struggle for many of our Senior Members. ;)
Absolutely. It's a valuable service. But may I suggest doing all that with a bit more humility? I know, look in the mirror, dude.
 

Spocko

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Yes, Stereophile has been mangling dbW for years. What they are doing is an adjusted dbW in place of what is really dbV. I remember their explanation about making it easy for readers in some sense. My opinion was always the readers who didn't get it really gained nothing, and those who did realized they technically were wrong. Didn't make sense to me.

The rest between Kal and Jack L is something implied in many subjectivist comments. Kal respects your subjective experience and may have a different one from how he approaches things. Stereophile's founding philosophy was use your ears as the final arbiter and those ears were accessed via uncontrolled subjective experience. The fly in the ointment to that has always been what if two honest listeners have diametrically opposed experiences then which one is right? Jack L like many want to assume their experience is correct and disagreements or especially someone who interprets their experience from different principles is wrong. It is a philosophical thicket from which you can never escape with that attitude. Even Stereophile's founder John Gordon Holt in time came to realize this and said the rejection of honesty controls doomed that approach.


Do you see any signs of future vitality in high-end audio?

Vitality? Don't make me laugh. Audio as a hobby is dying, largely by its own hand. As far as the real world is concerned, high-end audio lost its credibility during the 1980s, when it flatly refused to submit to the kind of basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal. [This refusal] is a source of endless derisive amusement among rational people and of perpetual embarrassment for me, because I am associated by so many people with the mess my disciples made of spreading my gospel. For the record: I never, ever claimed that measurements don't matter. What I said (and very often, at that) was, they don't always tell the whole story. Not quite the same thing.


PS- the 1980's being when honesty controls were flatly rejected coincides with when JGH sold Stereophile. Along with the rise of digital music in the form of CD.
Also, as we ALL AGE, our listening acuity and frequency sensitivity begins to change dramatically, affecting our speaker and EQ preferences that is compensating for hearing loss, damage, etc. Especially if we are soooo familiar with a specific track, looking for certain cues, over time we may be unable to hear those cues unless we listen to different speakers and suddenly our speaker preferences change. Ultimately, for an 18 year old to get the exact same listening experience as a 65 year old, it would necessarily require completely different speakers.
 

bloodshoteyed

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to cut Atkinson's quote (from the comments) short...

Stereophile is not a scientific journal...

ummm...my scalp's bleeding from all the scratching

...but a magazine read by regular people, who in the main will not be familiar with the formal definitions you mention.

what i got from it - we can make things up and noone will even know?!


and @Kal Rubinson, if i wore hats (let alone such fancy fedoras), i'd have to tip it to you
 

fpitas

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what i got from it - we can make things up and noone will even know?!


and @Kal Rubinson, if i wore hats (let alone such fancy fedoras), i'd have to tip it to you
Worse yet, when they make things up, people enjoy it!
 

Vacceo

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Playboy, now there's where some veils were lifted back in day.
Those are the best veils! I like coaxials and seamed stockings; and I cannot lie. :D

Also, as we ALL AGE, our listening acuity and frequency sensitivity begins to change dramatically, affecting our speaker and EQ preferences that is compensating for hearing loss, damage, etc. Especially if we are soooo familiar with a specific track, looking for certain cues, over time we may be unable to hear those cues unless we listen to different speakers and suddenly our speaker preferences change. Ultimately, for an 18 year old to get the exact same listening experience as a 65 year old, it would necessarily require completely different speakers.
I have discovered that for non-accurate tests of sound (tests leading to build a graph), I like to listen to imperfections that are well-known but hard to play. One of my faves is Nine Inch Nails´ Just Like You Imagined. A good system will reproduce the distortions, noise and "dirt" on the track and make it perfectly audible.
 

Ifrit

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Dogs bark, fish swim, flies fly and con artists con people.
People want to believe what the con artists tell them rather than logical data because con artists understand how to lead them in that direction, by pushing their emotional buttons. Science has no emotional buttons; it's based on logic.

Jim
I enjoy those utterly emotional posts on this science driven forum. True hatred against “audiophools” or “con artists” is just so much enjoyable. :)
 

617

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Jim Taylor

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I enjoy those utterly emotional posts on this science driven forum. True hatred against “audiophools” or “con artists” is just so much enjoyable. :)

The post was not emotional, nor was it an expression of hatred. It was simply an explication of reality. :) Jim
 

Ifrit

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The post was not emotional, nor was it an expression of hatred. It was simply an explication of reality. :) Jim
I didn't say your post to which I was answering was emotional. But you can't deny it's a lot of those here.
 

Timcognito

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Wait you're both right, data can be great predictor outcome, however looking a chart and listening are two completely different experiences. Algorithms such as Harmon Curve try to harmonize them but I've yet to see the Rosetta Stone that matches measured data to trained listening. If it exists I'd love to hear or see it.
 
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Kal Rubinson

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Do you actually mean "subjective" or are you using the word to mean "uncontrolled?"
Nope. One can structure a controlled and double-blinded test in which individual subjective listening impressions are collected, compiled and analyzed to provide statistically-supported and useful data. Not a trivial task but doable.
 
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