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Do You Still Read the Letters to the Editor section of Magazines?

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  • Do You Still Read the Letters to the Editor section of Magazines?

    Used to be the first place I turned to when the new issue of Stereophile or TAS arrived in the mail. Now it just seems the letters are boring. Why has the quality dropped? I know when I had Ultimate Audio, the number of letters to the editor were dropping. Surprisingly given the availability of email back then.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

  • #2
    You still receive magazines by snail mail Myles?

    Comment


    • MylesBAstor
      MylesBAstor commented
      Editing a comment
      Yes I do. I still like the feel of paper. Though new software packages let you “turn” the pages, it’s still not the same. That said, these new software packages allow graphic designers to do things online or digitally - especially layout wise - that were unheard of 15 years ago.

  • #3
    Originally posted by don View Post
    You still receive magazines by snail mail Myles?
    Yes I do. I am a dinosaur. Though I now mostly read my newspapers online on my iPad. I just still like the feel of holding that audio magazine in my hands.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

    Comment


    • #4
      Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
      Used to be the first place I turned to when the new issue of Stereophile or TAS arrived in the mail. Now it just seems the letters are boring. Why has the quality dropped? I know when I had Ultimate Audio, the number of letters to the editor were dropping. Surprisingly given the availability of email back then.
      I'm the same way, I think in the digital age with email the letters aren't composed with as much thought. back then the author was forced to make their points more concise and then you either handwrote it or typed it which gave you more pause to rewrite or articulate thoughts more carefully. email induces what I view as more a knee jerk responses which also gave rise to trolls/trolling.

      I've only written one letter to an editor of a car magazine, I was about 15 years old at the time and would go to the newsstands every day to see if it made the cut. Lo and behold it did, my heart was racing when I saw my name then when I read it--I was crestfallen--they edited my writing for typos and grammar but also changed the gist of what I wrote. I thought what's the point.

      Comment


      • RandyRobinson
        RandyRobinson commented
        Editing a comment
        Similar experience but with the local paper - I spent hours choosing and polishing until it had the right message with the right flow. They edited.

    • #5
      When I was auditioning my last two pairs of Magico speakers, I found Soundstage Ultra a good read as Jeff Fritz had reviewed Magico speakers & often published letters from audiophiles asking the same questions as me. With that said, i'm like you Myles & prefer to read my audio rags in hard copy. Australian Hifi magazine is the main rag here which is edited by Edgar Kramer. That has an interesting 'Sound travels' section which is about a visit to an audiophile's home & interview with the audiophile.

      Comment


      • #6
        I still read letters. I still get TAS and Stereophile. Letters are occasionally interesting but if it's the "cancel my subscription" letter it goes down like ground glass. I don't know why either mag gives those idiots a forum.
        Turntable: TW Acustic TT with Ref motor & controller; Tri-Planar Arm; Ortofon Windfeld-Ti Cartridge, Harmonix-Combak platter mat & weight; PS Audio Stellar Phono Preamp; KLAudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.
        Digital: Bluesound Vault-2 Music Server & Streamer
        Amplification: PS Audio Stellar Phono Preamp, VTL 6.5 preamp Series II, Pass Labs 150.8 Amp
        Loudspeakers: Piega C711 Loudspeakers
        Isolation: Symposium Osiris Rack; Symposium Platforms and Roller Blocks plus grade 2.5 Balls
        Misc: PS Audio Noise Harvesters, Acoustic Revive RR-888 Low Frequency Pulse Generator, Synergistic Research 12 UEF SE Line Conditioner, Level 3 HC AC Cord and Level 3 power cords, Synergistic Carbon fiber wall plates, Synergistic Research Orange Outlet, Furutech NCF Booster Braces, Audio Art Ref IC, synergistic Research Atmosphere X Euphoria Level 3 Balanced ICs, Synergistic Research Euphoria Level 3 Speaker Cables, Synergistic Research Cable Risers.

        Sennheiser HDV 650 Headphone Amp; Sennheiser HD800s Headphones.

        Comment


      • #7
        Funny, I don't think the Letters page has declined in quality any more than the rest of the magazine(s). It does seem that they are all publishing fewer letters than they did as of a few years ago, though.
        Tascam BR-20
        Technics 1506 with tape path upgrades, FM head and custom repro amp
        Modwright Oppo 205 full tube mod w/LPS
        Euphony Summus server, EtherRegen, HDPLEX LPS
        MSB Discrete DAC (dual PS, ISLPro, balanced out)
        Pass Labs INT60
        Daedalus Audio Apollo 11’s
        REL S3 (Kimber Kable connection)
        Daedalus/Wywires, Audioquest, Acoustic Zen, Sablon Audio cables
        Core Power Equi=Power 1800 Mk3
        Adona rack; Stillpoints and IsoPods, Tube Traps, GIK

        Comment


        • #8
          I can truthfully say I don't buy or read any magazines at this point. If an article of interest is online, I will read it there. I used to subscribe to all sorts of niche interest magazines, and one of the 'things' in Manhattan was those crazy magazine stores- do any remain?- where you could buy Japanese, Polish, German, etc. published in native language. Walls and walls of stuff. I sort of gave up on Stereophile and The Absolute Sound years ago, continued with HiFi+ for a while, but at this point, zilch. I am an avid reader of books and monographs. I gave away almost all my car magazines to a friend's son, who is a very hands-on guy interested in vintage automobila. I think I basically threw away all the hi-fi magazines, except for a few early copies of TAS, which are in a box somewhere.
          When I did read them, the Letters were an essential part of the experience.

          Comment


          • #9
            Honestly, I pretty much stopped reading the mags pretty soon after they went from digest to magazine size (long time ago!). I learned so much from the old mags back in the day but beyond being terrific learning tools, I couldn't believe the dialog going on in the letters sections, especially when HP was feeling frisky. Nowadays, 'flame wars' and confrontational tone ain't no big deal, 35 yrs ago it was unheard of! Back in the day, the letters section would run for a dozen pages, and than be cont'd in the back of the mag. Nowadays it's a coupla pages, large type, and double spaced but most importantly, the content is a bore (I'm largely generalizing, based on what I see when I occasionally peruse the mags at Barnes & Noble). The 'youngsters' in this hobby will never know how wild, wild west it was in the old days!

            Comment


            • #10
              I do read letters to the editor if the rest of the magazine is a bit of a dud. Speaking of Hifi+, it was a more interesting read before it was sold to the group the owns The Absolute Sound. Among other things Hifi+ used to be useful in regards to music listings of things not well known on this side of the water.

              After a few decades things start to have a repetitious bent. One format vs another format, whether a component (wire in particular) has any technical merit, whether a particular writer has any merit and so on. I don't know why they even bother to publish the occasional cancel my subscription letter, I certainly wouldn't admit to being so easily offended as to need a time out in a safe place publicly.

              Comment


              • #11
                I used to LOVE the letters to the editor sections of Stereophile and TAS. But that was before the era of audio websites like this one. Now I don't get any paper magazines, and I read all my amateur written commentary on the audio websites I frequent.
                TAPE: Studer A807, A810; Revox B77 MkII; Technics RS-1700; Pioneer RT-707, RT-909
                VINYL: Denon DP59-L/Hana ML/ModWright PH 9.0; Pioneer PL-50LII/Dynavector 20xH
                DIGITAL: Bryston SP-3, Marantz NA6006/Pioneer N-50, Schiit Bifrost
                SPEAKERS: B&W Nautilus 800, Pioneer DSS-9, Velodyne FSR-15
                AMPS: Cary SLP-05/Sunfire Signature 600, Pioneer SX-1980

                Comment


                • #12
                  Originally posted by Chazro View Post
                  Honestly, I pretty much stopped reading the mags pretty soon after they went from digest to magazine size (long time ago!). I learned so much from the old mags back in the day but beyond being terrific learning tools, I couldn't believe the dialog going on in the letters sections, especially when HP was feeling frisky. Nowadays, 'flame wars' and confrontational tone ain't no big deal, 35 yrs ago it was unheard of! Back in the day, the letters section would run for a dozen pages, and than be cont'd in the back of the mag. Nowadays it's a coupla pages, large type, and double spaced but most importantly, the content is a bore (I'm largely generalizing, based on what I see when I occasionally peruse the mags at Barnes & Noble). The 'youngsters' in this hobby will never know how wild, wild west it was in the old days!
                  Thanks and glad to have you on board!

                  Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                  Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                  ________________________________________

                  -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                  -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                  -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                  -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                  -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                  -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                  -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                  -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                  -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                  -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                  Comment


                  • #13
                    I do read them. The content varies but once in a while there is an insightful comment.

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      Once in a while, but too many of the letters are predictable and it gets tiring.

                      On the subject of electronic vs print, I too get my magazines via snail mail. I don't know what it is, because I have some nice monitors, but my eyes aren't very happy reading text on monitors. I seem to be more at ease reading traditional print.

                      I use monitors everyday when I work, so maybe its tired eyes. Most of the people who are in the same business I am in also seem to tire of staring at monitors.

                      Many years ago Xerox made a computer system called the Star System (IIRC). That system had a workstation with a black on white monitor that was portrait oriented. From what I remember it was one of the easiest monitors to read that I have ever had the chance to use. I only looked at it briefly but it made a lasting impression to this day. There was something about that display that made it very easy to read.

                      Ed
                      Life is analog...digital is just samples thereof
                      https://www.edsstuff.org

                      Analog: Walnut VPI Prime TT, HRX Pulley + 3 Belt Drive + ADS, Dual Pivot Assy, Tru Lift, HW-40 Feet
                      Analog 2: Ortofon Windfeld Ti + Bob's Devices VPI Sky 30 Stepup + Liberty Audio B2B-1, Stereo Squares Dust Cover, Wayne's Audio Peripheral Ring
                      Analog Care: VPI MW-1, Kirmuss KA-RC-1, Record Doctor V, Hunt EDA VI Brush, AQ Brush, Discwasher Record Care Kit
                      Digital: TASCAM UH-7000 USB Interface, Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai Universal Disc Player, NAD C448 Internet Radio/Streamer
                      Digital 2: Digital Audio Workstation (Toshiba P75-A7200 w/MS Windows 10, 24GB RAM, 1.5 TB Crucial MX300 SSD Internal Storage, Intel i7-4700MQ Processor)

                      Amp: Rogue RP-9 Line Preamp, Schiit Loki Tone Ctrls, Parasound A21 Power Amp
                      Speakers: Magnepan MMC2, REL T9/i Subwoofer
                      Headphones: Stax SR L700 MkII + Woo Audio GES, Focal Clear + Schiit Lyr 2, Stax Lambda Pro + SRM1 Mk II
                      Wires: Kimber Hero ICs, Kimber 8TC Speaker Cables, AQ Leopard Phono IC, Pangea Silver USB Cables, StraightWire Expressivo ICs
                      Power: Furman Elite 15 PFi

                      Comment


                      • EdAInWestOC
                        EdAInWestOC commented
                        Editing a comment
                        At the time there was a defense contractor who had the aforementioned system but theirs was based on a big CDC hard drive (a Phoenix drive IIRC) and that was a big deal in their publication department.

                      • MylesBAstor
                        MylesBAstor commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Xerox was also one of the first to come with magazine publishing software in the mid-90s (?). Used it when laying out the first edition of The Audiophile Voice. Took forever but it did one revolutionary thing in its day. It allowed you to go directly from floppy disc-albeit maybe 40 of them-to print.

                      • EdAInWestOC
                        EdAInWestOC commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Ahhh....automation. I remember the word processing systems based on IBM Selectric typewriters hooked up to a console with a cassette tape as storage medium. Others used floppy discs. The Selectric doubled as an input device and as a printer.

                    • #15
                      I still read the sections (sometimes just glance). Some months better than others. I do feel that there are essent three or so categories:

                      1. I like your magazine. Been a subscriber for a long time, keep up the good work.
                      2. Been a subscriber for a long time but I'm cancelling because I did not like Mr. xxxxxx perspective on xxxxx.
                      3. Please review less or more expensive equipment.

                      Comment

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