Magazines, news, written stuff and some thoughts.

They are faces of the same coin, in one you can read about audiophile gear
and in the other you can read about music. They are called “Audio & Cinema
em Casa” and “Blitz”
These two magazines are old in Portugal, the audiophile one is about 20
years old and the music one comes from the newspaper with the same name
that started running in 1984.
I don’t always buy these magazines, these days I have a digital
subscription for the audio one, because I had a heavy discount and I buy
the music one if I’m in the mood.
These magazines are the effort of countless work hours and I’m sure nights
without sleep, because of that they are references in Portugal.

I admit the Internet almost killed my enjoyment for professional written
articles. In this fast paced world of instant news and amateur journalism,
anyone can write about audio gear and music, but few are the sites that can
make me devour text like these magazines do.
People sometimes forget that most online news come from the professional
press, be it printed or digital. If you think about it all news come from
the same sources, amateurs just filter all the noise and post small
articles on niche sites or blogs. Now that’s all fun and games but because
they can’t actually copy all the content stuff gets lost in the transition.
I enjoy reading from professional sources because most news aren’t half
backed on someones attic or basement. Pros have direct access to things few
fans have, unless they are the presidents of an official fan club or
something like that.

I don’t actually follow many audio gear/music sites on the internet, I can
visit them to have a little snack but few are the sites that can make me
return after some days.
I do follow some youtube channels and many personal blogs.
Most sites have a loyalty problem with people like me, we jump for site to
site searching for our favorite news, so sites make forums and other honey
traps but in the end the result is only the delay of the departure of the
reader. Magazines might try those tricks but in the end it’s the written
material that counts, a bad magazine goes down the drain fast, a bad site
can be up for a long long time and that’s why we have so many shitty
websites about music and audiophile gear that plague the web.

I don’t put personal sites or blogs on the shitty list even if the are
awful looking and bad written like mine is. I mean if someone takes time to
rant about magazines and news from his/her point of view you already know
it’s a personal opinion, the same can’t be said about a site made really
for enthusiasts of some hobby, it might show personal views but it also
needs to have reliable news and unbiased articles, something even good
magazines have trouble keeping balanced.

I think anyone can write but no blog/website can beat a good professional
magazine.
Some people should hammer that on their minds before embarking on projects
thinking about making easy money from niche communities.
Remember my Grado RA1 clone rant? It’s the same but for websites….all of this because I’m so F#$%#$ tired of website owners thinking they are the next What’s Hi-Fi or Rolling Stone magazines

Not all things are bad, for example InnerFidelity is a fine example of
something done right because it has a great reviewer. Few sites can
balance ads, reviews, good articles like he can. No I’m not getting paid by
him! 😉

Addendum: (I found out InnerFidelity belongs to a huge umbrella of tech sites, even so I still think its a fine example of a website as of this writing) 

Now I’m gonna read a good magazine if you don’t mind…

About ads & audio magazines.

I believe ads are a necessary evil in this consumer oriented world, good ads sell stuff and that’s a good thing for companies that need to make some money, the main problem is when ads are full of bullshit, and it does happen a lot in the audiophile world but not so much in the professional oriented market.

I have my theory why the two audio worlds are so different, it’s called user knowledge.
I’m subscribed to some professional audio magazines that need to balance ads with reviews and most of the time I don’t see BS on their ads.
Ok, they make claims BUT always supported with facts or opinions of professionals users.
Professional users have a lot of knowledge about their work tools and so they don’t need BS to buy products, now in the other hand audiophiles are a complicated loot.

Most audiophile magazines have BS on their ads, why?
Because most audiophiles believe blindly in the opinion of those magazines, so when you see ads on those magazines they always claim that some magazine gave the product a good review, I think you get my point, you don’t see professionals giving their word for the products. One of the few audiophile magazines I enjoy reading with balanced BS it’s called “What’s Hi-Fi” , they at least try to put less BS on their ads and I respect that.
Another one its called “Audio & Cinema em Casa” a very old Portuguese audiophile magazine, the co-founder and editor of that magazine is the chairman of EISA aka European Imaging and Sound Association and I do have a huge respect for Mr. Jorge Gonçalves an engineer by trade even when he claims audio cables make a difference.

I know audiophile magazines need to make money to stay alive so they allow BS on their ads, but even so I think they could at least try to filter BS from their ads.

Audiophile candy boxes.

A candy box should protect and advertise in a good way the candies inside, just like any good audiophile gear does the same in hope that what’s inside should feel as pretty as the outside is. Not always true but people love candy boxes and some even collect them without the candies!

The same is true for audiophiles, some collect or hoard (depends on the viewer) beautiful  Hi-Fi gear, in search for that illusive audio nirvana they hoard many pieces of the same wonderful amplifier because it’s the only way to revive that vintage piece of gear. It’s more or less like buying many candy boxes to replace a bad one.
I would be fine with this if it didn’t inflate the price of broken and vintage gear to very high prices. In their quest to get their gear fixed they only think about themselves, and that’s a recipe for bullshit! The sad thing is that most of these guys doesn’t know how to actually fix something so many of them hoard stuff in hope that one day they will fix something that didn’t broke yet! Sad but true!

I admit that I also enjoy a nice candy box from time to time but like all things too much candy can make us sick.
These days I see many young people going for headphones and not the typical Hi-Fi gear, but some that have access to their parents or grandparents gear try to use it and do have fun with it! So yea I’m glad there are still candy boxes around because we should share our love for music.

The “special” marketing plague in Hi-Fi gear and brands.

Everybody wants to be special or at least have something special in his or her life.
I’m not special in any way to the world, or at least I don’t feel like it
from that point of view.
I’m special for my family and friends, because I’m a part of their life, that’s the best gift I could have and I don’t try to be special or force such thing by saying out loud.

This brings me to the “special” marketing plague in audiophile gear.
I first noticed this plague when I started visiting some audiophile websites that I will not badmouth, they would have reviews about how special this or that gear was, all in a very subjective way, because it seems these days all gear must be special.

That’s bullshit! There is gear that is truly special because it changed something, for example the Cmoy headphone amplifier is a truly special piece of gear because for some it was their first contact with DIY electronics, now that’s special in my book.
The 1st Walkman and Ipod are special because they changed the way we hear music.
These days some brands are using the fashion branding tactic, some
headphone brands use soccer players to advertise their gear, oh I’m sure they sell lots of gear because many teens look at soccer players as an example, usually that’s a good thing but with audio that’s not so good! Specially if you have better gear at way lower prices!
Now I might understand if you buy headphones endorsed by your favorite artist, composer, audio engineer, those people actually care for music and good sound or at least they should.

Gear has a function and should do it the best way possible, there is no need to claim it as special, because a true special thing will always endure in this fashion oriented world of ours.
Want an example, see Hi-Fi stuff made by Braun during the 70s and 80s…That’s special gear even today!

Pro reviewers and biased articles.

I’m an amateur writer but I always try to be professional when writing an article. This means I need to have a no bias approach about the person or product I writing about.

I don’t like the fan-boy attitude of some online magazine editors that bow down to the brands they review just because they use their products in reference systems or those companies advertise on their sites and magazines.

Many sites that I’ll not point have that problem, in fact I get suspicious about biased articles every time I see ads on audio review sites.
I know these magazines/sites need to make money but they should not review the products they advertise, that’s wrong in my opinion.
That same goes for comments of editors in forums, some of these so called professionals can be very aggressive if someone attacks their pet brands.

Amateurs can be fan-boys but professionals have the moral right of being a neutral party in articles and comments, seeing them defending their advertisers can be very sad.
Think about it, how many audio magazines/sites you read that have no biased reviews?