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I have seen some products advertised as "Stereophile Class A" (and also Class B, etc)


How does Stereophile go about rating products? Is it based on performance/price ratio?


I have heard that most products would do well to even receive a class B rating, is this true?


Thanks.
 

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Stereophile's rating process is about as thorough as it gets, combining measured parameters and subjective listening. Just read any of their reviews. However, price is not a consideration in classification. For example, Class A stereo preamps have ranged from under $1000 to over $30,000.


And yes, even class B products are generally very good. I belive my Bryston 4BST power amps made it to class B.


What I find strange is that they have adopted a different rating system for AV products in "Stereophile Guide to Home Theater" (SGHT). They use AAA, AA, A, etc. How does an AAA pre-pro compare to a class A stereo preamp? Confusing.


Dave
 

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Bob, just for the record Stereophiles has added a class A+ to it's categories. Now whatever that implies I have the slightest idea. ;)


Like all reviews one has to read (at times even between the lines) to extract every bit of pertinent info for one's own reference. What I like about their procedure is they usually have (at least for the main reviews) tech info & measurements along to at least try to support their subjective claims. Their equipment list & sometimes comparisons also helps.


PF
 

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Stereophile used to be very conservative about what it used to put into a class A category... However, it has kind of grown into a joke given how many pieces of equipment fall into the class A category and how one product is now the "best" this week. Also, there have been products in class-A categories that I have found to sound quite terrible (single ended amplifiers and various speakers such as the Avant Garde or Krells). There are also pieces in the lower categories that perform exceedingly well.
 

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Hi,


Stereophile has always tried to maintain independence from advertisers. So I generally respect their opinion. But there are inherent limitations, which are not their fault. Stereophile can't review everything that's out there. By the time a review does hit newsstands, that model will probably be discontinued and replaced. Just because a product is not a Stereophile class A does not mean that it's not great. Take the never been reviewed ATC SCM-150 ASL Pro speakers for instance. These pro speakers used in Sony and Warner recording studios would blow away the Meridian DSP8000, JMlab Grande Utopia, Dynaudio Evidence Master, Wilson Audio Specialties MAXX, etc and for less money. On the other side of the coin, some class A components such as CD players and DACs are both underperforming and outrageously overpriced. Do a search on the forum for Vadim's post on Mark Levison.


What I would like to see from Stereophile is double blind testing of class A components. If they are really that great, it should be obvious in a double blind test. But most (except maybe the speakers) probably aren't. So that begs the question of whether these class A components are worth it?


Ben
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by BenjaminWoo
Take the never been reviewed ATC SCM-150 ASL Pro speakers for instance. These pro speakers used in Sony and Warner recording studios would blow away the Meridian DSP8000, JMlab Grande Utopia, Dynaudio Evidence Master, Wilson Audio Specialties MAXX
Isn't this a bit of an exageration that it would "blow away" the speakers you listed???
 

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I've heard the Dynaudio Evidence, the JM Labs Grande Utopia , the Avant Garde Trio (which Scooter didn't like), and the Wilson MAXX (the only one I didn't care all that much for), and I also have a hard time believing that the ATC's blow them away. At that level of speaker performance, there might be differences in individual tastes, but I really think that I would be very happy to own ANY of them. I really liked the Avant Gardes, and I could find no fault with the Evidences, but the JM Labs Grande Utopias really did it for me. I have to admit, I'd really like a chance to hear the ATC's :)
 

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ATC's $93,000 Concept 7 Multi-channel system was reviewed back then by SGHT & got a class A. So I don't exactly know what the rant is about. I did have the chance to audition their bookshelf/monitor (forgot the model #) along with the Rethm (?Lowther horn) and neither of them impressed me enough to want to trade any of the ones I own.


David, their annual recommended equipment list usually comes out in the April issue.


PF
 

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I have been readin Stereophile since 1987 and I have usually found it to be a credible source of information. The Recommended Components section has generally been right on the money, although some good components that don't get reviewed can get left out.


I would feel comfortable that these Class A or A+ ratings are a very good filter for listing the top equipment. :)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by bob23_60201
I have seen some products advertised as "Stereophile Class A" (and also Class B, etc)


How does Stereophile go about rating products? Is it based on performance/price ratio?


I have heard that most products would do well to even receive a class B rating, is this true?


Thanks.
Stereophile should be renamed Stereopamphet. All these magazines

are shrinking and loosing influence thanks to advertising dollars drying

up and the decrease in people buying expensive separate components.

Read the editorial from the latest "The Absolute Sound" about the

probability of "reviews" that become nothing more than pure advertising,

by desperate magazines scared of frightening off their few remaining

advertising dollars with hard-hitting reviews.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Bob Sorel
I've heard the Dynaudio Evidence, the JM Labs Grande Utopia , the Avant Garde Trio (which Scooter didn't like), and the Wilson MAXX (the only one I didn't care all that much for), and I also have a hard time believing that the ATC's blow them away. At that level of speaker performance, there might be differences in individual tastes, but I really think that I would be very happy to own ANY of them. I really liked the Avant Gardes, and I could find no fault with the Evidences, but the JM Labs Grande Utopias really did it for me. I have to admit, I'd really like a chance to hear the ATC's :)
I haven't heard the MAXX but have heard the X-1 too many times to recall and have never liked it (the analytical Wilson sound). My problem with the Avant Garde is that I feel all horns sound colored and even though the Avant Garde is the best horn out there, it still has the horn sound (but they sure can play loud). The JM Labs and the Evidence are both wonderful. I also heard the Kharma's and the Logan Statements that fit right up there. I just replaced my speakers with MBL 101s and they are simply phenomenal.
 

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Regarding the initial response to your question. The comment that Stereophile uses rigorous evaluation and testing both to arrive at the recommendations is incorrect. The components nominated by the columnists for example are not tested. Sam Tellig is famous for falling in love with a different item every month. Recently the owner of Musical Fidelity flew over from England to hand deliver and set up a new DAC. It is now in the class A section of recommended components. I love the Recommended Components section to familiarize myself with products that might be worthy of consideration but it is by no means more than a rough starting point and does not guarentee you will get the best quality product.

Larry
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by RichardMA



Stereophile should be renamed Stereopamphet. All these magazines

are shrinking and loosing influence thanks to advertising dollars drying

up and the decrease in people buying expensive separate components.

Read the editorial from the latest "The Absolute Sound" about the

probability of "reviews" that become nothing more than pure advertising,

by desperate magazines scared of frightening off their few remaining

advertising dollars with hard-hitting reviews.
Bingo! Richard - I seem to hear this more frequently nowadays.


I have yet to see a LIST of standards used to classify, wasn't that Bob's initial question?


Hope this isn't like a 'Sears Horsepower' thing.


Bruce
 

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I like there class rating much more than Hometheaters ratings. In Hometheater the Anthem MCA5 got a 79 performance and the Sony HTIB rated at 15 watts/channel at a whopping 10% THD go higher ratings and the thing wasn't even in the same league.
 

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If you want to see "reviews" that are mere advertisements, take a look at the new magazine "DVD ETC." I stopped taking Stereophile reviews seriously when I read their comparisons of digital interconnects. Those people are smoking something.
 

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I don't understand your post David.


I clearly hear the effects of "jitter" and sonic differences in digital interconnects. Both in the recording studio and on the good ole home system.


And I'm not smoking anything!


What's the problem here?


Yes, Stereophile is shrinking but the Recommended Components is still a great source of comparison IMHO.
 

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What I think puts the nail in the coffin of some reviews coming from

magazines is that they never, never seem to run into the QC problems

or designs flaws regular consumers do. The consumers have no sound

labs, but they seem to find things out anyway. And these are not "one off"

problems but can effect all of a certain production run.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Lee Scoggins
I don't understand your post David.


I clearly hear the effects of "jitter" and sonic differences in digital interconnects...
We've had this discussion before, Lee.

Although I would like to occasionally make a brief comment like the snide remark I made above,

I will not argue about cables.

I will not argue about cables.

I will not ...


I enjoy your cable discussions with Chu Gai in Home Theater Forum, and let's leave it at that.


Friends?


(Oh, and I'm glad you don't smoke. I don't either.)
 
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