March 13, 2005

Schlock

I just wasted the last two hours of my life reading the issues of a schlocky a/v magazine, also known as Home Theater, that had been collecting on my kitchen island. They were there not because I asked for them, but because they were sent to me after my favorite a/v magazine, Ultimate A/V (formerly Stereophile Guide To Home Theater) became a web-only publication and this is what the parent publishing company sent me as a replacement. Sigh.

My first hint that this publication was schlock was that every other page was an advertisement. I am not exagerating. Every. Other. Page. The articles were on topics such as "budget home theater in a box" and "apartment home theater options". Hardly the type of fare that anyone who knows anything about audio would be eager to read. There was one article on a custom home theater room (now we're getting somewhere) where the owner designed the whole thing himself and it looked beautiful (maybe I prejudged this magazine). The owner then revealed that he didn't really care about sound so he installed low budget speakers and installed sound dampening boards on the walls wherever it looked good. That's right, he admitted he knew about, but didn't bother to check, first or second-order reflections and just put them where the decor permitted. He probably just made his room worse. Why was this published? Is this supposed to serve as a testimonial or advice for others?

Then I started reading the reviews. Schlock. HT went through the trouble of printing the measurements they took, I guess to attempt to show they knew what they were talking about. Speaker readings across the listening spectrum are supposed to be flat lines (hence the term "flat response" you hear when discussing high quality speakers). In one review, the graph looked like a combination of the Alps and Marilyn Monroe, yet the speakers got rave reviews because they played loud. That's right. They played loud. So what if you aren't hearing anything close to what you're supposed to? I guess that's not important any more.

Needless to say these slick advertisements masquerading as an a/v publication went straight into my trash. I could go on and on about other reivews, but I'll spare you. I'm disappointed that two magazines by the same company could be at such extremes of the spectrum. Terrible, just terrible.

Posted by pinkerton at March 13, 2005 5:23 PM