pay a visit to your typical indian newsagent and you would have a hard time finding where they put their hifi magazines. they are always located at one inconspicuous corner where magazine of less "importance" are. even when you do find them, there is at most one or two copies available. such is the sad state of hifi magazines in malaysia.

most of the times, these magazines are left unsold and they would be sent to the 2nd hand bookshops, like the one in amcorp mall, and be sold at 1/3 of its original price. even at that price, there are not many takers. the best selling hifi magazine in malaysia, as far as i know, is taiwan's "audio art", which is absolutely one of the best in the world in terms of photography, sheer volume of articles and intellectual contents.

fact it, today's audiophiles are no longer reading hardcopy hifi magazines, save for the very few minority hardcore readers. there are many reasons for this phenomenon, chief of which are the widely available internet resources and lack of credible reviewers.

but many local dealers argue that those who read from internet are not the real buyers. real buyers are those who still read hifi magazines. i could understand where they are coming from but i feel that the internet readers and buyers alike would boom in the next 3-5 years in malaysia, judging from the awareness of local dealers and audiophile community towards online hifi resources. a case in point, local hifi trading blog, hifi4sale, has somewhat "forced" even the most internet-handicapped dealers/audiophiles to go online and post their 2nd hand items for sale. this is a very encouraging sign indeed.

many hifi magazines are barely surviving, with diminished readership, eventho their advertising revenue are still stable. many manufacturers still want the distributor to allocate a certain budget for advertising in hardcopy hifi magazines. in the end, you may end up with hifi magazines that no ones want to read or bother to buy and take it home. and this is already happening today.

it is with this awakening thought that i have decided to suspend my av xpress infinitely and concentrate solely on my blog.


J.Lee said...

Well ,for me I still consult most of major Magazines before an upgrade.

However,I only look at Hifi+ and Stereophiles these days.As for internet resources,I still feel the level of responsibility is not as high,and would read with a pinch of salt;certainly I do not really trust what is being discussed in AA and Audiogon.YMMV

loh said...

Ditto for me..

When it comes to crunch I find that 6moon,positive feedback and most internet-based publications tend ti 'inflate'the positives.i find R.gregory and and the Stereophile teams ' review more reassiuring

Anonymous said...

Maggie, I think you'd be wiser to pour all your creative resources in to this blog space.

AV Express is mainly a re-print of this blogs musings anyway!

Not much point if you ask me!

I still subscribe to Stereophile, and will occasionally buy Hi-Fi +, Hifi Choice and the Absolute Sound.

Most of my buying decisions are refered(other than certain knowledgable si-fus!) to mostly on line resources, mainly again, Stereophile, 6 Moons, Ultra Audio, Positive Feedback, Stereo Times and AV Reviews.

Mark Wieman said...

I think Stereophile has the best model right now. They print an issue, then (within weeks) they add the majority of its contents to their web site, which is free and ad-supported.

Within five years, print-only magazines will transition to digital distribution. By then, most audiophiles will expect online versions to be available. Also, the economics of printing and shipping will become even more of a burden than they are now.

Personally, I am looking forward to this change because I think it will lead to better access to high-quality reviews for everyone. Although there are currently many sources of trustworthy and insightful reviews on the web, I do think the average quality of reviews in traditional print publications is higher.

Mark Wieman

Jules said...

Mr Wieman's points are pretty valid.Stereophile 's models of publications are really quite outstanding.having said that ,I find that they tend to review mainly mainstream products from large manufacturers.

That is why Hi-Fi + is such a breath of fresh air;and Roy Gregory IMO has the best reviewing ears.

As far as Internet resources are concerned ,I look at most of them but trust very few..Srajan Ebaen?No thanks...I''ll go for John Atkinson anyday

Anonymous said...

If I only want mainstream products (ie manufacturers with big advertising budgets), I will read Stereophile, and TAS as that's what they are meant for. However, I believe that there are much better value-for-money products with the same quality or not better, from companies who choose to use the less expensive but not less successful internet medium to promote themselves, and thus re-divert their advertising budget to better use.
Also, Stereophile, TAS and the likes solely confined themselves to US brands most of the time, and by reading them only, you are cutting off a big segment of the high-end manufacturers out their in Europe, Japan, Taiwan and China.
They are not in Stereophile not because they are not big, but because they are not sold or well distributed in US.
Sorry, I will trust my google search on the internet more so than the likes of Stereophile and major trade mags.

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

well said, mark.

i guess i am a totally different type of audiophile. i don't read reviews. i read intellectual discourse and musings from my fave writers.

some friends responded to this article and told me that they still read hifi magazines regularly so i guess i am wrong.

maybe i am too cynical ;-)

Anonymous said...

Read what you can but trust your ears. Then buy what you like.

Alan Sircom said...

I write reviews for both online and print publications in the UK; currently Hi-Fi Choice, HiFi+ and Home Cinema Choice in print and AV Review online. I also edit an online photocommunity publication called ThinkCamera.

Given the choice, I would prefer to write for - and read - paper reviews, simply because they are not subject to the same strictures that beset online. To make words truly successful online means becoming handmaiden to Google - repeating the product name in full every hundred words or so, keeping sentences short and trying to stay somewhere between 300-1,000 words. Which is why printed media do not transfer well to online unless they are 're-subbed' to be more Google-chummy.

This does not sit comfortably with products that - by their very nature - demand a more leisurely approach to listening and a more existentialist review form. Even 6moons and the like suffer from the need to keep things Google-simple, because very few of those long-form 6moons reviews are as long-form (long-winded?) as the equivalent TAS, Stereophile or HiFi+ write-up.

Yes, magazines have taken a marked downturn in recent years in all sectors (not simply hi-fi). But we still haven't found a model that can provide an outlet that ticks both the SEO and the engaged-reader boxes yet.

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

wow, mr. alan sircom dropped by!

alan, fully agreed with your views.

i would like to point out that the readership of the most popular hifi magazine in malaysia is only 500+, definitely below the 1k mark.

that's how pathetic the situation is.

Ken said...


Where do you get the number of 500+ hifi mag readers? Do you have any proof? How do you know what is the subscription rate of foreign hifi mags?

maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

do you want to engage an audit bureau and do the check with me?

how do i know? because i am in this industry!

Ken said...


I hope you don't think I am being confrontational but I seriously cannot agree with your assertion that there are only 500+ readers out there.

Your answer is because you are in the industry is just not good enough. Unless you can tell me that Stereophile or any other hifi mags (english or any otherwise) pass some info to you on how many Msian readers subscribes to their mag.

Asking me to do an audit bureau with you shows that you base it on "word of mouth", rather than actual figures. If there is so little readers, Malaysian hifi industry would have been dead and buried ages ago.

Alan Sircom said...

Many UK and US magazines have their monthly figures ratified by the Audited Bureau of Circulations.

The ones that can be freely found online at the relevant sites are as follows:

Stereophile (US): 75,875
What Hi-Fi? (UK): 59,147
Hi-Fi News (UK): 11,353
Hi-Fi Choice (UK): 10,013

Other publishing houses do not put their titles up for audit, but not necessarily their figures are low, but because the cost of audit makes it difficult for small companies to justify the process.