By John E. Johnson, Jr.
Well! We had no idea that we would receive so much response to our little startup publication Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity in cyberspace. We assumed that, even though this is the first audio/video magazine to be published primarily in electronic format (as far as we know), and the material contained within it is conventional, the responses would also be conventional. No such luck.
Most correspondence was supportive, but there were also some "flames". I suppose that regular paper-printed magazines also receive such comments by mail, but the editor has the discretion of throwing them in the wastebasket when they are particularly derisive. No can do when the publication is on forums and electronic bulletin boards. All the laundry is there, dripping wet, for everyone to see and comment on. We will be making changes in the magazine as it grows and incorporates some of the constructive remarks put to us by readers.
Although eventually we will have the funds to purchase extensive electronic testing equipment, we still are currently offering our publication free to readers on the Net, and a negative cash flow is not conducive to obtaining this equipment. We started out with the plan to pay outside engineers to perform some tests for us, but since we cannot afford to have a complete array of tests made at this time, we have now decided to wait until we can have our own testing equipment. So, for the time being, we will develop the magazine using "auricles" for the most part. Unless otherwise stated, specifications will be those which are given by the manufacturer in their data sheets, or information that we have requested from them that is not specifically mentioned in their data sheets. The bottom line in our reports will be how the equipment looks (video) or sounds (audio), in our humble opinions. Several other magazines use auricles as a primary basis for their published equipment reviews, and even though it is the performance in the eyes and ears of the tester that carries the final weight, we do feel that eventually, there will need to be some numbers to go along with the opinions.
We have just completed a new laboratory in San Francisco for testing audio and video components. It was constructed with fiberglass insulation in the walls, floor, and ceiling. There are no windows, the floor is wall-to-wall carpeted, and the ceiling has been designed with a trapezoidal shape to help reduce standing waves. Although we own some of the reference components, and some are on loan, they are all movable. The cables were another matter, however, since we wanted to place them in the walls and under the rug as permanent fixtures. We chose Nordost Flatline Red Dawn for this purpose because of its astounding sonic performance (see Volume 2, Number 1, 1995). We have additional cables of varying brands for use with components when we don't have enough of the permanent cable connections.
Each new magazine issue will now be published in sections - with reviews and articles posted as they are finished - because numerous subscribers have specified that their electronic bulletin board newsreaders truncate the full sized file (120 kB). Each section will be labeled as in the following example: Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity, Volume 2, Number 2a, 1995, or Number 2b, 2c, etc. The last section in an issue will be labeled as such, and if you missed a section, please contact us at 76055.2216@Compuserve.Com and ask to be sent the specific sections you are missing. On the service provider forums (i.e., CompuServe, AOL), the entire file will be posted in one piece once it is complete, since the problem of file size does not occur in such cases.
The rejection rate (remember that we decided not to publish reviews when they would be negative in their overall content) has risen to 41%.
As soon as we can (again, it is only money), we will be going with a Web site where you will be able to see the publication with graphics. We will continue to place a text-only version on forums and Usenet bulletin boards for a while.
John E. Johnson Jr.
© Copyright 1995, 1996, 1997 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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