TAS has not looked at Ayre's new stuff...the MX-R and KX-R..but jump on other unknowns...why not check out the new Ayre stuff...it seems to be excellent...
TAS would rather talk about Soulution. A product that what may sell maybe 20 pieces total in US at $40k but probably less.
That way very few readers can also listen to it and question the review.
How many pieces of audio gear priced at $25K or more are sold in the US in a year? $50k or more?
Shenandoah Valley, VA
Great conspiracy theory. Did you also happen to know if Aliens landed in Roswell by the way?
I thought TAS has made it pretty clear they're about products that approach THE ABSOLUTE SOUND... regardless of where they might be built.. the US of A, Germany, or even China.
If you're claiming Ayre's performance approaches that of Soulution, then bring it on... provide some background to that effect. Why focus on the product origin. That borders on bigotry!
Let me take the opportunity to refer to my response to Jonathan Valin's blog "Transparent System: Further Thoughts on MartinLogan CLXes, Soulution electronics, Da Vinci turntable/arm" published in December 2008.
Ayre certainly makes some excellent products. You should know that due to production contraints, high demand, limitations on the number of review samples available, changes in product plans, internal policies and other reasons, manufacturers sometimes elect not to supply product for review. We agree with you in that we'd generally like to review more Ayre product in TAS than we have recently. The addition of HiFi+ to our group of publications can help with this -- the Ayre KXR preamp for example is reviewed in Issue 62 of HiFi+, and the MXR amps were covered in Issue 51 of HiFi+, receiving a Product of the Year award in Issue 54. All HiFi+ reviews will be available on AVGuide.com in the future.
On the other hand, the notion that TAS ignores US companies is patently absurd. We have consistently covered brands such as Audio Research, VTL, Krell, conrad-johnson, Magnepan, Parasound, Mark Levinson, Pass Labs, PS Audio, martin-logan, Wilson, Definitive, McIntosh, Vandersteen, Sunfire and many many others. We don't cover them, however, because they are US-based, but because they make good products.
Similarly, most of what we review are products from established high-end manufacturers, with solid distribution. That is a concious effort because we assume most readers would like to listen to product before they buy, and want local support. But occasionally we find something from an "unknown" that seems to merit review. If we don't cover such products, we support the stagnation of the industry. If you go back to 1970, every name on the list above, except McIntosh, was an "unknown" or a "non-existent". At that time, the well-known US high-end brands would have included, in addition to McIntosh, names like Marantz, Fisher, Scott, KLH, Acoustic Research, Harman-Kardon, Klipsch, Bose, and Shure among others. If Harry and his team had limited themselves to that group it would not have served the readers.
CEO and Editorial Director, Nextscreen LLC
I agree that only the best products should be reviewed. On the other hand there should be a stronger effort to focus on whether the product has suitable representation in the US...or any market. That is particularly important when considering spending more than $5000 on a given component. Do they stock parts, do the have trained/experienced service personnel available...or at least freely make schematics/parts available to their customers/users. Do they have a credible sales network of those who sell...and then help the buyer properly set up the component in a buyers room. While this is critical to getting the most from a loudspeaker...I believe that it is also relevent for electronics...they need cables...perhaps isolation or not...being fed by properly electrical circuits/power conditioning. Then review the product. Prior to that happening I don't think a product should be reviewed...but in today's world new items are often hyped...then reviewed. In reading TAS's CES post a new speaker is raved about....in terms that imply that its better than the recently reviewed Wilson Alexandria...the implication is that this speaker is a break through hailing a new era of audio heaven...I suspect its good but also suspect that evolution is a better term....just some thoughts.
As I said, the reason we review mainly established brands is to ensure that products have solid distribution. Solid distribution means they have geographic coverage, trained salespeople, parts availability and a history of being trustworthy. As price goes up, geographic coverage becomes more difficult (there just aren't that many markets that can support demonstration of $100k products).
We have said this before, but since you reference the issue, it bears repeating: no listening report from a show constitutes a review and it certainly isn't a substitute for a full review. The amount of time available and the system constraints (unfamiliar ancillary equipment, unfamiliar room, noise in the environment) make this impossible and impractical.
I believe JV's point about the new era was that recently (last two years or so) there have been numerous products released that are at a new level, not that the Magico M5 was the start of that new level. As to whether the new level is heaven or evolution will be in the ear of the beholder. For some it will be both.