– Audio Perfectionist Journal Crew Online

The only hifi and home theater reviewers/experts I trust, Richard Hardesty and Shane Buettner, have expanded their print magazine, Audio Perfectionist Journal, and moved its past and future articles that can’t fit in the Journal to the Critical Ear. The Critical Ear’s Mission:

Our intent is to give readers the information needed to extract every ounce of enjoyment and passion from this wonderful hobby and to make intelligent purchasing decisions on hardware and software. This is in contrast to the biased and/or misleading information presented in advertising-supported publications and from self-proclaimed experts on the Internet who disseminate misinformation for free. Our standing as consumer advocates dictates that we will act as watchdogs to alert consumers whenever we feel they are being misled.

The Critical Ear will offer in-depth feature articles of unparalleled quality that teach you how to get the most out of the hi-fi you have now, and we’ll review equipment that matters in a thorough, logical, and methodical fashion so you can not only purchase the best equipment, but purchase the equipment that represents the best value for any budget.

The Critical Ear is a subscription site. The $40 a year subscription grants access to their reviews of CD players, turntables, preamps, amps and loudspeakers plus hi-fi equipment classified ads. Audiogon has some new competition. Unfortunately, I can’t afford a subscription right now. I would love one because I missed the last few issues of the print Journal.

Any significant improvement I’ve made to my hi-fi and home theater hardware is the direct result of the expertise and advice of Mr. Buettner and Mr. Hardesty. After reading their easy to understand articles I’ve learned to:

  • Upgrade to time and phase correct loudspeakers, separate preamp and amp for the front channels, an inline passive crossover between the amp and subwoofer.
  • Hi-end audio and home theater can live in the same system with the addition of a transparent home theater bypass on your separate preamp.
  • Save money buying used and demo equipment (why their into the whole classified ads thing).
  • Focus my spending on the stereo front channels, surround processing and amplification can come second.


For a nominal fee you can learn audiophile tips, techniques and philosophies at the Critical Ear that will improve your hi-fi set up beyond what you thought possible.

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