I am enjoying this thread as it relates to concerns I have as well. Just a brief background - I e-mailed Bob a couple of weeks ago about the ST-120 and received a prompt and informative reply. Now if only I can sell a couple of things so I can buy one!
The mainstream audio mags. (read Stereophile, Absolute Sound etc.) and on-line reviewers are suspect as far as I am concerned. Bob is right. It is extremely hard to get something reviewed unless it's been advertised in their mags. And I'll take it a step further. Do these reviews have any relevance? What are the reviewers backgrounds? When I inquire on this subject, I get " I have been listening to music all my life and I attend concerts all the time." No electrical theory background, just purely subjective nonsense that "proves" huge differences in linear electrical devices. Of course, they wouldn't get advertisers if they didn't come up with something good. When was the last time you read a scathing review of a completely over-engineered 5W SET amp that costs $15,000? Not when it's advertised with the reviewers.
Sustainable audio is a wonderful concept. I have been caught in the upgrade or trade-up treadmill and I want to get off. And yes, the advertisers are slick; they make you feel that you need this or else. They completely play into the audiophile insecurity issues. Are the new models that much better? Remember amplifier technology has been around for a hundred years, so I figure that most designers have some idea what they are doing. "Mind boggling stereo image, more liquid midrange, better control in the bass" and so on are the cries of the advertisers. Maybe all it takes is a few modern upgrades from a good, but somewhat flawed design like the Dynacos to have sustainable audio. And at a decent price. I have been searching the internet for some time now, trying to find the "good guys". There aren't that many, at least those whose judgement you can trust. And with the demise of the high end audio salons, getting to hear audio equipment is becoming more difficult. Quite often, buying something unheard is the only way to go.
Let's seriously pay more attention to the idea ofsustainable audio and give credit to the Bob Latino's of the world for providing a means to do so.
Bill Irvin, Taos, NM