Begin at the Beginning

Who are you?

I’m Al Griffin, the new editor of Sound & Vision magazine. While readers might know my name from the Ask S&V column and from product reviews, my involvement with the magazine actually spans back to its formation. Let’s begin at the beginning.

But before I do that, let me first extend thanks to my friend Rob Sabin, Sound & Vision’s former editor-in-chief, for his stewardship of the S&V brand over the past five years. A man of many talents, Rob’s experience includes editorial work, AV custom installation, and marketing. Rob has opted to pursue a new business venture, and I wish him all the best for the future.

Okay, back to me. My career in AV publishing started in earnest when I was hired as an associate editor at Home Theater magazine. The first product I reviewed for that mag was a Pioneer laserdisc player, which gives you an idea of how long I’ve been at this stuff. Next was a short stint at Video magazine -- a title that was merged with Stereo Review to form Sound & Vision, where I served first as a senior editor, and then as technical editor. When Sound & Vision eventually joined forces with Home Theater in 2013, I continued my work with the magazine as a columnist and reviewer.

What makes me qualified to be editor? Aside from my long association with the mag, there’s little separation between my world and the one you see in S&V’s pages. My main hobbies are listening to music and watching movies, and I can’t remember a day when the situation was any different. In my free time, you’ll find me either catching up on the latest rock, indie, electronic, jazz, and classical music releases, or checking out movies on disc and in theaters. Like many of you, I’m deeply concerned with sound and image quality, and regularly tweak my home systems to improve their presentation.

What changes will come to Sound & Vision with me at the helm? I plan to devote more space to covering music streaming and related gear. I also plan to add reviews of affordable stereo components to round out the mag’s crack coverage of surround sound. The Entertainment section will get more in-depth coverage of classic movie and music titles, and the Features section will see more in-depth coverage of new AV technologies. And those are just a few of the enhancements I have in mind. Is there something in particular you would like to see more of in S&V? Drop me a line at and let me know your thoughts!

drny's picture

I fully understand your desire to cover the latest and greatest in cost effective gear. However, I caution against following the CNET and Digital Trends customer base. Additionally, I suggest you don't veer into the world of content material (read music and movies).
I myself was introduce to Stereo review in 1978, my freshman year in College.
I do enjoy "My music" from late sixties, and seventies. Mainly for nostalgic reasons.
But have no interest in S&V utilizing valuable space on interviews with artist, or commenting on pop music (Rock in all variations is pop music by the way).
Your readers eagerly await your reviews concerning Full Home Theater speaker systems, AV Receivers, headphones, TV Displays, Projectors, and other home automation gear. The latter is well cover by your competition, as such please keep giving us information and reviews on high quality Audio and Video gear that is somewhat affordable.
I personally thoroughly enjoyed Rob Sabin's tenure. That was not the case with his immediate predecessor who shall remain nameless, as he still contributes to S&V.

Congrats again Al. May you wisely use your platform to continue to deliver excellence in coverage of the A&V industry.

Rich67's picture

Review everything you said you were. Especially things like streaming and "Popular Music". They call it popular because that's the music to which most people are listening. (i.e that's what's paying the bills.) I enjoy the reviews of very high end projectors and speakers, but let's face the facts. Probably 90% of your readers have a big screen TV with a mid priced receiver and are probably still relying on 5.1.
I think your stated approach is appropriate for today's world of increasingly portable music. I for one am looking for an affordable streamer that can tune internet radio and pull from my computer through my network and stream all of the services. I will look forward to you reviewing an affordable component such as this to add to my modest system.

LDBetaGuy's picture

Congratulations, Ron! I certainly recognize your name from reading your very informative reviews and columns in various publications over the years.

I purposely let my Sound and Vision subscription lapse earlier this year after a published email exchange with the former editor. I always told myself that I would renew my subscription should an new editor ever be appointed; and here you are, a great choice! I’ll renew my subscription today.

I love your plans for the magazine, especially giving more in-depth coverage of classic movie titles and reviews of more affordable stereo components. I’m looking forward to the next issue!

LDBetaGuy's picture

Al, I'm sorry that I called you by the wrong name! That was the other guy!

FrodoBaggins's picture

In all seriousness, congratulations. I've been a fan of your work for years, here and at the other publications and websites that you've contributed to.

I'm bummed that I might not get to read your three articles each month at Soundstage and I really like your point of view so looking forward to seeing more of that in the content and here.

Good Luck

Tangential's picture

This means we will no longer have about 1000 articles bemoaning so-called 'Millenials'.

Al Griffin's picture
for the nice feedback! I will work hard to produce an informative and entertaining magazine and website. And no Millennial-bashing on my watch...
hk2000's picture

Yeah, but don't go overboard catering to them either. Congrats!

drny's picture

I'm eager to see how long until your re-focus leads to push back from advertisers.
We readers don't pay the bills at S&V. We are simply the target
audience your advertisers are trying to reach threw you.
The demographic market you reach is essential for your marketing team to "sell". For the entry level audio and video market (read $100-$1,000)
the competition is stiff. How many hits does CNET website compares to S&V. Probably 100 to 1 at least. S&V marketing strategy is likely to sell the advertisers on a reader base that upgrades every 3-5 years on mid to large ticket items (read $2,000-$10,000).
Be careful Al, or your soon will be getting calls and emails from your publisher in England. After all they want to see a good return on their purchase investment of S&V.
The concept of reaching a wider younger audience is all well and good, and actually necessary (us old boomers are retiring and income will be fixed, and one day will depart for the celestial listening and viewing room).
However right now and in the immediate future, committed audio and video enthusiasts over the age of 50 and under 70 do indeed spend far more on gear, and content material (read hard media and even paid streaming) than a 35 year old married man with two children.
I do support a broad spectrum inclusive approach in reaching out to your readers. Still,be careful, pushing entry level chevys and Toyotas doesn't work at an Audi dealership.
S&V is not a Mercedes level showroom in their product reviews and information distribution, but it sure ain't a Kia either.

vqworks's picture

Everyone seems polarized in one way or another these days. Sound & Vision has had a more or less digital and streaming lean and its sister publication, Analog Planet, has been nearly all analog (understandable, of course, given the name).

Al, it's great to see that you want to temper the streaming and surround reviews with stereo component reviews. Covering all budget categories and formats would be refreshing and it's what Sound & Vision's predecessor Stereo Review successfully did form many years. In recent years it has been somewhat disconcerting to witness products that were easily accessible through Amazon and big box stores but absent from reviews or not even mentioned. So definitely welcome the stereo components, including turntables (now more popular than streaming in the UK and always popular in Germany).

Esthlos13's picture

I frankly did not enjoy Rob’s condescending responses to many readers so looking forward to some new direction. A few thoughts 1) I don’t recall ever seeing a single review on room treatments. 2) meaningful articles on system building and paths would be welcome. 3) shootouts of 2-4 products at a time which may reflect what an actual consumer may be weighing. 4) more focus on usability of products. At the entry and even mid level the sound difference between products is not that great but living with how a product is designed is something everyone will experience. 5) room building and acoustics articles. 6) an online reference area so readers can research and learn what the heck bt2020 is and what it means to them. Your magazine isn’t tremendously technical but online resources could supplement the magazine. 7) please list country of manufacture in the reviews.


midmargary's picture

Al, I loved your "mission statement." Everything you plan to focus on appeals to me and seems to be an even better direction for SOUND & VISION to be moving. I love your emphasis on CLASSIC movies and pop music. Besides everything that is great about the magazine, I would love to see expanded coverage of personal high resolution music players, the so-called DAP players, which have changed the way I listen to music. And being an enthusiastic home theater owner with 4K projector, 120 inch screen, and all the related audio enhancements including Atmos, more reviews and product coverage in this arena would be appreciated. Anyway, welcome aboard and I love the direction you are taking the magazine.

boulderskies's picture

Congrats on your new role.

With absolutely no reflection on you, I'd like to say that I'm sorry to see Rob go. He was always communicative, receptive and respectful of my comments over the last five years.

I for one would like a little more detail on Rob's new venture if that doesnt violate and HR BS these days. There may be some of us who'd like to keep in touch with him.

Thank you and best of luck,

burbis's picture

I do like the last page of the mag featuring some outlandish piece of equipment. I wouldn't buy it, but it's fun to see, and I would never get a chance to see it otherwise. I have always thought the content of the magazine, price-wise, was in a good spot from a reality standpoint. I have always liked your Q&A column also. Best of luck!