Defunct Audio, home theatre and music web sites of note.

Defunct Audio, home theatre and music web sites of note.

American Wired (USA)

Monthly webzine that started and ended its run in 2006. Its content was the usual gamut of reviews of mid and high end audio and home theatre products, alongside music and film reviews, industry interviews and the usual opinion pieces. The zine was in some ways a needed update to the usual hi-fi magazines since the music covered was more modern than the usual 60's and 70's dinosaur rock we have to endure from most of the hi-fi press, the sites graphics were also more adventurous than the norm although not always successful and it also had some lifestyle articles which is a feature that may not seem obvious to the hardened audiophile but it does appeal to the younger gearheads.

Sadly American Wired suffered from some rather tripe and at times myopic writing and it only lasted for 4 issues, a bit odd in some ways since the magazine had plenty of advertisers unlike most such web hi-fi upstarts that have had real problems finding sponsors for their sites. AW was published by a company called Mad Tosh Media that was based in Teneck in New Jersey, USA..

Audiophile Meeting Point (Czech Republic)

Audiophile internet site founded in the Czech republic in 1998 by Jirí Michálek, referred to itself as a webzine but was initially basically a Czech language information and propaganda site with information and links to Czech distributors and manufacturers of high end audio equipment plus articles explaining basic hi-fi technology and gentle reminders to readers that Czechs could manufacture hi-fi products just as well as those foreign brands could.

AMP gradually became a quite interesting resource with reviews of high end equipment with translations of some of these were available in English, it also featured editorial articles most of which were written by Mr. Michálek himself, a forum and a popular small ads section for high end audio products only, but after a lively 2003 everything went quiet in 2004 and in January 2005 Mr. Michálek announced that the site would be closed down. (Norway)

Norwegian site/company founded in the year 2000 by Stian Gårdsvoll, initially as a hi-fi portal complete with discussion groups and free small ad section on top of news and articles. The discussion groups and small ads never took off since there were already two such sites well entrenched in Norway so the site was redeveloped in 2004 and from then on functioned more as a magazine replacement with very active news and review sections with a smattering of general articles in-between, the review part in particular being notable since the quality of the reviews was way above what we are accustomed to from websites.

Very lively around 2005 but starts to slow down around 2007 and later that year is taken over by Karl Erik Sylthe, who for a time bought some life back into the site with a re-design and the addition of an English language section. Appeared active until about 2010 when it went mostly offline, the company still exists and is listed as being owned or run by Trond Sæther who was one of the main reviewer on the site from 2004 onwards but there appears to be no activity.

Audio Video (USA)

A web site set up in December 1996 by writer Ann Turner, she was a long time contributor to the The Absolute Sound and had been the prime mover to get the magazine to set up a web page and in the end Ms. Turned ended up designing and updating the TAS website pretty much single handedly for the first couple of years, she then recycled the TAS website look when she set up, but despite the name the site was not intended to become a magazine or to compete with TAS in any way, but rather an index of audio manufacturers in addition to publishing sundry audio and home theatre writings by Ann and her partner Roman Zajcew.

The site also tried to exploit avenues that TAS and other high end magazines decided not to take such as selling small ads and the like but sadly Ms. Turner was diagnosed with clear cell carcinoma in 1998 and passed away on December 13 the same year before anything could be developed further and the site was closed down shortly thereafter.

AVSurvey (USA)

An USA based site that represents one of the earliest attempts at fully automatic crowdsourcing on the web. Started in 1995 or thereabouts as AudioSurvey and was either a continuation of one of the audio equipment mail order buyers guide FAQ's that were distributed on the Usenet or created by someone that simply had the idea of taking one of these and creating an automatic WWW version of it.

Basically you were given a list of USA based audio retailers and given the option to rate your experiences with that dealer, to add brands listed for each dealer and add new dealers, leave comments on your experience with that dealer and so on, this was mostly automatic unlike sites like Yahoo and DMOZ that around this time required more human interaction. Later options were added to rate manufacturers and other sites and so on but development stopped by 2000 and the site was taken down in the latter half of 2002. While the site was never very popular it is interesting to note that there where more comments by an order of magnitude left on the site in the months just before it closed than there were around 2000 when the site was still being actively developed.

Stereo411 (USA)
Audio and home theatre directory site run from the USA and believed to have been founded by a gentleman called James M. Jenkins in 1998 that formed a company around the site called Third Round Ventures LLC in 2002. Initially like so many other north American start-ups the site mimicked the business model of the then popular Audiogon site with a mix of dealer and makers listings alongside classified ads and like all those that have soon found that the audiophile small ads market is too small for more than one player.

Nonetheless the site became fairly popular ca. 2004 especially as a forum but has not been maintained for a few years even thou it is still up and the forum has been closed down. The site at one point in time was lively enough for us expect it to become one of the bigger audio related internet forums and it appeared to be offering one or 2 interactive options that have generally not been available from alternative sites but in the latter half of 2005 the moderators more or less stopped cleaning out spam and so on and in December of the same year the forum was simply taken offline and the site has languished since.

Defuct music websites of note

Absolute Jazz
USA based Jazz music website, it actually called itself a magazine and had coverage similar to traditional jazz rag but was structured like a website. Believed to have been started up in 1995 and very active for a time but by the late 1990's it was more or less stale and had diappeared altogether by 2002. Editor was jazz saxophonist Ian Ritchie.


Classical label and web music magazine launched in 2001 in New York, USA with a whole lot of fanfare including a star studded press conference at the Salzburg Summer Festival, despite being based in the USA most of the company’s founders appear to have been French. The magazine part of the operation basically emulated the printed classical music press and is probably the most ambitious attempt at a subscription based web only magazine to date.

The label on the other hand specialised in releasing historical recordings, these ranged from archive material from the 1920’s and 30’s lifted off 78's to live recordings from the 50’s and 60’s licensed from state owned European radio stations. The operation was sold to French classical music label Naïve label but technical issues with the server operation meant that by 2005 the magazine part of the operation was in trouble and Naïve stopped financing new CD releases that year and in 2006 closed the operation down altogether. They have kept some of the back catalogue in print however.

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