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The power of the press.

A

adam

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It amazes me that on these forums,members critisize the press,especially what hifi?magazine and it's reviews,but i've had customers who will buy exactly what they say,and have given 5 stars too,it if got 4 stars,they don't want it.Today was a classic example.

I had a young guy phone up,he rolled of a list of QED cables,all what hifi? winners,and a cable called brilliance,which I noticed had a 5 star review aswell,the rest was B&W 805 S exellent choice,and a Primare,can't remember which model number it was,but it sounded the classic what hifi? 5 star system.

It just drilled home to me just how important and weighty this magazine is,and how buyers take it as written in stone,while on here we tend to laugh at it,they close there minds to your recommendations,the magazine is now avaliable in Spain,and I'm pleased I advertise in it.

 

meninblack

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A lot of people who don't know any better think that these What xxxxxx? magazines are authoritative. Some of that is surely driven by the deliberate (IMO) name confusion with the Consumers Association and their excellent Which? guides.

I've been a victim myself: my first "proper" system was a Cyrus CD player and integrated amp, Quad 11L's on some 5* stands and cabled with QED SA and Chord Cobra.

Did it sound good? Er, no.
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harv

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meninblack wrote:

A lot of people who don't know any better think that these What xxxxxx? magazines are authoritative. Some of that is surely driven by the deliberate (IMO) name confusion with the Consumers Association and their excellent Which? guides.
When I first started getting into hifi my main source of info was What hifi, didn't everyone else start with that mag too? :Not Sure: yes I think its a poor mag now but at the time when I didn't know anything it was more then useful... if it encourages more people to buy their 5* winners then go into comet or currys and buy a rubbish mini system...its got to be a good thing
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wolfgang

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Jul 29, 2005
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Adam,

The printed mags do hold a great influence on our hobby. However that is not the most impressive example. I would take people acceptance of the audiophile-wonder-cables and 'green pen' effects as greater example of how great are the influences.

Also just because most editors refusal to believe in proper listening test like controlled comparisons test, eventhough these were accepted practise in virtually all other fields like food and drinks, we also see the rest of the public mimicking their beliefs and even qouting the same rubbish and nonsenses why these were not a useful practise. The press are indeed the reason why this hobby have stuck in past with painfully slow real progress. We have only ourself to blame to be honest. IMHO.

 

Davewhityetagain

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adam wrote:

It amazes me that on these forums,members critisize the press,especially what hifi?magazine and it's reviews,but i've had customers who will buy exactly what they say,and have given 5 stars too,it if got 4 stars,they don't want it.Today was a classic example.I had a young guy phone up,he rolled of a list of QED cables,all what hifi? winners,and a cable called brilliance,which I noticed had a 5 star review aswell,the rest was B&W 805 S exellent choice,and a Primare,can't remember which model number it was,but it sounded the classic what hifi? 5 star system.

It just drilled home to me just how important and weighty this magazine is,and how buyers take it as written in stone,while on here we tend to laugh at it,they close there minds to your recommendations,the magazine is now avaliable in Spain,and I'm pleased I advertise in it.
not so much power of the press, but more stupidity ofsome customers

 

enjoy_the_music

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Yes i agree totally.

You cannot say people are stupid though its a bit harsh...when i was 21 and buying the first bit of hifi in Superfi i ate every word they said and clutched my What Hifi? like it was the bible :green:

Soon after i realised the depth of my sadness and affliction and discovered the internet and eBay...and funnily i used the US forums until only 6 months ago when i joined PFM and the HIFIWIGWAM.

I guess in the early days, or for those who arent really saddos like me, the mags can be quite useful.

However it does breed a narrow-mindedness that sometimes overspills into my auctions...particularly when i sell the Technics SP-10 mk3 turntables and people ask 'how much the a DJ turntable...you must be having a joke!'

 

rockmeister

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everyone has to start somewhere on the path to gaining knowledge, little grasshopper.

I bet there's not onbe smart arse here who hasn't once read a good mag review and thought...I'll have that then. Do we get wiser as we get older...not reaslly, just our own opinions seem (in some cases) to become 'right', but I'm still not so cocky that I'd say "I'm right, you're wrong" about equipment reviews etc. I might say "I think my taste is different", but that's not the same is it?

 

The Hifi Gallery

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rockmeister wrote:

everyone has to start somewhere on the path to gaining knowledge, little grasshopper.I bet there's not onbe smart arse here who hasn't once read a good mag review and thought...I'll have that then. Do we get wiser as we get older...not reaslly, just our own opinions seem (in some cases) to become 'right', but I'm still not so cocky that I'd say "I'm right, you're wrong" about equipment reviews etc. I might say "I think my taste is different", but that's not the same is it?
excellent post

 

griffo104

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I think most of us have made the what Hifi? mistake - I know I have, which is why us old heads tend to mock it.

As others have mentioned here I treated like the bible as well, and my first few demos were all based on 5* ratings. My disappointment nearly put me off hifi.

But with hindsight my gripe isn't so much with the mag but the dealers - all of who had the What hifi? tags littered around their showroom. Few, if any, gave me advice and I'm sure they see someone walking in with a what hifi? or listing the 5* components and think 'easy sale time'.

It wasn't until I went to Griffin Audio in Brum that I actually had a good chat with the guy in there who actually asked me what I listened to, what I want to hear before taking me into the basement to listen to some gear. Not surprisingly I bought what I heard there.

I have never bought What Hifi? since that moment.

 
A

adam

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I don't mind what hifi at all really,I think it's an exellent magazine to get people started and on the first rung,i dont like it TV coverage,which is just plain daft,and how one things is 5 stars then becomes 4 a few weeks later confuses readers and at the samr time disapoints them,as they were told how good it was,to then be told it has a few weaknesses.

But going back to yesterday,just when he mentioned all thoes QED cables,i knew he was just picking 5 star cables from what hifi?and when he asked for Brilliance,I was 100%sure as I had just read it review....shame it will be 4 stars in 6 months when the latest wonder cable pops along.

It's a good magazine to advertise in,as you get a good response,even though the UK may be weary,I feel there are new markets that still want to embrace good audio products,as in Spain,where I live in Andalucia apart from Malaga there arn't really any hifi shops.

 

saab

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Why do you all assume its a 'What HiFi mistake'? What makes everyone on the forums more authorative than a reviewer who works full time listening to gear? What Hifimay well get many reviews right,they may well be helping many non-geeks who can't arsed todem,in which case they are likely to think anything sounds better than their Akai all-in-one.

They serve a purpose and this sort of holier-than-thou thread appears regularly in the forums.It seems many forum users get over inflated ideas about their own knowledge which suddenly becomes greater than the reviewers of What HiFi simply because its not 'audiophile'.I am sure many journalists in these mags are more than capable of holding their own when it comes to understanding what constitutes a good or bad review.

The HiFi press as a whole suffer all the time in the forums,and this doesn't happen in golf or cars,they are respected and openly debated in a rational manner.Yet when in comes to Hifi everyone knows better.

 
A

Alex A

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When I got my first system (age 15) I went into the dealer having read one edition of WHF - having a very basic Marantz amp and Mission 771e speakers in mind. The chap dismissed those (although they sold them) and instead sent me off with a NAD C520, part ex Pioneer A400 and a pair of B&W DM601 S2 speakers. And boy am I glad I took his advice. We still have all of those things in the house, and that Pioneer amp pisses over pretty much any Budget (<£500) amp I've heard including the NAD C372 and Roksan Kandy WHF bum boy favorites
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I then bought an MF CD player long after WHF decided to stop aknowledging the fact that MF exist, and a pair of Monitor Audio Studio 2SE speakers which WHF 3 starred (yet recommended strongly by the dealer). Never sold them either, they are tiny and a lot better than the 'successor' GR10s imo.

After having my WHF garnered opions shattered so easily by some on the fly dealer recommendations, I decided they really do fk all to genuinely test out the kit. The lesson? The uninitiated must have faith in their dealer.

 
A

adam

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Saab,your getting the wrong end of the stick,well from me any way,the point I was trying to make is someone buys very exspensive B&W speakers,Primare amps,then wires it up on 5 star reviews,if you was spending that sort of money wouldn't you want to listen to it first?I would.

 

Tons of Fun

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saab wrote:

Why The HiFi press as a whole suffer all the time in the forums,and this doesn't happen in golf or cars,they are respected and openly debated in a rational manner.Yet when in comes to Hifi everyone knows better.
The big difference with regards to say cars is that I do not on the strength of recomendation buy my chassis from Honda, my engine from BMW, transmission from Mercedes Benz etc and expect them to work seamlessly together.

I think the gripe here is not the individual recomendations but the natural habit for customers and others to group these components together and hope for the best. For example, our Cambridge 640Cv2 is still the sub £500 CD player of choice for WHF. Pair it with the sub £500 amp of choice (Rotel RA-05) and the result is bloody horrible (we've tried) and far less than the sum of the parts. There is nothing wrong with either component and they can both be excellent in the correct context but if the customer makes the natural choice of using the two five star award winners together, they will be £600 worse off with a poor soundingsystem.

In fairness to WHF andHFC, they review systems on a semi regular basis and these offer a far better pointer to the customer aboutwhere they mightwant to look- not least because the speakersare picked bythe manufacturer rather than the mag.

 
A

Alex A

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Unlike a lot of people here, though, I do value certain other audio magazines and their respective contributors, whom I've often found very honest and spot on with their reviews. Of course my experiences will not always correlate with theirs, but it's all subjective.

saab, WHF is good for getting people into this hobby, I suspect it's also good at misguiding a great deal of people into spending a lot of money on the wrong thing, and upgrading/sidegrading too often. I'm sure their reviewers can hold their own, but it is the style and direction of the magazine that I find offensive. The perpetual sense of improvement which quite simply doesn't exist (certainly not at the pace implied by WHF).

 

Borats Baby

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Paul wrote:

rockmeister wrote:
everyone has to start somewhere on the path to gaining knowledge, little grasshopper.I bet there's not onbe smart arse here who hasn't once read a good mag review and thought...I'll have that then. Do we get wiser as we get older...not reaslly, just our own opinions seem (in some cases) to become 'right', but I'm still not so cocky that I'd say "I'm right, you're wrong" about equipment reviews etc. I might say "I think my taste is different", but that's not the same is it?
excellent post
seconded !!

 

Borats Baby

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I'd just add that I've never bought a piece of equipment because it had a good review or 5 stars in WHF etc.

Only because I've always been skint though
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If I'dhad loads of money, then yes, I probably would have done.

I'm happy that I was, and still am, skint !!

ps, my hi fi sounds fantastic to my ears and I dont care what a reviewer would say if he/she were to have a listen. They'd probably rip it to pieces anyway..

BB

 

saab

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Sep 28, 2005
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Sorry,but why do you think these things don't exist? The mag obviously do,and its their right to print it,as its yours to find their opinions offensive,which seems a little ott if you don't mind me saying so. They advise on upgrades and you find this offensive because you don't believe it,fine,but many others doand as for the previous post about a 5star system,what is wrong with that? Chances are the things audiophiles look for in a system are a million miles away from someone who just wants a system to 'sound good' which invariably their 5star systems will to those not involved in the hobby.

In short,What HiFi is as vital to Hifi as any other mag,it fills a role allowing others to exist.As in any other market,those that serve entry level as as important to those that serve the high-end,they can't exist without each other.

I am not after a flamer,I am just suggesting that the sometimes condecending way the forums treat the press is a little like chopping off the hands that feed you.They are a vital part of this hobby,and with dealers going bust all over the country we need them more than ever,particulalry What HiFi.These people can encourage buyers into shops,without them,whats left,Empire Direct selling Naim? Thats where we are heading.

 

enbee23

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I'm lucky. I read my first copy of WHF when I was 13 and had no money.

Read it on and off over the next few years and by the time I got my first kit at 18, I was a little less starry-eyed and had a (tiny) bit of perspective on the whole thing.

As years passed, I read more widely, listened to as many systems as possible and went to dealers with any friends or relatives that were auditioning stuff and just did my best to hear as much kit as possible. It quickly became obvious that the best reviewed gear did NOT always sound best so I learned to read between the lines and take the whole thing with an enormous pinch of salt etc.

I think that WHF was the "starter" magazine for most of us and now that we're more "experienced" and have been on the upgrade path a while, it is easy to rubbish it (WHF) and put it down as being beneath us. IMHO, it serves a purpose and good luck to it. There always needs to be an entry level.