slavedata

Do you trust magazine reviews

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1 minute ago, meninblack said:

Most magazines tread a fine line between pandering to their advertisers and pandering to their readers.  What Hi-Fi? relentlessly plug Cyrus - I naively bought a 5-star recommended system and it was pretty awful.

Similarly, What Car? relentlessly plug Audi, glossing over the fact that all of them are uncomfortable and most are pretty miserable to drive - but readers want to believe the myth of German supremacy, and VAG spend a load on advertising.

In spite of endless denials, I can't see how magazines can avoid effectively selling editorial to their advertisers. If I were spending thousands advertising with a particular magazine, I would EXPECT, and if not, demand some editorial coverage as a quid-pro-quo for all my advertising spend. 

Most mags will comply, even on the basis that they don't publish unfavourable reviews, so any review will be positive.

That's why I  think ALL subjective reviews without corresponding measurements are pointless.  Even in HFN, their measurements often  show that the subjective part is utter rubbish. If the reviewer genuinely heard what he wrote, he must have cloth ears, or just likes a crap sound.

S

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That review could have got him into a lot of trouble many many years ago! But here you go £58 to listen to something that borders on holy, cant be bad :D  I had a number of those speakers myself over the years. They not bad actually given the right pairing of amp, but they are budget speaker and I never felt that impressed by them whatever I fed them, so definitely not one I'd keep in the attic :)

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22 minutes ago, meninblack said:

Most magazines tread a fine line between pandering to their advertisers and pandering to their readers prejudices.  What Hi-Fi? relentlessly plug Cyrus - I naively bought a 5-star recommended system and it was pretty awful.

Similarly, What Car? relentlessly plug Audi, glossing over the fact that all of them are uncomfortable and most are miserable to drive - but readers want to believe the myth of German supremacy, and VAG spend a load on advertising.

I've got an Audi, I guess I've been influenced there as well :roll::) totally agree what an uncomfortable car, dont know why I've kept it 8 years, and as you say not great to drive. But if you ask me they are better cars than BMWs being simpler, whereas BMW I find over-engineer things. Well built yes, and even innovative and slowly revolutionary maybe, but not great if you have an older one!

Edited by eddie-baby

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Super Wammer
I had an Amstrad IC2000 Mk II and it was absolute shite!

When you say “was”, do you mean “measured” or “sounded”?

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1 hour ago, eddie-baby said:

Thats the trouble a lot of the time if you want to stay in business and even be competitive you may have to go against your morals or even be a little dishonest from time to time. If that meant selling only 5 star rated stuff, then at least you could have picked some of the 5 star rated products that you liked. After all some must have sounded fairly decent.

The problem at the time, and possibly still, is that every month there's a new set of 5 star products. A shop can't dump last month's 5 star products for this month's, or at least I couldn't or wouldn't. We had some very good products, a few we took because the supplier insisted we stocked the whole range, a few because we just fancied them, like the Mission 776 and 777 amps.  Those were actually very good but with very poor WAF.

S

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10 minutes ago, SergeAuckland said:

The problem at the time, and possibly still, is that every month there's a new set of 5 star products. A shop can't dump last month's 5 star products for this month's, or at least I couldn't or wouldn't. We had some very good products, a few we took because the supplier insisted we stocked the whole range, a few because we just fancied them, like the Mission 776 and 777 amps.  Those were actually very good but with very poor WAF.

S

yeah, they did look a little daft. I cant Imagine my Mrs being to happy if I brought those home back then. But theyre tame compared to some glorious looking hi-fi. Why does some of it have to look so naff, its like the styling was always the last thought (or no thought) :D

Be a good thread that actually ugly hi-fi, could get some beauties (or not) on there :)

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30 minutes ago, TheFlash said:


When you say “was”, do you mean “measured” or “sounded”? emoji6.png

"Was" mainly because I dumped it as soon as I could afford a replacement,  it sounded poor compared to friends systems. Other problems included, a big thump whenever it was turned on, noisy volume control and clicks whenever you operated one of the switches.

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12 minutes ago, eddie-baby said:

yeah, they did look a little daft. I cant Imagine my Mrs being to happy if I brought those home back then. But theyre tame compared to some glorious looking hi-fi. Why does some of it have to look so naff, its like the styling was always the last thought (or no thought) :D

Be a good thread that actually ugly hi-fi, could get some beauties (or not) on there :)

Although I personally liked the 776/777 styling, I have ended up with mostly rack-mounted boxes that just have functional 1U or 2U front panels and no styling. 

Possibly the exceptions are the SBT and the SQD-2020 but as mounted in my rack on a 19" tray, they're not obvious. 

S

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14 hours ago, slavedata said:

 Ever since I've been very cynical about reviews with accompanying adverts. What's your experience?

I rely on Mag reviews a lot.  The major caveat is that the mags must be able to have comparative measurements.  So Stereophile, Hi-Fi World, Hi-Fi Choice, Hi-Fi News are best.  TAS, Hi-Fi + are less reliable.  If you stick with a mag you get to know the authors.  Perhaps they review a bit of kit you own or know.  Now you have a real benchmark.  Even if they don't like it and say why you can put that against your experience.  Also if you don't know the kit being reviewed at all and it is compared favourably with something you do do know you still get the benefit of that. 

We all have our own prisms.  Mags try not to offend advertisers, each author has his own personality, one reviewers 'expensive' is another's 'bargain'.  Nothing wrong with that - we don't even have to consciously allow for it, it is just normal judgment.  For some items like cartridges you generally have to buy blind so forum opinions and formal reviews are especially valuable.  A recent purchase, a Charisma Ref-1 cartridge was purchased on the strength of some favourable reviews - very happy with it.

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2 hours ago, SergeAuckland said:

That's why I  think ALL subjective reviews without corresponding measurements are pointless.  Even in HFN, their measurements often  show that the subjective part is utter rubbish. If the reviewer genuinely heard what he wrote, he must have cloth ears, or just likes a crap sound.

And the reverse. The measurements of the Devialet amplifiers were 'superb, stunning'. Paul Miller billed them as a revolution in amplifiers.....yet they have always sounded mediocre to me at best and a few guys I know. I have heard them in a few systems and they only became 'bearable' when used with Wilson Duettes (£21k). They do not communicate the emotion in the music which other SS amps do. The sound is bright and stark. It is called 'truthful' but it does not sound like any music I have ever heard.

As all SS amplifiers measure 'acceptably' then they tell you nothing about how an SS amp sounds. They do not sound the same. Measurements are therefore pointless.

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Super Wammer

Now I’m confused. George says measurements are pointless and Serge says they are the only thing that matters. They can’t both be right; I suppose they could both be wrong. I feel uncomfortable with disharmony.

Is there a unifying statement here? Does this apply to magazine reviews but also more broadly? Something like “in hifi, the subjective and the objective, the measured and the unmeasurable, the quantitative and the qualitative, are meaningless without each other”? Or do we have to stay all binary either/or?

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I would call myself a measureist because I like to see measurements and also make some myself but George is correct, some can be useful indicators but they don't necessarily tell you what something is going to sound like unless there is some gross problem with performance.

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     I gave up buying magazines on any subject decades ago. My own impressions v mag reports seemed to agree only on rare occasions. Perhaps it was when I realised that publications don't exist to inform the buyers but to MAKE MONEY. Anything that has that purpose can't be anything other than compromised.

     Around the same time I realised that career politicians aren't there for the good of the people who elected them but for their own benefit. 'To Hell with what's needed! what'll get me RE-ELECTED!' Anything to keep the metaphorical snout in the equally metaphorical trough.

   Just two sides of the same coin to me. Perhaps I'm just a cynical old git. So no I don't trust magazine reviews (maybe you guessed that).

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26 minutes ago, General Factotum said:

     I gave up buying magazines on any subject decades ago. My own impressions v mag reports seemed to agree only on rare occasions. Perhaps it was when I realised that publications don't exist to inform the buyers but to MAKE MONEY. Anything that has that purpose can't be anything other than compromised.

     Around the same time I realised that career politicians aren't there for the good of the people who elected them but for their own benefit. 'To Hell with what's needed! what'll get me RE-ELECTED!' Anything to keep the metaphorical snout in the equally metaphorical trough.

   Just two sides of the same coin to me. Perhaps I'm just a cynical old git. So no I don't trust magazine reviews (maybe you guessed that).

No I did not guess that.  I'm afraid your first sentence gave it away.

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Wow this post certainly got a reaction! I'm sure that Amstrad had the manufactures spec published in the review. It's a long time ago but I think the specified S/N ratio was something like 72dB which sounds like an Amstrad, pick a figure that will sell it. I've just looked up the figures on the Tandberg that replaced it and its a modest 52dB. I know when I bought the Tandberg  I asked the salesman if it hissed. He turned the volume right up with no signal and it was beautiful silence. The Amstrad was all fur coat and no knickers it looked good on the outside.

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Edited by slavedata
typo

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