QuestForThe13thNote

Can you rely on trade hifi reviews?

Recommended Posts

Moderator
1 hour ago, PuritéAudio said:

Stick to reviews with measurements, Stereophile for example.

Their objective measurements frequently do not reflect the subjective gushing.

Keith

So measurements do NOT tell you what it will sound like. The guy making the measurements has often said as much.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Dealer
13 minutes ago, George 47 said:

As they tell you very little.

We almost agree George the ‘puff’ doesn’t tell you very little, it tells you nothing at all, whereas the measurements give you a very good idea of what to expect.

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm referring to the money they pay for advertising. Which no doubt helps to pay your salary.  So you admit they don't reveal the bad products. nOt very helpful to readers. If all the products are so good, why do so many get 5 stars. 3 stars should be average, to my mind you can't have most products being better than average. Some flawed products still get 5 stars. If I buy a CD player I want it to play the cds I choose, not pick the ones it wants to play.


I would suggest you don’t get hung up on the star rating and read the review itself as, unfortunately, one man’s 5 is another man’s 3.

I can think of a pair of loudspeakers I once reviewed that I absolutely adored but I felt I couldn’t give them the full 5 stars as they were very directional in the the treble and were an evil electrical load for amplifiers. This made them too far from perfect for my conscience but they still remain one of the best things I’ve ever reviewed!

Equally, I once reviewed a phono stage and gave it the full 5 as I considered it pretty much perfect (and still do). The following month a colleague gave it a grudging 4 in a group test as he didn’t think much of it. (Then again, he was a cloth-eared git, as I told him many times!).

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator
1 minute ago, PuritéAudio said:

We almost agree George the ‘puff’ doesn’t tell you very little, it tells you nothing at all, whereas the measurements give you a very good idea of what to expect.

Keith

Keith: Naughty, you know what I was meaning. Measurements tell you very little indeed.

Something simple, how do you measure how loud an amplifier will be into a set of speakers? (Trick question).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Beobloke said:


I would suggest you don’t get hung up on the star rating and read the review itself as, unfortunately, one man’s 5 is another man’s 3.

I can think of a pair of loudspeakers I once reviewed that I absolutely adored but I felt I couldn’t give them the full 5 stars as they were very directional in the the treble and were an evil electrical load for amplifiers. This made them too far from perfect for my conscience but they still remain one of the best things I’ve ever reviewed!

Equally, I once reviewed a phono stage and gave it the full 5 as I considered it pretty much perfect (and still do). The following month a colleague gave it a grudging 4 in a group test as he didn’t think much of it. (Then again, he was a cloth-eared git, as I told him many times!).
 

I don't, I don't take much notice of reviews now. I think people demo gear with an open mind, some are too reliant on reviews. Problem is there are too many variables, such system, room, reviewers taste, music etc. I remember the WHF product of the year, the Arcam A19 did not sound good with the ATC speakers they use to test but fortunately they had some Kef LS50s around and it sound great with them. Also their room is specially treated, cost mega £s so it's not like your normal living room, some speakers will  sound much different in a real world living room. That's why it's best to try speakers at home first if you can. I found demoing hard work, every dealer had different brands so to compare the items you wanted was almost impossible. Reviews for me are just a starting point of products to hear. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Beobloke said:


I would suggest you don’t get hung up on the star rating and read the review itself as, unfortunately, one man’s 5 is another man’s 3.

I can think of a pair of loudspeakers I once reviewed that I absolutely adored but I felt I couldn’t give them the full 5 stars as they were very directional in the the treble and were an evil electrical load for amplifiers. This made them too far from perfect for my conscience but they still remain one of the best things I’ve ever reviewed!

Equally, I once reviewed a phono stage and gave it the full 5 as I considered it pretty much perfect (and still do). The following month a colleague gave it a grudging 4 in a group test as he didn’t think much of it. (Then again, he was a cloth-eared git, as I told him many times!).
 

It doesn’t so much matter how many stars as its a subjective review. It’s what the comparison is to another product ie 3 to 4 stars etc, that’s tells you where they hold the product. And you will get two people reviewing two bits of kit with one give 4 and another 5 as sq is subjective too.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Measurements are objective.

Preference is subjective.

Music is subjective.....how do you measure subjective judgements on Realism, Euphony, Believeability, Authenticity, Emotional Connection, Immediacy, Authority, Excitement and Refinement?

Get a room full of audiophiles and play two competent systems, one that measures exceedingly well (a good active solution) and one that measures less well (an Audio Note System)....I bet there will be a division of opinion over preference. While there is a division of opinion over preference due to subjective judgement, measurements alone will not be the answer. IMO.

IMO. You should never try to dictate to somebody what they should like. 

Edited by CnoEvil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, QuestForThe13thNote said:

I agree on first sentence. It has to be comparative always. If you go out and just buy a product with no comparisons to the competition when the review is rubbish and unwittingly youve got a turkey in a comparative sense, it’s your own fault. But some people aren’t bothered with a to b ing stuff too so all power to them too.

But in your second sentence, the worst people to give you advice on hifi are those that own it themselves. Brand loyalty and lots of issues come into it. You can be much more impartial as a reviewer as you’ve no interest to buying only what’s better in your own view. Also they are testing an awful lot more kit than we hear. 

That's why I said select group, there are people on here I have known personally for years who's ears I trust. Others I totally disregard, either because I don't know them, or do but are looking for a different presentation to me.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Professional reviews are paid inderectly by manufacturers, distributors and retailers through advertising.

Some reviewers buy their gear at very accommodating prices or given extended loans.

In the US at least, many reviewers don't write negative comments about products for fear of legal prosecution and of not being supplied with new products to review meaning that they would lose their source of income.

Apparently manufacturers and distributors chose their pet reviewers. I know of at least one who was forbidden to review BnWs after some serious (as in honest and meaningful) criticism.

.

I find reviews useless because in most cases they're driven by taste, someone's opinion about something means nothing to anyone else but himself.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Wammer
6 hours ago, BeeRay said:

I don't, I don't take much notice of reviews now. I think people demo gear with an open mind, some are too reliant on reviews. Problem is there are too many variables, such system, room, reviewers taste, music etc. I remember the WHF product of the year, the Arcam A19 did not sound good with the ATC speakers they use to test but fortunately they had some Kef LS50s around and it sound great with them. Also their room is specially treated, cost mega £s so it's not like your normal living room, some speakers will  sound much different in a real world living room. That's why it's best to try speakers at home first if you can. I found demoing hard work, every dealer had different brands so to compare the items you wanted was almost impossible. Reviews for me are just a starting point of products to hear. 

A couple of points about What HiFi.  Their listening rooms were costly. When I visited their ‘home’ about six years ago, it was in converted film studios. (They’ve since moved at least once)  They had to have rooms created to approximate a domestic space as nobody listens in something akin to an aircraft hangar!  There were rooms of various sizes, some for HiFi, some for home cinema, and one mainly with portables, radios and gadgets.  

Unusually, they review as a team.  I’m not keen on that, as I like to know an author, and decide whose ears I trust. But they are transparent about it.  I definitely don’t agree with some of their reviews, and though it can be irritating I quite like it that they sometimes disagree with the consensus.  Those I met were articulate, open minded and professional.  

I prefer HiFi News and Stereophile because they take seriously the measurement side too.  And though I’ve never subscribed, HiFi Critic journal I believe buys the gear to test, and rather like Which? Magazine, they don’t have advertisements so aren’t influenced by that. 

Edited by Nopiano
Typo
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator
36 minutes ago, Nopiano said:

And though I’ve never subscribed, HiFi Critic journal I believe buys the gear to test, and rather like Which? Magazine, they don’t have advertisements so are influenced by that. 

They use a variety of methods but mainly loan gear from companies. Of course, if they do not like a component it gets an honest appraisal and MC know his way around an oscilloscope. Problem is the cost of the magazine but it is cheaper than buying a bad amplifier. For me, the trick is to read the guys whose ears you trust and whose music/audio preferences align with yours.  

  • Like 3
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, George 47 said:

They use a variety of methods but mainly loan gear from companies. Of course, if they do not like a component it gets an honest appraisal and MC know his way around an oscilloscope. Problem is the cost of the magazine but it is cheaper than buying a bad amplifier. For me, the trick is to read the guys whose ears you trust and whose music/audio preferences align with yours.  

You have a point about the higher retail price of a "more" independent magazine. I like the measurements in Sphile, Hi-Fi News, Soundstage, but I am not paying to see them because advertising allows me free access.

I haven't bought or paid for a magazine since the early 90s. Nowadays I would only be interested in buying individual technical reviews with measurements of equipment that I'm interested in. I wonder if this would be interesting from a business point of view, selling individual reviews instead of a bunch of them...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator
2 minutes ago, tuga said:

You have a point about the higher retail price of a "more" independent magazine. I like the measurements in Sphile, Hi-Fi News, Soundstage, but I am not paying to see them because advertising allows me free access.

I haven't bought or paid for a magazine since the early 90s. Nowadays I would only be interested in buying individual technical reviews with measurements of equipment that I'm interested in. I wonder if this would be interesting from a business point of view, selling individual reviews instead of a bunch of them...

Soundstage does technical reviews and data from a Canadian lab and they are very thorough plus subjective reviews (as you know). Martin Colloms carries out a reasonable range of technical measurements in Critic. But a few mags did customer surveys and the least favourite articles were the technical measurements. I think Paul Miller tried selling technical reviews but they do/did not sell well but the measurement suite did and a few companies bought/use them.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, QuestForThe13thNote said:

But you can’t disagree with a review on its content unto itself as the review has to be comparison based. If it isn’t comparison based there is basically nothing to disagree with and so far as using the review to choose a product and for this purpose it must be comparison based always. 

Comparison to what?

Do people agree on which equipment or systems should be used as benchmarks, as references?

What if a few people prefer equipment which produces distortion that to them sounds nice?

What about the methodology? What recordings to use? The only effective live reference is acoustic non-amplified music, or perhaps the monitors and equipment used to create the master in the studio?

How many of us have the training or the ability to identify distortions, aside from frequency response which is easy?

Let me give you an example: the breakup resonances of a Kevlar or any other hard midrange cone when audible are perceived by some people as enhanced detail or resolution and in spite the side effects of a tiring hard sound those people will rate such speakers highly...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I may have mentioned this review before. I think it's a good example of an informative review, with panel listening, comparison to reference gear, a good technical description and measurements.

S100_HiFi News.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.