QuestForThe13thNote

Can you rely on trade hifi reviews?

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7 minutes ago, tuga said:

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

They helped 30 years ago as it was more a hobbyist interest but now we are a consumer society and people want simple easy hits....

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7 hours ago, QuestForThe13thNote said:

A lot of vacuous nonsense gets written on forums

Genuine apologies, but the temptation to mis-quote you was just too much ;-) 

Now where was that 'peace' emoji thingy ?

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46 minutes ago, tuga said:

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...

No because common sense must prevail. It wouldn’t be possible to work out what the reference is as someone will disagree. What you’ve got to do is pull all the threads out of the many reviews and on different bits of kit to draw commonalities. It’s difficult but inferences can drawn.

distortion is a fair point but that can come into preference and be mentioned too in any subjective review. 

I think the methodology is a fair point but it can be stated and room acoustic layouts stated, but again it’s posisble to draw commonalities in comparisons as the system is just changing not the environment. That could have an affect on room acoustics but again nothing is set in stone.

im not saying you may do a comparison and not draw one due to these effects, but equally you can and that’s what’s reflected in the review. 

The comparison has to be to other products simple. No overt technicalities. Take what from it as you may. It’s subjective. 

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9 hours ago, QuestForThe13thNote said:

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.

Let's not forget about magazine and reviewer loyalty.

There's a bunch of very loyal What Hi-Fi? fans right here on the WAM. :D

Stereophile has gone where no magazine has gone before and is now publishing videos of its reviewers chez themselves... How weird can you get? This is pop star status.

Keeping up with the Fremers anyone?

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Just now, tuga said:

Let's not forget about magazine and reviewer loyalty.

There's a bunch of very loyal What Hi-Fi? fans right here on the WAM. :D

Stereophile has gone where no magazine has gone before and is now publishing videos of its reviewers chez themselves... How weird can you get? This is pop star status.

Keeping up with the Fremers anyone?

I'm not a fan of Michael Framer, but actually I do frequently enjoy the scribblings of Messrs Riechert and Dudley, who  perhaps a share a somewhat more European sensibility than the majority of US 'high-end' journalists.

I rather enjoyed their 'at home with' profiles as part of the video content, helps 'round out the picture.' Personally I think letting Jana Dagdagan go was a big mistake. I notice John Darko's been quick to capitalise on the new owners/publisher's error.

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9 hours ago, CnoEvil said:

- Look at Reviews that give measurements that support their subjective assessments.

In Stereophile JA often questions the subjective assessments, but then ruins it by dismissing what are sometimes serious shortcomings as character...

The most absurd example I can think of is this one:

Finally, the Zu Soul Supreme's cumulative spectral-decay or waterfall plot (fig.7) looks awful, with a significant resonant mode at 2.8kHz—that accounts for Herb's presence-region rise—and hashy-looking delayed energy in the top audio octave. Yet, other than noticing a somewhat clanky quality with recordings of acoustic piano, I didn't find the Zu to sound as bad as this graph implies. (really? :wall: ) In fact, I enjoyed the afternoon I spent listening to the speakers in Herb's system. As with Zu Audio's Essence speaker, reviewed by Art Dudley in October 2009, Sean Casey appears to have carefully balanced the Soul Supreme's performance to sound more neutral than its measured behavior would suggest, allowing the listener to appreciate its high sensitivity and evenly balanced midrange.John Atkinson
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/zu-audio-soul-supreme-loudspeaker-measurements
Edited by tuga

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9 hours ago, BeeRay said:

But reviews in WHF miss out on many products because they only review ones sent in by the manufacturer. You won't find reviews of Harbeth for example. I bet they don't have a review of a John Kenny Dac or a RME DAC or a Mytek or a Schiit etc. So relying on reviews you are missing out a whole range of products. 

I'm sorry to say but WHF is not very well regarded among hardcore audiophiles...

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5 minutes ago, tuga said:

In Stereophile JA often questions the subjective assessments, but then ruins it by dismissing what are sometimes serious shortcomings as character...

The most absurd example I can think of is this one:

Finally, the Zu Soul Supreme's cumulative spectral-decay or waterfall plot (fig.7) looks awful, with a significant resonant mode at 2.8kHz—that accounts for Herb's presence-region rise—and hashy-looking delayed energy in the top audio octave. Yet, other than noticing a somewhat clanky quality with recordings of acoustic piano, I didn't find the Zu to sound as bad as this graph implies. (really? :wall: ) In fact, I enjoyed the afternoon I spent listening to the speakers in Herb's system. As with Zu Audio's Essence speaker, reviewed by Art Dudley in October 2009, Sean Casey appears to have carefully balanced the Soul Supreme's performance to sound more neutral than its measured behavior would suggest, allowing the listener to appreciate its high sensitivity and evenly balanced midrange.John Atkinson
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/zu-audio-soul-supreme-loudspeaker-measurements

How can I possibly comment on the accuracy of JA's reported subjective assessment.

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6 minutes ago, tuga said:

I'm sorry to say but WHF is not very well regarded among hardcore audiophiles...

Wash your mouth out... the UK's most esteemed journal I'll have you know.

On a less humorous/more depressing note, certainly the best-selling by some margin.

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9 hours ago, uzzy said:

The problem is many companies will not send products for review because they do not trust the magazines to be objective.   As a dealer selling stuff the last thing you want is for the magazine to give a bad review as it can end up with a load of stock that it is hard to then sell.   All reviews should be read with a sense of cynicsm (do you believe all you read in the papers?) and at the end of the day if you cannot trust your own ears then you may be happier with a different hobby.

Someone mentioned car reviews above - the biggest problem with car reviews is they do not give you a mechanics viewpoint .. before you buy any car find a decent independent mechanic who will tell you all the problems that will happen mechanically that no car review magazines manage to include.  For example the fact that nearly every Mitsubishi (with the mitsubishi 1800 diesel engine) and every Mazda diesel has problems with the DPF (the diesel seeps into the engine and there is another X on the dip stick and when the level reaches the X you need to change the oil) ..  

Similarly a good dealer will stock items he knows to be reliable (he doesn't want the hassle of returns or pissed off customers) ..

If you want to go by magazine reviews then fine - as for me I went for years without ever reading a magazine and just doing google research from forums and online reviewers (TNT etc) and now I only get magazines cos my kids buy me subscriptions for my birthday or Christmas .... as they say each to their own and buggered if i can get upset or mad if someone has an opposing view :) 

I have never purchased any product purely based on reviews. I use them as a guide, make a short list, then trundle off to whatever dealer(s).

There are companies that don't send products because they rarely upgrade them: Harbeth, Electrocompaniet are a couple of many that hardly ever replace their models.

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6 minutes ago, CnoEvil said:

How can I possibly comment on the accuracy of JA's reported subjective assessment.

I'm not sure I understand your question but if an equipment measures as badly there's no way a sane, knowledgeable person can avoid describing the faults in the subjective assessment. Unless that person's deaf or is not being "serious".

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Super Wammer
8 minutes ago, tuga said:

I'm sorry to say but WHF is not very well regarded among hardcore audiophiles...

I’d definitely agree there, and if anything those of us who once contributed there on a regular basis might well have been more interested in the higher end stuff, and therefore not typical of the readership. There’s only so much time to be spent debating entry level gear after all.  

Bizarrely, though an outsider to this hobby might suppose that when value for money is less critical the designs and sound might converge to an accepted ideal, the complete opposite happens.  That’s what makes it fun, apart from the pleasure of simply listening. 

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To be fair, JA sometimes points the finger at his reviewers:

Early on in the testing of the Playback Designs MPS-5, worried that there was something wrong with our review sample, I took the cover off to check that all the ribbon cables were seated properly (they were) and that there was nothing obviously adrift (there wasn't). So while I was impressed by the player's standard of construction, I can't say the same about its technical performance. The relatively high level of background noise limits the MPS-5's resolution with SACD and external 24-bit data to not much better than 16-bit CD. I am puzzled, therefore, why Michael Fremer liked the sound of this player so much. Perhaps his description of its sound being "analog-like" is a clue—for reasons that are not fully understood, a signal with very-low-level random noise added is sometimes preferred, on that it is more intelligible, to the same signal without such noise.1 But I feel that the MPS-5's measured performance precludes an unreserved recommendation.John Atkinson
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/playback-designs-mps-5-sacdcd-player-measurements

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9 hours ago, BeeRay said:

My point was in response to Quest who said you miss out if you don't read the reviews.

Deep joy. :)

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4 minutes ago, tuga said:

I'm not sure I understand your question but if an equipment measures as badly there's no way a sane, knowledgeable person can avoid describing the faults in the subjective assessment. Unless that person's deaf or is not being "serious".

It was more a rhetorical question, given in explanation...just that I was wasn't in the room...and am not knowledgeable enough to know what he should have heard, given the measurements.

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