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The Unofficial Impressions About Meet Impressions Thread  

post #1 of 57
Thread Starter 
NOTE: In order not to derail the actual impressions thread, it seems best to create this adjunct thread for people to post their thoughts on the validity and impartiality of meet impressions of gear, or the lack thereof.

Keep it clean, but have at it. Or, in Wes Phillips' words, we are after light, not just heat. . .

Voltron



Quote:
Originally Posted by bhd812 View Post
I am sorry I am totally Bias here...B52!

The Apache is something for a Smaller and lesser Setup...


I am totally Joking..
No, i think you are telling the Truth. I spent quite a while going back and forth between the B52 and the apache... i thought the B52 is certainly worth the performance upgrade over the apache....maybe i'll try it at the Chicago meet again outside of meet conditions and maybe my mind will change (it certainly did between the first time I heard the prototype b52 and yours).

(same source, headphones and music, so it wasn't like some other variable was playing into it)
post #2 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by granodemostasa View Post
No, i think you are telling the Truth. I spent quite a while going back and forth between the B52 and the apache... i thought the B52 is certainly worth the performance upgrade over the apache.... on that note, i didn't think much of the apache... maybe i'll try it at the Chicago meet again... maybe my mind will change (it certainly did between the first time I heard the prototype b52 and yours).

(same source, headphones and music, so it wasn't like some other variable was playing into it)
No offense, but this is why meet impressions are dangerous things, and in particular highly negative ones (unless something sounds really bad to many people or has obvious physical defects).

Of course, we all hear what we hear and ought to feel free to report it in any way that we choose to, but I think sometimes people forget (and by people, I mean both the "reviewer" and the reader of the review) that you can't learn a whole lot about a product when doing a quick audition in a loud room. Good, bad, or indifferent, meet impressions of new gear need to be taken with a grain of salt, unless and until a growing consensus emerges.

Anyway, what I'm reading here is that you thought the B52 sucked the first time you heard it (and said so as I recall), but now it sounds great and is worth the substantial price difference relative to the Apache, which you seem to think sucks, but are hoping will sound a lot better the next time you hear it, and this is all with the exact same source, headphones and music?

Again, I really don't mean any offense (and certainly nothing personal), but I really think this provides a classic example of why meet impressions are dangerous. It's double dangerous, IMO, when it comes to new products that are being featured for the first time at these meets. For an Audio Technica or Sony, I'm sure it's no big deal. But for a boutique company such as Ray Samuels Audio (and several others that were present at the meet), it may have a negative impact on sales that is undeserved (again, IMO) for a new product that was just launched.

Afterall, who wants to spend a bunch of money on something they've never heard themselves when some of the early impressions coming back are not so great. I know from personal experience that it works this way with headphones (i.e., the early reviews often have a substantial impact on my interest or lack thereof in buying a pair), so I'm sure it has a similar effect on amps.

Not that it's too late to say that the B52 sounds great to you now (or to say that you still think it sucks if that were the case), but my point is that we at Head-Fi often state our early impressions of gear in rather strong, and sometimes even absolute, terms (be they good or bad), and in my view the highly negative early impressions can sometimes be unfair and probably ought to carry some sort of conditional language.

But then again, I tend to think too dang much about these things, and I'm sure I'd make the same kinds of comments if I were to hear something from AT or Sony that I didn't like from the get-go. So probably what I'm reacting to more than anything is that Ray is a good friend of mine and I know he puts a ton of effort into all of his designs and is quite rightfully proud of the results he's achieved in terms of the sonics, as well as the fit and finish of amps like the B52 and Apache.

For the record, I love the B52 (from hearing it at past meets) but didn't listen to the Apache (or much of anything) at this meet since I was preoccupied with some other matters.
post #3 of 57
I'm grateful to those who have taken the time to provide thoughtful comments on their HeadFest auditions...I'm learning alot.

Of course, there will always be those who just shoot their mouth off without thinking....most of us can immediately identify those types and discount their opinions.
post #4 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmcmanus View Post
No offense, but this is why meet impressions are dangerous things, and in particular highly negative ones (unless something sounds really bad to many people or has obvious physical defects).

Of course, we all hear what we hear and ought to feel free to report it in any way that we choose to, but I think sometimes people forget (both the "reviewer" and the reader of the review) that you can't learn a whole lot about a product when doing a quick audition in a loud room.

Anyway, what I'm reading here is that you thought the B52 sucked the first time you heard it (and said so as I recall), but now it sounds great and is worth the substantial price difference relative to the Apache, which you seem to think sucks, but are hoping will sound a lot better the next time you hear it with the exact same source, headphones and music?

Again, I really don't mean any offense (and certainly nothing personal), but I really think this provides a classic example of why meet impressions are dangerous. It's double dangerous, IMO, when it comes to new products that are being featured for the first time at these meets. For an Audio Technica or Sony, I'm sure it's no big deal. But for a boutique company such as Ray Samuels Audio (and several others that were present at the meet), it may have a negative impact on sales that is undeserved (again, IMO).

Yea..... but for some reason you don't seem to take offense at overly enthusiastic meet impressions, just my bad ones. The "music, headphones, cables" comment was directed at my comparison between the b52 and apache... what i was trying to counter was people saying they sounded the same (which is what ray was trying to talk me into believing). I think they obviously sounded different.

You are right, i shouldn't make any real decision based on limited time with it... which is why i want to listen to it again. Nevertheless, meet impressions are just that, meet impressions and this is a meet impression thread, not a review thread. If people come in hear raving about it, and people make decisions to buy it off of that, it is no different than people withholding because someone says they were unimpressed by it.

and I have proclaimed it time and again... i don't sympathize with manufacturers, but I'll be happy to tout the B52's sonic virtues when asked. I'm not trying to hurt or help ray, I'm just saying what i think.

and I'm not just shooting off... nor do I think that my comment was overtly negative.
post #5 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by granodemostasa View Post
Yea..... but for some reason you don't seem to take offense at overly enthusiastic meet impressions, just my bad ones. The "music, headphones, cables" comment was directed at my comparison between the b52 and apache... what i was trying to counter was people saying they sounded the same (which is what ray was trying to talk me into believing). I think they obviously sounded different.

You are right, i shouldn't make any real decision based on limited time with it... which is why i want to listen to it again. Nevertheless, meet impressions are just that, meet impressions and this is a meet impression thread, not a review thread. If people come in hear raving about it, and people make decisions to buy it off of that, it is no different than people withholding because someone says they were unimpressed by it.

and I have proclaimed it time and again... i don't sympathize with manufacturers, but I'll be happy to tout the B52's sonic virtues when asked. I'm not trying to hurt or help ray, I'm just saying what i think.

and I'm not just shooting off... nor do I think that my comment was overtly negative.
Its a double edged sword. People who read meet impressions have to keep in mind that the person who listened to whatever the piece of equipment is was only listening for a short time in an environment not suited for listening. So both good and bad impressions shouldnt be taken too seriously imo. Best thing is to hear it yourself!
post #6 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by granodemostasa View Post
Yea..... but for some reason you don't seem to take offense at overly enthusiastic meet impressions, just my bad ones. The "music, headphones, cables" comment was directed at my comparison between the b52 and apache... what i was trying to counter was people saying they sounded the same (which is what ray was trying to talk me into believing). I think they obviously sounded different.

You are right, i shouldn't make any real decision based on limited time with it... which is why i want to listen to it again. Nevertheless, meet impressions are just that, meet impressions and this is a meet impression thread, not a review thread. If people come in hear raving about it, and people make decisions to buy it off of that, it is no different than people withholding because someone says they were unimpressed by it.

and I have proclaimed it time and again... i don't sympathize with manufacturers, but I'll be happy to tout the B52's sonic virtues when asked. I'm not trying to hurt or help ray, I'm just saying what i think.

and I'm not just shooting off... nor do I think that my comment was overtly negative.
No, I totally agree with you. I don't think that your comments were overly negative. Sorry if I gave you that impression. I guess I was trying to be dramatic to make a point (by saying that you thought the B52 sucked the first time but now you think its great and that you thought the Apache sucked this time, etc). In fairness, those weren't your words at all, so I hope you won't take what I've said personally. That wasn't my intention at all. You didn't really say much, and were just being honest, which is all that anyone can expect.

In fact, the point that I was trying to make could just as easily have been made with any number of comments made by all sorts of different people in meet impressions threads (including my own comments about gear, as a matter of fact). What you've experienced with the B52 is a fairly common phenomenon with meet impressions.

Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about: when I first bought a pair of Ultrasone Edition 7 (and was the first and only member of Head-Fi to have done so at the time), I brought them to 3 different Head-Fi meets with me within the first 2 weeks that I owned them (to New York, then to Orange County, CA, then to a South Florida meet). Basically, I'd say that nearly everyone who heard them (including myself, the disappointed buyer of a very expensive item) thought they sucked!

The main problem, as it turned out, is that the character of these particular headphones (and as it turns out, most Ultrasone headphones) changes much more dramatically with an extended break in period than do almost any other headphones I've ever encountered. I mean, these Edition 7 really stunk right out of the box, and this is what everyone heard! They had an absolutely terrible reverb problem that was unmistakable. They actually sounded broken.

But after a long break in, they settled in quite nicely. Had I waited to bring them to meets until that time, I'm sure that nearly everyone who may have posted comments about them would have been very favorable. Essentially, what occured was massive misinformation, and then the Edition 7's got falsely labelled as being a terrible sounding headphone and not at all worth the price, etc.

Now the Edition 9 are out and they use all of the exact same parts as the Edition 7, and per Ultrasone, should sound identical. Guess what? Nearly all of the early Edition 9 reviews and impressions from people who had only heard them briefly were extremely positive. Suddenly, everyone at Head-Fi wanted to know more, and then as more and more confirming opinions came flooding in, people started to order them without even hearing them for themselves. Dare I say, for a high priced pair of headphones, they have been as close to a "flavor of the month" as anything since the L3000 and PS-1.

Same exact headphone as the Edition 7, which due to my neglect (initially, for not breaking them in) became known as a terrible sounding headphone. I made the further mistake of continuing with my negative comments about the Edition 7 because I didn't like the cheap looking cord on them, etc. But because I was convinced that they sounded bad, I put them aside and didn't bother to listen to them very often (or to even break them in for quite a long time).

When I finally did break them in and give them some serious listening time, all of a sudden they were an excellent sounding headphone in nearly every possible way. At that time, I wrote up a big review about them and how shocked I was to be hearing them sounding so good all of a sudden, but that bit of news got buried quickly. I doubt that most of the people who I had intitially turned off to the Edition 7 ever read what I wrote a year later about making such a big mistake by judging them too harshly too quickly.

Don't know if it made much of a difference to Ultrasone's Edition 7 sales, but I'm sure it couldn't have helped. I feel bad about it now, so I'm the last one who should be pointing a finger at someone whose opinion has flip flopped about a product that he didn't have a chance to spend much time with the first time.

So as I said in my initial post (and anyone who knows me can tell you I'm being sincere about this), no offense intended. It's just that when my mind gets on to something, I tend to take a bit of poetic liscence with the actual comments that I'm working from (and that triggered my thoughts to begin with). You did nothing wrong by stating what you thought about the amps you heard at the meet, good or bad. All I'm really saying is that meet impressions tend not to be as well developed as they might come across as being if you just look at the black and white words being expressed.
post #7 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinp6301 View Post
Its a double edged sword. People who read meet impressions have to keep in mind that the person who listened to whatever the piece of equipment is was only listening for a short time in an environment not suited for listening. So both good and bad impressions shouldnt be taken too seriously imo. Best thing is to hear it yourself!
Sad but true. this is why I've taken off on my absurd dac search. I found out that i just can't rely on reviews or impressions of gear. so it turned into 9 dacs in 8 months....
post #8 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmcmanus View Post
No offense, but this is why meet impressions are dangerous things, and in particular highly negative ones (unless something sounds really bad to many people or has obvious physical defects).
Why particular to just negative? Shouldn't the same be said about highly positive ones as well? For example, I don't believe the GS-1000s have lived up to all that positive hype received at the first international meet.

And that A/B switched box shows just how unreliable meet impressions can be... I remember at, I believe, a NY meet where most couldn't tell the difference between the Hornet and the Raptor. At the time I thought how unreal. But when I had my opportunity with the switch box under the hustle and bustle of a mildly large meet it wasn't so easy. If the volume isn't exactly matched like when one attempts to do so with his ear it invalidates the whole test. I've owned both and they do not sound alike.

I think a lot of this touchiness has to do with the amp manufacturers close-knit relationships with the community.
post #9 of 57
I guess this shows us, that unless you have large amounts of disposable income, a major component purchase shouldn't be made based soley on the opinions of others. You have to listen for yourself and in an optimum environment (unfortunately, this can't always be the case).
Dealer demos help tremendously in this instance, but how many SDS XLR's or B-52's can a hand built manufacturer have laying around for people to demo?

Just using the Qualias as a $2800 example...what is audio Nirvana for some people is the hollowed halls of injustice for others (I'm in the Nirvana camp).

This is all part of half of our hobby: The thrill of the chase!
post #10 of 57
Mm audio Nirvana. So true :/ Every high end purchase is a gamble unless somehow you get someone to lend you the gear for an extended period of time.
post #11 of 57
Very true, Aaron. I certainly never would have bought my current favorite headphone, the W5000, without an audition, due to all the issues of improper fit. Also, when you've only heard a certain level of sound quality, it can be hard to imagine how something better will sound until you've actually heard it.
post #12 of 57
I've come to the following conclusions, as a consequence of my several years' participation in Head-Fi:

1. Because of my getting to personally know manufacurers such as Tyll, Mikhail, Ray, etc., I now really hesitate to post any negative comments regarding their equipment;

2. I notice that some other long-time (and most experienced) Head-Fi members no longer post detailed critiques regarding vendors' equipment, probably because of personal friendships with the vendors;

3. For many Head-Fi members, meets are more an opportunity to enjoy social interaction (e.g., conversing, visiting clubs, partying, etc.), than for sampling gear, and critically listening to headphones.

Perhaps all of this is good, and natural, but IMO it does reduce the significance, and value, of postings by meet participants.
post #13 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by 909 View Post
Why particular to just negative? Shouldn't the same be said about highly positive ones as well? For example, I don't believe the GS-1000s have lived up to all that positive hype received at the first international meet.
While some people that have owned the GS-1000 didn't like them in the long run, most of the people that didn't/don't like the GS-1000 base it off of a short meet impression or at a friends house,etc.

So, I think the fact that it doesn't meet the original "hype" from the first meet is based on impressions from another meet. I don't think meet impressions - positive or negative can compare to having a headphone for months constantly comparing even though that is costly. I wouldn't have liked the GS-1000 if I would have had it for less than a month.
post #14 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by robm321 View Post
While some people that have owned the GS-1000 didn't like them in the long run, most of the people that didn't/don't like the GS-1000 base it off of a short meet impression or at a friends house,etc.

So, I think the fact that it doesn't meet the original "hype" from the first meet is based on impressions from another meet. I don't think meet impressions - positive or negative can compare to having a headphone for months constantly comparing even though that is costly. I wouldn't have liked the GS-1000 if I would have had it for less than a month.
I kept my GS1000 for over 300 hours of burn in. Eventually I gave up and returned it. To me it was all bass and treble w/ no mids. Personally I prefer the RS1 or RS2.
post #15 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeg View Post
I've come to the following conclusions, as a consequence of my several years' participation in Head-Fi:

1. Because of my getting to personally know manufacurers such as Tyll, Mikhail, Ray, etc., I now really hesitate to post any negative comments regarding their equipment;

2. I notice that some other long-time (and most experienced) Head-Fi members no longer post detailed critiques regarding vendors' equipment, probably because of personal friendships with the vendors;

3. For many Head-Fi members, meets are more an opportunity to enjoy social interaction (e.g., conversing, visiting clubs, partying, etc.), than for sampling gear, and critically listening to headphones.

Perhaps all of this is good, and natural, but IMO it does reduce the significance, and value, of postings by meet participants.
Mike I agree with you, and I will go a sterp further. If a negative comment is made many come to the defense of the product and make you feel like you do not know what you are talking about or at least that your impressions are not valid or real. I mean not everyone like chocolate, and that is fine there are other flavors.
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