One of my first experiences before joining Head-Fi was the big "Battle of the Flagships" thread with the 50+ headphone reviews.
I was originally swayed by Solomon's comments, though now I'm fairly certain his review is, frankly, worthless. Keeping in mind that human perception of a headphone is very, very heavily influenced by expectation and emotion, and also keeping in mind that Solomon's reviews of the headphones were not at all blind, wouldn't it be true that most of his descriptors ("hard to drive", "detailed", "analytical", "wide sound stage", "warm", etc) are just subjective to his personal expectation?
Furthermore, aren't ALL headphone reviews in this style absolutely worthless?
I'd propose that the only useful thing a headphone review could provide is an analysis of comfort and build quality of a pair of 'phones, and then a frequency response chart comparing the 'phones to ones in a similar price range (and maybe a few well beyond that price range for a comparison). Frequency response charts would be the only way to objectively convey the properties of the headphones.
When you draw comparisons to reviews of other products, headphone reviews seem ridiculous. For instance, if one were reviewing a camera lens, usually pictures are taken with that lens and with other, similar lenses to determine its sharpness. Objectively. Then the build quality and price point are usually touched on. The lens' autofocus performance is measured, usually in low light. If the reviewer has the right equipment, distortion of the lens is measured, or measurements from an external source are mentioned.
There is no need for silly subjective descriptors. You'll never hear a lens review that says "well, I decided not to actually take any pictures for comparison, but just looking through the lens, I really FEEL that it's sharp. I really get an analytical feel from this lens."
So, why the hell is this the norm for headphones?
Edited by MrHeuristic - 12/22/12 at 2:58pm