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OPINION: Review Units Hurt the Audio Community - Page 2  

post #16 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutnicks View Post
 

The really key point here is that reviewers are all in competition with each other. If you were not you would all simply create a small consortium to buy samples, and ship them around for review.

Reviewing has become an industry of its own over the years and as such, suffers the biases and foibles of any other competitive industry.

 

If we were to get clear unbiased reviews it would have to be done anonymously and treated as a blind exercise. Manufacturers are not going to go for that, they want a "Name" behind any published opinion of their stuff, as do end users.

 

You need the audio equivalent of "The Stig" where the anonymity is of utmost importance.:D

^

Welp that explains EVERYTHING!!! Not like i didn't know it already but still.... guess that's the territory of being labeled as a "troll" fo' lyfe and why i never get to shill for brands even though i have overtly reached out to them for review samples. haha Damn it, guess i can't be compromised even if i wanted to, grrrr!!! :bigsmile_face:

 

Before i signed my lyfe away to this forum by creating my account i already kinda knew the "history" of this place if you will due to some old time head-fiers (some still active and some has been long banned) warning me about the internal power struggles, etc etc of his lil' site which dated back all the way to its inception. I even spoke to currawong about some of those issues, which he gave me pretty satisfactory reasons why they do the things they do here. So yeah, guess i already knew what was up and how this site operates in general so i am not really shocked by what some would view as "shady" business/ practices. In essence i do agree with OP that review samples no doubt creates biases towards a particular product under "review" cuz who doesn't like free stuff right??? But like ekey boi said there are other bias factors in play as well such as defending ones purchase, personal sound signature bias, brandname fan boism, etc etc.  As with anything i don't think true objectivity can ever be achieved, it's just a matter of perspective so as the old adage goes it's best to judge one by their past track record and take impressions/ reviews with a grain of salt as you would do with anything in the inter-webs....

 

For what's worth i didn't read the OPs post but have seen his rant video regarding leaving head-fi (HUGE fan of your youtube review vids btw so keep on truckin') due to this unpleasant experience and i full-heatedly agree as well as sympathize with his situation cuz like him i have also met a lot of wonderful people and learned so much via this forum since i have joined. Head-fi is still an invaluable resource though esp. for beginners and your average audio hobbyist despite its many flaws. Akin to what OP stated, other audio forums such as the pirates one is not really a "better" alternative cuz of its overly cold "objective" take/ atmosphere on something that should be fun and welcoming in the first place since it is a hobby first and foremost.  Those pirates take themselves and this hobby wayyy too seriously which for me is down right repugnant cuz of their uppity self-important and condescending remarks. Guess what i am trying to say is that a middle ground between these two extremes is the most ideal, cuz you don't want to have something that is so over commercialized that it only appeals to the general unwashed consumer masses where insight/ expertise is severely lacking nor do you want the other extreme where only dry data and facts dictate. I still think head-fi has some really good redeeming factors and that it can achieve this balance by simply going back to its DIY roots which was why this site was created in the 1st place and why it's still called .org instead of .com???

 

I dunno, just my 2 cents. But yeah wish some mofos would throw this troll a bone and let me shill for them, cuz i'll shill them REAL GUD!!! hoho :evil: 


Edited by sfwalcer - 6/29/14 at 5:03pm
post #17 of 149

Well there, if you were really the uberTroll you claim to be. Your avatar would be lit up with product endorsements like Captain Amazing.

 

The oneyed site simply does not grasp that life is a subjective experience, objectivity as a religion is an illusion at best and a full blown delusion when escalated into cult status. It does no more for the hobby than rampant consumerism does.

 

Lachlans ideas hit on some very interesting break throughs in neuro and cognitive sciences. What influences us, what we expect to see (or hear) is, a lot of the time far beyond our own control. I think perhaps he should have delved a little further into some of the current research before making the original post and setting in motion the wheels which now spin.

 

Here's a very brief example of such from Twyla Tharps book.

 

Quote:

 (This is a giant gift. Mike Nichols tells a story about getting the musical Annie ready for Broadway. A scene that was supposed to be funny was failing to get laughs, no matter what Nichols tried. He asked Robbins to watch the scene with his practiced eye. Afterward, Nichols asked him how to fix the scene. Robbins surveyed the stage and pointed to a white towel hanging at the back of the set. “That towel should be yellow,” he said. “That’s it?” thought Nichols. “That makes the scene work?” But he made the change and the scene got a laugh every night thereafter.)

 

 

 

Watch the following.

 

post #18 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutnicks View Post
 

Well there, if you were really the uberTroll you claim to be. Your avatar would be lit up with product endorsements like Captain Amazing.

 

The oneyed site simply does not grasp that life is a subjective experience, objectivity as a religion is an illusion at best and a full blown delusion when escalated into cult status. It does no more for the hobby than rampant consumerism does.

 

Lachlans ideas hit on some very interesting break throughs in neuro and cognitive sciences. What influences us, what we expect to see (or hear) is, a lot of the time far beyond our own control. I think perhaps he should have delved a little further into some of the current research before making the original post and setting in motion the wheels which now spin.

 

Here's a very brief example of such from Twyla Tharps book.

 

 

Watch the following.

 

^

What's this new-agey audio mumble jumble we speak of, you wouldn't happen to follow someone that goes by the handle "Patrick" would ya'. ;)

 

I might just have to read OPs post then, just to see what all his wax-on, wax-off insights is all about. :  )

 

And yeppp complete objectivity is indeed a great illusion, but it doesn't hurt to try and get as close to that ideal as much as possible though. Same goes with perfection as we all know there is no such thing, so let me paraphrase some deep spiritual insight for ya' "to appear worthy in the eyes of others is not only destructive to one self but others as well" or some ish like that.  : P

 

Welp as i have stated, i couldn't shill for the lyfe of me even if i had wanted to. This cardboard might be a plagiarist but i don't shill esp. for cheap, cuz i gots class meng. :cool:

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
But everyone got a price though. :ph34r:
post #19 of 149

Buying headphones is plagued by (at least) two things making it rather different from buying many other items:

 

  • Once one's taste moves beyond the consumer models represented in stores, it is very hard to comparison shop headphones by first-hand listening.  Not all places have audio stores; not all audio stores have very many headphone types; even if they have the types you want, it is hard to listen long enough, using front end input to the headphone similar to yours, with source material of the type you plan to use;
  • Headphone quality varies in the view of various beholders.  Some folks look for features that are unimportant to others.  Many features, particularly pertaining to sound quality, are subjective anyway... one man's PRAT is another's FALL!  :regular_smile :

 

So we rely on the opinions of others, the endorsement by persons of various degrees of celebrity and expertise, on Rosetta stones to decode the tea leaves of datasheet measurements, on generous return policies, and on blind luck (and faith!).

 

Earlier on this thread, TwinQY mentioned the idea of a headphone loans between community members, pointing out the trust issues that place a barrier against this.  I had earlier posted the idea of a "headphone exchange," here...  http://www.head-fi.org/t/720257/idea-headphone-lending-exchange-try-before-you-buy#post_10574967

 

My one-post thread sank like a stone into the archives of head-fi.org, un-buoyed by any answers, so I suspect that for whatever reason, a headphone exchange is unworkable (I even offered to go first!!)

 

Headphone meets help a little, in that there are typically a much wider variety of headphones available than in any store, but again it is a noisy room with brief listening times and often unfamiliar source material.

 

Perhaps the used headphone market becomes more important as a result, as folks (such as I) buy more headphones of greater variety than they ever actually need, merely to have the luxury of choosing the ones they prefer at leisure, with the hope of then selling the rest.  (I have not quite gotten up the courage to tell ANY of my headphones goodbye, except for one NAD VISO hp50 that I never used, which I traded, not sold, for an IEM I use all the time).

post #20 of 149

Yet another a_recording's post when I don't understand what was the point of the suggested topic, why is it important etc? There were a lot of letters in his post but the conclusion is simple: there are more positive reviews than negative and that "hurts" community and manufacturers.

 

First of all which community are you talking about? Average consumers or a small number of head-fiers? If you mean average consumers then as I understand they follow common cliches - what they see around as fashionable like Beats by Dre, Apple buds, Bose etc.( which are often bashed by reviewers) they find attractive. More "serious" consumers think that any German brand will work. Reviewers with their reviews ( positive or negative) have little impact on general trends. It is more about aggressive marketing which plays a role in creating an image. How did I decide that Samsung produced great TVs? It happened when I saw Samsung TVs everywhere overpowering other brands, not because of positive reviews. That's how it works for an average consumer. To succeed companies need not quality but quantity of reviews and mentions.  

 

So you are talking about niche community interested in niche small companies ( like Hifiman) which unlike big companies ( like Sony and Philips) rely on their opinions? Well on your YouTube channel you review all kinds of popular technology aside from headphones: cameras, notebooks, tablets etc. I don't see how you can be an example in the field of reviewing headphones because you are trying to survive as a tech geek. To say the truth I find your presentations a bit saccharine ( they are still good, I'm especially impressed in productivity - a lot of videos and a lot of talking) and yet you are trying to speak how we need brutal and honest reviews.

 

By the way there are comment sections under the majority of articles nowadays where you can read a lot of negative opinions. I even think that there is too much bickering and negativity. A lot of reviews are contradicting each other and that is baffling.  


Edited by mutabor - 6/30/14 at 2:35pm
post #21 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by mutabor View Post

Yet another a_recording's post when I don't understand what was the point of the suggested topic, why is it important etc? There were a lot of letters in his post but the conclusion is simple: there are more positive reviews than negative and that "hurts" community and manufacturers.

First of all which community are you talking about? Average consumers or a small number of head-fiers? If you mean average consumers then as I understand they follow common cliches - what they see around as fashionable like Beats by Dre, Apple buds, Bose etc.( which are often bashed by reviewers) they find attractive. More "serious" consumers think that any German brand will work. Reviewers with their reviews ( positive or negative) have little impact on general trends. It is more about aggressive marketing which plays a role in creating an image. How did I decide that Samsung produced great TVs? It happened when I saw Samsung TVs everywhere overpowering other brands, not because of positive reviews. That's how it works for an average consumer. To succeed companies need not quality but quantity of reviews and mentions.  

So you are talking about niche community interested in niche small companies ( like Hifiman) which unlike big companies ( like Sony and Philips) rely on their opinions? Well on your YouTube channel you review all kinds of popular technology aside from headphones: cameras, notebooks, tablets etc. I don't see how you can be an example in the field of reviewing headphones because you are trying to survive as a tech geek. To say the truth I find your presentations a bit saccharine ( they are still good, I'm especially impressed in productivity - a lot of videos and a lot of talking) and yet you are trying to speak how we need brutal and honest reviews.

By the way there are comment sections under the majority of articles nowadays where you can read a lot of negative opinions. I even think that there is too much bickering and negativity. A lot of reviews are contradicting each other and that is baffling.  

Marketing has two very common metrics that are related to this: 1) Unaided Brand Awareness and 2) Aided Brand Awareness.

Unaided Brand Awareness is when you ask someone an open-ended question like: "Name your top 3 headphone manufacturers." Outside of head-fi, you know that Sony & Beats would probably score very well in that survey. Audeze & Stax, not so much. Aided Brand Awareness is a more targeted question like: "Please rate these 5 headphone manufacturers for fashion style: Beats, Marley, Skullcandy, Audeze, Stax". That's a different kind of question that gives a different sort of information. Consumer brands live for unaided brand awareness - when they have that, they are King of the Hill. Niche players will never have mass unaided brand awareness. They would look at their smaller niche market, and very small players might be perfectly happy with being scored near the top in aided brand awareness against their niche peers.
post #22 of 149

I've just watched a_recording's last video. He is blaming Head-Fi in promoting greed in buying moar headphones. It's like blaming Amazon that they make Americans puppets of corporate industry and capitalist consumerism. It's interesting to hear that from people who are utter examples of consumerism themselves.

post #23 of 149
"There is strong incentive to moderate negative opinions, but no real incentive to moderate positive ones."

Yup. This is true of posts as well as reviews.

I really don't trust reviews. I have been burnt too many times. So I solicit private opinions from people I trust.

Regarding Tyll's reviews, you need to read those without all the modifiers and qualifiers to get to what he really believes (if you care).
post #24 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by mutabor View Post
 

I've just watched a_recording's last video. He is blaming Head-Fi in promoting greed in buying moar headphones. It's like blaming Amazon that they make Americans puppets of corporate industry and capitalist consumerism. It's interesting to hear that from people who are utter examples of consumerism themselves.


Well lets face it, its a treadmill if you really want to play the role of the mouse on the wheel. There are a lot of choices out there and a million opinions pro and con for each. Not surprising that confusion reigns and consumerism takes a giant leap for mankind in the process.

 

Until everyone decides to go with custom phones or DIY, consumerism it is:D

 

I look forward to Sennheiser and Sony duking it out to see how many different products they can have on shelves in a given calendar year:basshead:

post #25 of 149
I still don't understand why any of this is news or why suddenly, after 13+ years of head-fi, it has now become the reason to march on Detroit. IMHO, it's neither.

Drama for the sake of drama, I guess.
post #26 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

Drama for the sake of drama, I guess

I don't think so. He's not that sort of guy.

It's been made clear that negative opinions are "disincentivized" here.
post #27 of 149

Well I shall put my 2 pennies in.

 

While I agree a little with what Lachlan is saying about bias - I see it as no different, or having less impact, than our own personal bias / preference.

 

I saw the original post - with all the talk about the alternate funding idea.  In fact I wrote a very long reply only to have it disappear when I clicked submit, and it vanished along with the thread.  So I'll go over some of what I originally tried to say.

 

The issue Lachlan - is that what you are proposing presumes that all of the reviewers are affected by this bias you're talking about.  I genuinely think that some of the more trusted reviewers out there aren't - or at least the ones I trust.  The second issue is that you were proposing an alternative that would only benefit you - and was clearly (in your initial post) a violation of the TOS - at least it appeared so to me.  In fact I can't really understand your rant on youtube either.  You seem to be confident in painting all reviewers with the one brush.  This is wrong.  By setting up this alternate idea, you would only end up with an extremely small core of reviewers - and there is definite benefit for you - as you get to buy / review / keep what you want, at the exclusion of everyone else.  I mean - why would people financially support (regularly) many different reviewers.  It would be different if it was going to a pool open to everyone who contributes - but good luck with managing that one.  Equality of donation, equality of order selecting and reviewing gear, who pays shipping etc.  It's a nice thought - but what happens when stuff starts going missing (it happens).

 

For my part - I started writing reviews because it helped get my thoughts in order, it promoted discussion, and I enjoyed (still do) writing them.  It's not for ego.  It's not for money.  It's not for free gifts.  It's for the enjoyment, and because I love the hobby, and I enjoy the community feedback.  I started with my own gear - and looking back on some of my early reviews now, I openly laugh at how naive I initially was,  how subject to bias my reviews were, and how very little experience with gear translated into hype for some products that weren't really that good.  I try to bring a measure of objectivity to counter my own subjectivity - and I still think the idea is to promote discussion, and evaluate all view points - rather than promoting hype.

 

As I stated above - I'm not paid.  Nothing I write generates revenue in any form for me.  I have (in the last 6-12 months) had companies approach me to try their gear and review it. I have only ever approached one company - and asked if there was a possibility of reviewing a headphone.  The company agreed.  I offered to pay freight there and back.  Apart from that I have put my name forward when suppliers have posted looking for testers - their choice for selection - but other manufacturers have approached me.  When I am approached, I always make sure the ground rules are clearly understood - and if it is a first time, I usually offer to pay the freight at least one way.  That way the manufacturer knows that I'm prepared to just have the gear long enough to review it.  With a lot of the manufacturers - they have told me afterward just to keep the gear - which is good for future comparisons - but I haven't solicited it.  It has been their call.  I've also had a few offers to buy the gear at a discounted rate - and I have taken advantage of this on a couple of occasions.  The freight to NZ is not cheap - so not sure if this has a bearing.  I have also offered to pay full price for an IEM that I was particularly enamoured with (I still use it).  They appreciated the offer - but told me to keep it, and just buy a replacement from them if I ever needed one.  Eventually I will probably take them up on that offer (if it breaks).

 

Getting to keep the gear is nice - but it's not the hook a lot of people think it is.  I have maybe a dozen boxes of sample gear in my wardrobe.  It's good to have there for comparisons at a later date - but for many of the items, they simply do not get used (as I have better gear that I've paid for myself).  The gear I have been given cannot be ethically sold (against the TOS here anyway) - so really there is not a lot of financial incentive.  If I get too much gear, I'll offer to either return it to the manufacturer, or (if they are agreeable) donate it to a raffle with proceeds going to charity.

 

I have had the occasion to write a fairly negative review - and I didn't try to soften the blow.  I gave my honest opinion.  I did first contact the manufacturer, tell them what I intended to do and why.  The contact was very understanding - told me to post the review - and seemed happy I gave an honest opinion.  I would do the same with any manufacturer even if it meant never getting review gear from them again.  Ethically - it is against my nature to do anything else.  Funnily enough I haven't been approached by the same manufacturer again.  But I look at this as their loss - not mine.

 

Sorry for the long post - but as you can see, whilst I understand where Lachlan is coming from, I cannot agree with the way he went about it, and I also do not see his solution as viable, or ideal for anyone else but him.  I also understand Head-Fi's position - and actually agree with them.  I'm very surprised at the youtube video that was posted.  Personally I find that method of "having a crack" at someone both unethical, and a little immature.  Describing the moderation/atmosphere here as "toxic" is simply unwarranted.  If you have an axe to grind - IMO this was not the way to do it.  I used to moderate a Linux forum a few years ago, so I understand exactly how difficult moderation is.  These guys are unpaid - and do their job simply because they believe in the site, and want to contribute.  It's not easy to moderate - and especially difficult when you are simply following the stated TOS - especially when the real issue is the person who claims they are being targeted.

 

Laclan - I will miss your insights, your reviews, your contributions.  I sincerely hope that you can manage to patch things up - so that you can continue to contribute here.  The community would be a richer place for your presence here.  But ultimately that choice is yours ........

post #28 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

I still don't understand why any of this is news or why suddenly, after 13+ years of head-fi, it has now become the reason to march on Detroit. IMHO, it's neither.

Drama for the sake of drama, I guess.


It's only news because someone didn't get something they wanted.

 

 

Still waiting for that model of Zero X , Santa   

post #29 of 149
I remember in the old days of head-fi, some reviewers would simply give away their review units for the cost of shipping - I seem to recall Skylab and few others doing this. Of course, that wasn't done with $1000 headphones, but for a $40 pair of buds - why not? Of course, back then, the "community" was much smaller and more low-key.
post #30 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

I remember in the old days of head-fi, some reviewers would simply give away their review units for the cost of shipping - I seem to recall Skylab and few others doing this. Of course, that wasn't done with $1000 headphones, but for a $40 pair of buds - why not? Of course, back then, the "community" was much smaller and more low-key.

 

Old days? We still do!! And I don't think this kinda action is uncommon. It may happen behind the scenes in PMs maybe? (http://www.head-fi.org/t/714388/ortofon-e-q8-impressions-thread-new-2014-successor-of-the-e-q7-e-q5/45#post_10562261)

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnakChan View Post

 

I'll pass that to you along with the other stuff you're asking for. In addition, I'll pass you the e-Q5 & e-Q7, and Hd-7 (the desktop amp). You can compare  the e-Q5/7 along with the 8 you already have side-by-side with the Ortofon amps. Do feel free to keep the Ortofons as long as you write up something about it please :D.

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