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OPINION: Review Units Hurt the Audio Community - Page 6  

post #76 of 149
I should think full disclosure would address that problem.
post #77 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post

I should think full disclosure would address that problem.

Enforced how? The Internet Police? The International Association of Headphone Reviewers?
post #78 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

Enforced how? The Internet Police? The International Association of Headphone Reviewers?

I don't think it would be necessary but why not. Other professional associations manage it handily.
post #79 of 149
LOL - I made that up. My point is that anyone can post a review. Anyone.
post #80 of 149

There is a model that already works and does not involve soliciting actual funding.  It involves being part of a community or group of friends with access to a variety of goodies.  Send things on loaner tours to each other, or have a few central users who have fairly trusty ears who can take measurements and are generally even handed.  Round out with some subjective impressions.  

 

The only downside I see to this method is group think and "cultism."  There will always be a certain amount of that on the part of social "reachers" who want to appear in-the-know.  However I know from firsthand personal experience that this is not the case universally.  I have personally sent out over $20,000 in gear to various friends the last couple years to get their thoughts.  Sometimes they liked it.  Sometimes they loved it.  Sometimes they likened it to torture.  In all cases, they did not worry "Hey, maybe this guy won't keep sending us stuff if we start a garbage fire with something he has publicly professed to like."  And in return, my opinion remained unchanged, we just tried to sort out why we had a difference of opinion.

 

This is a successful, sustainable model based on mutual trust and respect, not to mention not being a jerk.  It does not work when people are petty, want to crusade, or take things personally when others insult gear they like.  I don't think it will work on forum of HF's size or scale but it doesn't have to, HF fills a different need in the landscape.  Also, it won't necessarily work well if you live far out in say Australia.  But in that case make a group for Australia too, or rely on the other groups for some things. I really don't like the idea of monetarily crowdfunding a given reviewer, especially given that there are plenty of other reviewers who are trustworthy and don't need to resort to such tactics.  It may remove some level of bias, but there's a whole lot of sliminess that could go on as well.  In the current system I've discussed, no one makes a dime or keeps anything long term, they pay it forward, sending on to the next person, until it returns (hopefully in great condition) to its original owner.  I currently have an ECP black diamond and specially modded Grado HP1000 out on loan through this service, and it has already stopped by at least 10 users, most of whom have published public impressions.  I don't fully agree 100% with a single one of them.  But it is invaluable for data points to inform any interested parties, and for the gear comparison they can make with other amps/headphones I may not have.  At least in the US, this is a great option.  No one gets paid, everyone just pays shipping to the next guy, the public benefits.  And as long as I'm not likely to get offended, we're talking zero bias.

_____________

 

Head-Fi is like the NBA of forums.  There are always going to be conspiracies.  And conspiracies wouldn't hold water for more than a second if there wasn't at least some corroborating "evidence."  As long as any sponsors (read: large market teams, or teams publicly "wronged") have any measure of success or prominence on the forum, the conspiracies will abound.  What I like about this thread is that there is a measure of demystification going on.  The same secrecy shrouding policies and internal decision-making, various edicts and how heavy-handed punishment is doled out somewhere like the NBA and contributing to the persistence of these conspiracies festers and bubbles over the longer a site like Head-Fi keeps similar topics "banned."  Assuming pure motives and actions, everything can be nipped in the bud with public address sooner rather than later (or not at all.)  This presumes however, that public airing of grievances is (within reason) allowed, otherwise things will only come up when they reach a tipping point.  

 

Will conspiracies still exist if these types of issues are allowed to be discussed publicly?  Sure.  But rational members will be much less likely to believe them when it plays out in public and the counterpoint is there for them to see.  Not every forum can implement this successfully or needs this at all, but I think it would benefit Head-Fi.

 

____________

 

Over the last couple years, there has been a minor exodus of sorts of many valuable members, at least in the subforums I've frequented (high end forum, diy forum, member's lounge.)  There are probably a lot of reasons for this - forum dilution with everyone is taking a piece of the pie and many users finding other places on the web from facebook to reddit, the headphone objectivist wave getting X product and being "done," more objective data making people feel their opinions or reviews are less "needed", being tired of the carousel effect of many evolutionary products touted as revolutionary, social media outlets being better haunts to just "talk", even with like-minded gearheads, splits and purges causing distaste to some, people realizing they're spending too much time online and getting REAL things done on second life, changing demographics and "uses" for forums causing generational disconnect, the proliferation of meets and the occasional PM being enough to sate a user's need for the hobby, the hobby's adolescence having less luster and excitement than its childhood where everything was awesome, and probably some other things I'm leaving out.

 

However, in my opinion it would be unfortunate if Head-Fi would think its policies or moderation had zero to do with it.  It is true that there is no way to moderate "perfectly", and the way Head-Fi is doing it may be the closest approximation possible.  However, again in my opinion, it would be to Head-Fi's benefit if there were some public or semi-public caucus to be able to address concerns - if not to modify policies at least to have mutual understanding of one another.  If users still leave, at least it was tried.  

 

Head-Fi is certainly not required to do this - it is a private forum with an owner, and he can do as he sees fit.  But, as Head-Fi grows and seems to attract many users and pageviews, it seems to simultaneously be losing the "tenured members shooting the breeze" vibe that was once more present (or at least seemed more present, I have heard this sentiment from at least 10 people but do not have statistics to back it up.)  And that's a shame.  I do not know if there is a fool-proof solution that could stem the bleeding, but I do know it would be nice to at least have a conversation about it, at least along the lines of "what makes you stick around?  What makes you want to leave?  What could be done to keep you in the fold rather than folding?"  [I know for myself the witty repartee (or at least we saw it that way, probably like five-year-olds think their fart jokes are zingier than one-liners from Oscar Wilde)  that I enjoyed with a number of members has long since faded here. I know there is only so much you can talk about a hobby like headphones, but there was for a while a dispropotionately high number of people I liked talking to about... anything here compared to other special interest forums I frequent (under other usernames, don't try to find me) and its unfortunate that most of them seem to have checked out.  I know a lot of users will get into a hobby for a few months or a year and then check out, but it seems a very high number of users have done that... lately.  The market keeps coming up with interesting new things (at least in my view) so to some degree, it is the medium that is responsible to figure out how to prevent that.

 

I haven't posted discussion since April, but these seem to be a couple points that haven't been brought up and may benefit someone and at the very least have mostly been expressed to me in one way or another by users who are no longer active, so I feel I'm at least a Speaker for the Dead.

 

Edit - I do not have the time or the energy right now to back and forth on any of these points.  I feel they are well-enough fleshed out that if they can be taken and tweaked and run with to some degree constructively, great.  If not, well, at least the sentiments have been brought up. 


Edited by Radio_head - 7/1/14 at 4:53pm
post #81 of 149

I'm with Radio_head on this. A lot of people here, myself included, if we borrow something we pass it to other people to borrow and, if they wish, review. That's why you might see anakchan and Shigzeo reviewing the same stuff I do quite often. It is good, IMO, because the three of us have different musical tastes, headphones and other gear, so if you read all three of our reviews on gear, you'll get somewhat different perspectives.

 

I think if @a_recording wants to eliminate any concerns about his bias when reviewing, all well and good. But I have no problem writing a review with a balanced perspective and am not concerned about whether I write positive things or negative things as I just write what I feel and try and paint an overall picture of what the thing I'm reviewing is like to own and use.


Edited by Currawong - 7/1/14 at 10:00pm
post #82 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio_head View Post


I do not have enough limbs to applaud this post.

There are a few members around who freely share their gear to members along with the encouragement to post impressions as freely as they like.

Aside from my own friends who i exchange new gear with from time to time, there's a member in the portables section who almost always gets the latest gear and encourages world tours. He even provided the resources to start a world tour where almost any member could participate in evaluating truly TOTL gear to see if certain claims stacked up. Not every member should do this, but my point is to contrast that event a year ago with the current situation. I tried to gauge interest for a tour of a new iem by an established manufacturer with amazing tech, but none of the established members reached out to seemed to have much interest.

I just feel like there's a brain drain going on at HF that has coincided with certain events.

Lachlan's post wasn't the audiophile's Worker's Manifesto. I take it more like a less sarcastic "A Modest Proposal". I wish others would see it as such.
post #83 of 149

Bugger! To think that what could have been an interesting and productive exploration of the origins and potential solutions to product bias was torpedoed over such a non starter issue as crowdfunding, is disheartening.

post #84 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio_head View Post

 

as Head-Fi grows and seems to attract many users and pageviews, it seems to simultaneously be losing the "tenured members shooting the breeze" vibe that was once more present (or at least seemed more present, I have heard this sentiment from at least 10 people but do not have statistics to back it up.) 


I'm someone who has left head-fi more than once over the past decade, but came back later.

 

Here's something I've found: expressing one's experiences in writing, especially good writing, often has an exaggerating effect even if unintended. Someone could write about the sight of cherry blossoms falling in Japan come mid-to-late April, and I would swoon all over it and get all excited, but then when I finally get there to see for myself, yes it's pretty, but is that all there is to it? What now? What happened to the verve, the enthusiasm, the sheer sense of wonder embedded in the verbiage... Oh okay, those came from the human component :tongue:

 

The main route I see that could alleviate this is that reviewers need to simma down their excitement, and have the ability to write flat and honest, very tight, very concise impressions where every word is razor-sharp and useful to a person who's trying to understand, via your words, whether this product is a doable option for them.

 

So, if asked by Lachlan, I would tell him that this isn't really about whether you feel obliged to give a good review as a result of the review unit's provenance (omg buzzwords ewww). I've seen plenty of reviewers give scathing reviews even when their units are sourced this way, without losing a single ounce of self-righteousness in the process. If you feel this is an emotional burden, you can always buy your own retail units, review them then return or resell, and I know there are non-audio tech reviewers who run their sites this way and seem to write reviews I find wonderfully impartial.

 

-----

 

As for the "tenured members shooting the breeze" vibe, I think that's the vibe a group or entity invariably loses when it gains a lot of members and/or kinda...democratizes. The way I see it is, in any situation, even when you're soliciting concensus, there's always still a single person who has to call the shots. There has to be someone whose position, to keep rubbing salt into my buzzword-intolerant wound, is to "curate", "edit" and pick what they think is a good option to pursue for the scenario.

 

This crowd, this head-fi right here, is very different from 10,15 years ago when I feel we were more likely to defer a little to those tenured members for opinions and trust their judgement. Today's posse, if you'll excuse my language, are more often folks who come here to seek out approval and support for their enthusiasm, their sheer sense of wonder for whatever they bought or set eyes on, perhaps with a linguistic error or two thrown in.

 

I would not want to be one of those tenured members shooting the breeze back and forth in this general state, because you'll be accused (very randomly and shockingly) for having an opinion that's not giving them the approval that they want.

 

So, these are things that I feel I have come across, nothing more; I apologize up front if I've misunderstood anyone, or if my reply proves to be off-topic and irrelevant. It's just the way I feel.

post #85 of 149
We've had many other threads comparing the old days to the current head-fi. Many things have changed - including the fact that the mobile audio market EXPLODED. iTunes was launched in January, 2001 - only six months before head-fi was launched. Tens years ago, Beats did not exist. The entire world has changed since the old days of head-fi.
post #86 of 149

To be honest, I'm extremely glad this website exists. My headphone quest started and could've ended quite fast, but this forum caught my eye (and ears) and pulled me in. While it may be true there's biases, especially from reviewers who get sent products and people who fall into hype headfirst, I can't say I'm overly regretful of any bad decision I've made so far. Being an audiophile is an ongoing journey, and lots of the fun is trying new headphones and gear. Sure it sucks to buy a bad product from a misleading review, but I've learned many important decision making and anlysis skills from my continual experiences head-fi has allowed me to have. Sure, reviews 'promote greed', BUT I wouldn't buy these things if they didn't make me happy. I love sound, inconsistancy, possible corruption, shady whatever, nothing will change that. Everyone on this thread has made good points, but the reality is you can't please everyone. There's no need to get heated about these issues, let's not forget we do this because we love to do this. If it's not that simple, I'm not sure what is. :)

post #87 of 149

+1 on the last two posts.

 

The headphone world has changed so much since head-fi started.  And a TON since I joined in 2008.  It's hard to even compare the past to the present as the economical environment of the headphone world is always changing.  I for one am glad Jude and crew are in charge, having met him at our local meet a few weeks ago it's easy to tell he started this site because he loves headphones and audio, and that passion has not died with head-fi's growth.  One of the challenges has to be staying excited after doing this professionally (or as a mod) and he and the other mods have done so.  Kudos.

 

I don't think any large forum site would be devoid of these challenges, especially around any hobby, but it's good to know the longevity of the site is in good hands.

 

It's up to the forum user to decide what is valid information and what is advertising.  I don't feel I've ever been duped while reading the content that is available, largely because I thoroughly read as much as I can before making a purchase or judgement.  I'm sure many people feel the same, at least on the consumer side of things.  It's easy to get jaded or blow things out of proportion when you're either selling or reviewing headphones, and forget about why we all came to this site in the first place, to share our love of all that headphones are with others.

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post #88 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radio_head View Post
 

There is a model that already works and does not involve soliciting actual funding.  It involves being part of a community or group of friends with access to a variety of goodies.  Send things on loaner tours to each other, or have a few central users who have fairly trusty ears who can take measurements and are generally even handed.  Round out with some subjective impressions.  

 

The only downside I see to this method is group think and "cultism."  There will always be a certain amount of that on the part of social "reachers" who want to appear in-the-know.  However I know from firsthand personal experience that this is not the case universally.  I have personally sent out over $20,000 in gear to various friends the last couple years to get their thoughts.  Sometimes they liked it.  Sometimes they loved it.  Sometimes they likened it to torture.  In all cases, they did not worry "Hey, maybe this guy won't keep sending us stuff if we start a garbage fire with something he has publicly professed to like."  And in return, my opinion remained unchanged, we just tried to sort out why we had a difference of opinion.

 

 

True, but as far as I understand ( maybe I'm misunderstanding something?) Lachlan wants to make a commercial model ( creating profit for reviewers like him) which will replace "evil and corrupted" current model of sponsorship and ads revenue. He needs to make a lot of videos to make money from his reviews. He will need a lot of gear to review. His goal is not just how to make unbiased reviews but rather how to create a new commercial environment which will be based on other principles and which will be sponsored by community and not by manufacturers. He is not just providing an alternative model but he wants to replace the current model which he thinks is bad. 

post #89 of 149
Let's say I'm a manufacturer, and I choose to ignore this new model and send out review units anyway. How many of the noble reviewers will simply return the box unopened? What if the box is accompanied by a letter that explains the box contains a pre-release sample of a heretofore only rumored product? Would the reviewer NOT review the advance product? How does that benefit the community, or the manufacturer that genuinely desires feedback on the new product? If the reviewer accepts even *one* instance of this sort of item, is he not then forever tainted by the specter of bias?
post #90 of 149
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

Let's say I'm a manufacturer, and I choose to ignore this new model and send out review units anyway. How many of the noble reviewers will simply return the box unopened? What if the box is accompanied by a letter that explains the box contains a pre-release sample of a heretofore only rumored product? Would the reviewer NOT review the advance product? How does that benefit the community, or the manufacturer that genuinely desires feedback on the new product? If the reviewer accepts even *one* instance of this sort of item, is he not then forever tainted by the specter of bias?

I would say he is only tainted if the history of his past reviews is found to be inaccurate by purchasers of products he has reviewed.  You really have to establish a type of trust based on experience with any given reviewer.  You can't just accept a guarantee of the reviewer's integrity from someone else, unless that someone is a person you already trust.  That being said, it circles back around to  your personal experience with the guarantor.  It boils down to this:  Ideally, we should all start out with an offering of the benefit of the doubt.  Our trust level is then adjusted based on our personal experience with any particular individual.  It would be nice to have guarantees, but there are very few of those in life.

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