BS in hifi forums / magazines
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pbirkett

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One thing I have learned over the last 3 years that I have been involved in hifi as a hobby, I have noticed that this subject, almost more than anything else is full of crap to put it bluntly.

I think most of you know what I mean by now, but I shall give some examples. In a review of a Denon DCD-835 CD player, magazine A claimed it to be a very lively, bouncy, full bodied player. The other magazine, B, claimed that it was very laid back, warm and lacking punch. Now, either a CD player sounds lively or it doesnt??? Surely the same model cannot be lively and laid back at the same time. Yet according to two different magazines, they are completely different players.

Another review, this time of a Rotel amp claims that it is a lively, clean, dynamic and punchy amp (which I know from experience to be true), and another magazine said it is overly smooth, warm, laid back, unengaging (definitely NOT true, its about as far away from the truth as its possible to get). These are identical amps.

Now, forums are just as bad I find. The main thing that sticks out for me is generalisations which tend not to be based on any real experience. I love being told that my soundcard, amp or cans exhibit faults which are plainly not there.

What is the point to this thread? Trust nobody but yourself, and trust only your own ears. Peoples opinions are in many cases, always going to be clouded by bias, exagerration or just plain lies. Unfortunately, with headphone hifi, this is going to lead to many mistakes; I wish it was easier to audition headphone kit... but I wish even more that people would not talk crap!!


Rant over!
 
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bangraman

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On the whole, true. Hearing is a personal thing and it is also most importantly relative to what the reviewer has heard to date and remembers.


As far as this forum is concerned though, after a while there is a certain consensus on how a thing generally sounds. It's good to share your opinions on forums. While your first review post may be steeped in analogous errors, the more you post and the more you read, the more you will know how people refer to certain things, and the more 'accurate' you can become.


I don't like writing huge tracts but I do read quite a lot... and there are plenty of people out there with good ears and with good turns of phrases not writing BS. The problem is now more than ever the serious posts seem to be getting lost in the sea of BS. However that's just like the rest of the Internet... if you need a sufficiently precise buying guide, you've got to look for it. It would be good if Head-Fi could appoint an editorial panel of sorts who could discuss results among each others and to screen reviews and sticky them, whatever the length.
 
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jefemeister

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one explanation: systems work as a whole. A bright source coupled to a dark amp/speaker combo will probably not sound bright, but instead may actually sound perfect due to balancing issues. Put that same source with a brighter system and it may be so bright as to be unlistenable. How a product sounds for a particular observer is almost 100% dependent on their individual listening environment. Of course a reviewer should be aware of this and do everything in their power to create a good setup. It's also necessary that the reviewer list their associated equipment and music selection.

You can't take a review on face value, you have to look extract the true meaning as it pertains to you. It also helps if the reviewer is someone who you find you agree with most of the time.
 
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markl

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I think reviewers are under the same constraints we are; only one reference system to compare against, each new component is at the mercy of everything else in the signal path, maybe magic synergy happens is system A, but not in system B. Different gear history which gives you different perspective. If your reference when listening to CD3000s is the hD600s they might sound "bright" to you, if your reference is SR-325, the Sony's might sound "tame" or even "dark". That's the basic problem with single print reviews, it's still a sample size of only one, regardless of how "expert" that reviewer may be. On the web, you have the other problem, a cornicopia of opinions that range all over the board from people of generally lower experience level (we assume) than the typical print magazine reviewer.
 
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austonia

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speaking of conflicting reports... i remember me and bangraman disagreed pretty strongly about the Shure E3c.
 
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PinkFloyd

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It's all about personal taste pbirkett and what suits our own individual ears...... I say "individual" as it's well known that our ears are as unique as our fingerprints and we "all" hear things slightly different from each other.

Hi-Fi magazines have an agenda, they are in business to sell their magazines and not the equipment contained within the pages of their magazine etc etc. I used to believe that until I was made aware of the truth about how the Hi-Fi press review products...... A product is more likely to get a rave 5 star review if the product in question is a freebie with an accompanying free lunch...... don't, for one second, think that these journalists are evaluating a product on it's merit alone.

A certain magazine used to award 5 stars on merit and there were very few five star products in their charts......... nowadays the same magazine awards 5 stars to everything, be it a singing watch or a mobile phone.

Forums "can" be a good place to learn of a product but you have to let your ears be the final judge and not rely on others evaluation of the item. I gave a rave review of the Graham Slee Solo but was that because I liked the amp or did I get a free amp in exchange for writing a good review?

Always think the worst of the reviewer and "always" use your own ears to reach your own conclusions. After all, you'll be the one that has to live with your choice.

Pinkie.


PS: "I" still think the gspaudio SOLO sounds the dogs bollocks but you may think it sounds crap........... use your own ears
 
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Zoide

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Quote:

Originally Posted by markl
I think reviewers are under the same constraints we are; only one reference system to compare against, each new component is at the mercy of everything else in the signal path, maybe magic synergy happens is system A, but not in system B. Different gear history which gives you different perspective. If your reference when listening to CD3000s is the hD600s they might sound "bright" to you, if your reference is SR-325, the Sony's might sound "tame" or even "dark". That's the basic problem with single print reviews, it's still a sample size of only one, regardless of how "expert" that reviewer may be. On the web, you have the other problem, a cornicopia of opinions that range all over the board from people of generally lower experience level (we assume) than the typical print magazine reviewer.



That is SO true.

For a simple example, play something on a PPA, then put on the bass boost. BOOM, everything will sound (of course) bassier/fuller/etc. After a few seconds, turn it off and what used to sound pretty ok before turning on the boost now sounds thin and empty.

I'd say the above shows that our ears can adjust *within seconds* to a certain sound. Nevermind people who've used a certain piece of equipment for a long time...
 
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Jasper994

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Isn't the point of reading reviews to try and collect opinions then read between the lines to find out what the truth might be while still accepting that you as an individual my have an entirely different opinion?
 
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ampgalore

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Quote:

Originally Posted by pbirkett
Another review, this time of a Rotel amp claims that it is a lively, clean, dynamic and punchy amp (which I know from experience to be true), and another magazine said it is overly smooth, warm, laid back, unengaging (definitely NOT true, its about as far away from the truth as its possible to get). These are identical amps.


Probably referring to the Stereophile review.

Well, one thing I have learned is that you have to read the entire review to find out how the reviewer really feels about a product. Don't just read the conclusions section, that's where all the "polite" praises are.

Stereophile will never open trash a product, unless it is outrageously bad.
 
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