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Have you ever let a review influence the way you hear/enjoy gear?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by CoryGillmore, Jul 7, 2019.
  1. CoryGillmore
    It's happened to me. I imagine a lot of folks around here may not even want to admit this.

    The biggest one for me was the Sony MDR-Z7M2. I had that headphone for about a month before the reviews started rolling in. And I enjoyed that headphone quite a bit up until that point. You can see the progression of this play out perfectly in the MDR-Z7M2 here thread on Head-Fi. I buy it and sing its' praises almost daily in that thread for weeks, defending its' honor against all naysayers LOL.

    Then merely a few days after reviews start coming in, especially the Zeos review, I proclaim the MDR-1AM2 to sound better to me and announce I am sending this thing back to Amazon and using it to fund the Sony IER-M9. A complete 180 on my opinion and the only thing that changed was me reading/watching negative reviews.

    I suppose the question here, as it pertains to sound science, is: did these reviews merely open my eyes to the faults of this headphone? Or did these negative reviews simply implant a negative bias that made me unable to enjoy a headphone I'd literally JUST spent $900 on?

    What do you all think? Can you relate to this at all? Have a similar experience?
  2. castleofargh Contributor
    I think it can be a little bit of everything. we can most certainly have someone tell us about an issue we never noticed, and once we know about it, we can't seem to be able to hear anything else. that must happen all the time as we didn't necessarily focused our attention in that specific direction nor needed to do it. I've ruined the fun of a few people by mentioning audible background noise on some devices. they had never paid attention and might have spent a long time enjoying their device if I just had kept my mouth closed. and a similar situation with a free streaming place where he had his playlist and linked some to me so I would discover some artist. after a few minutes we discussed the artist and I made the mistake to complain about the compression artifacts. a few days later he insulted me(in a friendly way^_^) because he couldn't enjoy listening to music from that website anymore.

    there is also probably some disappointment when we believe we've procured something really good, and someone shows it's not the case. measurement are probably the worst in such a situation and I imagine it can be frustrating too. maybe to the point where one may start being angry at the gear itself, or at himself for getting it in the first place.
    I can't say I've experienced that specifically but then again, very few people like to complain as much as I do:smiling_imp:. I usually come up with plenty of critics for my gears myself.
    CoryGillmore likes this.
  3. bigshot
    I think most online reviewers are pig ignorant about sound quality. They're drop dead clueless when it comes to how to read measurements. They wouldn't know a threshold of audibility if it bit them in the ass. All they know is "more is better" and the buzzwords that other reviewers use. They throw the nonsense words around in established ways, depending on what other reviewers are saying. If they give measurements I look at that because I can tell something from that. And discussion of features and how to use them is interesting. But not from descriptions of sound quality. They're usually full of hot air there.

    My advice is always to have a goal in mind before you allow yourself to upgrade. Listen carefully to the headphones you have and figure out what aspects could be better. Then find something that improves upon that. If you just keep swapping in the latest and greatest randomly, you'll never reach your goal.

    If you've just spent $900 on cans, I would say sit tight. If you want to get anything, get a digital EQ and start experimenting. You should be able to make your headphones sound any way you want them to sound. Perhaps investigate sound processing like crossfeed. There's no reason you shouldn't be happy with your new headphones. You shouldn't let other people tell you that you shouldn't be happy with them.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
    Tsukuyomi, Fuzzy789 and CoryGillmore like this.
  4. Fuzzy789
    I totally agree with your view on online reviewers, there so ignorant on so many levels i just can't take them seriously. Like if they review anything in the netural area its just a paragraph of how they favour fun sound over a honest accurate sound eg; ER4S or the HD600. Not to mention some tried arguing with me they can hear the 1% of the ER4XR at low volumes when its only that at 90 to 105dB!.

    My main ones are the ER4SR, I never been had a review sway my view on them since most laughably have no clue what there talking about.
  5. castleofargh Contributor
    I wrote like 90% of a review for the er4sr and never posted it, thinking it wasn't a proper review. if I know that I'm ignorant and don't post, doesn't that make me a better reviewer than the reviewer who does a review? (insert philosoraptor meme).
  6. bigshot
    I know reviewing is hard. I did it once, and it was a real job. If I had to do proper reviews on a regular basis, it would be a full time job. Back in the old days, magazines like Stereo Review could have people on staff testing equipment and writing about it. Today, a website looks for volunteers who will review equipment for free if they get to keep an evaluation copy once in a while. That's why the quality of reviewing has dropped so far. There are always some things in even the worst reviews that are useful... you get a clear photo of the back, so you can see how many inputs and outputs there are. There's usually a rundown of features. And if you're lucky, they publish some measurements. That's really all I need. I skim over the flowery language and the gushing descriptions of how the reviewer's favorite albums sound on it. When I look at the rest of Head-Fi outside of Sound Science, I see people aping the reviewers, even more ineptly than the inept reviewers.

    I've gotten to the point where I just buy something on Amazon, try it myself to see if it works for me, and return it if it doesn't. As long as I can get a return/refund, I don't need reviews.
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
    CoryGillmore likes this.
  7. SilentNote
    I use my own ears to narrow down what I like. Then I read reviews for the proclaimed problems, and I go back to listen carefully for those problems. Often I agree with the described problem, but sometimes I don’t hear it.

    In essence I use the reviews to double check if I missed anything so I’ll be extra sure that it’s a good headphone for me.
  8. taffy2207
    I sound like a broken record but reviews never influence me, I don't read them.

    I tend to go to threads and ignore the hype posts and the overtly negative ones and read posts that tend to have a consensus of opinion. That combined with spec sheets seem to be the best way for me. It's no substitute for trying gear yourself though, but that's not always possible.
  9. AudioThief
    My technique was generally to take a headphone I already heard/owned, use that as referene and crawl the internet for any and all impression, generally ignoring those not directly comparing my reference to the one I'm trying to learn about. Sometimes a third headphone, something popular like HD800 or the likes would be used - so I would read comparisons of my reference to the HD800, and the HD800 to the one I'm trying to learn about..

    I.e pretty much all over the place, lol.
  10. bigshot
    I just look at the response curve.
  11. bagwell359
    Sure, back in the day when I was selling gear and changing gear constantly, I can remember a few times when a new Rev came out that was supposed to be better. I lost enjoyment in the current gear and figured out how to get the update - quick. But, once I got my stereo just the way I wanted, I went 13 years w/o reading a review or walking into a shop. Very freeing. I read reviews these days for tips of whats going on, but, my choices and taste are verified by my ears and budget. Due to my use of XLR interconnects and run ins with $5k power cords (no lie) I also got away from tweeksterism. Then with the headphones smacking of detail, and damn if the cables don't sound different (anyone that thinks the HE-500 stock cable sounds like a Black Dragon v1 is hard of hearing, etc.) However XLR interconnects and power cables don't seem to pass A/B testing with clear results.
    CoryGillmore likes this.
  12. Raketen
    At least you have a record of your change! Recently listened to an podcast about how we can be completely oblivious to changes in our own beliefs, was interesting/mortifying: https://youarenotsosmart.com/2019/04/09/yanss-150-belief-change-blindness/

    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
  13. Tsukuyomi
    I try not to allow youtube reviewers influence my audio equipment purchases.
    I tend to demo them before hand in a store(if possible), then watch/read the review after to confirm if what im hearing/feeling is similar.
    Youtube reviewers need to pull in an audience so i find they add unnecessary bloat/drama/irrelevant claims to certain products and try to make the viewer feel sympathetic to how they feel for a product. when in reality 99% of them get it sent free either by donations or demo lists. which we dont have that luxury. we have to spend money we earned.

    I remember trying the Hifiman Jade 2 at the audio show and loved them a lot, was seriously going to consider buying them, but what led me to not buy them was storing it and housing the entire unit (amp) when my room is quite small.
  14. SilverEars
    I get absolutely nothing through reviews, and this is something people will realize over the years. Reviewers are human beings, have expectation bias, new toy syndrome, they review too many things in short time to not spend enough time and write a bunch of fluff, their hearing conditions change over time, or just write positive review because they got the headphone for review or for further samples. So, there are various reasons why reviews cannot be trusted. Besides, can you really hear from their writings? No. The best way to know is hear the gear yourself.

    Audiogear is expensive we know, so they should all be returnable if we don't find them to meet or go beyond expectations. You need to to assess gear, and they should let you spend extended time in the environment you normal listen, at your place or for portable gear, out and about. Only then you will have a true assessment of gear, no review will match this.

    I think it's just gullibility if people are being influenced by reviews which seems to be generally commercial. If it wasn't, and reviews actually provided real honest opinions, it can be a different story.

    Trust no one.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2019
    Tsukuyomi likes this.
  15. bigshot
    I agree with you SilverEars, but you can get information about features and functionality from reviews.
    Tsukuyomi likes this.

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