How Can I Trust Head-Fi Reviews?
Dec 28, 2014 at 5:45 AM Post #91 of 155
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So, Currawong has PM'ed me regarding my comment. Trust me, I don't want to be banned.
There's really two sides to this, though. 

A. This manufacturer didn't just send out a review sample (which is fine, I mean, what else do you expect reviewers to do, right.) They specifically stated they would only do so if intent was to not write a negative review. This is way ethically wrong and in part why I flat out don't trust this industry. (i,e. subjectivity, trust your own ears anyway.)

B. And the real big problem. This person, this "reviewer," well, he had no real intention on writing a review in the first place. He just wanted the product - for free or discounted.

AND, this "reviewer" has wormed his way into writing for your favorite and friendly headphone sites. 
Headphoneguru, Audio360, etc. There's a problem when "trusted" review sites, sources, etc, are gamed like this person has done/is doing.


omg 
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Who is the "reviewer"?

Is it a secret? I mean who can be trusted in reality?
 

I'm pretty sure I know exactly who paradoxper is referring to, so it's not exactly a secret. Anyone who's spent some time reading around on Head-Fi should be able to figure it out.


 
Paradoxper, to my knowledge, there is no rule against calling out a reviewer.  
confused.gif
 As long as you're not making a personal attack, it's fine.  In addition to that, and since reviewers are somewhat considered public personalities, I personally believe that some latitude should be given to us all in questioning them or their motives - and when appropriate - issuing some criticism when applicable.  What I'm trying to say is that if you believe a reviewer has been compromised, and you can discuss that reasonably and in a civil way, I don't believe there's any issue with that.  
smile.gif

 
Now, to hang up my moderator hat for a moment, and to act in my official capacity as one of the founders and editors at Audio360.org, I would be very interested in hearing what you have to say.  If there is something untoward happening under my nose, then I would like to take corrective action immediately.  Over at Audio360, we prize our ability to say what we want.  That's why we don't accept any revenue of any kind, advertising our not, and self-fund the site instead.  The banner ads that you see on the site are true endorsements that we give out, of our own volition, to promote gear that we like.  We receive nothing in return for them.  In fact, they go up without the manufacturers' knowledge (unless we specifically request that they furnish us with one because, frankly, I have better things to do with my time than design free banner ads for them).
 
And though we do accept loans of review units, simply because we're not moneybags that can afford to buy everything, they are certainly not free gifts that we just get to keep.  That would be - for lack of a better word - just crazy!
 
Anywho, back to the point you brought up, I would very much like to know what you meant to say, as would several others here in this thread I imagine.  If you don't feel comfortable discussing this in public for any reason, you can PM me.  Or if you would like to keep this out of Head-Fi entirely, you can email me at warren.chi@audio360.org.  In the meantime, Ima go grab my sledgehammer just in case I need to nail someone's balls to the wall.  
biggrin.gif

 
 
Lachlanlikesathing, a youtube reviewer, sometimes crowdsources funds from his viewers to buy headphones for headphone reviews

 
I'm pretty sure that he was banned (from Head-Fi) for attempting to do exactly that. Jude (the admin of Head-Fi) didn't allow the idea of crowdsourced funding for review samples, Lachlan complained about it, and was then banned. That's not ethical IMO either—where do these reviewers get off on trying to collect money from their reading audience to acquire items? If they can't afford to use their own money, they shouldn't be asking other people for money.

 
Nope, never happened.  At no time was Lachlan (a_recording) banned either during or after that.  There was a vigorous debate of opposing viewpoints, but that was it.  
smile.gif
 
 
Dec 28, 2014 at 7:30 AM Post #92 of 155
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Originally Posted by Currawong /img/forum/go_quote.gif
 
 
The rest of this place is a mixture of new toy syndrome, hype, trend. I shake my head when I see someone post a review/opinion where he is glorifying his new headphones and at the same time totally ripping on his older (month old) set which was absolutely perfect to him a month ago. I understand that sound preferences change but when I see someone say something like:

 
@warrenpchi IIRC completely pwned a rather troublesome (and now banned, since he became quite abusive) member for doing that. Maybe he will have bookmarked the post.

 
Lol, zardak.  http://www.head-fi.org/t/656394/too-much-competition-what-headphones-should-i-get-for-100-180 (I didn't get into it until page 2).  Not one of my finest moments, and honestly I probably would have left him alone to his thoughts, except that he was out there trying to give buying recommendations.  Saying what you like and don't like is free speech.  Telling people how to spend their money is something entirely different.
 
Dec 28, 2014 at 8:02 AM Post #93 of 155

paradoxper

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Paradoxper, to my knowledge, there is no rule against calling out a reviewer.  
confused.gif
 As long as you're not making a personal attack, it's fine.  In addition to that, and since reviewers are somewhat considered public personalities, I personally believe that some latitude should be given to us all in questioning them or their motives - and when appropriate - issuing some criticism when applicable.  What I'm trying to say is that if you believe a reviewer has been compromised, and you can discuss that reasonably and in a civil way, I don't believe there's any issue with that.  
smile.gif

 
Now, to hang up my moderator hat for a moment, and to act in my official capacity as one of the founders and editors at Audio360.org, I would be very interested in hearing what you have to say.  If there is something untoward happening under my nose, then I would like to take corrective action immediately.  Over at Audio360, we prize our ability to say what we want.  That's why we don't accept any revenue of any kind, advertising our not, and self-fund the site instead.  The banner ads that you see on the site are true endorsements that we give out, of our own volition, to promote gear that we like.  We receive nothing in return for them.  In fact, they go up without the manufacturers' knowledge (unless we specifically request that they furnish us with one because, frankly, I have better things to do with my time than design free banner ads for them).
 
And though we do accept loans of review units, simply because we're not moneybags that can afford to buy everything, they are certainly not free gifts that we just get to keep.  That would be - for lack of a better word - just crazy!
 
Anywho, back to the point you brought up, I would very much like to know what you meant to say, as would several others here in this thread I imagine.  If you don't feel comfortable discussing this in public for any reason, you can PM me.  Or if you would like to keep this out of Head-Fi entirely, you can email me at warren.chi@audio360.org.  In the meantime, Ima go grab my sledgehammer just in case I need to nail someone's balls to the wall.  
biggrin.gif

 
 
Nope, never happened.  At no time was Lachlan (a_recording) banned either during or after that.  There was a vigorous debate of opposing viewpoints, but that was it.  
smile.gif
 

Well, the reviewer and manufacturer go hand in hand. I simply didn't want to risk getting the boot, for whatever reason.
 
If it's unclear what I meant to say, message me.
 
I'll reiterate my 2cents. 
 
This thread is about trusting HF reviews. I have been aware of some manufacturers offering incentives and or providing guidelines 
about their gear per review samples. This is ethically wrong to me. 
 
More to my point, a reviewer being sent free gear gladly accepted said gear, not out of passion of it all, but because of greed.
He flat out said, I didn't want to review the gear, I just wanted free stuff.
 
This same person has written reviews for you and for Headphoneguru, so take that as you may.
 
Dec 28, 2014 at 11:00 AM Post #97 of 155

HiFiGuy528

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On the manufacturer's side of things in case anyone didn't know.  
 
Here at Woo Audio, we do not send free gear to reviewers.  We require the reviewer to sign a 30, 60 or 90 day loaner agreement.  If we have not worked with the reviewer in the past, we place a credit card hold at retail value of the loaner.  There are no exceptions to this rule.  Michael Mercer, Warren, and Frank are my good friends.  I talk to them on a daily basis and they have to sign a loaner agreement too.
 
Dec 28, 2014 at 12:35 PM Post #98 of 155

lofthanza

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First up - thanks for some of the previous comments - it is nice to know that some of my reviews come in handy for those who share similar tastes.

As one of the contributing "semi-regular" reviewers on this site, all I can do is provide a little of my own philosophy and insight - into what I do, how I write, and what drives me.

  1. I'm not paid, never have been.  I have a real job.  This is a hobby.  I write because I genuinely enjoy doing it.

     
  2. I have extensively tested myself (as objectively as possible - a lot of ABX) to understand my own limitations and preferences.  I then preface every review I do with my understanding of my own bias and physical limitations. I don't have 'golden ears' - far from it in fact.  And I also prefer people to know my own views on cables, formats etc so that they can then form their own views on how useful my opinion will be to them.

     
  3. I think reviewer bias plays a big part in each review - and I know (for example) that I very much dislike warm bassy headphones.  So I try to state this clearly and give examples of headphones I've owned and liked, and those I haven't.

     
  4. One thing I am very conscious of now is that some people may be making buying decisions based on what I like - so I try very hard to make sure I don't overhype something.  The other thing I try to do is test thoroughly (ie put at least 20-30 hours listening into a piece of gear) before I put pen to paper.

     
  5. I do always acknowledge if the product being reviewed is mine, borrowed, or a review sample.  I think this is very important.

     
  6. I don't solicit reviews - the closest to me doing this is when the occasional manufacturer thread appears asking for interest in reviewing something - and I will generally express an interest in these threads.  But I don't email manufacturers asking for review samples.  Why?  Because it would make me feel uncomfortable.  Most of my contacts have either been "out of the blue" - manufacturers contacting me on this site via PM asking me to review something, or referrals from other reviewers where they have suggested to a manufacturer that I might be a good person to contact.

     
  7. With virtually every manufacturer I have offered to either return (generally at my cost), or purchase review units. I do this for my own peace of mind. Most manufacturers have thanked me but explained clearly that the units are review units and no need to return or pay for them.  But the offer is always there.  I have at different times purchased review units from Fiio, Fidue, T-Peos, Beyerdynamic and others - and I have at least offered to do so for everyone else.

     
  8. You'll find with my reviews that they aren't all positive.  I try to write exactly what I think about the product in question - and this means often going against the grain / mass opinion of other reviewers. I try to do this respectfully and objectively.

     
  9. There is some gear that I have received, listened to, and then given the manufacturer an impression + the option for me not to review (often if the product is in my opinion really bad). I believe this is fair to the manufacturer, and with some it has led to open discussion on flaws with the product in question, and often improvements being implemented.  It is particularly gratifying when this happens, and I think one of the best things about manufacturers being very involved with the Head-Fi community.

Hopefully this sheds light into what drives me personally, and reassures those who think a lot of reviewers are shills simply looking for "free stuff".  It wouldn't be worth it given how long it takes me to put a review together, For me it is still all about the joy of the hobby :)


Thank you very much! It's for reviewers like you that I get to enjoy reading about headphones. I guess the world wont be free of biased reviews, but smart readers can detect what to trust and what not to trust. I, for example, do trust headfonia, innerfidelity, and many many reviewers over here in head-fi. Your 9th point is fair enough, this might explain to me why the mojority of the reviews i read are positive. Its bcz reviewers like u might send a product that is just very unimpressive back to the manufacturer.
 
Dec 28, 2014 at 1:37 PM Post #99 of 155

Asr

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  • You'll find with my reviews that they aren't all positive.  I try to write exactly what I think about the product in question - and this means often going against the grain / mass opinion of other reviewers. I try to do this respectfully and objectively.
 
Hopefully this sheds light into what drives me personally, and reassures those who think a lot of reviewers are shills simply looking for "free stuff".  It wouldn't be worth it given how long it takes me to put a review together, For me it is still all about the joy of the hobby :)

 
Speaking to your point #1 for myself, I'm not usually motivated to write a review in the first place unless (or until) my opinion runs counter to popular opinion. It's why the vast majority of my reviews tend to be negative, either partially or mostly. Unlike most reviewers on the Internet, I fully believe in "tearing something down" if I think it deserves it, regardless of who makes it, from small businesses to large companies. And given the way that I acquire most gear (which is buying it at full price through the proper retail channel, just like a regular consumer), I believe that I'm well within my rights to do so. I've never withheld my honest opinion on Head-Fi in all the years I've been writing reviews here (which date back to 2006), and I don't plan on stopping that. If any readers don't like my negative reviews, I really don't care, I'm going to continue posting them anyway.
 
Although I have solicited a handful of review samples over the years (only for gear that I was genuinely very interested in hearing), I've always given the supplier (whether a manufacturer or retailer) the condition that I will write an honest review, which can mean a negative review. There have been a few such instances in which I didn't hear back.
wink.gif

 
In general, I think it's dumb & pointless to add to a glowing pile of praise. (The exceptions I make to that are when the pile of praise is really small.) I'd much rather offer a contrasting "second opinion" which may offer readers more food for thought.
 
And like Brooko, I'm not here for free stuff. Heck, I've given valuable gear away on Head-Fi before. I've always been here for the community, to try and share as much info about gear as possible.
 
I've read of other reviewers sometimes receiving gear for review. For the record, I can say that I've never been offered any gear for review.
smile.gif

 
Paradoxper, to my knowledge, there is no rule against calling out a reviewer.  
confused.gif
 As long as you're not making a personal attack, it's fine.  In addition to that, and since reviewers are somewhat considered public personalities, I personally believe that some latitude should be given to us all in questioning them or their motives - and when appropriate - issuing some criticism when applicable.  What I'm trying to say is that if you believe a reviewer has been compromised, and you can discuss that reasonably and in a civil way, I don't believe there's any issue with that.  
smile.gif
 
Nope, never happened.  At no time was Lachlan (a_recording) banned either during or after that.  There was a vigorous debate of opposing viewpoints, but that was it.  
smile.gif
 

 
I'm not going to name the purported reviewer either (even though I'm pretty sure of who it is), because I'd like to be able to attend certain future meets/shows without having to deal with the possible in-person consequences of naming him.
 
And as for Lachlan, now I remember—yes you're right, he wasn't banned, but he did make a melodramatic self-exit from Head-Fi for a time over that issue.
 
Dec 28, 2014 at 2:08 PM Post #100 of 155
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Nope, never happened.  At no time was Lachlan (a_recording) banned either during or after that.  There was a vigorous debate of opposing viewpoints, but that was it.  
smile.gif
 

 
And as for Lachlan, now I remember—yes you're right, he wasn't banned, but he did make a melodramatic self-exit from Head-Fi for a time over that issue.

 
Lol, yes he did!  
biggrin.gif
  OMG, dat video...
 
Dec 29, 2014 at 6:12 AM Post #101 of 155

SilentFrequency

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Well, the reviewer and manufacturer go hand in hand. I simply didn't want to risk getting the boot, for whatever reason.

If it's unclear what I meant to say, message me.

I'll reiterate my 2cents. 

This thread is about trusting HF reviews. I have been aware of some manufacturers offering incentives and or providing guidelines 
about their gear per review samples. This is ethically wrong to me. 

More to my point, a reviewer being sent free gear gladly accepted said gear, not out of passion of it all, but because of greed.
He flat out said, I didn't want to review the gear, I just wanted free stuff.

This same person has written reviews for you and for Headphoneguru, so take that as you may.


Well I guess it's a secret then but at the same time then I guess this secret reviewer was being honest in a kind of way if they openly said within their review that they "just wanted free stuff" as the reader can then take that into account when reading the review maybe?

I guess I will know who the secret reviewer actually is if I read a review here at Head-Fi if it contains "just wanted free stuff" then, but seriously this is not good for review readers like myself who are quite new here and the audiophile world.
 
Dec 29, 2014 at 9:11 AM Post #102 of 155

paradoxper

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Well I guess it's a secret then but at the same time then I guess this secret reviewer was being honest in a kind of way if they openly said within their review that they "just wanted free stuff" as the reader can then take that into account when reading the review maybe?

I guess I will know who the secret reviewer actually is if I read a review here at Head-Fi if it contains "just wanted free stuff" then, but seriously this is not good for review readers like myself who are quite new here and the audiophile world.

It's not. Sort of politics and the way I'd rather go about handling this info. They didn't say it in the review, this was over Google chat, so a private convo.
Anyways, I feel like I'm beating a dead horse, I didn't intend for this to be a continual thing. Just wanted to bring awareness that shady things do happen,
and the moral of the story is pretty much there will always be ****tty people that do ****tty things. 
 
Dec 29, 2014 at 11:12 AM Post #103 of 155

TripBitShooter

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Its not always shady and hidden away though. Amar Bose (think that is his name?) Actually wanted to sue a reviewer for writing a negative review of one of Bose's speakers (think it is the 901)
 
Dec 29, 2014 at 12:48 PM Post #105 of 155

Mimouille

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There is really no need for reviews actually, you just need to follow these simple rules to chose gear :

1. Anything from Japan, Korea or Germany is better than the rest
2. Expensive is better, anything under 1K should not be considered. Anything more expensive than a car sounds better than sex. If you buy something very expensive and you do not like how it sounds, you are wrong
3. I am always right and my tastes are better than yours, that's why I get all the girls
4. Graphs are cool. Not even considering what they tell you about sound, they can help you get girls / guys

If you have say additional issues with your gear, I can perform headphone therapy (talk to your gear to help it unleash its potential) or headphone massaging (exert pressure on your gear's central points to open up soundstage or improve PRAT) for very reasonable tarifs, PM me for price list.
 

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