When asking for advice, who do you trust better and why?
May 17, 2015 at 5:56 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 23

Beyakusenn

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For a while I have been wondering whether my way of judging the opinion of others actually makes sense or not.
 
My thought process used to be like this:
- Does the person have experience with the equipment?
  Yes > No.
- How long has this experience been?
  More =  better
- What other equipment does this person have / has this person had?
  More = better; Higher-end = better.
- How many posts does this person have?
  More = better
 
After thinking about it, it might not make sense to trust someone who is very familiar with a certain product because he/she has owned it for a long while. This person has a clear bias because of personal preference.
A person who has never heard the product, but has read a lot about it from different websites and / or heard a lot about it from many people has a much broader view on the subject and is not influenced by his / her own ears. Even though it's still an opinion from an individual, this sounds more objective to me.
 
Now my thought process is somewhat different:
- Does the person have experience with the equipment?
  Yes < No, but this person should have more than just basic knowledge on the subject.
- How long has this experience been?
  If he / she already has experience with the product, I prefer longer experience.
- What other equipment does this person have / has this person had?
  More = better; Higher-end = better.
- How many posts does this person have?
  More than a 100 = usually good enough.
 
May 17, 2015 at 6:19 PM Post #2 of 23

Music Alchemist

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It's basically an integration of factors, so to speak. Obviously I want to hear from people who have heard a headphone when researching the sound of a headphone. If they have heard it on various systems, all the better. If they have a lot of experience with a good amount of other gear, then I begin to take them more seriously. But you also need to take into account things like musical taste, preferences in sound signature, differences in hearing between individuals, and so on. Online info is really just a guideline to determine what you might be interested in hearing in the future. I research impressions of audio gear on a constant basis, so I have a decent idea of how headphones compare to each other even before hearing them...but nothing can replace hearing with your own ears.
 
May 17, 2015 at 10:52 PM Post #3 of 23

Shaffer

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1. I don't want to hear from anyone younger than 40. Not enough time to gather the necessary experience, otherwise, assuming one started out in his early-20s. I see a kid doing a review and it's either time to click on something else or sick around for the comedic aspects of the task.

2. Impressions are relative. As such, I want the reviewer to be familiar with a wide range of equipment and have some on hand.

3. To piggyback with #2, reviews have to be comparative. When asked, "How are you?" one should always answer with, "As compared to what?" It's not enough to discuss, say, a given headphone. Its evaluation has to be put in a context of similar products.

4. If I see someone say a product is good for specific genre of music, I click away. It's one of the most ridiculous notions in audio; it's not about which genre one likes, it's a matter of which sonic attributes excite him the most. Those same sonic attributes are rarely congruent with someone else's impressions of a musical style. As such, this is worse than irrelevant; it's misleading.
 
May 17, 2015 at 11:29 PM Post #4 of 23

Music Alchemist

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1. I don't want to hear from anyone younger than 40. Not enough time to gather the necessary experience, otherwise, assuming one started out in his early-20s. I see a kid doing a review and it's either time to click on something else or sick around for the comedic aspects of the task.

 
So because I'm 28, nothing I say is worth reading?
blink.gif

 
I have been a multi-instrumentalist practically my entire life and have been in everything from orchestras to jazz bands to metal bands. I spent between $20,000 and $30,000 on my music collection. Due to circumstances, I was not able to spend nearly as much on audio gear so far, but neither age nor budget prevents me from being able to assess a headphone's ability to accurately reproduce audio.
 
At any rate, most people don't bother to reveal their age, so you can't always know who you're dealing with.
 
May 17, 2015 at 11:40 PM Post #5 of 23

Shaffer

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So because I'm 28, nothing I say is worth reading? :blink:


Not in the context of a review, no. Nothing personal.

I have been a multi-instrumentalist practically my entire life and have been in everything from orchestras to jazz bands to metal bands. I spent between $20,000 and $30,000 on my music collection. Due to circumstances, I was not able to spend nearly as much on audio gear so far, but neither age nor budget prevents me from being able to assess a headphone's ability to accurately reproduce audio.


You don't have enough listening experience, as it relates to quality audio equipment. Believing otherwise is foolish. It's like saying, "I don't know much about food, but I know what I like." No, you don't. Why? Because, you haven't tasted a big enough variety of food to define your own taste, to begin with, not to mention translating a culinary experience into comments that are relevant to others.

At any rate, most people don't bother to reveal their age, so you can't always know who you're dealing with.


It's really not hard to tell. 2015 marks 20 years of posting starting with Usenet. It's not my first rodeo.
 
May 18, 2015 at 12:14 AM Post #6 of 23

Music Alchemist

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Not in the context of a review, no. Nothing personal.
You don't have enough listening experience, as it relates to quality audio equipment. Believing otherwise is foolish. It's like saying, "I don't know much about food, but I know what I like." No, you don't. Why? Because, you haven't tasted a big enough variety of food to define your own taste, to begin with, not to mention translating a culinary experience into comments that are relevant to others.
It's really not hard to tell. 2015 marks 20 years of posting starting with Usenet. It's not my first rodeo.

 
I think your attitude is dishonest. The truth is the truth, no matter who says it or how old they are. Not everyone under 40 lacks experience with quality audio gear...and by the way, even just this year, I have owned many more expensive headphones than the ones listed on your profile.
 
May 18, 2015 at 1:40 AM Post #7 of 23

Asr

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1. I don't want to hear from anyone younger than 40. Not enough time to gather the necessary experience, otherwise, assuming one started out in his early-20s. I see a kid doing a review and it's either time to click on something else or sick around for the comedic aspects of the task.

 
1. And how old are you to be able to state such an opinion? I don't generally trust reviewers over middle-age myself due to age-related hearing loss. If I see an "old guy" doing a review, I don't bother reading it.
 
I'm 34 now and was 24 when I started out in this hobby. So you'd discount my reviews completely due to my age? In the past 10 years I've owned everything from the $20 KOSS KSC75 all the way up to the Sony Qualia 010 w/ HeadAmp GS-X (MK1) on a Plinius CD-101 simultaneously with a Stax OII MKI on the HeadAmp BHSE. I also know of many  other people on Head-Fi who have similar experience to mine and are all under 40. So I could just as easily tell you I don't want to hear from a pretentious old guy who thinks the only valid experience can come from someone older than 40.
 
May 18, 2015 at 1:57 AM Post #8 of 23

Music Alchemist

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  1. And how old are you to be able to state such an opinion? I don't generally trust reviewers over middle-age myself due to age-related hearing loss. If I see an "old guy" doing a review, I don't bother reading it.
 
I'm 34 now and was 24 when I started out in this hobby. So you'd discount my reviews completely due to my age? In the past 10 years I've owned everything from the $20 KOSS KSC75 all the way up to the Sony Qualia 010 w/ HeadAmp GS-X (MK1) on a Plinius CD-101 simultaneously with a Stax OII MKI on the HeadAmp BHSE. I also know of many  other people on Head-Fi who have similar experience to mine and are all under 40. So I could just as easily tell you I don't want to hear from a pretentious old guy who thinks the only valid experience can come from someone older than 40.

 
Exactly. Age has little to do with the ability to assess how accurate (and so on) audio gear is. You could even train a small child to do it.
 
May 18, 2015 at 2:18 AM Post #9 of 23

jjacq

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I pm people that have already owned the equipment, or an equipment similar to mine, and ask any specific questions I have with the item I am considering. I however, tend to base my choices on popular pairings or whenever I can get a good deal on an item like the GDA-700 I got for $270. It is a balanced R2R DAC and it fit well under my budget. I don't know how well it'll pair with my upcoming Liquid Carbon setup but with the price alone it seemed compelling enough to check its compatibility.

I don't really look at the post count since it's more about content if anything. I do tend to discount people that try to answer the question by recommending similar gear to whatever I'm choosing though. I have not heard X but I have heard Y which is 80% similar to X. I guess it's applicable in some situations but I always take their advice with a grain of salt. I check YouTube videos mainly for fit or build quality and whatever accessories the item does come with.

For me though, while impressions give me an understanding of the overall sound, I have to understand that people's perception of hearing can be different and that can muddy the reviews so I don't take it as an ultimate reason why I should get a particular headphone/iem/amp/dac. I do have a list of people I trust impressions from but auditioning it myself still wins at the end of the day.
 
May 18, 2015 at 4:25 AM Post #10 of 23

Shaffer

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1. And how old are you to be able to state such an opinion? I don't generally trust reviewers over middle-age myself due to age-related hearing loss. If I see an "old guy" doing a review, I don't bother reading it.


I'm 51.

I'm 34 now and was 24 when I started out in this hobby. So you'd discount my reviews completely due to my age? In the past 10 years I've owned everything from the $20 KOSS KSC75 all the way up to the Sony Qualia 010 w/ HeadAmp GS-X (MK1) on a Plinius CD-101 simultaneously with a Stax OII MKI on the HeadAmp BHSE. I also know of many  other people on Head-Fi who have similar experience to mine and are all under 40. So I could just as easily tell you I don't want to hear from a pretentious old guy who thinks the only valid experience can come from someone older than 40.


Some of you really have a problem with the concept of an opinion. Yes, you've owned a lot of great gear, and clearly do not have the maturity - be it socio-emotional, cognitive, or intellectual - to convey a message in an appropriate manner. Back to 40.
 
May 18, 2015 at 4:52 AM Post #11 of 23

JuanseAmador

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1. And how old are you to be able to state such an opinion? I don't generally trust reviewers over middle-age myself due to age-related hearing loss. If I see an "old guy" doing a review, I don't bother reading it.


I'm 51.

I'm 34 now and was 24 when I started out in this hobby. So you'd discount my reviews completely due to my age? In the past 10 years I've owned everything from the $20 KOSS KSC75 all the way up to the Sony Qualia 010 w/ HeadAmp GS-X (MK1) on a Plinius CD-101 simultaneously with a Stax OII MKI on the HeadAmp BHSE. I also know of many  other people on Head-Fi who have similar experience to mine and are all under 40. So I could just as easily tell you I don't want to hear from a pretentious old guy who thinks the only valid experience can come from someone older than 40.


Some of you really have a problem with the concept of an opinion. Yes, you've owned a lot of great gear, and clearly do not have the maturity - be it socio-emotional, cognitive, or intellectual - to convey a message in an appropriate manner. Back to 40.


You shouldn't have a regimen that strict. Besides, age means nothing. Experience is completely relative when aligned with amount of time spent breathing since birth.
 
May 18, 2015 at 5:00 AM Post #12 of 23

Shaffer

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You shouldn't have a regimen that strict.


It wasn't meant to be taken literally, which brings us back to the idea of intellectual maturity.

Besides, age means nothing. Experience is completely relative when aligned with amount of time spent breathing since birth.


I don't necessarily disagree with the concept as a whole. IME, relating to this pursuit, folks don't start developing an authentic perspective, if you will, until they're 10-15 years into it. That's certainly not enough, in itself, to write relevant reviews.
 
May 18, 2015 at 7:11 AM Post #13 of 23

Beyakusenn

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It's great to see all these different opinions and I'm glad to see no one agrees with my view yet. I believe that seeing new perspectives will help me improve my own judgement.
 
Quote:
  ...but nothing can replace hearing with your own ears.

The greatest truth of all. Everyone has different ears after all.
Luckily there are places like Head-fi where we can learn from the knowledge and experience of other people, because we can't always test audio gear before purchasing it.
 
1. I don't want to hear from anyone younger than 40. Not enough time to gather the necessary experience, otherwise, assuming one started out in his early-20s. I see a kid doing a review and it's either time to click on something else or sick around for the comedic aspects of the task.

2. Impressions are relative. As such, I want the reviewer to be familiar with a wide range of equipment and have some on hand.

3. To piggyback with #2, reviews have to be comparative. When asked, "How are you?" one should always answer with, "As compared to what?" It's not enough to discuss, say, a given headphone. Its evaluation has to be put in a context of similar products.

4. If I see someone say a product is good for specific genre of music, I click away. It's one of the most ridiculous notions in audio; it's not about which genre one likes, it's a matter of which sonic attributes excite him the most. Those same sonic attributes are rarely congruent with someone else's impressions of a musical style. As such, this is worse than irrelevant; it's misleading.

Points 2, 3 and 4 are very interesting and certainly helpful. However, point 1 is the most interesting to me because my view here is quite a bit different.
 
Experience is also very valuable to me, but I also value the capabilities of the human ear. We all know that hearing deteriorates as time passes, so for me the average 45+ year old male reviewer is not as valuable to me as a 35 year old (male or female) reviewer. As far as I know women often have better hearing than men, mostly in the treble. So for women who are experienced with audio my limit moves up 10 years (55+).
 
Young people certainly lack experience, but the development of their knowledge and psyche strongly differs from person to person. From personal experience I can say that there are 30 year old persons who have a much more mature mind than some others who are twice their age.
 
  I pm people that have already owned the equipment, or an equipment similar to mine, and ask any specific questions I have with the item I am considering...

Very interesting concept. I think I'll try that in the future.
 
  I don't really look at the post count since it's more about content if anything.

The content will always be the most important to me as well, but people who are fairly new to Head-fi don't always use the terminologies the same way headfiers do. Of course, there are people who 'talk the same language', so my benchmark of 100+ posts is relatively flexible.
 
May 18, 2015 at 7:41 AM Post #14 of 23

JuanseAmador

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Besides, age means nothing. Experience is completely relative when aligned with amount of time spent breathing since birth.


I don't necessarily disagree with the concept as a whole. IME, relating to this pursuit, folks don't start developing an authentic perspective, if you will, until they're 10-15 years into it. That's certainly not enough, in itself, to write relevant reviews.


This is true. But an individual develops taste or authenticity based on experience, here, the quality of this experience (regarding time as the relative point) is the most important factor. It's best not to generalise, nobody's journey is the same.
 
May 18, 2015 at 7:54 AM Post #15 of 23
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It's a very interesting question - particularly so for me as a reviewer, and also when researching gear for myself.  Addressing your initial thoughts:
 
  • Does the person have experience with the equipment?
    Hugely important - and definitely YES.  Why would I ask anyone for advice on gear if they've never heard, or in anyway experienced the gear I'm researching.  I'd like to think of myself as a reasonably objective subjectivist.  I use graphs and measurements in my reviews to complement and explain what I'm hearing - but listening and experiencing always comes first. One of my pet hates is someone reading a graph for a headphone, and then trying to tell me their opinion of it - without ever having experienced it.
     
  • How long has the experience been?
    I'm on the fence with this one.  Ideally it'll be a minimum of a few days - with connected equipment they know well.  EG listening at a meet for 3-4 minutes, on foreign equipment, and with a recording you don't know well is not really constructive in forming an opinion for yourself - let along helping others.  My classic example of how misleading it can be - listen to a bright headphone for 5-10 minutes (eg T1 or HD800), now switch to a darker headphone like the HD650.  Does the HD650 suddenly appear slow, muddy, bloated, veiled?  Listen to it for another 20 minutes, then switch back.  Does the T1/HD800 become overly bright, peaky, sibilant.  The reality is that perspective plays a huge part in impressions.  it's something that comes with time.  the more experience we have, the more balanced our opinion are likely to be.
     
  • What other equipment does this person have / has this person had?
    Again - very important. If I want advice from someone - it'll involve someone with similar equipment to mine, or equipment I have heard and am looking to own, or equipment I am aspiring to.
     
  • How many posts does this person have?
    Posts mean nothing.  Some of the people with higher post counts have very little meaningful to actually contribute.  Some with lower are really worth listening to.
 
So lets look at what I do when going for advice.
 
  • Look for someone who owns, or has owned similar gear to mine (past or present)
  • Look for someone who has similar opinions and preferences to mine - this encompasses overall sound signatures, and even tastes in music.  I am unlikely to ask an opinion from someone who is heavily into rap, hip-hop etc - as often their preference will be for stronger bass (which I personally don't like).
  • Look for someone who is descriptive (in their reviews) of their bias an preferences.  I always preface my reviews with my own know bias - that way people who don't agree, or can't relate to me can simply move on.
     
And here is a short list of warning signs for me of who not to follow:
 
  • Anyone who rattles out huge numbers of reviews in short periods of time.  To me (knowing how long it takes to review a piece of gear) if someone is posting 4-5 reviews a week it's a sure sign they are taking short cuts, and aren't actually taking the time to review properly.
  • Anyone that is into overly warm, overly bassy signatures - it's the antithesis of what I personally like - so I don't generally follow them.
  • Anyone that has beliefs that I don't share (I will have researched first before coming to conclusions).  Eg there is a reviewer on this site that recently made the claim that different makes of micro SDXC cards had an audible difference in the DAP he was reviewing.  It's a digital file ....... not even in the analogue realm.  He also claimed differences with different interconnects (I believe the figure he used was 30%).  If he hears this sort of "magic and fairy dust" - then how can I believe anything else he says?
  • Anyone who talks about night and day differences with sound - especially lossless vs high bit-rate lossy, and lossy vs lossy, and also burn-in.  I'm open to the idea that burn in of headphones may be audible - but changes will be minor.  Anyone that is claiming huge differences I simply ignore.
    **BTW - I don't want to debate the lossless vs lossy topic - so anyone looking for a heated discussion this will be politely ignored. It's too sensitive and too polarising.  I've tested myself - that is all that matters**
 
What I enjoy most though is the banter amongst other Head-Fiers (and I will call many of them friends) who share my passion for music, and have similar tastes with what they like.  Head-Fi can be a great place, especially if you can find one or two people whose opinions you trust, and a lot more with whom you just enjoy hanging out.
 
Head-Fi is also a great place to discover new music 
smile.gif
 
 

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