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paul_pci
02-13-2005, 07:48 PM
I was reading one of those receiver question threads where you remarked not to pay attention to equipment reviews, as they are meaningless. Do you mean consumer reviews, so-called professional reviews or all of them? And why? I think all of us on this board respect your opinion and knowledge, and as a good review can get me jazzed about a product, I'd like further insight into your position.

Thanks.

Monstrous Mike
02-14-2005, 10:44 AM
I was reading one of those receiver question threads where you remarked not to pay attention to equipment reviews, as they are meaningless. Do you mean consumer reviews, so-called professional reviews or all of them? And why? I think all of us on this board respect your opinion and knowledge, and as a good review can get me jazzed about a product, I'd like further insight into your position.

Thanks.
I'm not woodman, but I can offer my insight. I think the part of the review for any audio equipment or many other products that is not of much value is the part where the reviewer gives a subjective opinion, in other words whether he thought it sounded good or not. There are so many variables when listening to music that it is hard to appreciate what a guy was really hearing.

The parts of reviews that I find useful are the parts that concern the functionality, the build quality, etc. For example, I recently gathered information on digital cameras. The parts of the review that commented on the picture quality, the download speed, etc. are the parts I did not put much value into. I was rather looking for the ease of use, whether the camera broke down, the various features and their usefulness, etc.

Finally, the reviewer themself is an important aspect. If you have a guy who makes regular reviews and you try out some of the equipment and begin to agree with him, then maybe that's a guy you can give a little more credibility to. If the guy is unknown, then really you don't know how accurately he is reported what he observes.

paul_pci
02-14-2005, 10:48 AM
Thanks for your feedback Mike. As you state, it's important for all of us to maintain a reasonable set of criteria for evaluating reviews. I'm just looking to build that,

jasmit
02-14-2005, 08:44 PM
While I agree that the more meaningful aspects of a professional review include the reviewer's comments on functionality, build quality, etc., as opposed to his opinion on how it sounded, I would not totally discount what a reviewer says about the sound anymore than I would totally discount the opinion of someone on this forum. And I certainly would not ascribe the term "meaningless" to all professional reviews.

Taking into consideration the fact that the parent company of the reviewer may receive advertising dollars from the manufacturer, one must certainly keep it in mind that the reviewer is probably not going to bash the piece of gear he is reviewing. However, if the review is read carefully, with particular attention paid to the superlatives and, as Mike suggests, attention is paid to history of the reviewer's work, one can get a sense of the true opinion of the reviewer.

I suspect that some of the same folks who say, "Don't pay any attention to professional reviews," freely offer their own opinions on audio gear in forums such as this. Given the fact that there is a lot of subjectivity in audio gear, particularly speakers, is the opinion of someone on this forum any more valuable than that of a professional reviewer? I tend to think that most professional reviewers have a lot more experience listening to/reviewing audio gear than most of the folks on these forums. You have to ask yourself, "Why should I put more trust in the opinion of someone writing in to an audio forum -- someone whom I've never met, have no idea of their background, experience, knowledge, skills or abilities regarding audio gear, someone who may have a bias toward the brand he owns -- than someone who makes their living reviewing audio gear?"

It goes without saying that people who want to make a decision about audio gear need to get out there and do their own auditioning, etc. However, most folks, particularly those new to audio, can derive some benefit from the opinions of others, including professional reviewers IMHO.

RGA
02-14-2005, 11:16 PM
Jasmit brings up good points --- why trust amateur internet RGA over magazine reviewer? You shoudn't is the answer. I believe if you're going to go by reviewers you need to feel that the reviewer in question has similar tastes and values as your own. If I agree with Ebert 90% of the time and Roeper 40% of the time on films they like chances are that if Ebert likes movie A and Roeper likes movie B I'll go see movie A because I know I tend to agree with Ebert more.

Reviewers are simply people who listen to stuff -- big deal you can do that and so can I and so can John Atkinson or Gerard Rejkind....I have heard speakers they tout and have agreed and disagreed vehemently on some stuff they recommend. --- Generally I can't disagree on what they dislike because it seems they don;t dislike anything.

Frankly I don't think it's rocket sceince - you go to all the REPUTABLE dealers in your "willing to travel" radius and listen to those speakers. Find the one you like best going off what you hear yourself. If you have the time and you like a particular reviewer because he/she seems to hear it very much like you and he/she raves about something then maybe you will take a chance and make the extra effort to hear the unit before you make a buying decision.

The reason I like this article so much is that it requires only your ears and not the reliance on some magazine review which may be influenced by advertising - or forum reviewers like me who may be viewed as biased. The article works for anyone comparing anything from any company --- and has been printed in magazines as a way to get people listening for themselves and not paying for subscriptions that could have been put towards a better amp or speaker. http://www.audionote.co.uk/anp1.htm