I recently raised a similar question on another discussion board after reading a review of an amplifier, and then noticing the reviewer owned several products by the manufacturer.
It seems possible, and perhaps likely that a reviewer who owns products by manufacturer X is apt to give a favorable review to a new product by manufacturer X. I'm not suggesting this is intentional or collusional, but simply a natural inclination of the reviewer to prefer manufacturer X's products, and therefore to write a positive review.
That's why it's so important to carefully read a reviewer's associated equipment list. It may provide clues to the reviewer's listening preferences. For example, one might not give the same weight to a review of a tube amplifier by a reviewer who owns solid state gear, and vice versa. This isn't to suggest the review is less valid, but merely to suggest the reviewer's preference in amplification might not be in line with the reader's preferences.
I take every review that I read with a heavy dose of salt. IMO reviews should be read to look at the specs not provided by the manufacturer, if any are provided. I don't and never would buy something off someone else's opinion. My ears make the decision for me. What someone else thinks about the equipment I own is irrelevant to me. Why people get upset at other people bashing the equipment they own, Ill never know.
I think this has to be true, otherwise he wouldn't have bought the piece in the first place. Disregardoing the notion of reviews based on advertising $$$ for a moment, I think this is why you have to understand the reviewer's preferences and experiences. I remember one review of a CD player that had been criticized by some Agoners as having bass lim,itations. The reviewer thought it had great bass, but then the reviewer admitted he had very little experience with full range speakers, CD players, and had just plugged in a subwoofer for this review. It's no wonder he was impressed with its bass capability. That's not to say he was dishonest, especially since he was very forthcoming with his experience, but it does put his comments in perspective. I wpould like to see more reviews that put the equipment under review in context to other equipment BY NAME, and to the reviewers experience level. I'm sick of reading revfiewers say something is so much better than other equipment that falls short in so many ways, but don't say what that equipment is.
When it comes to anybody else's opinion things must be put in perspective. Even something that one person doesn't care for or that didn't work out in a certain system doesn't mean it can't be the same piece that sounds great in your system. Reviews are merely rough guides.
Would it make any sense for a reviewer or common Audiophile for that matter to not be biased toward equipment that they own? One needs a point of reference hopefully our Hifi gear reflects the quality of music that we like to hear. I don't buy equipment that I do not favor for its sound reproduction performance, its build quality, and its value. That said, I enjoy reading reviews for the sake of their entertainment value and to sometimes glean some valuable knowledge or a point of view. It also helps to refer to reviewers that have similar reference gear preferences and tastes in music, amongst other things.
I most enjoy reading Stereophile's Art Dudley. He still uses a Linn Sondek LP12 and favors the tube amp sound, with any of its possible short comings. I like his writing style and the fact that as cool as the equipment can be and it can be cool, I believe he shows that he loves the music more. His publication "The Listener" back before writing for someone else was fun to read and most helpful and he's never taken himself too seriously.
I would agree that buying equipment based on a single review without knowing what the reference equipment was or without understanding the reviewers preferences would not be a very good idea at all. This brings up a phenomena on Agon that I find never ceases to amaze me, how a vast amount of threads offer help without quantifying or qualifying a recommendation
all someone whos begging an answer needs to do is go out and Buy a $1000.00 X power cable and all will be blissful sound emanating from their rig because it worked on my Y system and hell, its the best because somebody else with a Z system said it was! Im sure most all the folks here on Agon have the best of intensions in mind, and most of us would be happy to show how smart we all are, not to mention that most of us anyway, have golden ears, but it just leaves a mind to reel! :^)
Tvad, you make an excellent point to grab a little caution when taking anyones review too seriously. Happy Listening!
Are readers of audio reviews/mags biased for/against the reviews they read, especially if they own/have owned the equipment being reviewed? I can't imagine subjectivity NOT inching its way into all activities human, whether generating or receiving.
I think that anyone is biased towards the equipment they own. That's why you own it in the first place, right?
Despite the reviewer's best efforts to be objective, the answer has to be: of course.
Let us not forget that reviewers typically are given "accomodation" pricing unlike the rest of us poor slobs. This of course further erodes credibility if it existed at all in the first place. Richard Hardesty speaks well to this. Just my .02.
reviewers are not only biased to what they own or are given, they also are biased when the manufacturer takes out a large page multi month ad in their magizine.
Everyone is biased by everything they know - not just by their gear.
Tripper, So... I don't get it. Would it matter whether I paid $100.00 or a $1000.00 for a power cord, given that any manufacturer would accommodate" me, wouldn't I still buy and recommend what I like the best as a audiophile reviewer? Granted, many products are simply out of my reach only because I can't justify the price. If your were making a case for "accommodation" pricing inflating what some (most) reviews call reasonably affordable components I would be in total agreement. For the vast unwashed multitudes spending a hundred bucks on a power cable is pure insanity! To us, try and find a descent cable for a hundie?! Fat chance. Even a Shunyata entry level Diamondback retails for twice that. Fact is many of us have found something we like without comparing ten different cables so what do we know anyway? I think reviewers have their place and if were smart, we read between the lines and glean a little from those who are fortunate enough by trade to have experience with a range of product in excess of the common audiophile. Remember, what a reviewer has to sell is his or her entertainment value, nothing more. Good thing there's A'gon and a used gear market. Happy Listening
Of course they are! That's why the bot the equip in the first place! Wouldn't u?
As the North American distributor of Metronome, I want to weigh in with a few thoughts on this very interesting topic.
Before distributing, I was a consumer just like anyone else and to a certain degree I still am by selecting and investing in products I want to listen to.
As someone noted, all reviewers are biased to some degree with their sonic preference. But by reading closely, one can ascertain if the reviewer prefers 1)the clinical, analytical sound, 2)the soft, warm, colored sound or 3)somewhere in the middle of a pure, analog-like uncolored sound.
Certainly, if the reviewer is laying out his own money, he certainly believes in the product and it fits his listening bias/preference.
I tend to believe that by focusing on reviewers that share a similar bias to us, we all get a better perspective of how a component sounds and if it "fits" our own listening bias and preference.
Just as the 6moons reviewers of the Met Kalista noted how the transport sounded similar to vinyl, one can assume their listening preference is somewhere in the middle as noted above. Keep in mind, we all have different tastes and biases and not one type of sound is "right" for everyone.
That's enough rambling this morning...back to work!