Audio equipment reviews


I was on the zoom program last night with Audio reviewers, Herb Richert, Steve Guttenberg, Nan Pierce and two others and one of the big takeaways was the admission that they dislike writing negative reviews about equipment and would not write reviews about inferior equipment or equipment that didn’t fit well in their setups. So they agreed that if you don’t see a particular piece reviewed, it may say something about its quality. They also choose what to review so we will only read about pieces that they pre approve of or are interested in. I found this a little troublesome as I would like to see reviews on something is not up to standard or not worth buying. So it’s up to us to use the process of elimination when looking for new items to look into for our systems. If you can’t find a review, avoid it? Hmmmm
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Sounds about right.   
I thought that everyone was quite forthcoming.
Many reviews are "Paid For" so even if you can find a review
- the site will likely write only the Good and leave out the warts.

Fact of life - sorry :-(

What to look for?
  • companies with an established product lineage
  • companies that back their products with a great warranty
  • companies that get good comments on Audiogon
But even then you can get burned - I bought a Naim 5i amp because of the reputation of the company and magazine reviews I had read
  • it looked the part
  • it sounded great
  • it had some nice features
  • I followed the recommendations on the Naim web site and forums
  • but after 10 years - the power supply caps had to be replaced - 10 YEARS ?
  • factoring in the cost of the repair - I sold that amp for $200
  • I also learned a lot about the NAIM "strategy" - which is to get the customer to BLINDLY buy into their marketing hype
  • I would NEVER recommend Naim to anyone again
  • I'll never buy a VW again either :-)
I now have a Bryston that comes with a 20 year warranty and sounds better than Naim

Regards - Steve

reviewers need their bread buttered too... so these are the consequences

reviews are only worth so much... if the reviewer is good, he/she will do comparisons to competing gear and speak about contrasts but many reviews don't even do that

that is also why boards like this are useful... provides real user feedback and gets input from people who don't have incentives to skew the truth as they have seen/heard it

that being said, there are shills, poorly informed people, and jerks on these forums too, so one needs to read and parse carefully to glean real and useful info
Some companies ply the reviewers and some do not.  The absence of reviews is not a valid reflection of a product's performance.  Do not take audio reviews too seriously; they are mainly for entertainment purposes.  It's not as if they are peer reviewed scientific findings.
Nobody wants to review crap gear, there is plenty of good gear to review.
They also go out of their way (at other times, other reviewers, etc) to mention that not all good gear can get a review as there is so much of it out there, and only so many reviewers... and only so much capacity to do the work, and only so much finances to support that.

So that sword cuts both ways, big time. Not being reviewed does not mean an item is bad. Being reviewed generally means an item is OK, at the least.

To not get into negative reviews, is the most important part. Very bad for the review and publication business. Santa Claus as a inconstant butcher, not your gift giving friend. We all know which Santa we want to allow in our sphere of life. Bad reviews = death of the reviewing site or rag.

This gives lie to the idea that websites that are half forum or whatnot, and have threads where audio gear is tested and or trashed all the time ..where they somehow make this out as being the heroes who fix the industry, and drag it before the public courts.. psychologically positioned as the great heroes exposing the beast? Yeah, right.

The item to be looked at for reviewing...is screened, beforehand...so as to avoid the problem of having to publish a negative review.

Nothing nefarious about it, just basic common sense, when someone looks at all the data points on one table.
I was on the zoom program last night with Audio reviewers, Herb Richert, Steve Guttenberg, Nan Pierce and two others and one of the big takeaways was the admission that they dislike writing negative reviews about equipment and would not write reviews about inferior equipment or equipment that didn’t fit well in their setups.


And did you ask them if it was OK to list their names and share their feelings on a public website forum?


"....where they somehow make this out as being the heroes who fix the industry, and drag it before the public courts.. psychologically positioned as the great heroes exposing the beast? Yeah, right..."

Over recent decades the idea of "Consumer Reports" type of journalism is a failed model for many products especially hi-fi. Manufacturers want their gear reviewed and out in the public eye but they would not be comfortable with having their gear torn apart or even having a small chance at a poor review. We are all in this hobby together. Manufacturers, reviewers, retailers, and customers/end users. There is no conspiracy only an effort to increase the interest in the hobby and support the manufacturers that are doing it right.      
@russ69 

i agree there is not a conspiracy

it is a capitalist eco system... so one needs to understand who benefits how, how reviews are an adjunct marketing tool, then one can decide how to assess what is put out there for consumption