Boiling the hyperbole

In his Stereophile review of the Krell KBL preamplifier, Lewis Lipnick, August, 1991 stated:

Sonic philosophies...
In my review of the Krell KSA-250 power amplifier (January 1991, Vol.14 No.1), I came to the conclusion that, while the Levinson No.23 power amp could be sonically more engaging in some circumstances, the Krell bettered its competition in overall musical honesty. That same parallel can be drawn between the KBL and No.26 preamps. In absolute musical accuracy, the Krell clearly surpasses the Levinson on most counts. But the No.26 offers an alluring perspective that may well appeal to the listener who prefers highly vivid harmonic textures and impressive soundstage depth over an absolutely correct replica of the musical material. While the No.26 unquestionably gives a warmer, more richly colored sonic picture, the KBL supplies the listener with a more musically honest, but possibly less sonically exciting view of the performance.

(Can you say, colorization)

Now I understand that this was quite a while ago, but I was wondering if these ideas and this type of explanations still live in "Audio Magazine Sound 101" today.

How can one that colorizes the music in a nice or favorable manner best one that reproduces in a "more musically honest" way? (Maybe tube sound vs. Solid state.)
I do not see how such a statement can be made with a straight face.
Now I haven't been reading the stereo rags as much lately, I just look at the new products that they are reviewing, look at the stats and go to the WWW for my info.
Please tell me that this "Aural insecurity" has been cleared from the magazine reviews of products or have they just made up new statements and acronyms to hide their ineptness. I am okay if this guy says that he likes the Levinson better because it cost more. But just come out of the closet and say that.

Has this hyperbole ended or do they just use new names for their embellishments so that you cannot hold them accountable and they can back-pedal when they are questioned?

Anaheim, Ca.
No, I don't think the hyperbole has ended. Sometimes components are so similar that it is very dificult to distinguish them without a certain amount of verbosity. Ironically, this may often exaggerate the differences between the components.

There's also a certain amount of entertainment value in the writing as the authors express their individual personality and style of writing. Over time, we become familiar with a certain reviewer's preferences and biases and adjust our own perception of the review accordingly.

I think that a lot of us don't take as much out of review as the reviewer puts into it. I would distill the review above as an opinion that the Levinson is a bit warmer than the Krell (which I may or may not agree with upon my own listening evaluation). Anything beyond that is the eloquence of the reviewer. We use reviews for general direction, not for gospel truth.

The language of audiophiles is fairly well understood as it has developed over many years. I refer to terms like "sounstaging" or "imaging" or even some of them more subjective terms like "warm" or "clinical". Reviewers build on these basic terms although I do think that sometimes it travels too far into the realm of subjectivity and validity then becomes difficult. If I ask a store to direct me to a sopeaker with good "imaging", I feel comfortable that what he might present to me for audition will have that characteristic. However, God knows what would be put before me if I asked for a pre-amp with "musical honesty".

So enjoy the reviews, but don't get too hung up on them.

This seems like a good post for Mrtennis to get involved in. Are you lurking out there MrT?.
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I don't know that Lewis Lepnick frequents this site and who cares about a review of a product that has not been in production for about fifteen years, and there are people that prefer all kinds of colorations...

Who cares...