You could tell where Julian stood with speakers if you knew how to read him between the lines. Many models just received what amounted to a perfunctory two-sentence-long 'acceptable' rating, with maybe one or two minor reservations obliquely noted along with the obligatory one or two compliments and an assurance of overall competence or good value. Other speakers received a full paragraph, written with obviously more personal enthusiasm for their sound, but still treated as being of secondary importance to the technical discussion, and never employing audiophile lingo to attempt to further delve into what we might call a speaker's 'musical character'.
Electronics however were another story ; typically, sound never even entered into the equation. I remember the time - I'm guessing in the early 80's or so - when Stereo Review broke with their mass-market norm and put a Mark Levinson power amplifier on the front cover to spotlight the growing high end sector, with Julian trying to ascertain whether or not there was really anything so special about such a unit that might be worth its high cost of admission. As I recall it, his measurements, while fine, did not shed light on why this amp ought to be considered superior to typical Japanese offerings (although he was impressed by the build quality), but he did in the end slightly allow that during his listening sessions - which I believe he indicated were given somewhat more attention in this review than was his habit, in order to discover any possible justification for audiophile contentions - he found himself thinking that the amp might indeed sound just a bit special in his experience, despite his bench-test results providing no clue as to why, and even though he didn't really describe in what ways he thought so.
But in these days of routine reviewer hyperbolic overkill - often written in language that's fast becoming so disconnected from reality in its catchphrase-y parsing of alleged sonic minutiae as to be largely meaningless even, I suspect, to those who write it - we could do worse than to look back and remember not only Julian's reluctance to critique sound when such might have been appropriate, but also never to oversell where that was inappropriate (not to mention his insistence on reasonable ergonomic design). The distinct possibility exists that many of today's generation of reviewers, for all their gratuitous verbosity* (but almost always conforming with the ever-expanding conventions of the pack) - and with their typical lack of formal technical competence - may in some ways be less deserving of our trust than was the frumpily terse but constant Mr. Hirsch.
*[I should talk :-) ]