Mag editors and interviewers could do better

Is it just me or are there others who find the typical interviews with audio designers in the paper mags to promise more than they deliver? I'm not out to try and learn the intimate details of the people who design truly state-of-the-art gear, but I guess I’d like to know more that the predicable questions in the mags. But is this wise though? Is it better to not ‘meet’ your heroes. I'm just not sure.

For example, what design process led to the magnificent Vandersteen 7 product? Not just ‘we wanted better’ or ‘we didn’t cut corners’ and stuff like that. What did Beveridge use as his benchmark? Not just ‘try to recreate the live sound’ and so on. So, despite my uncertainty if this is a wise cause, I will be very interested to know the questions that people like us would like answered – if indeed there was an opportunity to ask them?

My system (passive)
Vandersteen 2Ce Signatures
LFD PA2M (SE) power amp
Benchmark DAC-pre
XTZ Cd player
Kenwood / Trio KT917 FM tuner
Nakamichi 682 tape
Pink Triangle PT Too
Breuer 8 Dynamic arm
Van den Hul MC1
LFD phono stage
Speaker cables – various LFD Audio
Interconnects – vintage Stereovox and LFD
Power cords – Black Rhodium, PS Audio
Power regeneration – PS Audio
There is a "Critic's Corner" forum at Audio Asylum where folks from the magazines post pretty often. You may be able to get a response to your question there.
I'd just settle for a 'complete' review.

It wasn't until TAS reviewed an updated version of the Walker turntable, that they mentioned issues on the older ones.

Why don't they comment on a products noise and other real world issues? Telling me a cd player "sounds like vinyl" but than sounds like a rocket ship going of when I buy it does me not good.

At this point, I couldn't care less for the reviewer to tell me what the designer was thinking of when he conceived his fare. I would rather know what isolation the component sits on, how many hours of breakin & warm up, what cables are being used, etc.
... that they mentioned issues on the older ones.

Why don't they comment on a products noise and other real world issues?...

This business runs different. Any reviewer writes for the manufacturer, not for the customer. They don't want to write something negative (and they don't hear it anyway).
The normal way is to write something positive about a given product. When the manufacturer does an update, for example a new high frequency chassis, THEN you can read that the former model was aggressive in that area.
When you have still have the former -old - review you will never read something about that "problem", all was great.
A kind of deafness is mandatory in this business. There is only one rule (only one!): The next is always better.
That would be much more interesting than hearing all the personal comments they often fill reviews with - too many silly stories for me, just get on with the review already...

my two cents
Hello Cerrot. You wrote: “At this point, I couldn't care less for the reviewer to tell me what the designer was thinking of when he conceived his fare.” I see – or rather, I don’t.
If a designer stated that his / her primary motivation was to (say) ‘make hip-hop listenable or that ‘rap drives my design work’ then quite clearly they are not on the same wavelength as me, and vice-versa of course – notwithstanding the utter futility of such a challenge.

In extremis then should the ‘review / interview’ conclusion be binary i.e. ‘buy this’ OR ‘do not buy this’? Do people really want the Dr. Seuss version of everything? I really hope not

However … I am in agreement re the points you raise re what isolation the component sits on, how many hours of break-in & warm up, what cables are being used, etc. I wish these questions had occurred to me. Not too old to learn from others I guess. So – thank you!
Hey I designed a DHT preamp. What I was striving for was real sound to me. frequency extension, beautiful mids, soundstage height and depth, placement of instruments, layers of details without the typical audiophile sterile sound, etc. How am I trying to get there? I tried numerous chassis designs with wood, metal (aluminum, steel, copper) and different thicknesses. Tried four or five different output transformers before deciding to wind my own, caps, resistors, wire, different tubes old and new, all types of volume controls, interstage transformers, power transformers, single stage design, two stage design, tried battery power designs, etc. Three years trial and error and comparing to other manufacturer designs and in other peoples systems. I have learned how each part of the design works. But it also comes down to mixing and matching some of the parts to see how those combos work together. Three years in the design and I am almost to the point where I feel there is not much more room for improvement. I am close to as perfect sound that I think everyone would like to hear from a preamp as I think I can get. I also think that everyone has a sound they are looking for and mine may not be that sasme sound. I built into the preamp a switch that you can change / taylor the sound to your system in five ways, sort of the way cables change the sound.

Is this what you would be looking for from the designer?

Happy Listening.


I would agree with you. It would be a nice addition to know what the designer was thinking of. I should not dismiss that so quickly. I was thinking in the realms of a trade-off. I would rather have the info I truly need and pass on the hyperbole but in the perfect world I would very much like to know what the designer wanted to achieve while i was experiencing the piece of gear. I just feel there is so much more info of value they could be giving us. I scratch my head on why all reviewers on one magazine do not have specific standard tracks they all play when reviewing gear. That would make things easier for us as well. I think HP leaving TAS has opened up my eyes a bit. I don't think TAS gives the streight scoop - only the straight revenue generating ads.
I would like to see different equipment reviewed. How may reviews do we really need for Magico or Wilson. The advertising drives the reviews and the truth is hard to find. I do like the reviews from Jeff Fritz of ultra soundstage and the reviews from stereomojo follow equipment that is off the beaten path.