>>Maybe there are several reasons, but I am just curious.<<
Here are ten good reasons:
Hope that helps.
Here are ten good reasons:
Hope that helps.
The consipracy theoriests says it's because the industry is an "Old Boys Club" where only the personal friends of the writers and editors get their stuff reviewed (glowingly), and/or those who are willing to cough up big advertising dollars.
I'm not sure they're so far off the mark.
For me, the 'net press is so much more down-to-earth and closer to home anyway. 6Moons has reviewed two Green Mountain speakers - very accurately. Meaning, they loved them.
Some sell by word of mouth and less through reviews.
Do Green Mountain buy lots of advertising space in the audio magazines? If not then they are less likely to be reviewed.
Ford trucks get big advertising in North America, but demanding customers tend to choose Land Cruisers in remote locations. It is a niche market but I suspect audiophiles may be similar picky customers...that go by word of mouth and experience rather than what they read/see in the media.
And, sadly, wherever it's reviewed, the odds are that it will be a rave and it is nearly dead-certain that it will be at least positive--regardless of product. So, maybe everything sounds really good and is of good value...in which case put on a blindfold and pick something!! If people who drove trucks in remote areas (or anyplace else) were like audiophiles, they'd be walking most of the time.
I think buzz creates the demand for reviews, and buzz is created from advertising and shows, and big companies have lot's of money for advertising and shows so that is likely the reason. I rarely believe in conspiracy theories, except Roswell of course but we all see the improvement in sound equipment once the alien technology was examined and shared with the electronics industry.....
Twas always thus. One hand washes the other. It is convenient to rely on cliches as I have just done but it also disingenuous to dismiss any and all suggestions of misbehavior as conspiracy theory. There are systems of graft at play everywhere we look today and it certainly isn't difficult to draw certain conclusions about the way we see the review process plied.
Green Mountain Audio has been producing exceptional product for nearly 30 years under one name or another and has spent most of that time in the shadow of lesser products with better connections. His neighbor Jeff Rowland has been harder to overlook but he too has been largely ignored in the same way.
Some years ago I was affiliated with a small company that made one product only but it was one of the best engineered and packaged products available then. The Timbre Technology TT-1 Dac was submitted to the Absolute Sound for review. They assigned it to Jonathon Valin. He jumped ship and went to Stereophile taking the Timbre with him. He subsequently gave it a rave review in that magazine but, unfortunately, was trumped by Robert Harley when he was the resident expert. Harley at the time was promoting any and everything offered by Sonic Frontiers and Timbre became the victim of his overriding faint praise. That began the end for Timbre even though it was arguably one of the very best DACs on the market at that time. The company struggled for about 3 more years but ultimately had to give up the ghost. Many small manufacturers are aware of this or another similar tale and scrupulously avoid submitting themselves to that potential abuse.
It's a big gamble that can make or break you. Unless you have the money to encourage praise of your product, you will likely be relegated to obscurity or otherwise abused. Ad money works in audio like campaign contributions in politics.
I own the GMA Europas, and I think they're great, but I would certainly like to see the measurements on them (frequency response, step response, phase response, waterfall). I wish GMA was a little forthcoming with measurements. I like their products, but their new website is a bit too slick and technobabble for me.
One thing that I think does speak positively for GMA's products is that you don't often see them for sale in the used section here on Audiogon.
I think manufacturers have to agree to certain things like long term (almost open ended) loans to reviewers, no preview of review, keeping some distance after item has been set up and verified to be working properly, etc. I knew a speaker manufacturer about 15+ years ago who refused to do these things (he really wanted to stay in touch with the magazine on a regular basis and know what the reviewer was thinking all along). He got only one review, which was positive, but ended up pissing off the mags with what they claimed was his "butting in" too much.
Seandtaylor99 - GMA more forthcoming with measurements??? They publish more data than about any other speaker manufacturer I can think of. Have you looked at their comparison charts on the site? There is a lot of data, including things like dispersion and impedance variation tolerances that damn near nobody in the industry publishes.
I can't tell you how many reviews (and real world comments, for that matter) that I've read that have made reference to the component under review being comparable, or even besting components that are 2-10 times more expensive. Just once I'd like to see a review that says something like, "...in spite of all the good things I've said here about this product, you can get the exact same performance for 1/5 the price in the WonderWidget Mk. III Silver Anniversary Edition with tube-buffered tubes buffering the tubes that buffer the output stage.... from Taiwan, of course." Where are all these high-dollar products that are so easily bettered by smaller investments and why don't the reviewers make note of them so you folks with expensable incomes can choose between that 300lb turntable, or putting your kid through Harvard...or at least paying their dorm fees. OK, tongue in cheek, but you get where I'm coming from. Actually, I have to hand it to the reviewer in the recent Stereophile who was reviewing the latest Prima Luna combo, for at least hinting at the fact that some folks require lots of audio-bling for their investment, and aren't shy about paying for it. I'll have to look up the exact wording but I thought it was a well-observed point.
I thought for years that high-end audio as a hobby was dieing a slow, painful death. I entered the hobby 28 years ago working at a place called Standard Sales, where they had what was considered a high-end audio room. I was a kid working in the warehouse, helping the guys move some equipment around the room, when a customer brought in an album; Stanley Clarkes School Days. Never heard of Stanley Clarke, and never heard of ESS, but when they played that album through the ESS AMT-1Bs, my face fell to the floor, and I was hooked.
Years later I had put together one wicked system: Altec Model 19s, SAE 400wpc amp, Crown pre-amp, Soundcraftsman EQ, Mitsubishi turntable (the killer vertical model), Teac reel-to-reel, etc., etc. What an amazing system it was. Then I subscribed to Stereophile, and got pulled in further, but farther away. I started reading the glowing reviews, and ultimately sold off all of my equipment so I could upgrade, blinded by a passion for the hobby, while ignoring that every component reviewed was audio nirvana. I was mesmerized by words like immediacy, palpable, airy, and fast. Well, after spending thousands of dollars on enough speakers, amplifiers, turntables, etc. to start a store, I left the hobby disgusted, because I was unable to recreate the magic of my original system without spending $80K (I bought a house instead).
I personally think this review process is an attempt to keep folks engaged in the hobby, while justifying the current astronomical prices for equipment. As many of you know, I recently reentered the hobby after a 15 year hiatus, driven by a business need, which prompted me to sell my loudspeakers to get the latest and greatest. Reading the commercial reviews, I still see that there is no such thing as a bad review. Everything is still audio nirvana, $10K/pair speakers still compete with models twice their price (isnt that nice that I only have to spend $10K, and not $20K?), and 40 floor-standing, two-way speakers, with a 6.5 woofer and 1 tweeter, still have a palpable midrange, all for the bargain price of $18K per pair. Good grief
like PEOPLE and ROLLING STONE, the art of selling magazines and being profitible is always about advertising and what sells more magazines(who or what is on the cover). LISTENER may have been the last attempt to have a magazine directed at the 'hobby' we have. For the the most part SF and AS are just ADVERTISING either in the traditional sense, or the written word. all products range between good to great...all are exceptable in terms of value....and all that end production are forgotten and replaced with more current models...those with an advertising and marketing budget.
Paulfolbrecht. There's a lot of figures on the site, but no independant verification, no graphs to back it all up.
I was saying I'd like to see a Stereophile type review where someone independant reproduces their measurements.
The original GMA site, before the company went hugely upmarket about 2 years ago, had some real graphs .... something that look like it might have been produced as a result of measurement. That all went when the web site got a face lift.
I like their speakers, I own a pair of their speakers. Roy is a really nice guy and a pleasure to do business with, but in my opinion a good review and accompanying measurements from one of the main publications in the industry would help them overcome the skepticism that many potential buyers have when a product is lauded on the forums and unheard of in the press.
Why isn't it good enough to just own and enjoy the products you like without professional endorsement?
I believe it is healthier for a company (or designer) to have to strive for acceptance. Once success is achieved, complacency sets in and the product suffers.
This free market system we hear touted is actually a good thing. I'd like to see it continue as is with less interference from the "experts" rather than more.
You know what I find funny about this thread, is that on one hand you have people complaining that certain speakers, equipments, ect aren't reviewed in the "mainstream press" (i.e. Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, ect) but on the other hand many of you complain about the reviews that these publications do publish and think that the "good review" has been bought to a certain extent. Truth be told, companies like GMA are doing well just by "word of mouth", and I don't think they want or need the "blessings" of the "mainstream press". The fact that they are finding their market, IMHO, without the "mainstream press" speakes volumes about the quality of the speakers they make.
Why even care about "professional reviews". What do they know?
Besides it all depends on how much money a co spends on ads will determire how much attention these presscorps will give a product.
Tyler spends zero $ on ads, and get sfaint attention from any media, but that doesn't keep Tyler from being my fav speaker.
as a reviewer, i have complete control over what i review, so i review products i think i might like or products which are interesting.
i admit to my preferences. i like panel speakers, so i would pass up most box designs.
i suspect that i am in a unique position. my editor lets me review whatever i want.
i think that companies that sell direct get less attention than companies which have a dealer network.
i think its hard for a mainstream publication to ignore certain products even if the manufacture does not advertise.
as others have stated, the combination of no advertising dollars and going direct decreases the odds of a review.
as others have stated, the combination of no advertising dollars and going direct decreases the odds of a review.
Mrtennis (Threads | Answers)
You would hope that same combination greatly reduces the cost to the consumer creating a much higher value than conventionally marketed mainstream alternatives. In other words, if I can allow myself to make purchases without reviewer endorsement, I may very well get a lot more for my money.
"i admit to my preferences. i like panel speakers, so i would pass up most box designs" As the proud owner of GMA speakers (Europa's mentioned as the topic speaker and the new Calypso's) I can tell you in no uncertian terms that these are nothing like "most box designs" I'm relatively certian others who have heard them would wholeheartedly agree. In fact, they are quite "Stat-like" in the mids and highs as they are all first order crossovers, thus time and phase coherent, but have better bass. These speakers are designed from the sound molecules at your ear backwards to find the size of the drivers, crossover point(s) etc using peer reviewed physics, not a one-size-fits-all computer program. That alone should get them reviewed in the major mags, as I know of no other speaker designer doing this. The designers of "Most box designs" (not all) find drivers that they like, use a computer program to find cabinet sizes, slope and frequency of the crossover and basically hope they sound good in the customers room. They "smooth out" any major frequency deviations using additional crossover parts, which alter the original waveform. HUGE difference. HUGE! I'm hoping someday others will join 6moons.com in "discovering" GMA speakers. This company deserves to be heard. The designer deserves more publicity in my opinion. We cannot allow people in the audio world with great minds like Roy Johnson to stop making products because bigger company's have more capitol. I know we would all suffer if that happened. I am VERY passionate about that last statement. The company did have one review in Stereophile years ago of the "Diamante" model, a sub $5K 3way floor stander. They reviewed it very favorably, by the way. Since that time, Roy has cracked the time domain physics and his speakers have improved dramatically as a result.
I have a lot of respect for Roy Johnson but I am lost as to just what "sound molecules" might be.
Also find myself wondering about this new buzz about "time and phase coherent" being the result of first order crossovers. Aren't the many single-driver designs going to be perfectly time and phase coherent because they are point sources using no crossover?
Bartokfan, This is not a hit but you don't get out much do you? I mean we realize the only 2 speakers you have owned or at least liked were Phillips based drivers, or Seas based drivers? But you drive it home in such weird ways with these posts and like end of the world attraction to this guy Ty.. I think he is actually scared of you or would be if he knew your demeanor on these forums. Its just strange man sorry.
Songwriter, Macrojack, and Bartokfan, and everybody:
Clearly, from above statements, what is needed is side by side comparison among GMA, Zu and Tyler, if it could be arranged. We can also throw in Ddedelus, Adagio, Ridge Street Sasson, etc., as they inspire equal passion in others
Sometimes, it appears to me that we have become like those we profess to despise: the mainstream rags.
Reviews and assessments here typically praise one speaker, talk a little about the designer's personal story, declare his creation to be "better than models costing 2 or 3 times as much". I don't even miss the ads; many posts read like one. Compared to mainstream rags, graphs are really the only thing missing.
You guys know perfectly what i am implying. The mags are fed by ceratin brands ad $'s and are rewarded with glowing reviews and hype. You know how it all goes around. Most of that stuff highly praised in the mags have never held up to any such claims in my experiences.
If its advertized I'm not interested. Whats the big deal here. ?
If you guys want to support "The Industry' go right ahead.Not on my expense.
80% of the audio world is hyped to varying degrees.
I'll never forget a speaker I heard recently that was ranted about here and in a mag. Starts with the letter S.
Man what a big let down. Same old sales pitches from the early 70's. .
Do you drive? What brand? If one follows your logic, you will not drive
any auto brand that advertises in auto mags because surely the mags
give rave reviews to the manufacturers that advertise. So, let's count out
Acura, BMW, Cadillac, Chevy, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Honda, Hundai,
Infinity, Jaguar, Lexus, Kia, Mercedes, Saturn, Toyota, Nissan, Saab,
What a nonsensical and unfounded argument.
Beyond that, to refuse all components by manufacturers who advertise is
to eliminate from consideration much of the finest audio equipment
available, thereby restricting the potential of your audio
BTW, on page 166 of the current issue of Stereophile is an ad from VAS
Audio, the exclusive distributor of Cayin Electronics. The ad features a
photo of the Model A-88T integrated amplifier and it mentions the Cayin A-88T's selection as a 2006 Stereophile Editor's Pick.
Does this mean Cayin is off your list?
there is no logical relationship between advertising and personal preference. one can have a bias against advertised products abd therefore dislike them when experiencing them.
a review or an ad should neither increase nor decrease the probability that a consumer will favor the product.
instead of being prejudiced against reviews or advertising why not just experience the product if the description meets your criteria, regardless of the opinions of a reviewer or the marketing efforts of a manufacturer.
get the facts and then decide for yourself.
Grant - your car metaphor ain't working for me. There are really precious few 'underground' car manufacturers. There are, however, a great abundance of audio maufacturers who produce great stuff who operate without benefit of much advertisting - some with none at all. Much of the reason is that it is much cheaper to manufacture audio gear than it is an automobile (re: "Who Killed the Electric Car", and "Tucker"). I do agree, that a premise for buying like that is a bit silly, but then again, why not...it does not surprise me at all. To each their own. There's plenty of good manufacturers out there who don't advertise and many products that never get reviewed. I agree, eliminating one simply because they do, or they don't seems a bit silly...BUT, in defense of that, I do believe that manufacturers who do advertise absolutely need to charge more for similar products in order to pay for an advertising budget. I'd never heard of the manufacturer of your DAC till you told me about it (thanks again, BTW). If all of a sudden that manufacturer started running regular ads in Stereophile you can bet he'd have to raise his prices to pay for the ads. I like the internet review sites because they seem to seek out some of the more unsung heroes of our hobby, and surely many of those make it more affordable than the utterly ridiculous levels it's reached. I think they are able to do this largely because running an eZine is cheaper than running a magazine with national distribution that depends entirely upon advertising to exist.
Mr. Tennis - some interesting thoughts, as usual. I don't think it will ever come to be that advertising will have no effect on buying whatsoever (that people will be able to ignore that input entirely). I think that's impossible. We're always bound to make meaning out of every little input and detail about a product, whether conscious or subliminal. That may or may not include actual functional and or logical features. Sometimes insignificant features like color, size, materials, typography, design, weight, among many others details, may come into play, whether we know it or not. Advertising is just taking advantage of all that. I'd venture that we'd be doing it anyway, even without advertising. We don't live in a vacuum. Though we might be more prone towards the logical facts of function, I still think we'd be making judgments on all kinds of other silly details. That said, I agree with your underlying premise: "get the facts and then decide for yourself"
$10K/pair speakers still compete with models twice their price
So if a $1,000 speaker competes with a model twice it's price ($2,000) but that $2,000 speaker competes with speakers twice IT'S price ($4,000) which compared to a speaker twice IT'S price ($8,000) ....... Well, then I guess that $1,000 speaker compares to just about anything.
Hey if sales are rolling along, why mess it up with potentially bad review or spec's which reveal poor design?
Marco, Bartokfan wrote that he will not consider any audio product that is advertised in an audio magazine that reviews equipment. Period. His blanket statement stands on its own and is fundamentally different from your example of boutique audio companies who cannot afford to advertise. I will admit my auto example was extreme, but it was made to emphasize the point.
Other than the cost to place an ad, what's the difference between advertising on the pages of a review magazine or advertising on the webpage of an eZine that reviews gear? The premise of Bartokfan's resistance is the same in either scenario.
Has anyone considered the possibility that some manufacturers advertise AFTER one of their products has been positively reviewed? This makes common business sense to me, and one manufacturer that comes to mind is Channel Islands Audio. I don't recall if Dusty Vawter ever placed an ad after the positive reviews he has received, but this would be an illustrative example.
Because , from my limited experience and a perspective built up over 30 yrs around stereo, eqip that is featured in full page ads and as well featured in the mags reviews, all this eqip tends to be much less than the expectations I had hoped for.
I only purchased one stereo mag in the past 20 yrs, and that was for the Tyler Linbrook Systems 2 review by Sally Reyonlds.
And that was the only thing I read or looked at in the Stereophile issue.
If a brand is featured in a mag, its very likely not in my consideration.
Cayin as mentioned would be the rare exception. But you really do not see many of their ads in a mag. Besides whatever they say is the god honest truth. No fluff, no hype.
End of rant
Whether or not something's been reviewed in the audiophile press is considerably less important than my own impressions at the time of listening. That's the ultimate test. If it sounds good and it seems to represent a good value, then those are the things that sway me.
OR, I can just ask Tvad or Duane or Swampwalker or Marco, etc..i.e.one of you really smart guys.....
As the presence of audio dealers decreases and the proliferation of factory-direct marketing increases, it becomes more and more difficult for those of us who reside away from metropolis to audition the equipment we hear about. Further, many of us, restricted by the lower wages and lesser economies of the hinterlands, buy only used equipment. We simply cannot afford to buy this stuff new. My program is unable to absorb significant depreciation. I find that if I buy used equipment wisely, I can try it for little or no money by simply returning it to the used market if it fails to satisfy. This policy, of course, relies upon other people to make the initial purchase and then resell at some point. Factory-direct, free trial periods can also serve in this way and products purchased directly from the manufacturer typically maintain a higher resale value than those which are sourced through traditional dealer networks.
I do not read the audio mags any longer because I have developed my own alternate review process by personal contact and word of mouth. As a result I have no use for Michael Fremer's estimates and declarations nor do I care to read measurements and graphs. All that matters is my satisfaction with my chosen entertainment.
So if I own the product and I find that it fulfills my needs and wishes, I don't have a desire to know whether or not a skilled writer thinks I should like it. It doesn't matter if it deviates from an amorphous, arbitrary absolute sound. My interest lies with whether or not I want to keep it and whether or not I can recover my investment if I choose to sell.
Just imagine buying your food according to the "Absolute Flavor". Why isn't it enough to just like the taste without giving yourself indigestion and a possible ulcer over the possibility that something else may come slightly closer to the "Absolute Flavor"?
We are the lunatic fringe. We drive ourselves nuts over differences that may or may not exist and most certainly don't matter outside of our asylum. Everyone of us, including the newcomers, have a level of sound reproduction that vastly surpasses that which can be found in the other 99.99999% of American homes. I wish my health was as high on the continuum as my audio system is.