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slavedata

Do you trust magazine reviews

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When I was in the sixth form at school I ran a mobile discotheque with my mate. He did the DJ bit I was the techie. I was off to University and he bought me out. So with cash in my hand I went to buy my first HiFI. I scoured the mags and there was a rave review of the new Amstrad 8000 MK II amplifier. Excellent figures with good signal to noise ratio. I went off to Tottenham Court Road to buy an advertised special value system of Garrad SP25 with Goldring G800, Amstrad 4000 and KEF speakers. When I got to the shop they had "run out" of KEFs and I naively bought their substitute speakers,  which turned out to be EMI 13x 8 units. It was all crap and I was royally conned. Mates who new abou HIFI helped me out with the speakers adding wadding and proper crossovers to make the sound passable but that Amstrad hissed like a steam locomotive idling. After the next summer at work I could afford to replace it with a Tandberg TR200 receiver of excellent quality that I still have. I've often wondered how much Alan (Barrow Boy ) Sugar paid for that review because it was clearly all lies. Perhaps it was just the big ads for the amp he placed in the magazine. Ever since I've been very cynical about reviews with accompanying adverts. What's your experience?

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Edited by slavedata
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I don't trust ANY review, magazine or otherwise, that relies on people's impressions or opinions. I take note only of reviews with properly conducted measurements, done by somebody with a reputation for competence, like Hugh Ford or James  Moir.  Those reviews can normally be trusted. Of today's reviewers probably only Noel Keywood and Paul Miller are reasonably trustworthy, and even then, some of their conclusions I question.

S

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At least those two give you enough information to question their conclusions, unlike most other reviewers.

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1 hour ago, slavedata said:

Excellent figures with good signal to noise ratio.

1 hour ago, slavedata said:

that Amstrad hissed like a steam locomotive idling

There you go, relying on numbers.......Even they are somewhat variable depending on people's subjective choosing of what number to measure and then under hugely varying conditions. Look at the variability of how people measure something simple like how much power does this amplifier generate. There are at least ten different ways with all sorts of caveats.

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Amstrad did have one decent amplifier, the IC2000, which used Toshiba thick-film module power amps, similar to what Technics and Sony were using. The  preamp section of the IC2000 was no better or worse than other budget amps. Similar in price to the Rogers Ravensbourne with rather more modern circuitry. 

However, their 4000 and 8000 amps were very poor, but no worse than several other very cheap amps that claimed things like 20 watts output when they actually measured around 3. 

Amstrad were just more heavily promoted.

S

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4 minutes ago, George 47 said:

There you go, relying on numbers.......Even they are somewhat variable depending on people's subjective choosing of what number to measure and then under hugely varying conditions. Look at the variability of how people measure something simple like how much power does this amplifier generate. There are at least ten different ways with all sorts of caveats.

Nothing wrong relying on numbers, provided firstly you understand what the numbers mean, and secondly, those numbers are real. Too many specs in the 1970s were made up, with no basis in any reality. Even respected manufacturers played that game, like the Leak Point One.  You could get 12 watts out of it, or you could get 0.1% THD, but not at the same time, nor at any frequency other than 700Hz at any level.

Reviews that just published the manufacturer's specification without any verification were useless.

S

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Amstrad amps's  lifetime was not its main selling point and getting them repaired was not easy....:/

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Just now, George 47 said:

Amstrad amps's  lifetime was not its main selling point and getting them repaired was not easy....:/

But then, with the exception, possibly, of the IC2000, why would you want to? 

At least stuff then was made of discrete components, on large PCBs, so repairable, but even then, with these very cheap amps, repair costs often exceeded the cost of replacement. 

S

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6 minutes ago, SergeAuckland said:

Reviews that just published the manufacturer's specification without any verification were useless.

 
Agree: These Quad specifications did not reveal a problem with the power output into low impedances. Hence the 405-2 or bust.
 
Specifications: Two-channel, "current-dumping" solid-state power amplifier. Rated output: 100Wpc into 8 ohms (20dBW). Frequency response: -1dB at 20Hz (12dB/octave subsonic filter), -0.5dB at 20kHz, -3dB at 50kHz. Sensitivity: 500mV in for 100W out. Power bandwidth: 10Hz-20kHz. Damping factor: 80. Channel Separation: 85dB at 1kHz.
 

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Super Wammer

How on earth did an Amscrap amp end up being discussed on the WAM .....standards please gents :roll:

Now I must dig out my Rad Fidelity Music Centre. ....

Edited by MF 1000
Now I must dig out my Rad Fidelity Music Centre ......

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33 minutes ago, George 47 said:
 
Agree: These Quad specifications did not reveal a problem with the power output into low impedances. Hence the 405-2 or bust.
 
Specifications: Two-channel, "current-dumping" solid-state power amplifier. Rated output: 100Wpc into 8 ohms (20dBW). Frequency response: -1dB at 20Hz (12dB/octave subsonic filter), -0.5dB at 20kHz, -3dB at 50kHz. Sensitivity: 500mV in for 100W out. Power bandwidth: 10Hz-20kHz. Damping factor: 80. Channel Separation: 85dB at 1kHz.
 

Yes, but Quad published power and distortion curves which made it clear what the limitations were, one just needed to understand what the specs meant.

In any event, whether Quad or Amstrad, this thread is about trusting reviews, not manufacturer's specs, and a decent review will measure what the amplifier does and report accordingly. Only airy-fairy subjective reviews, which became fashionable in the 1970s was there a lot of arm-waving about musicality and the like. Those really were meaningless, but at least from the magazine's viewpoint they didn't have to maintain a test lab or pay for a proper engineering review. 

S.

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I trust my ears. if it sounds good to me, then it is good. It may be different to other folk's preferences, but we are all individuals. I don't need a graph to tell me whether or not I will enjoy a piece of equipment. I am not a robot.

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I don't trust magazine reviews in general, (Hi Fi or anything else) with Hi Fi I have found a couple of reviewers who seem to hear things in a similar way to me, and that helps create a shortlist sometimes. Measurements seem to be somewhat selective, and  subjectivist reviews are in the main useless, you will not t have the room or the other kit used available to you, and there is far too much purple prose and waffle, not to mention if it's more expensive its doubtless better.

Edited by dudywoxer
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Super Wammer

What cannot be covered by a mag review is the synergy of a amp, CDP, speakers etc with the other components in your system and room etc.  I'm sure there are quite a few of us who have taken kit that performs superbly in thier own system to a bake off or mates system only to find it makes little difference in another setup.

I never really understood the Linn adage of best source possible etc ...

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11 minutes ago, Cambs12 said:

I trust my ears. if it sounds good to me, then it is good. It may be different to other folk's preferences, but we are all individuals. I don't need a graph to tell me whether or not I will enjoy a piece of equipment. I am not a robot.

This.

I might look at reviews to get info on what is out there but I use my ears and with almost everything I’ve bought over the years a home demo. I like my stuff to look good too and given everyone’s different preferences no reviewer can measure that objectively.

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