QuestForThe13thNote

Can you rely on trade hifi reviews?

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A lot of vacuous nonsense gets written on forums about trade hifi reviews. As soon as you say have you checked the review out people mention bias, reviewers being in cahoots with manufacturers. The list goes on.

I don’t think this is either sensible or intelligent. A persons opinion is valid and if that person or organisations view is the product is bad they will say so. Equally if very good. The whf review of a model of Heco speakers was very bad, but equally of course lots of good reviews.

But can we entertain the very distinct notion that lots of hifi is good nowadays by competition and technology advancements. We ain’t buying amstrads any more. This seems to me a very common sense thought. 

The point of a review is to give an opinion which you can either take or leave but use it to make comparisons to other products yourself and see if the reviewers opinions are true for you or not.

Can anyone present valid hitherto facts for why we cannot rely on hifi reviews which I may not have thought of?

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caveat emptor

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When it comes to ‘HiFi’ today, it’s a bit like cars, you can’t buy a bad one but you can buy better..

That certainly wasn’t the case years ago. We expect and or demand something good for our money today whereas years ago, it was a luxury to have anything.

My general rule is that if most mags say it’s good or better, then it probably is but as always... Test drive the item yourself to be truly happy 

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5 minutes ago, radiant red said:

When it comes to ‘HiFi’ today, it’s a bit like cars, you can’t buy a bad one but you can buy better..

That certainly wasn’t the case years ago. We expect and or demand something good for our money today whereas years ago, it was a luxury to have anything.

My general rule is that if most mags say it’s good or better, then it probably is but as always... Test drive the item yourself to be truly happy 

So why do WhatCar reviewers give out 1 and 2 stars for various cars? Yet WhatHiFi hardly anything gets 1 or 2 stars? Nearly everything is 4 or 5 stars. In my opinion they are hyping up the products and promoting them they are not doing a thorough unbiased review. Why because they get paid indirectly by the manufacturers. 

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If you trust a commercial review of anything as a base for a purchaseing decision, you get what you deserve. I would rather trust the ears and comments of a selected group of forum members than any magazine. I have found myself in disagreement with wtf reviews I ignore them.

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3 minutes ago, BeeRay said:

So why do WhatCar reviewers give out 1 and 2 stars for various cars? Yet WhatHiFi hardly anything gets 1 or 2 stars? Nearly everything is 4 or 5 stars. In my opinion they are hyping up the products and promoting them they are not doing a thorough unbiased review. Why because they get paid indirectly by the manufacturers. 

It would be a good theory but we can take what we want from a 3 star whf review as being the person thinks it’s crap as much as 1or2 in car reviews. 

Also it’s not a comparable industry. There is an awful lot of shit in cars from China and other developing nations whereas hifi industries are only in a few countries. It would be like saying why don’t engineering reviewers or assessors of aviation products from the British and American industries say that products are bad, because there are only few good aviation industries. Its likely they are going to be good. Russia doesn’t have an industry in hifi streamers and consumer electronics. Japan and other such nations do. That’s why we see all the brands like auralic as top of the tree. 

So they will be producing all the good stuff. The same could be applied to japan in consumer electronics. 

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3 minutes ago, dudywoxer said:

If you trust a commercial review of anything as a base for a purchaseing decision, you get what you deserve. I would rather trust the ears and comments of a selected group of forum members than any magazine. I have found myself in disagreement with wtf reviews I ignore them.

I agree on first sentence. It has to be comparative always. If you go out and just buy a product with no comparisons to the competition when the review is rubbish and unwittingly youve got a turkey in a comparative sense, it’s your own fault. But some people aren’t bothered with a to b ing stuff too so all power to them too.

But in your second sentence, the worst people to give you advice on hifi are those that own it themselves. Brand loyalty and lots of issues come into it. You can be much more impartial as a reviewer as you’ve no interest to buying only what’s better in your own view. Also they are testing an awful lot more kit than we hear. 

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WHF tends to be very parochial. If its Rega, Naim or Cyrus it gets the thumbs up generally yet look around at the reliability of some of those products from actual users and it is not so rosy. I ended up buying speakers, amp and CD that copped bad reviews form WHF but unanimously good to great reviews from every other press. To me WHF has the least credibility. Perhaps its something to do with their music choice which is pretty alien to me anyway.

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4 minutes ago, QuestForThe13thNote said:

But in your second sentence, the worst people to give you advice on hifi are those that own it themselves. Brand loyalty and lots of issues come into it. You can be much more impartial as a reviewer as you’ve no interest to buying only what’s better in your own view. Also they are testing an awful lot more kit than we hear. 

So then we should totally disregard everything you say about the hifi you own? 

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I am the cynic .. having read magazines for over 40 years I have seen a lot of bullshit (read it too).  It is a fact that where reviewing products that take up lots of advertising space in a mag the reviewer is kind of committing suicide by rubbishing a product they do not like.   

Hifi  News some years back did a shoot out of the top ten turntables .. and guess what came top (in front of the Oracle and Linn and others)?  It was the original heavyweight Systemdek ... The following month they published a kind of retraction and a certain turntable was raised to the top.   At the same time in Practical Hifi if it wasn't a Linn or a Naim it was rubbish ...

Today times have moved on and the pressures may be less but I have come to only take real notice of certain reviewers who seem to be true to their own beliefs and whilst I might not always agree with them it is a starting point.

Finally having sold the stuff and had the ability many did not have to compare with colleagues the products reviewed .. where if one of us disagreed with the review then ok that was personal preference but when all five of us disagreed that is when we knew the review was bullshit.

Finally the other gross failing of mags over the years is to not take into account reliability .. if a product is always going wrong it does not matter how good it sounds (Nytech in the 70s was a good example).   My favourite reviewer of all time is Mr David Berriman  who always seems totally objective in his reviews.  I finally got to actually meet him at a show a few years back and surprise surprise not only is he a great reviewer (and very knowledgeable he has designed many loudspeakers) but is a totally lovely gentleman .... 

So believe a reviewer at your peril if you do not do more extensive research and trust your own ears and one last thing, guess what the magazine does to the manufacturer when it is going to be a good review .. they contact them and ask do they want to take out advertising space in that months issue - what i do not know is if they say no is the review then toned down .....  

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Super Dealer

Read the measurements rather than the ‘puff’.

Keith

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Just now, BeeRay said:

So then we should totally disregard everything you say about the hifi you own? 

No not black and white thinking, but you take it as my opinion just as I’d do same for you. I make my mind up myself. 

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3 minutes ago, crisis said:

WHF tends to be very parochial. If its Rega, Naim or Cyrus it gets the thumbs up generally yet look around at the reliability of some of those products from actual users and it is not so rosy. I ended up buying speakers, amp and CD that copped bad reviews form WHF but unanimously good to great reviews from every other press. To me WHF has the least credibility. Perhaps its something to do with their music choice which is pretty alien to me anyway.

I agree Rega fanboys. Yet Creek only get 3 or 4 stars, even when their amp was judged to better than WHF product of the year by other mags. They often don't even list the music and when they do it's often some awful modern stuff. You don't even know who the reviewers are now, could be a few college leavers. I think it has gone downhill in the last 5 years.

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12 minutes ago, QuestForThe13thNote said:

No not black and white thinking, but you take it as my opinion just as I’d do same for you. I make my mind up myself. 

But you just said owners are the worst people to give advice but I suppose that does not apply to you.

Not everyone can test hifi before they buy it so often have to rely on reviews and owners. 

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40 minutes ago, BeeRay said:

So why do WhatCar reviewers give out 1 and 2 stars for various cars? Yet WhatHiFi hardly anything gets 1 or 2 stars? Nearly everything is 4 or 5 stars. In my opinion they are hyping up the products and promoting them they are not doing a thorough unbiased review. Why because they get paid indirectly by the manufacturers. 

True audio buyers represent only 2% of the Audio industry whereas car buyers is close to 80% and that is why more cars are tested or reviewed and there are much more parameters when buying a car like safety etc... 

if you reviewed an amp on its speaker posts then maybe you would see less stars ️ 

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