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Heard/Unheard Hi-Fi kit and giving opinions

Vladimir

New member
Dec 26, 2013
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I don't recall we've discussed this topic before, except inside other threads as a side topic.

I'm interested what are your thoughts on giving public opinion on kit you've never auditioned, discussing aesthetics that you never seen in real life, comparing kit indirectly (auditioned not at the same time, same room, same music, same system).

How do you wager direct experience VS educated opinions?

P.S.

To set the moderators at ease, can we all agree if someone gets overly upset we post photos of kittens and puppies to rejuvenate the safe space atmosphere? Thank you.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Vladimir said:
I don't recall we've discussed this topic before, except inside other threads as a side topic.

I'm interested what are your thoughts on giving public opinion on kit you've never auditioned, discussing aesthetics that you never seen in real life, comparing kit indirectly (auditioned not at the same time, same room, same music, same system).

How do you wager direct experience VS educated opinions?

P.S.

To set the moderators at ease, can we all agree if someone gets overly upset we post photos of kittens and puppies to rejuvenate the safe space atmosphere? Thank you.
:)

However, with so much information on the web these days, the subject of aesthetics and seen in real life becomes a bit moot. Unless you mean saying with the knobs ;-)
 

Gaz37

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2014
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10,540
If the question is, does speaker A sound better than speaker B? And you've heard neither you probably shouldn't reply. Unless of course A is from a 1979 Amstrad stack system & B is a Linn Isobarik.

However if somebody asks if wiping a CD with £500 per litre synthetic unicorn semen will improve SQ I think it quite reasonable to respond even without experience of said product
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
823
375
5,270
There's heard and heard.

Just how much can you tell about a piece of equipment in an unknown system and an unknown room? Be it dealers demo room, show room, etc. In fact how much can you tell in a short demo?

It the answer is between none and not much at all then is there any point discussing equipment you've never owned...

On the other hand... How much can you say based on specs? They're often misquoted for marketing purposes and don't give enough info.

Finally quality of parts and design... you can draw some conclusions here but again they will only apply to well... quality of parts and design. Often but not always translating to sound quality and definitely contributing to reliability.

I use all of the above within reason. I do my best to comment about gear that I've owned only. Luckily I'm a curious guy so go through quite a lot.
 

Vladimir

New member
Dec 26, 2013
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Al ears said:
:)

However, with so much information on the web these days, the subject of aesthetics and seen in real life becomes a bit moot. Unless you mean saying with the knobs ;-)
Hmm. Not IME.

I'm really disapointed how small floorstanders have become and how flimsy and cheap integrated amps feel in the budget domain. Small bookshelf speakers have gone micro system sized these days. I don't mind the narrow baffle format on pics, but only because the photographer looks for the good angle. In real life i really dislike them.

Simulacrum vs Real life.

EDIT: Same disapointment with how flimsy and cheapy budget turntables feel to me personally.
 

Barbapapa

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2016
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4,520
If we allow only actual double-blind test comparisons, discussions will get brief and boring. Personally I don't mind comparisons by memory, educated guesses based on objective data (such as driver size), repeating (with reference) reviews and other's opinions, and aesthetic opinions on the looks of equipment. These make reading the forum fun. Furthermore, quite often a direct comparison is not available, so the best you can get is fairly subjective impressions.

As long as it is clearly stated what the opinion is based on, what in fact is the actual practice of most posters, I feel that this contributes to a lively discussion and has some informational value as well. If you only want hard scientific data, go to Arxiv and Nature, or visit the Harbeth forum.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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Given that the subjective evaluation of any hi-fi system or component is only of real value to the person concerned, I take virtually all such opinions for purely entertainment value only.

As someone who has knocked about this industry for decades, I have formed my own opinions and these are, in the main, a long way from the overall 'groupthink' that holds sway on this forum and in hi-fi in general.

For this reason I rarely give detailed opinions on the sound quality of different amps or speakers etc, prefering to give guidance (where I can) on system building and general principles. I occasionally might recommend product that I have hands on experience of, but as they are usually off the 'populist' or 'mainstream' axis, such advice is usually ignored.
 

Samd

Well-known member
Mar 6, 2013
158
50
18,670
Vladimir said:
I don't recall we've discussed this topic before, except inside other threads as a side topic.

I'm interested what are your thoughts on giving public opinion on kit you've never auditioned, discussing aesthetics that you never seen in real life, comparing kit indirectly (auditioned not at the same time, same room, same music, same system).

How do you wager direct experience VS educated opinions?

P.S.

To set the moderators at ease, can we all agree if someone gets overly upset we post photos of kittens and puppies to rejuvenate the safe space atmosphere? Thank you.
There is another dimension though and that his ‘hearing’.
  • Around 15% of all adults have some hearing difficulty.
  • Men are twice as likely as women to have hearing issues. Not many women here!
  • We hear partly through the bones in our skull and to a lesser extent through skin. For those without stereo hearing, the brain compensates and ‘channels’ all bone conduction to the ‘bad’ ear – distorted stereo?
Take no notice of any recommendation unless the member’s signature block shows the date and classification of their latest hearing test!!
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
823
375
5,270
davedotco said:
Given that the subjective evaluation of any hi-fi system or component is only of real value to the person concerned, I take virtually all such opinions for purely entertainment value only.

As someone who has knocked about this industry for decades, I have formed my own opinions and these are, in the main, a long way from the overall 'groupthink' that holds sway on this forum and in hi-fi in general.

For this reason I rarely give detailed opinions on the sound quality of different amps or speakers etc, prefering to give guidance (where I can) on system building and general principles. I occasionally might recommend product that I have hands on experience of, but as they are usually off the 'populist' or 'mainstream' axis, such advice is usually ignored.
I'm not sure it is irrelevant and I hope you shared more of your experience with us. I can see the point of understanding what to do with the information as crucial. To be fair I enjoy these non-mainstream componenets and ways of doing things far more than the usual suggestions.

I'm far more excited by the thought of listening to these less usual systems than what most is going for.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Vladimir said:
Al ears said:
:)

However, with so much information on the web these days, the subject of aesthetics and seen in real life becomes a bit moot. Unless you mean saying with the knobs ;-)
Hmm. Not IME.

I'm really disapointed how small floorstanders have become and how flimsy and cheap integrated amps feel in the budget domain. Small bookshelf speakers have gone micro system sized these days. I don't mind the narrow baffle format on pics, but only because the photographer looks for the good angle. In real life i really dislike them.

Simulacrum vs Real life.

EDIT: Same disapointment with how flimsy and cheapy budget turntables feel to me personally.
In my opinion this is not always the case and is budget related. Standmount speakers have generally improved in build quality. The same cannot be said of amplifiers. There is indeed a lot of trash on the market these days in the way of turntables.
 

Vladimir

New member
Dec 26, 2013
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Al ears said:
In my opinion this is not always the case and is budget related. Standmount speakers have generally improved in build quality. The same cannot be said of amplifiers. There is indeed a lot of trash on the market these days in the way of turntables.
My issue with speakers is simpy the size. Build quality is generally improved because of cheaper East-Asian labor, CNC technology and materials.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Vladimir said:
Al ears said:
In my opinion this is not always the case and is budget related. Standmount speakers have generally improved in build quality. The same cannot be said of amplifiers. There is indeed a lot of trash on the market these days in the way of turntables.
My issue with speakers is simpy the size. Build quality is generally improved because of cheaper East-Asian labor, CNC technology and materials.
I can understand your concerns but the size has been brought about by the improvement in driver and cabinet bass-response design in alignment with the shrinking room size of your average British house.
 

Vladimir

New member
Dec 26, 2013
220
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Al ears said:
I can understand your concerns but the size has been brought about by the improvement in driver and cabinet bass-response design in alignment with the shrinking room size of your average British house.
The problem for me is having the tweeter at ear height. Impossible with 0.7-09m tall floorstanders. Example, Rega RX5 are 0.835m tall. Also I'm used to floorstanders having more physical presence in the room.
 

jonathanRD

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2011
177
50
18,670
Vladimir said:
Al ears said:
I can understand your concerns but the size has been brought about by the improvement in driver and cabinet bass-response design in alignment with the shrinking room size of your average British house.
The problem for me is having the tweeter at ear height. Impossible with 0.7-09m tall floorstanders. Example, Rega RX5 are 0.835m tall. Also I'm used to floorstanders having more physical presence in the room.
Doesn't it depend on the height of your chair and how tall you are too?
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
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Good topic - and one I haven't seen given prominence with its own space.

Two elements guide my advice:

- Can the person demo the items....in which case, personal experience is less critical

- If the person can't demo, find as much about their taste/room/precious likes as possible...as they could be spending money on your advice.

I have a personal list of relevance:

1. Personally owned.

2. Personally demoed for a reasonably prolongued period / heard at a musical evening held by a manufacturer.

3. Heard at a show / brief hearing in a dealer (as system is playing when you are there).

3. Heard various components from that brand, leading to a reasonable expectation of how it will sound.

4. Not heard, but read reviews from Forum members/certain Journalists whose opinion you have come to trust

5. Never heard and done a bit of Blind Googling

I think as long as you make clear:

a) Your taste

b) Which of the above applies to your advice

Then, I think it's fair enough and allows the OP to make a somewhat informed choice...as they, afterall, need to take responsibility for how they spend their money.
 
I think if someone asks opinions, anybody should be free to give their opinion - as long as they state their experience with the product. Anyone giving an opinion who hasn’t heard the product can have an opinion based on specs/size etc, but this should be clearly stated. Of course, any opinions based on actual listening override spec based opinions.

Saying that, even first hand experience can’t really be taken too seriously unless the product was heard in the system and listening room of the person giving the opinion so that they have a point of reference. Hearing products in a non familiar environment won’t give a reliable insight into what’s on offer.
 

Vladimir

New member
Dec 26, 2013
220
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0
davidf said:
Vladimir said:
The problem for me is having the tweeter at ear height. Impossible with 0.7-09m tall floorstanders. Example, Rega RX5 are 0.835m tall. Also I'm used to floorstanders having more physical presence in the room.
Is your throne too high? :)
I'm not a basketball player. I'm 188cm and sit on normal furniture.
 
Vladimir said:
I'm not a basketball player. I'm 188cm and sit on normal furniture.
Screw the spikes all the way in at the back, screw them out as far as you can get them at the front without them being wobbly - leaning them back a bit can help, depending on your seating distance. Maybe some nice granite plinths or some Auralex or Townshend type platforms? Buy a bean bag just for listening?

:)
 

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