Online auditions vs interests by manufacturers


Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
I would like to outline that my current view changed a while ago from anti- to pro online auditioning byy using neutral headphones or earbuds as a listener. As in having a steady point of recording, a well treated recording room, a good microphone and a public accessible music track are welcome.

Why I think this method applies is purely reference.

1) Like anything else, speakers can be professionally measured and recorded, speakers of any given pricetag are not magic as they are man made and subjectively judgeable by listening. Microphones might be different but don't add a significant amount of weight in changes.

2) In all cases when a reviewer mentioned something in his or her experience about certain signature differences between two tested speakers those are as well heard in the online audition. For example: the Wharfedale Evo 4.2 has a midrange dome and with an upright bass there is clearly some more going on in that range. What I hear at home given the real speakers versus another one to what I hear in the online audition is matching. That doesnt rule out the qualities of the other tested speaker for me, just outlines the differences and preferences.

3)When I Iisten to my own speakers or any speaker that I owned, online; it is an impression of what it is or what it was. Bass and midrange nuances and signatures, depth or lack of depth in midrange, brightness, warmth. I know the characteristics of the B&W Dm7s my old Tannoy M1s and the B&W D602s3, when I listen to these speakers online they sound exactly as they were. Only thing that might not be well capturable is the illusion of "holography" of certain amps when not using a binaural recording system.

4)Online auditions are for many people nowadays a great and sometimes the only option. Nearby stores for auditioning the specific kind of speakers are usually a long drive away or not around at all. Besides that some people don't prefer the pressure of having the expectations of having to buy something after listening when they reserve their time, have a cup of coffee with advice etc. Which all is proces of going to a deal.

Now a specific reviewer that I personally like and agree to apart from 'some' of his opinions states that this method doesnt work. He only seems to strangely go around the 'listen with headphones' request and brings up a room to room and speaker to speaker dilemma that is a false dilemma in my opinion. Because almost no serious hifi junk auditions a speaker with another speaker.

Let me get it straight that having this opinion against it on its own is fine, I have been there. But when this opinion is grounded in benefits it is a different story.

Here I linked some obvious things together and would like to put my money on the bet that the reviewer mentioned is probably being sponsored by manufacturers like Wilson Audio that don't want this method of auditioning to be a thing accessible to the public. Just because they mainly sell high priced pieces of art (debatable) to people who like to smash cash on something exclusive and I fully understand and respect that from a marketing point of view. Brands like these don't want to have their bookshelves lined up versus low cost hifi bang for buck speakers or the usual brands like B&W, Kef, Klipsch, Wharfedale bookshelves etc in terms of sound.

He once reviewed the lowest priced Wilson Tunetot bookshelf speakers ( $9800) and got himself a little stuck is "well.."s and "uhmm"s at his own topic of why the speakers were special and worth their price. A real answer has still to be given as it all went around clarifying anything. At one point he went that far as disabling the youtube comments when people tried to ask simply what made them worth this price.

Given this picture I think it only adds to the favor for the opinion that online reviewing is acceptable. But I started wondering about the interests some manufacturers have and how independent some reviewers really are.
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Well-known member
There have often been doubts about reviewer independence. And magazines’ dependence on advertising. Ultimately, manufacturers need reviews and reviewers need kit, so it’s mutually beneficial. We can sometimes wonder about reviews where the product is purchased at favourable prices - but I’d do that if I were a reviewer. Who wouldn’t want their own references at home? WHF review as a team, so are less susceptible perhaps.

It helps to put in the legwork and mileage yourself, as it’s not always easy to hear some kit. Dealer demos and open days, Hifi shows and nearby friends can all offer a listen. Of course, being flexible enough to read several different sources can help too.

Yesterday, I drove 45 minutes to hear speakers of which there’s only a handful of pairs in the UK. Another enthusiast drove down from the Midlands so we could hear his Chord DAVE and upgraded power supply. A very interesting afternoon.
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