Ratings and Reviews.

Tricky one to answer: Logic tells you that a £700 3 star should have a wider range of talents. Just because a component has 3 or 4 stars doesn't mean it doesn't have talent.

It really comes down to partnering the amp with the correct cdp and speakers. I had wonderful results from the old Arcam A65+.

Why the question? If you can give a few more details, we (I) can be more specific.
 
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Anonymous

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Depends on your equipment and preference. For example, I've found that I prefer my £300 Marantz PM7003 over several 4-star £1000 amps.
 

Lee H

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Bear in mind that a contributory factor to the star rating is the items performance in comparison to its price. So something relatively low priced, but sounds/looks way better than it should would get more stars. Equally, the higher priced item would be expected to perform better within its class and could be lower rated if it doesn't; although it could well be better than the cheaper item.
 

whiskywheels

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plastic penguin said:
Why the question? If you can give a few more details, we (I) can be more specific.

Well, I've often wondered if maybe it would be more helpful if a star rating were 'global' rather than specific to a price band. This might require 7 or more stars to work, but I feel it would help in order to compare products sound quality at different price levels. So, the 'best buy' £300 amp may only have 3 stars, but at least we can see that for an extra £x we could get 7 stars.

This all started when I ordered a Rotel 1520 amp recently, and then wondered if it was worth also getting the matching CD player........and then noting that the 2 CD players I already have are 5 and 4 stars (NAD 545 and CA 650) respectively. Obviously the best advice is to audition stuff, but given that a)nothing I ever want is actually in stock anywhere and b)even if I did arrange a demo it's of little use unless it takes place in my actual listening room, it would be nice to get some clearer guidelines about the comparitive merits of different models, even across a broader price range. In reality, there is no way I'm going to find the opportunity to demo the 3 different CD players side by side, but if the sound of the Rotel is as good as the others, I may have been inclined to choose it (despite the higher price)just in order to enjoy being able to us one remote control! As it stands, a 3 star rating put me off.
 

Andrew Everard

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Yes, we've been round the 'global ratings' track many times on the Forums, but the fact remains it just wouldn't work: the whole basis of the magazine is to show readers what are the best products at whatever price they can afford, and saying to them 'sorry, pauper - you can only afford a two-star product' would be less than helpful.
 

Lee H

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Andrew Everard said:
Yes, we've been round the 'global ratings' track many times on the Forums, but the fact remains it just wouldn't work: the whole basis of the magazine is to show readers what are the best products at whatever price they can afford, and saying to them 'sorry, pauper - you can only afford a two-star product' would be less than helpful.

Yep. I've bought 5 star products knowing full well that they're not the best money can buy, but the best that I can afford.
 

ABM78

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Lee H said:
Andrew Everard said:
Yes, we've been round the 'global ratings' track many times on the Forums, but the fact remains it just wouldn't work: the whole basis of the magazine is to show readers what are the best products at whatever price they can afford, and saying to them 'sorry, pauper - you can only afford a two-star product' would be less than helpful.

Yep. I've bought 5 star products knowing full well that they're not the best money can buy, but the best that I can afford.

And thats exactly what these and other magazines are here for, great quotes from Andrew and Lee!
 

big1986ben

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i'm have this problem, i wanting to get a speaker system for my ipod, but i dont know what is better for the money the b & w zeppelin or the b & w b & w zeppelin air, you can get the normal zeppelin for £300 now. Is it worth putting the extra £200 in the pot an getting the air?
 
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Andrew Everard said:
The whole basis of the magazine is to show readers what are the best products at whatever price they can afford

So Andrew, what I would REALLY love to see in the Group tests and which would definately meet your objective, is one of the devices being, say a "classic" 5 year old device available at a similar price so we can see what our money might get us on the used market. This would also add interest to the review so we can see how technology, build & sound quality and value have moved on (or back) over the past few years.

Clearly used products don't come with warranties, and I guess that most used products would trounce all the new products at the same price, so you might have to lower the cost of the used product a bit to make the comparison realistic. But I for one would find this kind of comparison really really interesting.
 

Andrew Everard

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Again, another track we'ver orbited a few times, and the feeling is we don't have enough space for all the new product we have to get through, let alone bringing in used or obsolete products. It's perhaps something we may visit again for the website at some point, but at the moemtn we don't have the time or resources to progress it further. Sorry.
 
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Anonymous

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That's fair enough, I agree your focus should be reviewing new products which we know nothing about, rather than re-reviewing old products whose reviews can be obtained from the Internet or back issues.

May be a one off review at some point, comparing a new with comparably priced used cd-amp-speaker setup? Would be an interesting read to see what £1500 can get you new vs used :)
 

Sizzers

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I fully understand how the rating system works, but wouldn't it be possible to give a parallel rating based purely on performance rather just on the perceived value for money?

I love the mag and reviews but sometimes I leave group tests somewhat confused as to what actually IS the best product in your opinion, regardless of price. Likewise, how good you actually think an individual test item is regardless of price. After all, it's the consumer who ultimately decides what represents "value" to him/her.
 

professorhat

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Essentially, I'd say the easiest way to use these reviews is to say that any 4 or 5 star product (and even some 3 star products) in your price range should definitely be on your audition list unless (a) it lacks a feature which is critical for yourself e.g. analogue outputs on a Blu-ray player or (b) it has a feature which rules it out for yourself e.g. a certain cosmetic style which you hate.

Other than that, ratings are there for guidance, not to try and tell you which is the best and therefore what to buy. I think it's important to remember that.
 

Andrew Everard

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Sizzers said:
I fully understand how the rating system works, but wouldn't it be possible to give a parallel rating based purely on performance rather just on the perceived value for money?

Again, we've discussed this, but the feeling is this would only confuse.
 

Sizzers

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Andrew Everard said:
Sizzers said:
I fully understand how the rating system works, but wouldn't it be possible to give a parallel rating based purely on performance rather just on the perceived value for money?

Again, we've discussed this, but the feeling is this would only confuse.

Would you mind if I asked what criteria you use for awarding a product 5 stars based on its "value for money", when another product you might award 4 stars to in the same test is clearly the better product?

Sure, in it's given price range it might be £50-£100 more but perhaps a more detailed explanation would be helpful IMO as to why you consider it doesn't give "value". Hope that's made sense!
 

Andrew Everard

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Sizzers said:
Would you mind if I asked what criteria you use for awarding a product 5 stars based on its "value for money", when another product you might award 4 stars to in the same test is clearly the better product? Sure, in it's given price range it might be £50-£100 more but perhaps a more detailed explanation would be helpful IMO as to why you consider it doesn't give "value". Hope that's made sense!

I'm not sure it does, but I think you've answered your own question. It's about sound (or vision) per pound – slways has been, always will be.
 
Andrew Everard said:
Sizzers said:
Would you mind if I asked what criteria you use for awarding a product 5 stars based on its "value for money", when another product you might award 4 stars to in the same test is clearly the better product? Sure, in it's given price range it might be £50-£100 more but perhaps a more detailed explanation would be helpful IMO as to why you consider it doesn't give "value". Hope that's made sense!

I'm not sure it does, but I think you've answered your own question. It's about sound (or vision) per pound – slways has been, always will be.

Too true - it's also about synergy. Get that right and you certainly won't be disappointed.

But as Andrew says, star ratings are based on pound-per-sound, then it's down to us to get the synergy right.
 

lindsayt

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The star ratings are only a very useful guide.

What counts is your ears and how you think a particular component sounds in your system.

Also, in the history of hi-fi, over the last 60 years, there have been many excellent components that were never reviewed by What Hi-fi. Each edition would have to be the size of War And Peace for them to have included everything.
 

Inter_Voice

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lindsayt said:
The star ratings are only a very useful guide.

What counts is your ears and how you think a particular component sounds in your system.

smiley-wink.gif
+1.

Star ratings are just for reference and is subjective. You have to relie on your own ear judgement as frequency response of one's ear varies and also depends very much on how sound signals are sent to your brain. If someone's ear is insensitive to HF or LF due to whatever reasons (say aging or damage) he might not find a bright speaker fatiguing or cannot feel the boomy bass at all. Therefore have your own audition and use star ratings as a general reference only. When you are happy and fully satisfied with the sound that a particular hifi system reproduces just go for it even the ratings are low.
 

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