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What do you read into WHFSAV star review system?

Page 3 - Seeking answers? Join the What HiFi community: the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products.

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
QuestForThe13thNote said:
this kind of talk that journalists can't review with a rudimentary technical knowledge gives hi fi a bad name. Hi fi snobbery. It kind of means that I or any other bod, who is not a hi fi specialist with huge technical knowledge, cannot come to a view on products. This is obviously not true. And who is to say journos don't have technical knowledge. I suspect as they are doing it as a job they have to have it more than most to be credible and for job retaining purposes.
Technical knowledge? If they do have any they never show any evidence of it in a review.

Why have I never seen the words 'volts' or 'amps' in a WHF review? These are very important factors to consider in a whole range of hifi related issues that will effect the sound in a predictable way. Not just regarding amplifiers, cables and speakers either. Voltage and impedance are important when considering mixing and matching different sources too.

These examples are just the tip of the iceburg. Folwery descriptions are all good and well in a review but they can only tell the reader half the story.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
611
380
19,270
plastic penguin said:
What year did you visit The Towers?

I was there to do the Big Q either in the June or July in circa 2009 or 10 (came out in the Sept. edition I think).
On the point of the special rooms, I'm not sure they had much choice as the office spaces were created inside the old studios, so they had to construct something more akin to a domestic setting. But, they may well have tended towards a dryer sound, that would welcome some brilliance.

Now trying to recall when I went there!
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
steve_1979 said:
QuestForThe13thNote said:
this kind of talk that journalists can't review with a rudimentary technical knowledge gives hi fi a bad name. Hi fi snobbery. It kind of means that I or any other bod, who is not a hi fi specialist with huge technical knowledge, cannot come to a view on products. This is obviously not true. And who is to say journos don't have technical knowledge. I suspect as they are doing it as a job they have to have it more than most to be credible and for job retaining purposes.
Technical knowledge? If they do have any they never show any evidence of it in a review.

Why have I never seen the words 'volts' or 'amps' in a WHF review? These are very important factors to consider in a whole range of hifi related issues that will effect the sound in a predictable way. Not just regarding amplifiers, cables and speakers either. Voltage and impedance are important when considering mixing and matching different sources too.

These examples are just the tip of the iceburg. Folwery descriptions are all good and well in a review but they can only tell the reader half the story.
isnt it the point that most people don't care. They don't want reference to amps or volts because it goes beyond a level of normal understanding. For the mass market which the mag is aimed at, certainly. So what hi fi would be crazy to do that. The magazine is aimed at people who want a new stereo or telly and want to read some reviews with a view to checking products out.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,881
230
20,070
Now trying to recall when I went there!

Pretty sure I was one of the first Big Qers, along with two others. We were testing two speakers: ATC SCM11s and Ruark Sabre IIIs, yet I cannot recall the names of other participants. I've got the mag lurking somewhere in the house.

And we did test Roksan Kandy K2, Naim 5i with a Cyrus CD6s. I'm pretty sure it was 2009.
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
davedotco said:
QuestForThe13thNote said:
CnoEvil said:
davedotco said:
Cno, I know it is rare for you to be argumentative so this is said with the utmost respect, but I suggest that you think again about what you said, the idea that a bunch of young journalists (of modest ability) can, when listening to product on a production line basis, with no technical or other checks and balances offer a view that is of real value is quite absurd.
I have been around this game almost as long as you have and have (personally) found reviews to be useful....but always use my own judgement to come to a conclusion. The reviews I take seriously are generally not from WHF....but even they get it right occasionally. *biggrin*
this kind of talk that journalists can't review with a rudimentary technical knowledge gives hi fi a bad name. Hi fi snobbery. It kind of means that I or any other bod, who is not a hi fi specialist with huge technical knowledge, cannot come to a view on products. This is obviously not true. And who is to say journos don't have technical knowledge. I suspect as they are doing it as a job they have to have it more than most to be credible and for job retaining purposes.

anyone can do these reviews if they are reviewing sound quality and have prior experience of other products, as well as other features. For what Daved often talks sense, I think this is way far of common sense. Hi fi isn't exclusive, music which hi fi does, is all inclusive. And both can be gauged by all.
Once again your basic lack of understanding is breathtaking.

I have never suggested that ordinary enthusiasts "cannot come to a view on products", anyone who has an interest can listen and come to a conclusion that is meaningful for them. Everyone is encouraged to listen for themselves and choose equipment that works for them, this is a fundamental tenet of this forum.

What they can not due is to extend their conclusions to other people who will not share their experience, preferences and prejudices. This simply does not and can not work.

For a review to be valuable for a third party it needs to have been produced according to a set of standards that are known, these may be technical, procedural or what have yo, this gives the third party reader a basis to relate the reviewers findings to his own requirements.
How would you propose that they Review say a speaker to cover it off to have standard procedural and technical consistency in the review. I don't see it needs to do that. What a review is, is just an opinion. It can be as much as 'it's great' (although quite obviously that wouldn't be acceptable for buying a magazine) or a long description broken down into specifications, sounds quality, conclusions and so on. But I don't think there is any concern that the reviewer is just basing it on own requirements, because it would be stupid to think that what hi fi base a 5 star review on one persons judgement. What I'm sure they are trying to achieve is consistency too, so if it's better than a comparable product, what hi fi have to think about would lots of people think so too, hence running testing past more than one person. The magazine has an editor of course so it's subject to editorial control over achieving this, no doubt.

but you said "the idea that a bunch of young journalists (of modest ability) can, when listening to product on a production line basis, with no technical or other checks and balances offer a view that is of real value is quite absurd."

[font="ProximaNova-Light, arial, verdana, sans-serif"]So you implied that only someone with skill can come to reliable conclusions, that I have to have lots of knowledge about hi fi and ability in it, to come to reliable conclusions, that I can then give as advice to other before others can accept it. And that is catergorically not the case. That is hi fi snobbery. The reason being hi fi is quintessentially about sound quality which anyone can discern. This is one of my biggest bugbears in decent hi fi, that people think they have to have lots of knowledge before you can extol on anyone knowledge about what is or isn't a great product, or a product better than another or what works well together. Again it's rubbish.[/font]

[font="ProximaNova-Light, arial, verdana, sans-serif"]And that if someone then says this speaker brand are great, and lots do for reasons they give, then it's absolutely strong opinion and advice about a product which someone can either take or leave. In my opinion they'd be a fool if lots big it up, to check it out, but that's for them not me. [/font]
 

ellisdj

New member
Dec 11, 2008
377
1
0
plastic penguin said:
What year did you visit The Towers?

I was there to do the Big Q either in the June or July in circa 2009 or 10 (came out in the Sept. edition I think).
Hi PP I cant remember mate, I could probably look it up but if you sat on a 3 seat sofa next to a fat bloke listening to MA Platinums PL300's in the blind test I was the fat bloke :)
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
611
380
19,270
plastic penguin said:
Now trying to recall when I went there!

Pretty sure I was one of the first Big Qers, along with two others. We were testing two speakers: ATC SCM11s and Ruark Sabre IIIs, yet I cannot recall the names of other participants. I've got the mag lurking somewhere in the house.

And we did test Roksan Kandy K2, Naim 5i with a Cyrus CD6s. I'm pretty sure it was 2009.
Ah, I've found it. I went in August 2011. I'm not sure there were more than a handful after that. A great day out, and I definitely feel a certain loyalty as a result. At the end of the day they are a decent bunch of folks doing a good job. In their shoes I'd be well pee'd off at all the snarky comments, especially the ones on Facebook.
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
QuestForThe13thNote said:
davedotco said:
QuestForThe13thNote said:
CnoEvil said:
davedotco said:
Cno, I know it is rare for you to be argumentative so this is said with the utmost respect, but I suggest that you think again about what you said, the idea that a bunch of young journalists (of modest ability) can, when listening to product on a production line basis, with no technical or other checks and balances offer a view that is of real value is quite absurd.
I have been around this game almost as long as you have and have (personally) found reviews to be useful....but always use my own judgement to come to a conclusion. The reviews I take seriously are generally not from WHF....but even they get it right occasionally. *biggrin*
 

this kind of talk that journalists can't review with a rudimentary technical knowledge gives hi fi a bad name. Hi fi snobbery. It kind of means that I or any other bod, who is not a hi fi specialist with huge technical knowledge, cannot come to a view on products. This is obviously not true.  And who is to say journos don't have technical knowledge. I suspect as they are doing it as a job they have to have it more than most to be credible and for job retaining purposes. 

 anyone can do these reviews if they are reviewing sound quality and have prior experience of other products, as well as other features. For what Daved often talks sense, I think this is way far of common sense.  Hi fi isn't exclusive, music which hi fi does, is all inclusive. And both can be gauged by all.

 
Once again your basic lack of understanding is breathtaking.

I have never suggested that ordinary enthusiasts "cannot come to a view on products", anyone who has an interest can listen and come to a conclusion that is meaningful for them. Everyone is encouraged to listen for themselves and choose equipment that works for them, this is a fundamental tenet of this forum.

What they can not due is to extend their conclusions to other people who will not share their experience, preferences and prejudices. This simply does not and can not work.

For a review to be valuable for a third party it needs to have been produced according to a set of standards that are known, these may be technical, procedural or what have yo, this gives the third party reader a basis to relate the reviewers findings to his own requirements.

 
How would you propose that they Review say a speaker to cover it off to have standard procedural and technical consistency in the review. I don't see it needs to do that. What a review is, is just an opinion. It can be as much as 'it's great' (although quite obviously that wouldn't be acceptable for buying a magazine) or a long description broken down into specifications, sounds quality, conclusions and so on. But I don't think there is any concern that the reviewer is just basing it on own requirements, because it would be stupid to think that what hi fi base a 5 star review on one persons judgement. What I'm sure they are trying to achieve is consistency too, so if it's better than a comparable product, what hi fi have to think about would lots of people think so too, hence running testing past more than one person. The magazine has an editor of course so it's subject to editorial control over achieving this, no doubt.

but you said "the idea that a bunch of young journalists (of modest ability) can, when listening to product on a production line basis, with no technical or other checks and balances offer a view that is of real value is quite absurd." 

So you implied that only someone with skill can come to reliable conclusions, that I have to have lots of knowledge about hi fi and ability in it, to come to reliable conclusions, that I can then give as advice to other before others can accept it. And that is catergorically not the case. That is hi fi snobbery. The reason being hi fi is quintessentially about sound quality which anyone can discern. This is one of my biggest bugbears in decent hi fi, that people think they have to have lots of knowledge before you can extol on anyone knowledge about what is or isn't a great product, or a product better than another or what works well together. Again it's rubbish.

And that if someone then says this speaker brand are great, and lots do for reasons they give, then it's absolutely strong opinion and advice about a product which someone can either take or leave. In my opinion they'd be a fool if lots big it up, to check it out, but that's for them not me. 
End of chapter 3016
From the book 'the musing of qft13n'
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
Well rather than saying this, why not contribute or just say nothing. Unless it's meant to create bad feeling Which it probably is?
 

Al ears

Moderator
Andrewjvt said:
QuestForThe13thNote said:
davedotco said:
QuestForThe13thNote said:
CnoEvil said:
davedotco said:
Cno, I know it is rare for you to be argumentative so this is said with the utmost respect, but I suggest that you think again about what you said, the idea that a bunch of young journalists (of modest ability) can, when listening to product on a production line basis, with no technical or other checks and balances offer a view that is of real value is quite absurd.
I have been around this game almost as long as you have and have (personally) found reviews to be useful....but always use my own judgement to come to a conclusion. The reviews I take seriously are generally not from WHF....but even they get it right occasionally. *biggrin*
this kind of talk that journalists can't review with a rudimentary technical knowledge gives hi fi a bad name. Hi fi snobbery. It kind of means that I or any other bod, who is not a hi fi specialist with huge technical knowledge, cannot come to a view on products. This is obviously not true. And who is to say journos don't have technical knowledge. I suspect as they are doing it as a job they have to have it more than most to be credible and for job retaining purposes.

anyone can do these reviews if they are reviewing sound quality and have prior experience of other products, as well as other features. For what Daved often talks sense, I think this is way far of common sense. Hi fi isn't exclusive, music which hi fi does, is all inclusive. And both can be gauged by all.
Once again your basic lack of understanding is breathtaking.

I have never suggested that ordinary enthusiasts "cannot come to a view on products", anyone who has an interest can listen and come to a conclusion that is meaningful for them. Everyone is encouraged to listen for themselves and choose equipment that works for them, this is a fundamental tenet of this forum.

What they can not due is to extend their conclusions to other people who will not share their experience, preferences and prejudices. This simply does not and can not work.

For a review to be valuable for a third party it needs to have been produced according to a set of standards that are known, these may be technical, procedural or what have yo, this gives the third party reader a basis to relate the reviewers findings to his own requirements.
How would you propose that they Review say a speaker to cover it off to have standard procedural and technical consistency in the review. I don't see it needs to do that. What a review is, is just an opinion. It can be as much as 'it's great' (although quite obviously that wouldn't be acceptable for buying a magazine) or a long description broken down into specifications, sounds quality, conclusions and so on. But I don't think there is any concern that the reviewer is just basing it on own requirements, because it would be stupid to think that what hi fi base a 5 star review on one persons judgement. What I'm sure they are trying to achieve is consistency too, so if it's better than a comparable product, what hi fi have to think about would lots of people think so too, hence running testing past more than one person. The magazine has an editor of course so it's subject to editorial control over achieving this, no doubt.

but you said "the idea that a bunch of young journalists (of modest ability) can, when listening to product on a production line basis, with no technical or other checks and balances offer a view that is of real value is quite absurd."

So you implied that only someone with skill can come to reliable conclusions, that I have to have lots of knowledge about hi fi and ability in it, to come to reliable conclusions, that I can then give as advice to other before others can accept it. And that is catergorically not the case. That is hi fi snobbery. The reason being hi fi is quintessentially about sound quality which anyone can discern. This is one of my biggest bugbears in decent hi fi, that people think they have to have lots of knowledge before you can extol on anyone knowledge about what is or isn't a great product, or a product better than another or what works well together. Again it's rubbish.

And that if someone then says this speaker brand are great, and lots do for reasons they give, then it's absolutely strong opinion and advice about a product which someone can either take or leave. In my opinion they'd be a fool if lots big it up, to check it out, but that's for them not me.
End of chapter 3016 From the book 'the musing of qft13n'
I sort of lost it after the first paragraph but have concluded that I am a snob.... apparently.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,881
230
20,070
nopiano said:
plastic penguin said:
Now trying to recall when I went there!

Pretty sure I was one of the first Big Qers, along with two others. We were testing two speakers: ATC SCM11s and Ruark Sabre IIIs, yet I cannot recall the names of other participants. I've got the mag lurking somewhere in the house.

And we did test Roksan Kandy K2, Naim 5i with a Cyrus CD6s. I'm pretty sure it was 2009.
Ah, I've found it. I went in August 2011. I'm not sure there were more than a handful after that. A great day out, and I definitely feel a certain loyalty as a result. At the end of the day they are a decent bunch of folks doing a good job. In their shoes I'd be well pee'd off at all the snarky comments, especially the ones on Facebook.
Ahhh... well after me. Agree they are good people at The Towers. Sure you are right about them feeling pee'd off about some of the negative comment. Lot of it is uncalled for.
 

ellisdj

New member
Dec 11, 2008
377
1
0
plastic penguin said:
Firstly, sorry to Al for throwing the thread off piste.

@ellis

Can't remeber any portly people, but I do recall one person had a Naim system.
I was a bit skinnier back then :)
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
0
0
Andrewjvt said:
QuestForThe13thNote said:
davedotco said:
QuestForThe13thNote said:
CnoEvil said:
davedotco said:
Cno, I know it is rare for you to be argumentative so this is said with the utmost respect, but I suggest that you think again about what you said, the idea that a bunch of young journalists (of modest ability) can, when listening to product on a production line basis, with no technical or other checks and balances offer a view that is of real value is quite absurd.
I have been around this game almost as long as you have and have (personally) found reviews to be useful....but always use my own judgement to come to a conclusion. The reviews I take seriously are generally not from WHF....but even they get it right occasionally. *biggrin*
this kind of talk that journalists can't review with a rudimentary technical knowledge gives hi fi a bad name. Hi fi snobbery. It kind of means that I or any other bod, who is not a hi fi specialist with huge technical knowledge, cannot come to a view on products. This is obviously not true. And who is to say journos don't have technical knowledge. I suspect as they are doing it as a job they have to have it more than most to be credible and for job retaining purposes.

anyone can do these reviews if they are reviewing sound quality and have prior experience of other products, as well as other features. For what Daved often talks sense, I think this is way far of common sense. Hi fi isn't exclusive, music which hi fi does, is all inclusive. And both can be gauged by all.
Once again your basic lack of understanding is breathtaking.

I have never suggested that ordinary enthusiasts "cannot come to a view on products", anyone who has an interest can listen and come to a conclusion that is meaningful for them. Everyone is encouraged to listen for themselves and choose equipment that works for them, this is a fundamental tenet of this forum.

What they can not due is to extend their conclusions to other people who will not share their experience, preferences and prejudices. This simply does not and can not work.

For a review to be valuable for a third party it needs to have been produced according to a set of standards that are known, these may be technical, procedural or what have yo, this gives the third party reader a basis to relate the reviewers findings to his own requirements.
How would you propose that they Review say a speaker to cover it off to have standard procedural and technical consistency in the review. I don't see it needs to do that. What a review is, is just an opinion. It can be as much as 'it's great' (although quite obviously that wouldn't be acceptable for buying a magazine) or a long description broken down into specifications, sounds quality, conclusions and so on. But I don't think there is any concern that the reviewer is just basing it on own requirements, because it would be stupid to think that what hi fi base a 5 star review on one persons judgement. What I'm sure they are trying to achieve is consistency too, so if it's better than a comparable product, what hi fi have to think about would lots of people think so too, hence running testing past more than one person. The magazine has an editor of course so it's subject to editorial control over achieving this, no doubt.

but you said "the idea that a bunch of young journalists (of modest ability) can, when listening to product on a production line basis, with no technical or other checks and balances offer a view that is of real value is quite absurd."

So you implied that only someone with skill can come to reliable conclusions, that I have to have lots of knowledge about hi fi and ability in it, to come to reliable conclusions, that I can then give as advice to other before others can accept it. And that is catergorically not the case. That is hi fi snobbery. The reason being hi fi is quintessentially about sound quality which anyone can discern. This is one of my biggest bugbears in decent hi fi, that people think they have to have lots of knowledge before you can extol on anyone knowledge about what is or isn't a great product, or a product better than another or what works well together. Again it's rubbish.

And that if someone then says this speaker brand are great, and lots do for reasons they give, then it's absolutely strong opinion and advice about a product which someone can either take or leave. In my opinion they'd be a fool if lots big it up, to check it out, but that's for them not me.
End of chapter 3016 From the book 'the musing of qft13n'
You have said nothing in any of your posts that suggests that your views are remotely reliable.

You offer opinions, that is all. They are a result of your experience, which appears to be minimal and your prejudices which are many.

When I was a dealer, I offered advice that could be backed by a straightforward demonstration, now that I am not, I offer advice on technical or practical matters only and leave the subjective drivel to others.
 

ellisdj

New member
Dec 11, 2008
377
1
0
davedotco said:
When I was a dealer, I offered advice that could be backed by a straightforward demonstration, now that I am not, I offer advice on technical or practical matters only and leave the subjective drivel to others.
By that token subjective was ok when you profited from it ... ?
 

Andrewjvt

New member
Jun 18, 2014
99
1
0
SemiChronic said:
Andrewjvt, im curious as to what your system is these days. 

Re: the Sonica, if i was looking for dac, i doubt i would have auditioned it on the strength of the WhatHifi review.
Ja this is true.
My system is my current pride and joy the benchmark dac3 hgc (stunning piece of kit) running a very cheap but extremely capable studio monitors (temporary solution) with laptop and jriver as source.

Now here's the interesting thing.

Benchmark dac3 hgc uses the es9028 pro chip @ £2399

The sonica dac uses es9038 pro chip at £699 (I think)

So now I want to compare to see if I could have saved some money, naturaly
 

ellisdj

New member
Dec 11, 2008
377
1
0
ellisdj said:
davedotco said:
When I was a dealer, I offered advice that could be backed by a straightforward demonstration, now that I am not, I offer advice on technical or practical matters only and leave the subjective drivel to others.
By that token subjective was ok when you profited from it ... ?
I have got to shoot out so might not see a reply - just so Dave doesnt get offended - that was meant tongue in cheek but also a bit provocative as well for benefit of the conversation - I would call it Banter
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
0
0
ellisdj said:
ellisdj said:
davedotco said:
When I was a dealer, I offered advice that could be backed by a straightforward demonstration, now that I am not, I offer advice on technical or practical matters only and leave the subjective drivel to others.
By that token subjective was ok when you profited from it ... ?
I have got to shoot out so might not see a reply - just so Dave doesnt get offended - that was meant tongue in cheek but also a bit provocative as well for benefit of the conversation - I would call it Banter
No problem Ellis, it is a pretty good point.

As I have tried to make clear on numerous occasions, subjective evaluations are fine for the person concerned, but do not transfer well to other people with different experiences.

As a dealer, you would try and 'read' a customer and work out the demonstration that would be the most effective, there is of course a commercial angle. Occasionally I would get someone in the shop that I simply thought would be a waste of time demonstrating for, so rightly or wrongly I made up my mind and moved the customer on.

One thing became both clear and very frustrating, was the number of customers who simply would not hear anything that contradicted the gospel that the WHF (and some other) reviews became (I'm thinking late 90s here). You could demonstrate, quite clearly in many cases, that the latest 5* wonder was clearly outperformed by other product yet the customer would not accept the results of his own listening. One of the obvious responses was that it was 'confusing' and needed 'thinking about'.

A lot of people would then discount the evidence of their own ears and buy the 5* product elsewhere, what was amusing was when they revisited the shop after a month or two, the conversation invariable starting with the line, "I don't think I'm quite getting the best from my system....".
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
davedotco said:
Andrewjvt said:
QuestForThe13thNote said:
davedotco said:
QuestForThe13thNote said:
CnoEvil said:
davedotco said:
Cno, I know it is rare for you to be argumentative so this is said with the utmost respect, but I suggest that you think again about what you said, the idea that a bunch of young journalists (of modest ability) can, when listening to product on a production line basis, with no technical or other checks and balances offer a view that is of real value is quite absurd.
I have been around this game almost as long as you have and have (personally) found reviews to be useful....but always use my own judgement to come to a conclusion. The reviews I take seriously are generally not from WHF....but even they get it right occasionally. *biggrin*
this kind of talk that journalists can't review with a rudimentary technical knowledge gives hi fi a bad name. Hi fi snobbery. It kind of means that I or any other bod, who is not a hi fi specialist with huge technical knowledge, cannot come to a view on products. This is obviously not true. And who is to say journos don't have technical knowledge. I suspect as they are doing it as a job they have to have it more than most to be credible and for job retaining purposes.

anyone can do these reviews if they are reviewing sound quality and have prior experience of other products, as well as other features. For what Daved often talks sense, I think this is way far of common sense. Hi fi isn't exclusive, music which hi fi does, is all inclusive. And both can be gauged by all.
Once again your basic lack of understanding is breathtaking.

I have never suggested that ordinary enthusiasts "cannot come to a view on products", anyone who has an interest can listen and come to a conclusion that is meaningful for them. Everyone is encouraged to listen for themselves and choose equipment that works for them, this is a fundamental tenet of this forum.

What they can not due is to extend their conclusions to other people who will not share their experience, preferences and prejudices. This simply does not and can not work.

For a review to be valuable for a third party it needs to have been produced according to a set of standards that are known, these may be technical, procedural or what have yo, this gives the third party reader a basis to relate the reviewers findings to his own requirements.
How would you propose that they Review say a speaker to cover it off to have standard procedural and technical consistency in the review. I don't see it needs to do that. What a review is, is just an opinion. It can be as much as 'it's great' (although quite obviously that wouldn't be acceptable for buying a magazine) or a long description broken down into specifications, sounds quality, conclusions and so on. But I don't think there is any concern that the reviewer is just basing it on own requirements, because it would be stupid to think that what hi fi base a 5 star review on one persons judgement. What I'm sure they are trying to achieve is consistency too, so if it's better than a comparable product, what hi fi have to think about would lots of people think so too, hence running testing past more than one person. The magazine has an editor of course so it's subject to editorial control over achieving this, no doubt.

but you said "the idea that a bunch of young journalists (of modest ability) can, when listening to product on a production line basis, with no technical or other checks and balances offer a view that is of real value is quite absurd."

So you implied that only someone with skill can come to reliable conclusions, that I have to have lots of knowledge about hi fi and ability in it, to come to reliable conclusions, that I can then give as advice to other before others can accept it. And that is catergorically not the case. That is hi fi snobbery. The reason being hi fi is quintessentially about sound quality which anyone can discern. This is one of my biggest bugbears in decent hi fi, that people think they have to have lots of knowledge before you can extol on anyone knowledge about what is or isn't a great product, or a product better than another or what works well together. Again it's rubbish.

And that if someone then says this speaker brand are great, and lots do for reasons they give, then it's absolutely strong opinion and advice about a product which someone can either take or leave. In my opinion they'd be a fool if lots big it up, to check it out, but that's for them not me.
End of chapter 3016 From the book 'the musing of qft13n'
You have said nothing in any of your posts that suggests that your views are remotely reliable.

You offer opinions, that is all. They are a result of your experience, which appears to be minimal and your prejudices which are many.

When I was a dealer, I offered advice that could be backed by a straightforward demonstration, now that I am not, I offer advice on technical or practical matters only and leave the subjective drivel to others.
I tried to keep it such I was making an argument and point of debate, and not making it personal to you.

Much in hi fi and many other areas is down to ones subjectivities. I'd think it's very appropriate to do this in giving advice and reviews and I can't think you can do it any other way as people's tastes on sound quality are so different. How could you consider all the variables to review to suit the listener wishes to conduct tests. It's almost impossible.
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
16
2
0
Andrewjvt said:
SemiChronic said:
Andrewjvt, im curious as to what your system is these days.

Re: the Sonica, if i was looking for dac, i doubt i would have auditioned it on the strength of the WhatHifi review.
Ja this is true. My system is my current pride and joy the benchmark dac3 hgc (stunning piece of kit) running a very cheap but extremely capable studio monitors (temporary solution) with laptop and jriver as source.

Now here's the interesting thing.

Benchmark dac3 hgc uses the es9028 pro chip @ £2399

The sonica dac uses es9038 pro chip at £699 (I think)

So now I want to compare to see if I could have saved some money, naturaly
A new ES9028 DAC chip can be bought off ebay for £60.

A new ES9038 DAC chip can be bought off ebay for $106.

That seems very high priced.

WM8742 DAC chips cost £9 each from mouser.
 
Q

QuestForThe13thNote

Guest
davedotco said:
ellisdj said:
ellisdj said:
davedotco said:
When I was a dealer, I offered advice that could be backed by a straightforward demonstration, now that I am not, I offer advice on technical or practical matters only and leave the subjective drivel to others.
By that token subjective was ok when you profited from it ... ?
I have got to shoot out so might not see a reply - just so Dave doesnt get offended - that was meant tongue in cheek but also a bit provocative as well for benefit of the conversation - I would call it Banter
No problem Ellis, it is a pretty good point.

As I have tried to make clear on numerous occasions, subjective evaluations are fine for the person concerned, but do not transfer well to other people with different experiences.

As a dealer, you would try and 'read' a customer and work out the demonstration that would be the most effective, there is of course a commercial angle. Occasionally I would get someone in the shop that I simply thought would be a waste of time demonstrating for, so rightly or wrongly I made up my mind and moved the customer on.

One thing became both clear and very frustrating, was the number of customers who simply would not hear anything that contradicted the gospel that the WHF (and some other) reviews became (I'm thinking late 90s here). You could demonstrate, quite clearly in many cases, that the latest 5* wonder was clearly outperformed by other product yet the customer would not accept the results of his own listening. One of the obvious responses was that it was 'confusing' and needed 'thinking about'.

A lot of people would then discount the evidence of their own ears and buy the 5* product elsewhere, what was amusing was when they revisited the shop after a month or two, the conversation invariable starting with the line, "I don't think I'm quite getting the best from my system....".
this is really quite ridiculous as on the one hand you say that everyone unto others has subjective arguments or views on making recommendations on hi fi, which is right, and you'd prefer to keep it to technicalities (which is fine), so you must accept that people's decisions are their own. But then you are critical when they choose what hi fi 5 star as not being their own judgements because they don't agree with you and you think are just because of what hi fi, and not their actual judgements. Was it you trying to get them to buy more expensive stuff if as you say you don't demo stuff for customers.

I'd expect every customer has the right to a demo, as they may be a potential customer and if it were my business I wouldn't care, all I'd want to extol on them is enthusiasm for hi fi. If you weren't doing that, sound likes a shop I'd avoid!!
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
0
0
QuestForThe13thNote said:
davedotco said:
ellisdj said:
ellisdj said:
davedotco said:
When I was a dealer, I offered advice that could be backed by a straightforward demonstration, now that I am not, I offer advice on technical or practical matters only and leave the subjective drivel to others.
By that token subjective was ok when you profited from it ... ?
I have got to shoot out so might not see a reply - just so Dave doesnt get offended - that was meant tongue in cheek but also a bit provocative as well for benefit of the conversation - I would call it Banter
No problem Ellis, it is a pretty good point.

As I have tried to make clear on numerous occasions, subjective evaluations are fine for the person concerned, but do not transfer well to other people with different experiences.

As a dealer, you would try and 'read' a customer and work out the demonstration that would be the most effective, there is of course a commercial angle. Occasionally I would get someone in the shop that I simply thought would be a waste of time demonstrating for, so rightly or wrongly I made up my mind and moved the customer on.

One thing became both clear and very frustrating, was the number of customers who simply would not hear anything that contradicted the gospel that the WHF (and some other) reviews became (I'm thinking late 90s here). You could demonstrate, quite clearly in many cases, that the latest 5* wonder was clearly outperformed by other product yet the customer would not accept the results of his own listening. One of the obvious responses was that it was 'confusing' and needed 'thinking about'.

A lot of people would then discount the evidence of their own ears and buy the 5* product elsewhere, what was amusing was when they revisited the shop after a month or two, the conversation invariable starting with the line, "I don't think I'm quite getting the best from my system....".
this is really quite ridiculous as on the one hand you say that everyone unto others has subjective arguments or views on making recommendations on hi fi, which is right, and you'd prefer to keep it to technicalities (which is fine), so you must accept that people's decisions are their own. But then you are critical when they choose what hi fi 5 star as not being their own judgements because they don't agree with you and you think are just because of what hi fi, and not their actual judgements. Was it you trying to get them to buy more expensive stuff if as you say you don't demo stuff for customers.

I'd expect every customer has the right to a demo, as they may be a potential customer and if it were my business I wouldn't care, all I'd want to extol on them is enthusiasm for hi fi. If you weren't doing that, sound likes a shop I'd avoid!!
You really don't get this, do you!

People interact with a hi-fi system in a highly subjective way, it's important that you react to the setup in a way that works for you. This will help to maximise the enjoyment that you get from a system but this is personal to you, no-one else. I am not remotely critical of people choosing whatever setup they like but choosing one because someone else likes it often does not work.

Let somebody else, a reviewer perhaps or maybe someone on a hi-fi forum, choose your system for you and the result is often dissapointing. Sit down with a competent dealer, play some setups, express your views and refine your choice, that is the way forward. I have supplied many systems that would not have been to my choice, but suited the customer, that's just how it is
 

Joe Cox

Global Editor-in-Chief
Editorial
May 31, 2007
268
11
18,895
A few points.

- We have always said our reviews are a guide and you should do your own research whenever possible. Prefer something else? That's OK!

- We review as a team. In reality this means at least two people see/hear/use every product we review. That second person is often our technical editor, Ketan (who has a mechanical engineering BSc and used to work at Hi-Fi World, seeing as some people asked!).

- We argue about plenty of products, because there can always be elements of personal preference, but we come to a consensus view based on what we think is the right recommendation for the average consumer. Reading the full review instead of just looking at the star rating is always recommended.

- We meet with the industry and manufacturers to discuss their products all the time. Companies often insist on bringing kit to our test rooms and talking us through them so this is quite common.

- We don't take any notice of who is and who isn't buying advertising (for the millionth time). Most of the editorial team wouldn't even know.

- The review team isn't all young men. Some of us aren't very young, others certainly aren't men. All of us have a solid understanding of how the products we review work. We're not all electrical engineers but we absolutely don't believe that's necessary. Learning what to listen for with audio products, and look out for with video products, is certainly something you can be taught and improve, which is why new reviewers take a lot of training. We don't get people off the street who are reviewing £10,000 amps a week later.

- We have always been a mainstream publication, with an audience of very knowledgable enthusiasts (you lot) and casual buyers. Writing for both audiences is a challenge, and it's part of the reason why we try to keep it thorough, knowledgeable and informative, without being overly technical. That said, some of our reviews - such as the Temptations section - certainly don't shy away from getting techy.

- We built new test rooms two years ago (which you can read about here), which we took time to make more 'real world' and less like a test room. Our aim has always been that our recommendations are relevant to pretty much everyone, and you shouldn't require an industry-grade listening room to get the same results.

- Lastly (because I need to catch a train), we're doing our best! We are on the same side as you! We're all into music, movies and technology, and we're lucky enough to play around with new gear and write about it. And we endeavour to give reliable reviews and decent advice. Simple as that.

We will hopefully have some more events at What Hi-Fi? HQ in the near future so more people can see the rooms and meet the team. So look out for those.

Any more feedback, gratefully received.
 

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