WHF review style.....an observation ??

admin_exported

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I have been reading this magazine for several years now and have noticed a discrepancy in the way some products are reviewed.
For example, a product A was awarded 5 stars, won against product B(4 stars), C(4 stars), D(3 stars) and E(5stars) in a group test.
Fine but then at the end of the year when award time comes, a new product F is introduced to challenge our A(5 stars).

They found that product F is better than A, so A is downgraded 1 star to 4 stars. New ranking becomes F=5stars, A=4 stars. So item A is now lower ranked than product E(5 stars) earlier. This doesnt make sense as item A clearly bettered E in the earlier group test but now became inferiorly rated cf item E. Status of others eg B, C, D remain the same as they did not compete with F. Best example is the Dynaudio 52SE which was initially 5 stars those days..till Ruark Sabre III came about, then it became 4 stars but other speakers which competed in a group test with Dyn 52SE remained at 5 stars despite the Dyn 52SE winning the group test. Just doesnt sound very consistent or logical or fair.

Sorry guys, just wanted to highlight what ppl and I myself have realized about this flaw in the review system/style adopted for your
kind attention.

The item A should have maintained its status of 5 stars but comments can be made regarding the superiority of F. Otherwise to be
fair, product B,C, D and E also have to be demoted a star each to maintain consistency across the board...hehehe

PS: Same thing happened to the Quad 11L which was speaker of the year for 2 consecutive years and all the praise it garnered from the magazine during its prime time, eventually got demoted to 4 stars too after a newer product came around. However those speakers which were less favoured earlier compared to the 11Ls retained their 4 or 5 star status, making the 11L suddenly lower
ranked than them now..simply illogical.....They could have just stated the 11Ls despite being good in its time, is no longer the top gun in their category, but retain its star rating as it didnt regress in sound in any way. Similarly for Rotel RA-05...regular readers would know what I speak of. However, WHF does have its time of consistency, as in the case of B&W 805s whereby they are no longer the top in their price category, losing out to WIlson Benesch Square-1, but they still retained its 5-star status with a footnote in their review...now that's more fair and consistent...it lends credence to what they write if done this way, not the former method of star-deduction....

Cheers!
 
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Anonymous

Guest
A fair point.


Perhaps ratings should be stars and years. I mean 5 stars in say 1990 might be distinctly average in 2008 if you see what I mean.

I must admit I always look at the review year and adjust my perception accordingly.
 

timwileman

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Mar 19, 2008
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in rthe guide at the back of the mag it does state what type of review it was and when...so a supertest winner 3 months ago is bound to be 'better' that a first test 5 star verdict 5 years ago...
 

drummerman

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Jan 18, 2008
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Talking of reviewing and apologies for slightly coming off the track, I just had a flick through the new 'high end' edition. Glad WHS&V found the vague volume control knob on the supernait offputting too. I wrote about that some months ago and whilst they are not alone in having what must be qc glitches, its simply not acceptable on a product costing that much even if it does not affect the function of the part. Perhaps its time they start to manufacture in china. That should help bring the product up to class standard.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Yes, WHF does include a summary behind each edition...and they are quite updated too..bravo on that!

However, it doesnt mean that a newer group test winner is bound to better an older product...

Best example is Harbeth SHL5, it was already in production in 2001/02, till today, recent reviews on them are nothing but great.

These oldies still challenge and beat many 5 star speakers that cost more than them...despite some products showcasing

new technology and exotic material used in building drivers etc...Different isnt always better, but better is always different
 

Andrew Everard

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May 30, 2007
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drummerman:Perhaps its time they start to manufacture in china. That should help bring the product up to class standard.

If it looks like a troll and sounds like a troll...
 

Thaiman

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Jul 28, 2007
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IF IT AIN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT

Chioce just change the way they rated products few months back (from percentage to stars) and there are some that not too happy!
 

plastic penguin

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Apr 28, 2008
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JohnDuncan:Come on. When a product loses a star, does that make the player/amp/speakers you bought yesterday worse?

No, not at all. The A65 Plus has always retained 4 stars, certainly since 2003, and people constantly say it's rubbish. . . .Lol!
 

JoelSim

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Aug 24, 2007
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JohnDuncan:Come on. When a product loses a star, does that make the player/amp/speakers you bought yesterday worse?

Comparatively speaking, yes.
 

Thaiman

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Jul 28, 2007
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I use Magazines as a rough guide! There are plenty of 5 stars rated products that I don't get on with and some 4 stars stuffs that really rock my world. (or even 3 stars sometimes)

Most of the time reviewers decribed sound (and vision) very well however they are not gonna know how each readers like their sound or music types!.
 

fr0g

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Jan 7, 2008
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I'm still trying to figure out who most looks like a troll!

But I agree with the OP. (Not with the losing of a star, but the comparitive products it beat NOT doing so)...

But in the end the only people it affects is those who IMO blindly follow magazine reviews.
When you are investing in something that YOU will be living with, that is IMO as IMPORTANT as a hifi, then ONLY YOU can decide what is 5-star.

I dont care ultimately what stars WHF, or HFC, or HFW, etc etc etc give what I listen to, so long as it pleases ME.

(sorry for all the caps)...got all emotional, listening to Mozart - Piano Concerto No 21 in C 'Elvira Madigan - II Andante!
(Quite unlike me...!)
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I think the best way to use the reviews is not by just looking at the stars but to refer to the Supertests/Grouptests and Awards or buy the Ultimate Guides which will have been updated before they are published. I don't rely too much on the stars at the back pages due to the difference in review year. I do think that the mag does a pretty good job in determining the top 3-5 products at least in every single category.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
timwileman:ohh i just had an idea....why not listen to the products yourself and make your own mind up....controversial i know but hey thats me!

That's groundbreaking stuff, mate. Do I have to use my own ears/eyes too? That would be just too tiring....
 

drummerman

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Jan 18, 2008
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Andrew Everard:

drummerman:Perhaps its time they start to manufacture in china. That should help bring the product up to class standard.

If it looks like a troll and sounds like a troll...

... it is one.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
LOL!!! BTW, not everyone has golden eyes or ears to test so many products on the market ourselves so we'll have to rely on the "experts" to a certain extent. So far, I haven't been disappointed by this magazine and the recommendations are usually spot on! No major problem with the Stars. To the What Hi-Fi Team, keep up the good work!!!
 
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Anonymous

Guest
seakingadvice:LOL!!! BTW, not everyone has golden eyes or ears to test so many products on the market ourselves so we'll have to rely on the "experts" to a certain extent. So far, I haven't been disappointed by this magazine and the recommendations are usually spot on! No major problem with the Stars. To the What Hi-Fi Team, keep up the good work!!!

At the risk of sounding sycophantic ..... Here,here !
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Well, I supposed WHF staff should take readers' opinion(s) into account and not be judgemental or assume someone is trolling.
Take it as a constructive comment and see if it's logical. Inconsistencies breed poor confidence in the review value of a mag. Just imagine a 5 star product now or a group test winner now becomes a 4-star next 6 months as the competition caught up...hehe. A good product shall be a good product and should retain its original rating unless you are talking about aged products 10 years or so ago. Even then, some old products still shine till today. A PC magazine can demonstrate a fluctuating star rating as new tech surfaces every week...think intel/AMD processors speed etc...that is fine.

But as said before, only a few products were subjected to the star reduction treatment whereas others arent. Thankfully so, as I wouldnt want to buy a B&W 805s today for GBP1500 and see it drop a star next year...;)

Hope the guys will know how readers think, a mag that follows a policy of changing stars tend to give readers' less confidence in the products they rate. We will think so what if it is 5 stars now, next month it will be 4 stars after a few new products crop up, better hold our horses and not buy it first. But ultimately, I agree best is to demo personally as each has their own taste. As u know, what you write or print in your rating has some market influence on products :)

Cheers! :)
 

Andy Clough

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Apr 27, 2004
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Omegaminx:
Just imagine a 5 star product now or a group test winner now becomes a 4-star next 6 months as the competition caught up...hehe. A good product shall be a good product and should retain its original rating unless you are talking about aged products 10 years or so ago.

Disagree. If a better value/better performing product comes along six months later, then it's perfectly valid for a 5-star product reviewed six months earlier to drop to 4 stars in a subsequent Supertest or Group Test. The market is constantly developing/moving forward, and keeping every 5-star product at the same rating over 10 years wouldn't reflect the changes and improvements happening over that period of time.
 

professorhat

Well-known member
Dec 28, 2007
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I also disagree. For goodness sakes people, WHF dropping a star off a product doesn't automatically set off some signal which makes whatever you bought worse - it's still the same product and if you liked it before, you'll still like it now. What it does is it lets someone else know that a better product is available (in WHF's opinion) and they should probably now audition both to see if they prefer this new product. And if you're that scared of buying something because you're afraid something better is going to come in a few months time then you'll never buy anything.
If you're really sad and must own a 5 star product all the time, then I'd suggest buying WHF to make your decision and then not looking at the mag again until you want to upgrade so you can live in blissful ignorance!
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Omegaminx:

treatment whereas others arent. Thankfully so, as I wouldnt want to buy a B&W 805s today for GBP1500 and see it drop a star next year...;)

Dude, why would that bother you so much? I'll stick my neck out and suggest that anyone spending 1500 sheets on speakers would have demoed them first and only purchased them if they were abolutely thrilled with them. The original 5 stars may have attracted your attention to the in the first place, but why does it matter they drop a star next year? They will still sound as good as they did when you decided to purchase them.

Unless of course you get into a game of hifi top trumps with someone who purchased the "new" 5 star pier product.....
 

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