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Why not 5 stars?

SteveH72

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Feb 25, 2020
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If you read these two reviews, you would probably conclude the speakers got 5 stars. But no, they only got 4. It seems they were headed for a 5 star review from the text. What gives?

They clearly don’t pay enough to What HiFi for advertising. Guaranteed five stars if you do ;)
 
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Leon Martin

Well-known member
Mar 19, 2020
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Cost ? Maybe for the money the reviewer was expecting a more accomplished performance. No doubt if they were half the price the ‘Against’ section would have noted ‘Nothing at this price’ as is often seen with components in lower priced tiers.
 

millennia_one

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Sep 1, 2014
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If you read these two reviews, you would probably conclude the speakers got 5 stars. But no, they only got 4. It seems they were headed for a 5 star review from the text. What gives?

Only read the Sonus Faber Electa Amator 3 review,
And I don't get the "5-star feeling" from the read at all, they mention bright treble and recessed mids leading to a forced character making them a little fussy with equipment. Though they sort of contradict themselves later in the review which I have more of a problem with than the stars in the end. They also mention you have to buy there stands and I get the impression they don't like that they're very pricy. And then they use words such as "overall" and statements such as "As long as your system is decently refined and balanced" "With the right music they can sound almost magical".

With wording and statements such as this, though not harsh, at this price they shouldn't be any of that wording used these should be perfect! They don't outright say it, but I think they find them a tad expensive as well

And at the biggest thing, they don't excel with all types of music and at this level, you should be able to pump whatever through them and enjoy them. So I get the 4 stars TBH Nothing in that review really screams 5 stars, in fact, I get the feeling they came pretty close to a 3 star rating especially when talking about the sound in the first paragraph. Not that it means much TBH
 
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Al ears

Moderator
Only read the Sonus Faber Electa Amator 3 review,
And I don't get the "5-star feeling" from the read at all, they mention bright treble and recessed mids leading to a forced character making them a little fussy with equipment. Though they sort of contradict themselves later in the review which I have more of a problem with than the stars in the end. They also mention you have to buy there stands and I get the impression they don't like that they're very pricy. And then they use words such as "overall" and statements such as "As long as your system is decently refined and balanced" "With the right music they can sound almost magical".

With wording and statements such as this, though not harsh, at this price they shouldn't be any of that wording used these should be perfect! They don't outright say it, but I think they find them a tad expensive as well

And at the biggest thing, they don't excel with all types of music and at this level, you should be able to pump whatever through them and enjoy them. So I get the 4 stars TBH Nothing in that review really screams 5 stars, in fact, I get the feeling they came pretty close to a 3 star rating especially when talking about the sound in the first paragraph. Not that it means much TBH
Pretty mine the same with the Totems, sound per pound and some build quality issues prevent it getting five stars.
Generally one man's opinion and he's probably listened to more speakers than I ever will.
Reviews, after all are subjective, and are basically guidelines as what to look out for. In someone else's system they might very well decide to offer them five stars but not here.
Perhaps, for a more balanced view, the OP should read reviews from as many publications as possible.
 
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insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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Totem - Canadian, Sonus Faber - Italian
One of the review mentions ATC, ProAc and Spendor - all British.

I'm not accusing WHF of bias here. It's very normal to have regional differences in products. Coca-Cola isn't the same in all countries.

Mate owned Carat amplifier. Really great phono stage and very good sounding amp. They go for little money second had as WHF gave it 3 starts. Carat is a French company. Make of that what you will.
 

Al ears

Moderator
Totem - Canadian, Sonus Faber - Italian
One of the review mentions ATC, ProAc and Spendor - all British.

I'm not accusing WHF of bias here. It's very normal to have regional differences in products. Coca-Cola isn't the same in all countries.

Mate owned Carat amplifier. Really great phono stage and very good sounding amp. They go for little money second had as WHF gave it 3 starts. Carat is a French company. Make of that what you will.
Fortunately WHF has never reviewed any of my kit...... :cool:
 

Surly Sid

Well-known member
Feb 6, 2020
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Yawn. Another Chord product review, and another 5 stars. Starting to think that What Hifi does favor British companies.

I have heard Chord DACs and think they are over rated.
 

Surly Sid

Well-known member
Feb 6, 2020
93
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Yeah your right Spanky, probably amazing gear.
I own the Totem Tribe Towers. I auditioned them against the ATC SCM 19 and Harbeth 30.1. The Totems were better to my ears!
Of course, here in Canada Totem sells for much less than in Europe, and British speakers sell for more here than they sell in the UK. The value quotient is reversed.
Maybe this has something to do with it. The Totems sell for 50% more in Europe than they do here, putting them against pricier competition.
 

Al ears

Moderator
I own the Totem Tribe Towers. I auditioned them against the ATC SCM 19 and Harbeth 30.1. The Totems were better to my ears!
Of course, here in Canada Totem sells for much less than in Europe, and British speakers sell for more here than they sell in the UK. The value quotient is reversed.
Maybe this has something to do with it. The Totems sell for 50% more in Europe than they do here, putting them against pricier competition.
There's that and probably not many Totems get sent to WHF for review.
Probably explains why I have American Auoustic Zen Adagios.... :cool:
 

amormusic

Well-known member
Feb 24, 2016
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Fortunately WHF has never reviewed any of my kit...... :cool:
They reviewed my amp. Only 4 stars for that too. I love it.

Very subjective imo. I always take things with a large pinch of salt. I've also tried some WHF 5* reviewed stuff which I just didn't rate at all.
 

chris661

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2019
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Agreed.
I've also tried some not-5-star stuff, and found it to be excellent.

I'd be much more interested in their writing if they'd get a measurement mic out and show us what's going on. It's all very well saying "with this album and these speakers, the treble was rough", but more informative would be to say "there's a peak at 13kHz followed by a dip at 15kHz". It could also have been the music of choice - I can think of a lot of really badly-done records!
One person's "forward treble" is another's "detailed presentation", and it varies according to who's reviewing, their mood, etc etc.

If someone likes the sound, that's great. Particularly if it's your HiFi and you've spent time getting it just so. Go ahead and enjoy it.
WHF seems to be built on the premise that a subjective review is definitive, though, and I just can't agree with that.

Chris
 

millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
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Yawn. Another Chord product review, and another 5 stars. Starting to think that What Hifi does favor British companies.

I have heard Chord DACs and think they are over rated.
TBH ive heard the chord hugo 2 and at nearly 2k i think its over priced BUT the Qutest on the other hand actually sounds better and the pricing is where it should be and even better when you find a preowned one like i did.

I can't pass judgement on the 2go i haven't used one BUT it isn't just WHF that like chord products. All the media seem to agree they're excellent products and deliver good sound, and for all publications (and dare i say YouTubers apart form z reviews ) to agree, thats pretty much unheard of.

And when WHF are comparing the 2go to top end multi thousand £ streamer/dac combo form naim and struggle to hear much of a difference and costs 7k less then i call that really good going for a bolt on product. It would certainly be a product i look at in tandem with the 2yu.

I believe chord make good products and deserve the reviews they get but they're a bit like Apple, and you pay a tax for the privilege of owning one. But isn't that the same for all hifi

Good thing is, chord keep their value so resale is good.

Its all subjective and we wouldn't do to be all the same
 
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millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
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Agreed.
I've also tried some not-5-star stuff, and found it to be excellent.

I'd be much more interested in their writing if they'd get a measurement mic out and show us what's going on. It's all very well saying "with this album and these speakers, the treble was rough", but more informative would be to say "there's a peak at 13kHz followed by a dip at 15kHz". It could also have been the music of choice - I can think of a lot of really badly-done records!
One person's "forward treble" is another's "detailed presentation", and it varies according to who's reviewing, their mood, etc etc.

If someone likes the sound, that's great. Particularly if it's your HiFi and you've spent time getting it just so. Go ahead and enjoy it.
WHF seems to be built on the premise that a subjective review is definitive, though, and I just can't agree with that.

Chris
I dont trust measurements either as i have no idea how they're achieved, did the reviewer do it in their living room, garage or on the kitchen table? do they have a good mic? is it placed in exactly the right position each time and angled just so? Is the environment noise free? if none of that is spot on, and it won't be if its torn down and put back in place for every review, then its not worth scratch it written on.

Unless tested in a dedicated space with all the correct items in place and never moved then I would trust an opinionated review way more TBH and generally they're right.

I read reviews for entrainment i don't follow them as gospel and it mostly boils down to fashion and how that person feels that day and if they got some the night before. In this day and age nothing sounds bad and there only a few things that measure bad by design, SET class A amps and tubes spring to mind, and people that are into that really just don't care.

And speakers are a list of comprises so will measure bad somewhere in their range it's just a given. And a speaker you can tell if theres a bump some where. You're better to measure your room and move the speakers according and then correct for them.

Aaaaah the music argument, for someone like me who listens to pretty much most stuff, and some of it sounds, ummmm shall we say less than stellar. It is in-fact a brilliant test for a system, if it can make a bad recording sound some what better then your on to a winner. But as i said theres no bad sounding system these days. Treat reviews for what they are entertainment.
 

kukulec

Well-known member
Jan 25, 2015
40
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10,545
CXA80 received 4 stars, PM8005 5 stars. When I auditioned both of those, the Cambridge was stunning even with expensive speakers. The Marantz was so mediocre that after half minute someone shouted in to turn it off :D Monitor Audio bronze 2 received 5 stars. It is a correct speaker, but far from the hype that whathifi created. Primare i32 had 3 stars. LOL, one of the best amplifier in its category. It says "
  • Clinical sound fails to engage
  • treble lacks subtlety
  • stilted sense of rhythm"
IT is absolutely not clinical, but naturally it needs proper parining.
 

chris661

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2019
191
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I dont trust measurements either as i have no idea how they're achieved, did the reviewer do it in their living room, garage or on the kitchen table? do they have a good mic? is it placed in exactly the right position each time and angled just so? Is the environment noise free? if none of that is spot on, and it won't be if its torn down and put back in place for every review, then its not worth scratch it written on.

Unless tested in a dedicated space with all the correct items in place and never moved then I would trust an opinionated review way more TBH and generally they're right.
I see your point, but disagree.

Some thoughts:
- Measurements aren't particularly difficult to perform - I can get set up in about 5 minutes.
- Getting the mic in position etc - no problem. Couple of laser pointers mounted to the walls would mean it's aligned every time. If not, a tape measure would also work.
- I'd suggest that manufacturer recommendations WRT positioning ought to be followed. If there are obvious issues in the response, the obvious steps (closer/further from walls, toe-in/out) ought to be taken to try to remedy that. I'd suggest that could be done in another 15 minutes or so.
- A decent measurement mic is way cheaper than a pair of "high-end" interconnects. I use a Beyer MM1, although sometimes I'd like something that'll handle higher SPLs.
- Background noise ought to be minimal for a subjective review, but it's possible to eliminate the effects by taking multiple measurements and looking for correlated data (software does that automatically).

A microphone does not care about the time of day, whether the evening's meal was any good, how much sleep it got, etc etc etc. Given that, I'm more inclined to take those results seriously.

Some people do seem to treat the reviews as gospel, but I like your idea of treating them just as entertainment.

Cheers,
Chris
 

millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
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I see your point, but disagree.

Some thoughts:
- Measurements aren't particularly difficult to perform - I can get set up in about 5 minutes.
- Getting the mic in position etc - no problem. Couple of laser pointers mounted to the walls would mean it's aligned every time. If not, a tape measure would also work.
- I'd suggest that manufacturer recommendations WRT positioning ought to be followed. If there are obvious issues in the response, the obvious steps (closer/further from walls, toe-in/out) ought to be taken to try to remedy that. I'd suggest that could be done in another 15 minutes or so.
- A decent measurement mic is way cheaper than a pair of "high-end" interconnects. I use a Beyer MM1, although sometimes I'd like something that'll handle higher SPLs.
- Background noise ought to be minimal for a subjective review, but it's possible to eliminate the effects by taking multiple measurements and looking for correlated data (software does that automatically).

A microphone does not care about the time of day, whether the evening's meal was any good, how much sleep it got, etc etc etc. Given that, I'm more inclined to take those results seriously.

Some people do seem to treat the reviews as gospel, but I like your idea of treating them just as entertainment.

Cheers,
Chris

Well i guess we'll agree to disagree on that ;)

In this day and age its just matter of picking your poison and measurement or not it really does just boil down to your preference and picking something with least amount of compromises you're willing to except.

The hunt (research) is part of the enjoyment
 

Sliced Bread

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Jul 28, 2010
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I wouldn’t worry about he star rating too much, it’s just a rough guide based on someone’s opinion (absolutely no disrespect to the reviewerintended). It can help guide the short list but not much more.

Use your ears and make the final judgement yourself. We all have different tastes, goals, rooms and partnering equipment that there is no way a review will always match your personal standards and experiences.

About the only time I situp and take notice of the reviews is when every review site is saying the same thing. Then you have a good idea that a product may be particularly special.
 

Sliced Bread

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Jul 28, 2010
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Actually I’m gonna contradict myself a little.

The Chord Mojo received huge praise across the board so I bought one blind. At first I thought it was great, but one day I wired the Mojo to one input and the digital out on my Sonos directly into my receiver and to my surprise the difference between the two inputs was almost in audible.

Maybe my hearing’s rubbish, maybe the receivers DAC was better than I thought or maybe my system isn’t revealing enough? Either way on this occasion the reviews were not relevant *for me*.
 

chris661

Well-known member
Oct 30, 2019
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So, more accurately, you were switching between DACs?
The one in the Sonos vs the one in the receiver.

If so, I'd expect the results to be very subtle at best. I've been there when people start swapping out DACs for a shootout, and lose interest after a few runs through of the same piece of music.
You can convince yourself of minute differences, but I'd suggest that it's more psychological than audible.

I use the DAC built into my amplifier, because my source is a laptop - I could either use the DAC built into the amp or the laptop. Figured the one in the amp would be better quality, but never bothered to check what the headphone output of the laptop was like.

Chris
 

Sliced Bread

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2010
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Indeed it’s very subtle stuff. Far more so than I was expecting.

Its surprising though, because back in the day of CD players, which of course use DACs they could sound quite different to one another and were tuned to their brands house sounds
 

TrevC

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Jun 12, 2013
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If you read these two reviews, you would probably conclude the speakers got 5 stars. But no, they only got 4. It seems they were headed for a 5 star review from the text. What gives?

If you like something, give it a 5 star review yourself. Your ears are probably just as good as those of a reviewer on here. The reviewers here think mains leads sound different, so i wouldn't worry about what they say.
 
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