No I can/t see the point either. Nice glossy mag but for in-depth reviews try ... Have'nt bought any publications for ages but I flick through them at my mates shop. Four/five stars, who cares you'd think but ... a lot of gullible idiots do. Thats why you see so many '5 star' '5 globes' or whatever products for sale on ebay 5 months after launch.
You are of course correct that people overtrust other people's ears. At the end of the day there are people who like a bright, forward sound like Cambridge and hate what I have for being laid back and relaxing and mellow. And have bought simply because it's 5 star.
Each to their own. It's a risky business buying blind, it's more expensive from a dealer but they mostly let you listen and I'll bet most people come out with something other than what they went in to buy.
Unison Research CDE, Leema Tucana 2, Kudos C2 and some cables.
Music To Your Ears - Headphones, Amps and Speakers
Arguably if you get good reviews you don't need to advertise, as your products are already in front of the readers. If you get pants reviews, you should therefore spend more on advertising to make sure readers of a magazine are kept aware of your products.
Audio Editor, Gramophone
the only way to be truly objective, is to avoid the 'free lunch' from the (indirect)paymasters, these mags are not charities.....
You are of course correct that people overtrust other people's ears.
But trusting the team of ears that hear just about everything in the market is a good starting place
Group Marketing & PR Manager - Computers Unlimited;
Former Group Editor of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision and Whathifi.com
You're quite right. It's also quite right that a product can die a death with a 2 or 3 star review, and if they were my client I would tell them to junk the product if it was reviewed badly in WHF and HFC. Advertising in that instance is like standing at the bus stop handing out £10 notes. It surely must be cheaper to get back into R&D and make it better.
WHFSV's ad staff sell the magazine to advertisers on circulation, readership and reach, not the content of reviews.
As such it's arguably in a position to be much more independent of advertiser influence than much smaller-selling titles.
Oh, and you still didn't identify your publishing 'Deep Throat'.
We're certainly not a charity - a thriving business, in fact. That's what happens when you're a market-leading title that reaches more consumers than your rivals.
Still has nothing to do with our star ratings, though. Take Philips, as an example - lovely people. Flew our news editor out to IFA this year. Advertise regularly. Now look at the February issue - two three-star ratings for brand-new Philips products before you've got to p21....
Four/five stars, who cares you'd think but ... a lot of gullible idiots do.
I think that's a bit harsh! It all comes down to a certain trust really. When I first started out getting my own hi-fi (a lovely second hand Technics system I got from my Grandad when I was 12 which I adored!), I started reading various magazines. As time went on and I started earning money, I went to dealers and started listening to products and comparing my views with these magazines. After a while, you find you tend to agree with one or two magazines more than others and in this case, it was What Hi-Fi for me.
Unfortunately, now I'm older and have more responsibilities, it means I have less time to sit around in dealers auditioning. The stars guide from WHF are therefore an excellent way to cut down my shortlists when it comes to new gear. If a product has a 4 star or a 5 star rating, I know this is a decent piece of equipment worth auditioning. I would never buy a 5 star product blind, but it means I don't have to trawl through lots of rubbish systems to find one I like.
As the team have said, it's there as a guide designed to save time. Of course if you have all the time in the world to audition your hi-fi, then I'm insanely jealous!
Not meaning anything about WHFSAV Andrew. Simply that if a product was given universally bad reviews then it's never going to sell, so get back into the lab and sort it out. No point in advertising in that instance as it will go unnoticed.
There is of course the other point that advertising after a good review can do the brand wonders...if the advertising creative is correct and in keeping with what the brand is about.
Funnily enough Bose never advertise in these mags as their products are not audiophile, they are lifestyle, so they advertise in lifestyle titles.
Good marketing is about expressing the benefits of the products in a relevant way. A 2 star review means this is impossible for that product to have many, if any 'benefits'. Unfortunate, but true.
I think that's exactly what fergs meant about WHFSV.
That would mean that all the top advertisers got the best reviews. I've yet to see that happen in any hifi magazine, as it would be committing professional suicide.
youve got a good product - "a thriving business", it is what it is.....a well edited news and comment section, with a ratings committee that rewards averages based on the collective views of its editorial team, and junks everything else that may not conform to collective views.
time to leave reviews to non-employees of the mag, and editorial/news to your good selves..............
But you wouldn't buy a car on recommendation from someone who had only driven one car would you?
Indeed. But that's what he's been implying since wading into this thread with his mysterious 'person in publishing who seems to know what he/she's talking about'.
As one of my friends in the industry says, 'if you live by reviews, you die by reviews' - meaning it's much better to build up a stable of retailers who believe in your product and are willing to show consumers why, rather than box-shifters who live by the latest five-star or Supertest winner.
We stand by our star ratings - of course we do - but they're only part of the review. Reviews are, after all, just an opinion, and if a retailer is committed and skilled enough in selling to allow a consumer to hear or see that a three-star product better suits his needs than one we gave five stars, good on him.
FWIW the car I drive now had some decidedly mixed reviews, but I had a test-drive provided by a high-quality dealer - and that's a dealer who did a deal and not a retailer who just shifted metal and hoped never to see me again - and i loved the car, and so I bought it.
The same should apply when buying hi-fi or home cinema kit - any magazine is just a guide, and you should always test the product for yourself before you buy.
How would that work? IME it's much harder to keep a check on the influences being exerted on external reviewers, which is why we abandoned the use of them many years ago.
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