"...it's much harder to keep a check on the influences being exerted on external reviewers...". Just for interest's sake, do you feel able to elaborate?
Formerly known as al7478...
HC: Panasonic PXP 42 V20; Panasonic DMP BD35; Humax Foxsat-HDR
Music: Optical out from Asus P7H55-M Motherboard into AVI ADM 9.1 speakers.
"Music will provide the light you cannot resist"
i sense you are getting a bit agitated by the feedback, dont! its constructive....the star ratings format is very old hat now, even if other mags are still adopting it, ratings are for people who dont trust their own judgement. as market leader you should be looking at moving to more personalised solutions, get your head out of the sand.....
"how would that work?" well, how about inviting your subscribers into the listening room every now and again, and let them give their feedback on the systems they will potentialy be buying at their price point?? thats one idea for starters....
Well, in my case, I've a good balance of mostly five star stuff - Marantz PM-6010 KI Signature amp, Mission 733i floorstanders, Denon TU-260 Mk II tuner, Samsung HD-950 DVD player, Rega P3 turntable and the only one I'm not sure about is my CD player - a Linn Mimik from 1994, bought used last year, but sounds fabulous.
(Come to think of it, are there any copies of old ratings out there for this player? I know it's going back a year or two....!)
Onkyo TX-NR818 / Tannoy Revolution DC4 (bi-amped)
AVI Laboratory Series CD Player
How does getting a few other people's opinions help me as a reader make up my own mind about a product? Answer - it doesn't, it's the same as reading a review written by a member of the WHF team - I still have to go listen and make my own mind up.
Unless you're saying that their opinions can't be trusted because they're taking backhanders from advertisers. However, as I've just pointed out in another post, without any evidence (and I don't count, "I know a bloke who met a guy in the industry and he says..." as evidence), you are basically trashing their professional integrity. If done within the public forum, this is known as libel and is a criminal offence.
And I for one would also be getting very agitated if someone was implying I was corrupt in some way as you are!
I have heard staff in hi fi shops commenting on the fact that they don't like the star ratings as lots of customers only want 5 star products and don't want to know about anything else.Personally i would consider a 4 star product.I would consider one now but when i first got interested in hi fi i would probably only have looked at the 5 star stuff. I do try and check out 2 or 3 reviews if i can as there can sometimes be quite a difference between them.
I quite agree I always treat reviews/star ratings as a guide only which is why I tend to miss the "best for" feature that you used to have in reviews, when I tested my Linn Kit in 2004, it had previously been given five star reviews and an award in 1999, one of my then local dealers was a Linn specialist so I compared it with them against some newer five star Musical Fidelity and Cyrus amplification, didn't like the MF amp at all with my other gear or the price comparable CD player and speakers they had lent for test, both my wife and I found the Cyrus to be a bit lean for our tastes so rejected it. We then went to another dealership, tried the same Cyrus kit with some different speakers (originally Spendor S5s or S6, the new dealer used pro-ac, much better sound) we were quite tempted to buy it until we heard a Naim pre-power set up, we ended up torn between Naim and Linn, your award winner at the time was the AVI lab series, after three months of waiting we gave up on the possibility of a demo, agonised over it for a while finally decided on Linn, shamefully we lived in Southampton at the time so Naim were our "local" hi-fi manufacturer, It just shows that what items are demonstrated with and how they are demoed can sometimes make all the difference. My friend on the strentgh of a month long loan of my system went and bought a Wakonda for himself which he's running with my spare amp, unfortunately there aren't many Hi-Fi dealers in the wilds of South Wales so a demo is a rare occurence for me now, last time it involved a drive to Shropshire.
Also has anyone considered a five star raying could be a curse?, people may expect so much from something that is well reviewed that they will be dissapointed when they listen to it.
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.
Pretty ... and pretty proud of it
Really? Travel the pages of this forum and have a look at what products people (mostly) mention when posting questions about system building etc.. Then have a look at how many are willing to buy them BLINDLY from ebay or e-retailers and we're not just talking £200 cd players. Whats happening is THEY KNOW they should'nt blindly trust (if thats the right word) magazine reviews. All they are seeking now is a little re-assurance from forum members to finalize a decision they made the moment they've set eyes on that shiny 5 star review.
All in itself not necessarely wrong but NOTHING can make up for actually listening to whatever you intend to buy as you've rightly identified in your post too. Now some dealers dont exactly make it easy to do that but thats another discussion.
Not agitated at all - been through this argument far too many times for that.
But how would readers' panels serve anyone but the people who are on the panel? Presumably people buy the magazine to read informed opinion, not the kind of stuff they could get by asking a few people in the pub. In other words, they don't want other readers' views.
Audio Editor, Gramophone
Sure: if you employ all the reviewers full time, you can control exactly what they do in terms of obliging them not to do consultancy work for manufacturers, writing for other magazines and so on.
Employ a freelance reviewer, and it's much harder to keep track on what else they're doing when they're not reviewing for you.
Presumably people buy the magazine to read informed opinion, not the kind of stuff they could get by asking a few people in the pub. In other words, they don't want other readers' views.
Though of course we will be adding a user reviews section to each product review posted on our new-look website, due in a few months' time - then readers will be able to add their own opinions on products to ours.
Group Marketing & PR Manager - Computers Unlimited;
Former Group Editor of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision and Whathifi.com
Then those people shouldn't really describe themselves as salespeople.
If they believe in a product and have the requisite selling skills, they should be able to demonstrate the superiority of what they stock and believe in over the five-star product the customer comes in to buy.
You know, "yes, that [five star product] is good, but we sell this great amplifier that we reckon offers a better sound for less money. If you've got five minutes I can give you a listen if you like - fancy a coffee while I get it hooked up for you?"
That's selling. "Oh no we don't stock that because we've had 15 go wrong" - which they haven't - "and anyway all those reviews are corrupt" - which they're not - isn't.
Do they also complain when something they stock gets a great review?
Exactly: as a complement to our reviews, not - as fergs was suggesting - in place of them.
Thanks for the support, but not agitated as we've heard it all before.
It's something to do with being the market leader - the old 'brightly-lit target' syndrome...
To get back to the original question, I think WHF reviews must affect the sales of products.
Rega must have had to double production of the Apollo after it being named product of the year.
Also look at Cambridge Audio - they seem to have address all of WHF's criticisms of the 840A with the new model.... I don't think that's a coincidence!
So it seem WHF do have a lot of power... I'm confident it's in the right hands.
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