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Five stars and five stars

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Rich111's picture
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Hi all, I have been a What hifi reader for a long time and I think that it is time that the way the equipment is being rated
must change. For example how would I know which pair of speakers is better between one getting five stars during a test
and selling at $200 compared to another one getting 4 stars but being 10 times more expensive. I think that they all
should be tested equally and rated out of 100 because the actual method is misleading.Meaning if one speaker has
scored 89/100 it is better than another one scoring 80/100 even if the one scoring 89 is 5 times cheaper. I have browsed
through a German Hifi mag some time ago (even if I dont understand German) and this is the way they were rating their
equipment and I found it the best method to rate equipment, really helping customers looking for new gear and knowing
which speaker is really better in terms of sound quality than Smile others irrespective of their price tag

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Cypher's picture
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RE: Five stars and five stars

I agree with you. The german magazine "Audio" has the best rating system.

Singslinger's picture
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RE: Five stars and five stars

Interesting proposal but I think most people would want to know what gear is best for particular price ranges.

simonlewis's picture
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RE: Five stars and five stars

Rich111 wrote:
For example how would I know which pair of speakers is better between one getting five stars during a test and selling at $200 compared to another one getting 4 stars but being 10 times more expensive. 

Well you could go to a retailer & listen to which speakers sound better with your system.

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BigH's picture
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RE: Five stars and five stars

It is a good point. Is a Marantz Pearl Lite cd rated at 4 stars better than a £500 5 star player like the Rega? The Marantz was £900 but now around than £670.

BigH's picture
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RE: Five stars and five stars

simonlewis wrote:

Rich111 wrote:
For example how would I know which pair of speakers is better between one getting five stars during a test and selling at $200 compared to another one getting 4 stars but being 10 times more expensive. 

Well you could go to a retailer & listen to which speakers sound better with your system.

 

Easier said than done, many dealers do not stock the speakers you want to hear, demo rooms are much different than yours, rooms between different dealers are not the same either. Only way to compare is home demo which is not easy to arrange.

BigH's picture
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RE: Five stars and five stars

Singslinger wrote:
Interesting proposal but I think most people would want to know what gear is best for particular price ranges.

 

Yes but what happens if prices change. For instance the Marantz 6004 is now around £225 and the Pearl Lite is around £670 down from £1,000.

Singslinger's picture
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RE: Five stars and five stars

BigH wrote:

Singslinger wrote:
Interesting proposal but I think most people would want to know what gear is best for particular price ranges.

 

Yes but what happens if prices change. For instance the Marantz 6004 is now around £225 and the Pearl Lite is around £670 down from £1,000.

Make sure the range is wide enough perhaps? Like "£500-1000" then "£1,000-1500" and so on. Not sure what bands WHF use but it's something along those lines.

Then again, I have read reviews describing a particular bit of kit as being the best the reviewer has ever heard, regardless of price. I guess reviewing and rating are inexact sciences and trying to place a simple guide like number of stars to help readers isn't as easy as it might look.

CarlDW's picture
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RE: Five stars and five stars

The Pioneer VSX-922 was rated a 3-star product at £500 but a 5-star product when the price dropped to £250, so the price point of a product can affect its star rating... although I wouldn't expect WHF to re-review all products that decrease in price. A simple star rating within a prescribed price bracket seems to be the easiest eay of identifying the better products out there.  

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MajorFubar's picture
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RE: Five stars and five stars

I can see the issue, but I'm not sure that a single grading system is more beneficial.

For example let's say the rating was out of 100 and Joe Bloggs is looking for a new pair of budget standmounts. If only the world's best speakers are ever going to get 90+, it's not particularly inspiring for him if he buys WHF and sees that the pair of budget standmounts he's got his eye on are rated 15 at best. How can he know how good that is?

Also, manufacturers are greatly proud of products which receive five-star WHF ratings, emblazoning the WHF 5* logo on their adverts and brochures. The hope of receiving it and being able to display it is one key reason why a manufacturer submits its products to the magazine. But if the new pair of £1,000 Tannoy floorstanders get awarded 30/100, it doesn't look particularly great, and so the kudos of receiving a five-star review would be lost. This would lead to fewer manufacturers submitting products for review and less advertising revenue.

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RE: Five stars and five stars

The German magazine scoring system looks the best to me.

The 5 star system is just not detailed enough. There seems to be so much variation in quality of 5 star awarded items, even within the same price bracket, that I, and I'm sure others, find it difficult to work out the best product for our individual needs.

For instance, the GT50 has been awarded 5 out of 5, 100%, a perfect product apparently. Well, it isn't is it? 

If marks were awarded out of ten within specific areas, and then totalled for a final score, we could see it's overall score, and also see clearly it's shortcomings, and whether, despite those shortcomings, it still offered good value for money.

So say the GT50 got 90/100, but only 4/10 for screen uniformity, we'd see clearly where it's major flaw was.

I can't see that this kind of system would be more time consuming, and it would improve the accuracy of reviews hugely in my opinion, so why not?

 

 

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RE: Five stars and five stars

MajorFubar wrote:
Also, manufacturers are greatly proud of products which receive five-star WHF ratings, emblazoning the WHF 5* logo on their adverts and brochures. The hope of receiving it and being able to display it is one key reason why a manufacturer submits its products to the magazine.

But to give something 5/5, perfect marks, for something that is way short of perfect, is just misleading.

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nopiano's picture
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RE: Five stars and five stars

Everything has to have stars or blobs these days.  Meals, cars, films, restaurants, hifi, TVs, etc.

Which? magazine do break down their scores into so many percent for several headings.  But WHF offer an eye-catching headline rating, which is hardly surprising given its marketplace.  Only an idiot, or someone with a very short attention span, would think that a random assortment of 5 star products will make a great system.  But at least 4 or 5 stars tells you they are pretty decent items or even about the best for the money.

That's why if you get 4 stars at £900, you might get 5 stars at £750.  And obviously a Pearl Lite Marantz is superior to a regular model at half the price or less (especially as they keep reducing the price).

With my purist hat on, I'd love an absolute scale with 100 being state of the art.  But as already noted, "new budget bookshelf speaker cracks 19/100" isn't exactly a marketing person's dream, is it?

As ever, context is everything.  A 5 star DAC is no use to you if you actually need a 4 star CD player! 

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BigH's picture
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RE: Five stars and five stars

I think a higher score rating would help, if you look at speakers the largest rating is 5 stars at 145, 4 stars are 127, 3 stars are 36, and 2 stars 8, no 1 stars?

 

IMHO there are too many 5 stars, I would expect 5 stars to less than 20% not nearly 46%. 

 

A well know camera review website rates cameras out of 100, broken down into about 10 categories and it seems to work very well.

BigH's picture
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RE: Five stars and five stars

nopiano wrote:

Everything has to have stars or blobs these days.  Meals, cars, films, restaurants, hifi, TVs, etc.

Which? magazine do break down their scores into so many percent for several headings.  But WHF offer an eye-catching headline rating, which is hardly surprising given its marketplace.  Only an idiot, or someone with a very short attention span, would think that a random assortment of 5 star products will make a great system.  But at least 4 or 5 stars tells you they are pretty decent items or even about the best for the money.

That's why if you get 4 stars at £900, you might get 5 stars at £750.  And obviously a Pearl Lite Marantz is superior to a regular model at half the price or less (especially as they keep reducing the price).

With my purist hat on, I'd love an absolute scale with 100 being state of the art.  But as already noted, "new budget bookshelf speaker cracks 19/100" isn't exactly a marketing person's dream, is it?

As ever, context is everything.  A 5 star DAC is no use to you if you actually need a 4 star CD player! 

 

I don't think it will work like that as the best bookshelf would get 19/20 for value even if it only got 10/20 for sound. The best £2,000 speaker may get 19/20 for sound but only 14/20 for value, as a £800 speaker maybe nearly as good.

When nearly half the reviews get 5 stars it is of little use to consumers, good for manufacturer.

nopiano's picture
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RE: Five stars and five stars

BigH wrote:

I don't think it will work like that as the best bookshelf would get 19/20 for value even if it only got 10/20 for sound. The best £2,000 speaker may get 19/20 for sound but only 14/20 for value, as a £800 speaker maybe nearly as good.

But what is 'value'?  Surely it is some ratio of Sound Quality to Price.  So you are double-counting on the SQ!

A good budget speaker is better value than any multi-thousand pound speaker, I agree there!    

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