Also we're not in the business of making people look foolish.
.......yet somehow we manage this quite successfully on here, without help!
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That sounds fun...
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Professorhat, I know that many of us are more than capable from seperating a fact from an an opinion, but that isn't where the trouble lays in your dismissal of this issue. Many casual readers of a magazine like WHF will look on it I suspect as rather more objective than subjective. They want a quick summary of what is 'best' and they want it done by 'experts' or genuinely independant tests. As a result they will I think often treat the reviews like someone wanting to buy a washing machine might treat a Which? survey, or a car buyer a JD Power annual assessment of owner satisfaction and reliability.
But as we know, HiFi isn't like that, and while certain things can be objectively tested (although rarely are) by genuinely double blind tests using a statistically reliable number of testers, most 'tests' are simply the result of a listeners opinion of a (normally sighted) product.
Now I agree that in the mix of world problems this is very small beer, but it is something that I have no doubt a number of manufacturers use to their advantage when it comes to getting punters part with their cash.
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Well, I've already made the point about these phantom people who are unable to determine the difference between opinion and fact so won't go over this ground again.
If most people wanted to read about scientific, genuinely double blind tested equipment, then I'm sure there would be a magazine that did this and posted the results. Clearly though, most people actually like to read about people's experiences with hifi, home cinema etc. Subjective opinions from people who have heard and can compare lots of different pieces of equipment and give their judgement of them based on that experience. This is what WHF and other publications provide.
Some people might not like it, but I'm afraid they're in the minority - the numbers speak for themselves. And for these people who don't like it, there is no requirement to listen to, or even read these subjective reviews.
It's not rocket science that these reviews are obviously subjective opinions and I simply don't buy the fact that there are thousands of clueless, naive individuals out there reading these reviews and then mindlessly spending thousands of pounds without any further thought.
What's the point asking readers to partake in these kind of things if What Hifi? fail to try to explain why readers may have perceived differences? They never culminate in big answers!!
I really dont see the problem in people using WHF mag reviews as a point of reference for purchases.
Now if you buy a 4 or 5 star product its going to be very good - now 4 start are sometimes given due to lack of spec or lack of included extras or price not necessarily just performance. This is one of the reasons only 5 stars are used which has been expalined to me and I agree with
Now if you think about - there are several testers / reviewers at what hifi - the majority are involved for all testing of the majority of products - not just one persons opinion
They dont see every product in the world but they do see / test the majority of main stream products on the market over many years
Now if you was testing all this kit, over all that time you would be able to discern the better kit quite easily I feel and report on it hence the best buys and positive reviews.
Therefore if you buy a product based on a review you can be confident its going to be very much like what they have said.
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That's about as easy to explain as What Hi-fi? reader's differing tastes in music, films, books, partners, cars, food, furniture or holidays.
It is certainly not within the ability of any hi-fi manufacturer or hi-fi magazine to be able to please everyone or explain our differences.
Someone growing up in the 1950s & 1960s may have been exposed to all their music and TV sound coming from valve amplification (even in the car) and later gone to many concerts where valve driven PA was still the norm. That person will have been 'conditioned' to the presentation of sound from valves without even necessarily being conscious of the fact.
In turn, that person's children will have grown up with solid state devices producing the 'soundtrack' to their childhood.
Their grand-children will most likely be conditioned by listening to almost everything from small docks, PC speakers and earbuds or headphones.
That's a terribly over-simplistic generalisation (I know) but the prevalent technology of one's childhood could be just one of a multitude of different factors that go to form one's preferences and opinions about what hi-fi sounds best in adulthood. It would be ridiculous for a hi-fi magazine (or anyone) to assess all the factors - even if they could all be known - and explain our "perceived differences".
Those who see any deviation from the 'professional studio monitor' as some kind of transgression against science and engineering 'truth' don't have the imagination to realise that we are all completely different and want different things. It's why there always will be, and always should be, as much variety as the market can take. It's why some people still play 78rpm records through valve amps and some others still make a living ensuring they can.
Lol...yes, I see what you mean Frank Harvey Hi-Fi,
I currently have my CD player on a wood surface on squash balls cut in half with the amp on top of the CD player with another set of squash balls under its feet. I know with my portable CD walkman ...old school - surfaces do make a difference, subtle but noticeble, on a train/plane its placed on a book, never placed directly on the provided table.
so does no one use an iso plate or any other isolation device?
I'd love to do one of these test though
Maybe one day WHF could do a 'test'.... a blind test were they change nothing, 3 tracks '3 systems' played in varuious order but everything stays the same, surfaces, interconnects etc and see which system wins 1, 2 or 3 and publish their findings.
And all that would achieve would be to make the reader-participants look foolish, and discourage others from offering their services for the feature.
Audio Editor, Gramophone
No it would'nt, anyone who applys knows its not a life and death day out , its fun and its a test like any other test and may give many something to think about.
in fact it may be a good idea to try it amongst yourselves at WHF HQ first, then try it on the readers......and then publish your findings.
I'd be happy to take part, I'm gonna email your mate.
Jolly good: as both I and my colleague have said, all are welcome to apply. But really we are unlikely to take advantage of readers, who give their time and attend these events at their own expense, by making them look daft in print.
Speaking as someone who has taken part and was surprised at the differences I felt I could see and hear (mine was picture quality as well as sound quality based), I think the big question features are interesting as they are, both to be a part of and to read in the mag.
The last thing I want is what Hifi to become some scientific journal. I get to read enough of them at work
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Jolly good: as both I and my colleague have said, all are welcome to apply. But really we have better things to do than invite readers in for these events at their own expense, then make them look daft in print.
Why would anybody look daft? Blind tests would answer the questions posed, and both the participants and readers would benefit from knowing whether any differences perceived were imagined or real. Surely nobody would object to that?
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