Water load of nonsense.
What I don't get is why people are try to tell what is presumably the best-selling mag in its sector how they should do things. Contructive criticism is obviously great, but saying the mag 'need' or 'have' to do this or that seems a wee bit pointless to me. The other mags do a bit more of the science stuff, they sell far fewer copies, why be like them? Just so those obsessed with stats can be satisfied, but maybe still won't buy the mag? And then those folk, like myself, who buy the mag in their droves because it's simply a good read may stop buying.
I like the BQ. To me, it's just an interesting article which shows how everyone's perceptions differ. I also like some technical detail, but I understand why this may alienate newbies.
I'm quite happy that the mag is accessible and should be enjoyable to pretty much everyone bar the hardcore geeks. In almost every hobby I have, the real enthusiasts are the ones who think that everything should be tailored to them, but they're also the ones who overestimate their importance and seem to forget that they only make up a tiny percentage of the market.
There was a period where I didn't like things about the mag, and only bought it now and again. But I think the last dozen or so issues have been really good, and I've made good use of the buying guide (another common area of complaint) as I've been buying kit for my new flat. I've bought the mag for a couple of decades, and there's been things I liked and things I disliked, but I guess that happens as you can't please all of the people all of the time.
Just my 2p
I was responding to the specific suggestion we should do a BQ feature in which we change nothing for each listen, and then report any differences the participants say they heard.
Why not do that?
Seems to me that you want to have your cake and eat it! You admit that your tests aren't objective but then go on about how wonderfully experienced your reviewers are, how consistent the methods are, etc. Why bother with all that when the tests are purely subjective?
I just don't get this question.
In the world of wines, many wine lovers will read reviews of wines from connoisseurs - people who have tried many, many wines and are therefore able to give their own, subjective opinion of other wines based on this experience.
In the world of video games, video gamers will read reviews from professional game reviewers - people who have played many, many games of each genre and are therefore able to give their own, subjective opinion of other games based on this experience.
In the world of fishing, many fishers would... etc. etc.
None of these would be requested to post double blind, scientific tests to prove their subjective opinions as objective facts. Why would hi-fi / home cinema reviewing be different in this respect?
Many of the BQ features focus on things that are not proven to sound/look different, (Nas drives, Blu-ray players, digital cables, etc) and reviews of such things may well be completely pointless to the consumer, who may end up wasting his/her money buying such items based on favourable subjective reviews.
Surely you would agree that in the case of products that do not differ - like HDMI cables - subjective reviews are pointless? And wouldn't it be more beneficial to the readership of What HiFi?, if the magazine made even the slightest bit of effort to try to highlight items that do not differ? So their readers can just buy the cheapest and save money.
Because wines actually do taste different, and video games actually are different, etc etc.
Ahhh, that's cleared that up then. All makes sense now...
I know it would end up in a cable debate - I just had to prove it objectively to myself before I could believe it.
2p from a newbie:
I find the question as to whether or not the surface upon which a CD player/amp stands can affect its sound quality an interesting one.
I'm naturally very sceptical about whether this would have any effect upon the sound characteristics of such a device, but I'd read the WHF article in the context and spirit that it's an interesting, entertaining and thought-provoking idea. I'd enjoy reading the participants' experiences, and I'd be intrigued if a pattern emerged, even with such a deliberately non-scientific approach as this one.
But because the original proposition will doubtless still be hotly debated (as is also the case with interconnect cables for example), I'd still welcome a truly scientific double-blind test - and though I wouldn't expect to see this in WHF. I'd like to see such a test referenced in the mag. Why? because if such a study found that no such effect upon sound characteristics was detected (and further trials backed this finding), then we could all relax and carry on storing our CD players etc on our IKEA shelves, carpet etc. Surely we'd all find that to be useful information? We could spend the money we saved on buying more music.
The crucial question here is surely: is there an audible difference using different surfaces? This is a proposition that could be established using a proper trial. It wouldn't answer the question of whether certain surfaces sounded better or worse, and we wouldn't expect it to do that.
I don't think it's practical (or necessarily desirable) to expect every new piece of hifi to be tested using a rigorous scientific method, but mains cables, interconnects and surfaces are surely all areas where there would be some benefit to a proper scientific trial?
For example whilst I think scientific tests of speakers can be useful there is also a subjective matter of taste here and for that I go to people who like the same type of music that I do and to my own ears. Similarly I'm certain that the people who have undertaken "room conditioning" are having an effect because there is an identifiable and reasonable explanation.
However when it comes to the things where there is no objective explanation for a perceived effect then a more rigorous, scientific investigation is called for.
2p from an Oldbie.
1. Get one returnable Granite worktop saver and one offcut of Plywood/MDF.
2. Experiment to your hearts content using ABX, blind and double blind tests, or whatever.
3. Post your results on here so we can all argue about it, and explain (at length) how you went wrong!
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
Back on the BQ point. I would love to see such an issue. The last issue I bought was the NAS drive "test" and I was left extremely dissapointed and haven't bothered since apart from the odd second-hand read.
From experience I know I can't always trust my ears in a short-term evaluation, and would love to see more solid objective evidence as well as the entertainment of subjectivity.
So, so long as such a BQ was advertised as such, nobody would look a fool. ie "Systems may be the same or different - Can you consistently say which is which?"
I "am" interested in genuine sound-improving tech. I am interested in good sound quality. But for the moment the water is so muddied with questionable "improvements" that it's hard to know what or who to trust.
I will be upgrading speakers in a year or 2, and I am totally confused. One possible option bugs me as it's "the best you'll get at any price", no questions...which strikes me as over-bold and while I'm sure the speakers I'm talking about are excellent, I doubt they are in fact "the best you'll get at any price". Another option is not so high in WAF and another is an unknown quantity.
I want to see more science as well as subjectivity in the magazine. I'd be all over the next issue that promised that.
Of course I'd like to see more diversity at the same time and more emphasis on the active side of things.
“Out beyond ideas of wrong and right, there is a field.
I'll meet you there."
Is it safe to assume you mean the ADM40s?
If so, why the doubt?
(I Googled "the best you'll get at any price" - with the quotes - and it only came up with a discussion about waterproof jackets and two links for 3D rendering software.)
Marantz M-CR603 + AirPlay • Rega R3 loudspeakers • iPhone 5 • iMac • Apple Airport Extreme 802.11n • Apple iPad Mini • Panasonic TX-L32D25B • Sony BDP-S390 • Ruark Audio R1 Deluxe • Humax HDR-Fox T2
Cambridge Audio StreamMagic 6 | 751BD | 651A | Diamond 9.1 | Minx Xi | Sonos Play:3
Moderator. mail: john.duncan.whf at the mail of g dot com
PC > AVI Neutron Five 2.1
Sony NWZ-A847 64GB Walkman > Westone UM3x
© 2013 Haymarket Publishing