There are no keys. Access is achieved via a combination of retina scan, voice recognition and a supermarket-style swipe of the WHF?S&V barcode each of us has had tattooed on our backsides.
Darn, there goes that plan then - the first 2 things I could work on, but I have no desire to get anywhere near any WHF backsides...! With deepest respect of course...
All good points.... I think people are too easily offended when a reviewer doesn't like a product that they own/like... without taking into account the points you mentioned plus system synergy... I may have heard X speakers with Y amp, while they reviewed X Speakers with D, Z and M amp (but not Y).... so many factors will determine whether someone likes a product (with personal preference being the most obvious)...
I respect WHF's reviews but that doesn't mean I agree with all of them.... The hands down, best (but not nearly most expensive) setup I've heard to date was a Musical Fidelity X-T100/X-Ray V8 Combo with a pair of Monitor Audio GS20 Speakers in an 11ft x 11ft room... All 3 of those products only got 4 stars by WHF, but that doesn't in anyway affect my opinion of the combo nor does it mean that I won't read the magazine... For all I know, if they had sat down in that little room with me and heard the combo, they'd have given it all 5 stars (or maybe 3
Indeed. At least all products are comapred with peers and are done in exactly the same environment. I imagine if they came round and heard my (largely 4-star) system in my house, they'd say it's two star!
Its human nature. I learned that asking my friends advice was costly because they told me to buy what they liked and got upset when I said I wasn't enjoying it. Today people have little confidence in their own ability to choose and look for "experts" in every field before parting with their money. But the fact is when it comes to sound - you are the only expert that counts and the rest is just opinion. The mags are useful in narrowing the field and finding whats out there but you need to put yourself in a position where someone demonstrates stuff comparatively and takes the time to show you enough of a range to enable you to make valid choices for yourself.
, you say???
He might be interested in those tattoos, certainly.
Oh dear, exactly the obvious response we were expecting!
I was just waiting for your post, Andrew.
Rev:If you enjoy reading reviews you should bear in mind that you won't always agree with what the reviewer finds. It is after all his opinion. Since there is no such thing as "golden ears" reviewers are eminently unqualified to tell you anything but their opinion. Neither will they give you your money back if you buy something that you hate. The lesson here is to take reviews as they are intended; to offer guidance. Then seek out the product, listen to it and compare it to other products so that you can form your own conclusion. WHF's demo room bears no relevance to most of us and discussing it is fatuous. The only thing that should matter to you is how it will sound in your room. Finally - since you don't have access to all the products WHF do; you need to find a useful, helpful retailer who will give you the time and assistance to choose the products that are right for you.
A very sane attitude, Ajani. Indeed, we continually recommend that our readers use their own ears and test products out in a comparative situation. However, it is very difficult for most people to see/hear the sheer volume of kit that we get through the doors at What Hi-Fi Towers, and that makes a difference. A What Hi-Fi Sound And Vision review is not just 'an opinion'. It is a consesus verdict arrived at as a result of testing and discussion with multiple reviewers, with the product in question tested against class-leading rivals.
It was the unanimous opinion of our team that, as Simon said in a previous post on this thread, "the iQ70s fared very badly against an identically priced pair of B&W 684s in the current November issue".
Where's the mystery? Does anyone want us to recommend products that in a direct A/B comparison in the same room with the same reference partnering kit, fare significantly worse than available products that cost the same money? That would be to cheat our readers - something we will never do.
In addition, Sonicacuracyisall's assertion that our acoustically treated testing rooms require speakers to have aggressive treble in order to sound good - well, that's hogwash for a number of reasons, not least of which is the number of products we mark down in those very same rooms for having... aggressive treble.
I haven't posted much, but I have been reading a bit on these forums and will join in more if I get the time. I did feel the need to say something about this subject, and was going to post about it, but it seems I've been beaten to it. I am gobsmacked by the reviews given by the WHF team to the new iQ series. The iQ70's are a fair step above the old iQ7SE's, which I could tell straight away even though they hadn't been run in. The iQ7SE's got 4 stars, and the new iQ70's should easily get 5 based upon this. I'm always sceptical of reviewers views on things, but this just serves to fuel my scepticism. It will be interesting to hear what HCC have to say......
On the subject of reviews being subjective, it is mentioned that any results/reviews are agreeed upon by the whole WHF team - does this mean that the whole WHF team think the same and hear the same things? How many of you are there reviewing? 5? 10? Even if it's 5, at least one of you would disagree with the rest of the team. In this case, are they sent to the sin bin to reflect on their 'individualism'? Or do you just give them their P45?
Also, why spend so much on your dem rooms? This is giving the WHF team a completely different view of the products the general public are taking home. The average person, even above average ones, don't have acoustically treated listening rooms. In fact, most people haven't got a dedicated listening room - theirs is called the living room. I personally disagree with treating rooms for reviewing purposes for the above reason, and think they should be reviewed in a proper, normal listening environment.
One other thing while my fingers are feeling active, I've never really agreed with any WHF loudspeaker supertests. You get together a group of 5-10 speakers (not necessarily a relevant group either), and compare them with the same amplifier. This is wrong. The amplifier/speaker match is THE most important thing in the whole system. One speaker can sound amazing with one amplifier, but then stick it with another amplifier and it can sound like it should be a third of the price. Just picking any amplifier (and a Roksan Kandy isn't necessarily the best choice all the time) isn't doing some manufacturers justice. It lets you hear the speaker with the same signal, but it's not going to show every speaker in the test in their best light. But I'm sure you're all aware of this being experienced reviewers.
I would do away with group tests and supertests (due to the above reason), unless more blind testing takes place, and actually testing them with all the reviewers present so they can discuss their findings and come to agreeable decisions. Or, probably best of all (and I know one mag has done something similar), is to let reviewers write their own private reviews, then whichever reviewer liked the speakers the most, present that as the main review, and then give a small section to a couple of other reviewers to publish their thoughts, whether they're the same or different. This way, people get to hear more than one view on the product, and also an alternative view.
Slagging off a product is pointless and does no one any favours. If you really don't like a product, why print the review? Just omit it from the magazine. Hifi+ only ever printed reviews of decent products that they found they liked, which means that if it's in the mag it's good, no need to find out how many stars it is or how it compares to something else (which is why people should be visiting their local dealers anyway).
I know there are instances on here (and other forums) where many take an anti-retailer standpoint (there's even a sly dig in this thread), which is fair enough if they decide to believe other unknown, faceless nobodies and order of the internet. But there are dealers out there where you can test this sort of stuff for yourself, and they'll know which amp suits which speaker to get the best from them too. I'm sure if you took a random selection of the KEF dealers out there and asked them for their opinion on the new KEF's, I can't imagine one of them would give them 3 out of 5 stars. And before anybody says "well a KEF dealer would say that", just remember a dealer will have another four or five other alternatives he could sell at that price point instead, making that sort of comment null and void.
There are many ratings in WHF that just don't make sense - this is one of them.
Blimey - what seems strange to me is why you buy the magazine. You don't seem to like it much!
The owls are not what they seem...
In all honesty, I would ban the thread starter. After only 5 posts i could see the pattern. Down with WHF in every one of them, and just how good Kef are. I reckon if the ports were just that bit wider....
I wouldn't like anyone to see his trolling as truth. It does nothing for the forum
"well a KEF dealer would say that", just remember a dealer will have another four or five other alternatives he could sell at that price point instead, making that sort of comment null and void"
You dont do retail do you. The dealer dont want to sell an item of everyones, or nobody would give him a good discount. Don't expect total honesty from a sales person.
I think using one amp is fine, as is printing bad reviews so we can avoid them. There is only so much time in the day, and a good ear dont need the right kit to see what things are capable of. Its what come with years of experience. Im sure they swap sources from time to time just to see if there not quite sure.
4LKN4 - i would guess the reason the WHF team have their dem room treated is because they want to hear the demo kit and NOT their room.
some of your theories about reviewing processes are just baffling though... if kit that didnt get a great review was ommitted then people would complain that WHF were biased and just gave everything that appeared in their mag 5 stars! just because something doesnt receive top marks doesnt mean it isnt worth a demo - just that it didnt tick all the buttons for the reviewers - you must judge the product yourself!
as for the speaker group test and changing amps... well they are testing speaker not speaker and amp combos! the amps characteristics will be familiar to the reviewers and a constant in the tests therefore making the reviews much easier. plus im sure they would choose an amp that is a good match (read versatile) for the test group.
4LKN4, I'm afraid that again you're making massive assumptions about the way we work.
Yes, we work with reference kit, but no product is just tested with that alone. So we don't, as you say, just put speakers with a single amplifier. They'll be tested with the reference amp, a price comparable amp and often a combination we know they'll be commonly paired with (eg Rotel and B&W; Marantz and Mordaunt Short) so that we can make system-matching recommendations both in the review and on these Forums.
Secondly, our testing rooms are a mixture of acoustically treated and non-treated rooms, so we can see and hear kit in a range of environments and room sizes. But treated rooms gives a level playing field to all kit, as does testing with a team, not individual reviewers.
And onto reviewers. We have an incredibly experienced team, and groups of reviewers will work on different tests each issue, with lead reviewers overseeing every test. The review will be written by the tester who's spent the most time start-to-finish on a product, so they can convey everything from the set-up to the performance stages.
Are there disagreements? Occasionally, and we'll refer to them in copy, too (you must have missed that bit). But at the end of the day, the decision has to come down to a question of whether the product is worth the money the manufacturer is charging for it - whether, in short, it's something we'd wholeheartedly recommend any of our readers to spend their hard-earned cash on.
Finally, you mention us only printing positive reviews. Well, our rivals may be increasingly headed that way, but as a consumer magazine we strongly believe our readers need to read about as many products as possible, whether we feel they're good value or not.
Group Marketing & PR Manager, Computers Unlimited.
Brands represented include Astell&Kern, Audioengine, B&O Play, Canton, Flexson for SONOS and SONOS
Oooooooh what an excellently daft and ill-informed posting from our newbie 4LKN4. Much licking of lips before going in for a chunky bite of his hide.
Right, well, here are my thoughts on some of your comments. Let me know if there's any chance you might agree.
The reason What Hi-Fi spent a lot of money on their facilities is that turning commercial space into a viable home for a business, including listening rooms, storage and offices, is expensive. Trust me on this because I work for the worlds second largest firm of chartered surveyors so it's a subject that I'm a little bit familiar with.
Secondly, you and I have no idea what they've done in that space or how much space they have, or for that matter, the state it was in when they took it in the first place.
Third, they would doubtless have had the rooms treated accoustically to ensure that they have similar sonic / accoustic characturistics as each other. You can't have a series of demo rooms all sounding totally different. They'd want a level of consistency. That said, none of us have seen them. I'm sure they have similarities to home, it just depends on whose home. But either way, a consistent room accoustic allows comparative testing. That's the key.
You mention the kit they test with. You don't know the kit they've used. Trust me I have read a stack of What Hi-Fi mag reviews where they've mentioned how kit perform with their reference electronics. We're talking Krell and Bryston kit. They often suggest a partner for a winning item, in the price range most appropriate, but that doesn't mean they only used the suggested item to test every component. To assume so would be a little niave. (I hope).
Never print a bad review you say. Are you slightly loopy. What Hi-Fi don't work for the trade, they work for their readers. At the very least they try to be neutral. That can't be easy, but it's only by doing this that people trust what they say. A What Hi-Fi 5* review means what it says and that's worth its weight in gold to the companies submitting kit. I've always found their negative reviews to be fascinating, mostly highly constructive. One only wonders why some manufacturers appear to have stopped listening. (Whatever happened to Mission!).
The only places to find nothing but rave reviews are newspapers and lads mags. I expect What Hi-Fi to be judgemental and independant. And that they are. They do a great job, fortunately a view shared by many.