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  1. #1

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    Default Consumer Ratings of Electronics

    I have been trying to compare reviews on various pre/pros. Most magazines always come down on the plus side...otherwise, there goes the free equipment and ads, huh?

    So, I go to a site like audioreview.com and see what mostly real people say.
    No matter the product, there are always some honest sounding low raters on otherwise highly rated products. Is this just a function of quality control...so many bad apples do leave the factory? Sometimes, I am sure it is a user issue.

    Is there any place that shows reliability/frequency of repair stats for audio equip the way that consumer reports does for various goods?

    Thanks....

  2. #2

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    audioreview is a crap shoot website because you have no idea of the experience of the reviewer or the fact that they are severly biased or can even use the gear properly. Also set-ups as far as room and associated equipment can have a HUGE impact on subjective listening. Most people only take time to review something if they have negative things to say.

    Use it as a very, very loose guide. I've found over the years some absolutely awful and downright idiotic reviews at audioreview.com. Then I've also found a few gems in there. I always try to look at the associated gear or gear used section. You can sometimes tell a lot about the reviewer with the gear they have used and/or owned.

    If I see a review for SDA's and it's basically negative and the reviewer has only owned Cerwin Vega's and Bose...............the review has no merit to me. Or if they review some other nice upper brand of speaker, etc.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  3. #3

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    I always find that when reading any reviews to take them with a grain of salt. Too many variables, associated gear, reviewers that are clueless, room used to review, and so on. You can drive yourself crazy trying to make sense of it all. As far as reliability issues go, every product pushes out a lemon here and there, just the nature of mass production. I go to places like HT mag for tech reviews only because they list associated gear and fill you in on some pitfalls. Audio review is good too for user reviews but everyones opinion is just that...an opinion.

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    I've had some gear that got stellar reviews and 1000% lived up to those reviews like my Pass Labs Aleph 30.

    I've had some gear get great reviews and I didn't care for it like certain Cambridge cdp's.

    I've had some gear get luke warm reviews and to me I thought it sounded great, IMO.

    So use amatuer reviews with a few grains of salt and professional reviews with lesser grains of salt, but still be leary of biases, likes, dislikes, associated equipment, etc, etc.

    H9

    P.s. The above reviews in question were all from leading professional reviewers from national magazines or heavy hitters in the audio industry.
    Last edited by heiney9; 09-29-2010 at 12:54 PM.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  5. #5

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    Audioreview is not worth the time it takes to type in the URL...IMO.
    "Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean you’re right." - Ricky Gervais

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  6. #6

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    Check out this site for reviews:

    http://www.testfreaks.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by CTTE View Post
    Check out this site for reviews:

    http://www.testfreaks.com
    Ditto on Test Freaks.

    It sure would be nice if Consumer Reports dedicated a month to new and used Hi-Fi equipment -- Much like the issue on new and used cars. It might establish some sort of baseline that we could all go on for future purchases.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TORI3 View Post
    Ditto on Test Freaks.

    It sure would be nice if Consumer Reports dedicated a month to new and used Hi-Fi equipment -- Much like the issue on new and used cars. It might establish some sort of baseline that we could all go on for future purchases.
    Consumer Reports is simply awful for that kind of stuff. For a washer or coffee pot sure they do a decent review job. But to review audio equipment, NO WAY. This hobby is way too subjective and there are far too many variables for someone who is not a hobbiest (like the people who review stuff at CR) to be valid in any way shape or form.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Consumer Reports is simply awful for that kind of stuff. For a washer or coffee pot sure they do a decent review job. But to review audio equipment, NO WAY. This hobby is way too subjective and there are far too many variables for someone who is not a hobbiest (like the people who review stuff at CR) to be valid in any way shape or form.

    H9
    +1......CNET has always been pretty helpful on certain low cost items.
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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Consumer Reports is simply awful for that kind of stuff. For a washer or coffee pot sure they do a decent review job. But to review audio equipment, NO WAY. This hobby is way too subjective and there are far too many variables for someone who is not a hobbiest (like the people who review stuff at CR) to be valid in any way shape or form.

    H9
    Totally get where you're coming from, but here's a friendly response: Aren't cars just as subjective as audio equipment? Ex: preferences in steering, suspension, "ride," and interior layout of a car....Chevy vs Ford (trucks especially).

    You're right, I don't know too many hobbiest that review cars for a living, but there sure are a lot of experts from their respected fields that conduct these tests. Maybe I'm completely wrong on this next statement, but I highly doubt the group of guys reviewing a coffee pot, are also the same group of guys reviewing the new Challenger. I'm sure CR is competent enough to implement some sort of compartmentalization in respect to their standards of testing.

    I understand that audio/video has way too many variables (types of components, speaker cable, interconnects, power conditioners, sound treatments, room dimensions, furnishing, etc...) that negatively of positively effect synergy.

    I'd go on, but this is way too long, and probably way off topic.

    Food for thought (at least).

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    Believe about 1/3 of what you read. The pro magazine reviews are unobjective sellouts for the most part (except for JGH, rest his sole). For some reason, I've come to trust about 1/2 of what Arthur Salvatore has to say, but even he tends to be close minded at times. Sometimes you can find some really useful discussion in the forums of all places ;)
    Here, Audiokarma, Audiogon, AudioCircle. AudioAsylum seems to be less useful.

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    Yea, you unfortunately make a great point, Bill.

    +1 on finding useful information in forums like Polk.

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    +1 also on helpful information from the very knowledgeable audiophiles here at CP. Bill,you are talking about Julian right? If so, I always enjoyed his reviews over the years.

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    It appears to me that consumers leave reviews if they are really happy with a product or really unhapppy. Very few in between reviews. I use audioreview.com as a very general guide. If the product I'm researching has all five star reviews than it's a good bet that product is pretty good. However, many times there will be a few very low ratings in with the five stars. These may be a setup issue, a singularity, a jaded consumer. A perfect example in our little world is SDA's; not everyone likes the dimensional array sound. Most love it and would likely give almost any SDA a five star rating, but a few may give them very low ratings because they don't like the sound or they have a blown driver and don't know it etc.

    Long story short, use "consumer" ratings only as a very general guide. Most professional ratings are tainted because of advertising, gifts, etc, however they are usually a great way to get technical details on a piece of equipment. In the end it's your ears on your setup that will be the best review. Enjoy.

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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by heiney9 View Post
    Consumer Reports is simply awful for that kind of stuff. For a washer or coffee pot sure they do a decent review job. But to review audio equipment, NO WAY. This hobby is way too subjective and there are far too many variables for someone who is not a hobbiest (like the people who review stuff at CR) to be valid in any way shape or form.

    H9


    I think frequency with which products have to be returned or taken somewhere for repairs would be a good measure. Even assuming a number of "Problem" products are operator error or some other non-product issue that should equalize out across product lines...just as it might for cameras or computers....but then you could see the percentage of a given line of products that has to be returned...hell, we could do our own poll by brand....

    for quite awhile, I stayed away from NAD because places like Spearit Sound had so many refurbished units....maybe the number just seemed high because they dealt in them...

    I've also been curious about products for which there seems to be a high volume of turnover as seen on a site like Audiogon (like the Rotel RMB-1075), but that could also just indicate how many were sold.

    Occasionally, I also have seen a pattern in consumer complaints about audio products across a variety of sites....various buyers all dealing with the same issue....this has led me to stay away from some products...

  16. #16

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    I ask Club Polk....
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeilGabriel View Post
    I think frequency with which products have to be returned or taken somewhere for repairs would be a good measure. Even assuming a number of "Problem" products are operator error or some other non-product issue that should equalize out across product lines...just as it might for cameras or computers....but then you could see the percentage of a given line of products that has to be returned...hell, we could do our own poll by brand....
    Well, talking with Al Ballard at Polkfest he says Polk has 30% return rate at on-line retailers, so if we go by that according to your feelings no one here should buy Polk. :)

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilGabriel View Post
    I've also been curious about products for which there seems to be a high volume of turnover as seen on a site like Audiogon (like the Rotel RMB-1075), but that could also just indicate how many were sold.
    IMO, not really a great indicator because great pieces like Pass, Belles, NAD, BAT, Parasound, Cambridge, etc are FS all the time. There are many audiophiles here on CP who simply like to own as many pieces as possible and flip stuff on a regular basis. Especially on Audiogon, there are people like that. Also keep in mind beyond Ebay, Audiogon is the ONLY place to sell higher end gear on-line, so you get a lot of gear FS in one place...........that skews the stats heavily.

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilGabriel View Post
    Occasionally, I also have seen a pattern in consumer complaints about audio products across a variety of sites....various buyers all dealing with the same issue....this has led me to stay away from some products...
    This is true, but not a deal breaker for me. If it's an established, reputable manufacturer, they can have bad days too.

    H9
    Last edited by heiney9; 10-07-2010 at 09:41 AM.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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