Reviewers are everywhere, and I mean everywhere. If you can think of a hobby there is someone out there reviewing stuff for it. We are clearly no different. Audio reviewers are an interesting breed aren’t we? It’s not the easiest task to review something so subjective. I had wrote about cars for a while many years ago and that was straight forward. It was easy to replicate numbers, tests and you name it. Audio is harder to write about, especially subjectively. I love the challenge though, as well I love audio, so lets take a look into the world of audio reviewers.
Are Audio Reviewers Trustworthy?
Like anything you read, consider the source. There are those of us who want to present honest reviews of products and there are those that want money. Most of us want both to be honest, after all life isn’t free. For me it is easy to be more honest, the Hifi Chicken doesn’t put food on my table. I have a day job, I am the Auto-Cad drafting department head for my company. That is actually what my schooling is in, audio is just a passion and has been for almost 2 decades, so for me this is all about passion. If i make a couple bucks awesome, but for me that is not what is most important.
There are often claims on the internet and in person that you will never see a bad review for a product. The reasoning behind this for many people is that we get paid for good reviews. I am not sure how other sites operate but we do not get paid. Though I would be lying if I said we didn’t get to borrow or keep some amazing stuff for the purpose of review. We try to do giveaways with anything we don’t have to give back though. We want to share the love. I do not let getting free stuff interfere with my opinions though. To put it simply, if a company does not like the result of a review then they are free to discontinue our partnership. We have no contracts on either end, and we intend to keep it that way. That is not to say some day we won’t have paid advertisement, but will not have paid reviews.
So What About Those Bad Reviews
Sure one reason you don’t see bad reviews is because people are paid to do them. The majority though is a different reason. Most of us just have no interest in reviewing bad products. If someone sends me a 5 dollar pair of headphones I probably just wouldn’t bother much with a review. I may make a small post thanking them and letting people know hey if you need cheap headphones they exist. Ultimately it’s not worth the time to write a quality article on something that is the opposite of quality. These articles do take quite a bit of time to type up, not even accounting for actually testing the product out. One thing I always try to do though is find the good in a product but also list it’s limitations. Take a pair of entry level bookshelf speakers. They may not be great, but they may be pretty decent. However it would be a bit out of hand to say they are better or worse than they really are. No matter how amazing a pair of bookshelf speakers are, they are just not made for huge rooms, and just the opposite for floor standing rooms. That is am example of how we try to handle reviews, let you know what to expect from a product. Essentially what we try to convey is who a product is best for. No matter the price or quality there is a buyer somewhere right?
Do audio reviews have value then?
They do, but you need to take a review and use it as a tool. None of us are the end all be all for how good something is. It is a consumer tool you have available. If you are looking for a new turntable but don’t know where to start, reading some reviews may help you narrow your choices down. We always list the price, specs and our thoughts on a table. You can use that information to hone in on a couple of options in your budget. Then when you go to the store now you have a more educated mindset on what you want out of it and who can deliver that the best. Your next tool though is your own ears. Try out everything you are now considering, listen as much as you can. Also most audio shops will set up a system for you to audition in store. Give them a call, explain what you have and what you want to try out. They may not be able to recreate your exact system at home but they can often enough get it very close. You will have a pretty good idea of what that turntable will sound like now. Most companies also offer some type of in home trial risk free. I highly recommend you take advantage of that when ever possible. So again if you use a review as a tool in your path to choosing a new product they are very useful. If you simply read that I love my LP7 turntable and go buy one expecting the same results from an otherwise different system it may be disappointing.
What to Take Away From All This
I think the main thing to take away from this is that most of us want to help others. We want people to feel confident that the information we provide is to the best of our ability fair and truthful. Ultimately we can only be so truthful when describing something so subjective, by that I mean what I hear may not be what you hear. It doesn’t mean either of us are lying, it just means we experience a truth differently. This is not as clear cut as reviewing something like a computer processor, where the numbers are the same for everyone who buys it (not including the slight differences in silicon). The same pair of speakers will sound different in every room, but we still try our best to describe what they sound like in our rooms. We then try to describe our room setup so you can hopefully draw parallels to your own system. So remember when you read our reviews or anyone else’s to take into account the amount of variables at play. Also check for disclaimers about the review if they are offered. Is the reviewer being paid, or otherwise. We have started adding them to ours so you know how we got the product. We feel this helps us stay transparent and honest. We truly hope that our reviews are helpful and insightful. Let us know what you think.