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#434007 - 10/27/19 10:54 AM Who reviews the reviewers in the Audio Industry?
craigsub Online   content
connoisseur

Registered: 12/15/03
Posts: 1903
The sub title could be: Why doesn't Axiom get more press?

The audio review world is its own industry. Getting a class "A" rating from Stereophile requires a LOT of money being spent in advertising. Let's look at two speaker reviews in the last few years: The Bryston Middle T - currently $6870 per pair vs. the Vandersteen Quatro Wood CT which currently sells for $15,500 per pair.

Stereophile's phrasing for the Middle T's was a very reluctant admiration.

Excerpts ... "My initial impression of the Middle T's sound was of such integrity that it might have been generated by a single driver, even though that was belied by its dynamics and wide frequency range.... the Middle Ts seemed to entirely "disappear" into a wide, deep soundstage....The midrange was equally satisfying. The Sara K. disc demonstrated how the Middle Ts could render a well-recorded voice with a most thrilling, somewhat eerie presence."

The Brystons measured within +/- 3 dB from 28 to 17,000 Hz - where this is a small spike - then flat out passed 20,000 Hz.

By comparison, the Quatros were also +/- 3 dB from 30 to 17,000 Hz, with a small downward spike at 17K with extension also passed 20,000 Hz.

The review process on both speakers takes on a different tone in subtle ways. For example - here is an analysis of the measured sensitivity of the Middle T's ...

""My estimate of the Middle T's voltage sensitivity was 85dB(B)/2.83V/m, significantly lower than the specified 88dB/W/m.""

And the Vandersteen Quatros:

""Vandersteen specifies the Quatro Wood CT's sensitivity as 87dB/2.83V/m. My estimate was 83dB(B)/2.83V/m, which is lower than average but within experimental error of the 83.5dB/2.83V/m I measured for the earlier version of the Wood. ""

Note that a 3 dB difference in the Bryston is "significant", but the 4 dB difference in the Vandersteen is just fine because the older version was also lower in sensitivity.

The moral of the story is Bryston's Middle T, if one reads the wording of the reviewer BEFORE he was reminded that Bryston is not a major advertiser, is that the reviewers need reviewed.

The Middle T performed as well as ANY class "A" speaker did, in both listening tests AND measurements. And that is for Bryston's label - which carries more weight than does Axiom in the "high end world."

The middle T did finally get a "B" rating - for only 2 years, then it was removed for not being auditioned in too long a time period, despite other speakers being on the list for 5 years or longer with no auditions needed.

It is subtle, but one REALLY has to watch for these issues with reviews.

As for Axiom - it is hard to get an honest review of them outside Soundstage Magazine.

What you are hearing with your Axioms - especially V.4 - is a very, VERY well designed speaker. If a lack of review is putting you off, don't let it.

Trust your years.

And if this offended anyone, I apologize.
_________________________
LFR1100 actv, LFR1100, M100, M50, VP180HP, VP150, 3xEP800, M3, EP350, ADA1000-5, ADA1500-4 + 1500-6

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#434009 - 10/27/19 11:49 AM Re: Who reviews the reviewers in the Audio Industry? [Re: craigsub]
Mojo Online   content
axiomite

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 6741
Very good, Craig. Very analytical of you. I wish someone from the inside would do a reveal of how things really work in these publications.

Words are imprecise. Axiom's publication of the listening window and sound power curves should make any prospect think more critically about how they will spend their hard-earned money. I was sold on the active LFRs the moment Ian showed us the curves. Then I decided I gotta have them when he said "We think you'll like the result."

Well, I give all Axioms an honest review but I know I'm just a Mojo. smile
_________________________
M2 coming
A-LFR/1000-8/500v4x2
1000-2,3,1500-3
100,160,QS10x2,800,M5x2,M3,M50 v4
had v2
N2,N3 maybe

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#434012 - 10/27/19 02:23 PM Re: Who reviews the reviewers in the Audio Industry? [Re: craigsub]
brendo Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/14/14
Posts: 514
Loc: West coast Canada
Great thoughts

The first year of the Bryston release I read nothing but rave reviews, every time. Then they just disappeared.

Most publications\reviewers seem to favour more "the companies that send demo pieces as a write off, or keepers" While sadly smaller companies typically cannot afford such luxuries or extreme write-offs. Which in some cases seems to become a major disadvantage to the smaller guys.

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#434014 - 10/27/19 03:17 PM Re: Who reviews the reviewers in the Audio Industry? [Re: craigsub]
Mojo Online   content
axiomite

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 6741
Who is a respected reviewer in audio that we can trust? How do we know?

Phillip Beaudette did a great job on the M5HP review. I agreed with everything he said.


Edited by Mojo (10/27/19 03:22 PM)
_________________________
M2 coming
A-LFR/1000-8/500v4x2
1000-2,3,1500-3
100,160,QS10x2,800,M5x2,M3,M50 v4
had v2
N2,N3 maybe

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#434015 - 10/27/19 06:51 PM Re: Who reviews the reviewers in the Audio Industry? [Re: Mojo]
craigsub Online   content
connoisseur

Registered: 12/15/03
Posts: 1903
Here is a textbook example of what happens in reviews. A few years ago, Sound and Vision did measurements on the EP125 subwoofer. When they did the measurement, they did it with the microphone nearfield to the woofer, giving it a -3 dB response at 46 Hz.

If one looks at Axiom's curve - which is a combined output of ports and woofer, the -3 dB in the traditional +/- curve is about 30 Hz.

When one does a close mic of just the driver in a ported system, one will get a much higher rolloff.

The reviewer HAD to know this, as they did other subs properly - even noting that the response was a combination of the ports and the driver in these other systems.

Mojo - it can be difficult to find a reliable reviewer. The smaller publications tend to be more honest. To be blunt, everything Stereophile and Sound and Vision is ad driven.

It's a business model, and they make lots of money. They are not going to jeopardize this.
_________________________
LFR1100 actv, LFR1100, M100, M50, VP180HP, VP150, 3xEP800, M3, EP350, ADA1000-5, ADA1500-4 + 1500-6

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#434016 - 10/27/19 07:40 PM Re: Who reviews the reviewers in the Audio Industry? [Re: craigsub]
Mojo Online   content
axiomite

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 6741
I don't know enough about these kinds of measurements but 1. he did say it was close-mic'd and 2. it is supposed to be quasi-anechoic after all; maybe he could have gated the measurement. I suppose he could have clarified but that goes for all the speakers he reviewed in that particular article. There are a lot of caveats in these kinds of measurements.

What's really needed for audio is the equivalent of a TUV lab and very stringent and transparent test protocols, equipment methods, checklists and reports. This has to be something the entire industry buys into.

Unfortunately, I've had a lot of trouble with the professionalism of TUV so there's that. Ultimately who can you really trust but your own experience?
_________________________
M2 coming
A-LFR/1000-8/500v4x2
1000-2,3,1500-3
100,160,QS10x2,800,M5x2,M3,M50 v4
had v2
N2,N3 maybe

Top
#434017 - 10/27/19 07:59 PM Re: Who reviews the reviewers in the Audio Industry? [Re: Mojo]
craigsub Online   content
connoisseur

Registered: 12/15/03
Posts: 1903
Mojo - if one close mics a driver in ANY ported system, one will see a sharp rolloff from about 1/3 octave above the tuning point. At the tuning point, the woofer is barely moving, and most of the output is from the port. If one has the mic 0.5 inch from the driver, it is several inches from the port, and the resulting measurement will be what S&V got in that test.

From a look at the response curve, I would guess the tuning point of the EP125 is about 38 Hz.
_________________________
LFR1100 actv, LFR1100, M100, M50, VP180HP, VP150, 3xEP800, M3, EP350, ADA1000-5, ADA1500-4 + 1500-6

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#434018 - 10/27/19 08:06 PM Re: Who reviews the reviewers in the Audio Industry? [Re: craigsub]
Mojo Online   content
axiomite

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 6741
What does ad-driven mean? Does that mean someone from within ensures reviews aren't too hard on those who advertise with the publication? I'd never sign my name to something I didn't say or believe.
_________________________
M2 coming
A-LFR/1000-8/500v4x2
1000-2,3,1500-3
100,160,QS10x2,800,M5x2,M3,M50 v4
had v2
N2,N3 maybe

Top
#434019 - 10/27/19 08:31 PM Re: Who reviews the reviewers in the Audio Industry? [Re: Mojo]
craigsub Online   content
connoisseur

Registered: 12/15/03
Posts: 1903
Mojo - Again, it is subtle. You won't find blatant bias. You will find an astonishing consistency between positive product reviews and advertising from the companies with the positive reviews.
_________________________
LFR1100 actv, LFR1100, M100, M50, VP180HP, VP150, 3xEP800, M3, EP350, ADA1000-5, ADA1500-4 + 1500-6

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#434020 - 10/27/19 08:56 PM Re: Who reviews the reviewers in the Audio Industry? [Re: craigsub]
rrlev Offline
local

Registered: 09/25/09
Posts: 273
Loc: Boston Area
I take "professional" reviews and advice with a lot of skepticism ... this is especially true in the audio and financial industries. Not sure which Industry I'd rank higher on my "dubious and doubtful" scale ... I found that I needed to know as much (if not more) as the people I'm dealing with to know if the information I'm being feed is right.

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