Truth in speaker reviews

March 28, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

13 comments on “Truth in speaker reviews”

  1. Reviewers are mandatory for those who have learned to strictly follow authorities and refuse to become experts for themselves. Authority bias is most powerful here. Unless you do not listen in an anechoic chamber you cannot objectively judge the “sound of a speaker”. A speaker always interacts with the room acoustics (room modes and multiple reflections from walls, floor, ceiling and furniture. In this sense only headphones have a specific sound. The electronics driving a speaker or headphones should be as neutral and accurate as possible. Strange enough there are many audiophiles who prefer the inherent distortions of vacuum tube gear and horn loudspeakers. Obviously quite contrary to the goals of the mixing engineer!

  2. Truth? I think you may not always find that, but in any case I absolutely love any audio product reviews both written and visual. And like the Paul’s of the world I end up learning so much. In any case there will always be truth sayers and nay sayers. Having full autonomy to decide the what is what is a beautiful thing.

  3. Best is to find a reviewer who has tastes like you do. But second best is to get to know another reviewer and learn his tastes and how they differ from yours. You can often interpret what the second style of reviewer means relative to your tastes. It takes a while but many of the reviewers write a lot of reviews and you can get to know them, especially if you get a chance to hear speakers he has reviewed.

  4. This links to Paul’s post on evaluations. Everybody wants reassurance in our decisions (potential ones or those already committed)which is an understandable human urge but one that can never be fully delivered. At the end of the day you have to commit one way or the other and live with the results – it’s called responsibility of life.
    Having said that we now live in a world where we can can search for and get many reviews on just about anything-the trick now being that with ‘fake’ everything sorting wheat from non-wheat is often a bit more of a task in many areas, IMO hi fi not so much if you go to trusted sources with a long history.i.e. seek a pedigree (and always, always read measurements).
    Comments here about personal tastes, rooms and listener’s ears etc I find are correct in my mileage. After many years I now know what I’m looking (listening) for and have developed an ability to ignore hype, emotion and glib sales talk, no matter the platform.
    Getting back to my first statement, know yourself, do your research, wear your big-pants, step off the cliff and own it.

      1. Ha – good question!
        Currently have 6m runs of 12 gauge, (it’s complicated – speaker and amp placement over room aesthetics-acceptance-factor) Bunnings sourced silver silicon by a Chinese brand (Acoustics something or other). I run them under floor as the amps are off to the side in an L shaped room and dearest beloved won’t let me rip up carpet – the good side to this is that because I string them from beams and wedged pieces of wood I also get reverse-cable lifters thanks to gravity. I honestly feel it’s good enough right now (may change if the cables dull or tarnish or silicon melts into puddles -it will also mean more underfloor yoga pretzel crawling).
        Over the years I’ve used: cheap 18 gauge speaker wire, electrical cable of various types, car audio cable and thick car audio power cable. I’ve borrowed really expensive stuff (Van den Hull something or other from a Brisbane mate who ran it from 1990s era Aussie ME amps to Duntech Sovereigns – vertically bi-amped to my AR9s fed by 2 NAD 2200 power amps, now that was wow!)
        I had been using Kimber 8VS for more recent years (mislaid somewhere in our move from QLD), dragged out the even older Kimber 8PR I used before that and hated it on the new gear -open but really brittle. That may be or maybe not due to capacitance issues over a 6m run with a braided cable, dunno. With COVID and lack of dealers I recently borrowed some QED silver somethings from a friend who uses it with large Maggies and Sanders Magtech amps – on my system I found little meaningful difference to the current Chinese stuff so posted them back.
        To answer why I initially bought Kimber was because a Brisbane dealer had (once many moons ago) a huge range of cables and I spent many a hour listening to different types – could also take some home to demo. I liked what I heard. Played with DIY ‘cos I’m a bloke who fiddles with things.
        The biggest difference I’ve heard to my system in years and years hasn’t been the cables but the addition of the M33 -stunning. The cables are a curiosity and too hard to do right now, but if I find that solid core you mentioned, I’ll surely give them a go, yoga crawling and all 🙂

        1. oh, and I’ve used Monster cable as well – early 1980s I think. Large JBLs, Sansui amps, Dual turntables. I think Dark Side of The moon sounded fantastic, but I don’t really know, I was really drunk at the time.

  5. The most fascinating and maybe, somewhat disturbing question of all in the hi end audiophile hobby!!

    We cling to people who have similar ideas and/or opinions, of course. Lets not forget MUSIC TASTE in this discussion, as many, many reviewers use program source material that is totally worthless in reviewing loudspeakers! ( and that does not bother MOST people because MOST or many people use or enjoy the same source material. )

    This, of course, does not mean that the music used is CORRECTLY recorded to evaluate a loudspeaker. But then again— do these reviewers want to hear how CLOSE to “accurate” the design may be — OR NOT??? (My post)

    Room acoustics are arguably 75% of what a reviewers ultimate conclusions will in his evaluation of a loudspeaker design.

    So the question goes on— and our in home listening experience and personal subjectivity will hopefully bring each audiophile to his foremost satisfaction!

  6. If all of their bookshelf and floor standing speakers are being reviewed in the same room at least we get an idea of which speaker sounds better in their room. It’s not about whether the speaker will sound as good in my room or not, it’s up to me to get it to sound good in my room. It’s more about comparing all of the speakers they review against each other in the same room. As long as they are all being reviewed in the same room both the reviewer and I can get an idea of which one is better or the differences in the way they sound. Two speakers can sound different and both still be great speakers. It comes down to my tastes and what I’m willing or not willing to trade off. As long as associated equipment to review the speakers are top notch it doesn’t matter so much to me what associated equipment is used.

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