Has any audiophile gizmo ever got a bad review?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Mike-48, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. Otlset

    Otlset free-range audiophile

    Location:
    Temecula, CA
    This. I enjoy reading reviews of all sorts, and imagining if only I was able to have something like that and try it out. Yeah, like porn!
     
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  2. Pythonman

    Pythonman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Indiana
    VPI “Bricks”, Tice Clock, Shaakti Stones, Stoplight Pen markers. All incredible things any self suspecting audiophiles should have in their arsenals!!
     
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  3. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    Yes. It was I.
    That is not Stereophile's policy. In fact, reviewers are required to review any products they accept and, in cases where they may seem to be defective, a second sample may be requested. Nonetheless, all is reported.
     
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  4. captwillard

    captwillard Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    And they were dead wrong about the product.
     
  5. Chazro

    Chazro Forum Resident

    Location:
    West Palm Bch, Fl.
    I 'graduated' from Stereo Review & Audio to Stereophile and TAS largely in part due to their willingness to trash product. It was such a refreshing change of pace. Odd to think that the latter 2 are more similar to the 1st 2 these days!

    Another page from this tale is from the opposite end of the spectrum, howzabout when an item is endlessly praised but turned out to be a clunker. Just recently, I was going through my 'spares' closet and came up on some OCOS spkr cable and 4 pairs of FMS Blue IC's. Lemmetellya, back in the day, this stuff got nothing but raves and sold by the truckload. For giggles I threw in the FMS Blues and was horrified! Nasty, flat,.... just wrong. And I came away thinking; "What was all the fuss about back than!?"

    Its one thing if a single trusted reviewer gives a thumbs up on something that turns out to be a clunker. It's suggests something else when you have groups of pro reviewers doing it!
     
  6. mcbrion

    mcbrion Well-Known Member

    Location:
    California
    You guys either have short memories, or you're very young.

    TAS wrote PLENTY of "sorry-it-just-doesn't-sound-like-music-to-me" reviews all the way up until Robert Harley became the Editor in Chief (around 2004).
    HP angered John Curl when he did a survey of preamps back in issues 58-63 (1988-1990) and found Curl's Vendetta Research SCP-2A (along with an Audio Research preamp, no less!) less than musical-sounding, but he elaborated on where the phono stage was successful as well. I could name you 50 reviews like that while barely thinking hard, but they were PRINT reviews, so don't go thinking you'll find them online.
    Stereophile was must less discerning than TAS' writers. I remember the Audible Illusions' Uranus preamp review back around issue 39. I finally stopped my subscription to TAS after 32 years (a couple of years ago) because it had broken aways from 1), The Inter-commentary review process, where the same component was sent to two different reviewers (with different systems), and 2) the "Every-Component-Sounds-At-Least-Decent" (for somebody. Someone else, that is. Not me. Probably for someone who couldn't tell a flute from a piccolo) magazine it turned into.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  7. mcbrion

    mcbrion Well-Known Member

    Location:
    California
    I agree! I still have a VPI Brick, which deflected EM and RFI from the components they're laid upon. And the Shakti Stones! Same principle. I have two of those. I tried the Tice Clock, but couldn't hear the improvements, and the CD Stoplight Pens were reasonably effective.
    You left out the Versa Dynamic Red Rollers (also RFI/EM-reflecting "donuts").
     
  8. mcbrion

    mcbrion Well-Known Member

    Location:
    California
    Baloney. I heard flaws in every component I ever reviewed, but whether it bothered the reader as much as it did me was left up to them. THAT was the "subjective" part. Otherwise, unless there were impedance mismatches or some other reason, the sound of components remained consistent in most of the TAS reviewers systems. And since a few of them were my colleagues, I can tell you these guys - the ones I knew - wrote exactly what they heard. Including ME.
     
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  9. mcbrion

    mcbrion Well-Known Member

    Location:
    California
    TAS didn't TAKE advertising until after issue 20, I think. And HP made MANY enemies, so much so that, in 1993, after he married his boyfriend at his house and made the guy the publisher (a BIG mistake), people turned on the magazine like they never had before. It was pretty bad for him, but then, he'd savaged many components in the earlier years. My jaw was on the floor with how brutal he was about some components. Whew!
    Actually, sometimes he'd praise a component to the skies, but 6 months later, he noticed things that hadn't jumped out at him before. That's why much of the readership - after reading an HP review - jokingly used to say, "I'll buy that in a year...AFTER he's then discarded that component because of some "fatal flaw."
     
  10. NettleBed

    NettleBed Forum Resident

    Location:
    new york city
    I wasn't talking about actual components, just the snake oil.
     
  11. LakeMountain

    LakeMountain Active Member

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Thx for clarifying!

    Perhaps it is simply a fact that most of the gizmos just work, and I mean that seriously! Personally I think that the most value for money can be added by installing the RIGHT gizmo in your chain. For example, I love my power conditioner and my anti-vibration measures on my TT.
     
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  12. johnt23

    johnt23 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon
    If a reviewer swears to give an unbiased review, how can the manufacturer ever be "angered"?



     
  13. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    That's very funny.o_O
     
  14. Mike-48

    Mike-48 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Yes, that what I (the OP) was wondering about -- though I said "gizmos" rather than "snake oil" to avoid prejudgment. I find it remarkable that 95% of these widgets are said to make big improvements in the sound, and very few (in the last 19 yr anyway) are said to make the sound worse.

    And I don't think I've ever seen a reviewer say: "I changed the stock power cord to a $500 one and it made no difference." Perhaps that's the inference I should draw from reviewers who don't change power cords?

    One of these posters probably has it right.

    Have you never had a teacher tell you what they really thought of your efforts?
     
  15. ZenArcher

    ZenArcher Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC
    “All incredible things any self suspecting audiophiles should have in their arsenals!!”

    Possibly /s
     
  16. ZenArcher

    ZenArcher Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC
    These “gizmos” have to yield the highest profit margins in the industry.

    It is difficult to believe that it’s very rare for a gizmo to be found have a negative or nonexistent effect on sound. Seems like just about anything one spends money on will improve the sound.
     
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  17. MusicNBeer

    MusicNBeer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    Audiosciencereview, ask Schiit.
     
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  18. johnt23

    johnt23 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon
    That's very cryptic.

     
  19. eflatminor

    eflatminor Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kalifornia
    In my experience, review platforms tend to not feature negative reviews, I agree. If the component or the gizmo was poorly received, they tend to shelve the review.

    Why they do this is up for debate. One reason may be that the magazines want to let their readers know about good components and gizmos that work...so why waste valuable space, time and money on those that don't.

    Another motivator may be advertising income. If you don't review a manufacturer's offering, he may still place ads with you. A negative review? No way.
     
  20. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    Not really. You said, 'If a reviewer swears to give an unbiased review, how can the manufacturer ever be "angered"?'
    On one hand, is the manufacturer likely to believe that promise?
    On the other, the manufacturer is likely to be "angered," if the review is negative, regardless of the process.
    In a perfect world, your statement would be fine.
     
  21. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    green marker...
     
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  22. MusicNBeer

    MusicNBeer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    Weren't those all positive?:doh:
     
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  23. Jujigatame

    Jujigatame Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    I TOTALLY remember that!!!!
     
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  24. Vinny123

    Vinny123 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    All kinds of cd mats. Have to admit that I have a couple. Interestingly, I have a black rubber mat sold by the same company that sold Ah Tjobe CD players (which I once owned), that does have a bit of a darkening effect. But after it got stuck in a player it got a permanent retirement. CD mats made out of old floppy discs were also a diy option. Mass loading w heavy objects seems to be out of style these days. I’ve enjoyed checking out and reading about all these things over the years.
     
  25. Vinny123

    Vinny123 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    Tube buffers were also generally getting positive reviews.
     

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