Credibility of "Professional" Speaker Reviews dealt a Death Blow - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 166 Old 08-08-2019, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Credibility of "Professional" Speaker Reviews dealt a Blow??

I'm on a Tekton Facebook group. This review came up with a lot of comments.
This "professional" reviewer named Ron did one review of the Tekton Impact Mondel (approx $2,000/pr) months ago, then came back and finished his review just a couple days ago...
Find it here


Around the 3:30 mark things get weird.

I'm sum it up:

-Reviewers paid by Manufacturers it appears
-Bad/Neutral reviews probably mean manufacturers didnt pay reviewer or speakers really bad
-Very good reviews mean manufacturers paid the reviewer very well

For me, I will NOT put any credibility to a professional review.

My trusted source moving forward, will be from everyday guys like us who buy/review speakers and write the experience in forums like AVSforum. The more of us that can review a certain brand/model of speakers of our opinions the better we can be informed.

Set up #1 Speakers LR: Tekton Enzo XL ; Center: Tekton Pendragon Subs (2) 2019 JTR 118HTs
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post #2 of 166 Old 08-08-2019, 09:34 PM
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I was gonna say, you missed the earlier thread Mike.

But you have a summary! Props to you.
@gajCA is this the recap you were requesting?
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Leave it at 8 ohms and call it a day :)
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post #3 of 166 Old 08-08-2019, 09:35 PM
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I agree %100

I will not subscribe to new record day anymore.

I almost donated to his patreon.

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post #4 of 166 Old 08-08-2019, 11:13 PM
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I've always been very skeptical of speaker/audio reviews in general. Would trust a sum total perception of anecdotal non-pro reviews from longtime members of enthusiast forums over them any day. (Shill reviewers do pop up from time to time, unfortunately.)

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #5 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 04:13 AM
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Trust data, not people.
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post #6 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 06:16 AM
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Thanks for posting. That was fascinating! Those emails from Eric - wow!!! I want to point out a couple things though. In the first email Eric said he's never been asked to have to pay for a review before and was surprised that he was asked.

Also, although this was a paid review, Ron made very clear the upper midrange issue and the cabinet resonances. So I'm not quite following your summary Mike. Unless you're implying that Tekton did not pay Ron well enough so hence the negatives in the review. I don't believe that. This seemed like an honest paid review. Am I missing something?

Zero Fidelity has a video titled Hi-Fi Reviewers can you trust them. It's pretty interesting. He talks about professional reviewers, publications, forum reviews, and youtube reviewers. At about 8:35 he discusses forum reviews and says that numerous manufacturers took note years ago of how influential forum reviews were and this led to many people being shills and on the take in forums, particularly one unmentioned forum. I assume it's AVS.

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post #7 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 06:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmittyJS View Post
Trust data, not people.


Data is true as long as you understand and trust how it was produced, and understand what may have been omitted (on purpose or not). Sometimes we are presented with the results of a flawed experiment, or statistics from a less than random set. At times, we just don’t understand statistics, despite our strong belief that we do. That’s equally true for producers and consumers of the data.


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post #8 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 06:31 AM
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I learned years ago to never trust reviews from people who received payment, the item for free, or (web pages) who receive advertising money from manufacturers for the products they're reviewing. I trust the hobbyists who take the time to post impressions on forums, such as this one.
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post #9 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by viorel View Post
Data is true as long as you understand and trust how it was produced, and understand what may have been omitted (on purpose or not). Sometimes we are presented with the results of a flawed experiment, or statistics from a less than random set. At times, we just don’t understand statistics, despite our strong belief that we do. That’s equally true for producers and consumers of the data.
So true.

I'd add that we should all be on guard against any claims of 100% certainty and "objectivity"...much better to approach things from a fluid, agnostic "probable/improbable" lens than a rigid "true/false" one.

Nowadays people apply the same naive, dog-like faith to "science" that they used to apply to institutionalized religion.

Basically, a very regressive and infantile hunger for the affirmation and security of paternalistic authority.

Not only with regards to this hobby, but in the much larger scheme of things.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #10 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by djp2k7 View Post
Thanks for posting. That was fascinating! Those emails from Eric - wow!!! I want to point out a couple things though. In the first email Eric said he's never been asked to have to pay for a review before and was surprised that he was asked.

Also, although this was a paid review, Ron made very clear the upper midrange issue and the cabinet resonances. So I'm not quite following your summary Mike. Unless you're implying that Tekton did not pay Ron well enough so hence the negatives in the review. I don't believe that. This seemed like an honest paid review. Am I missing something?

Zero Fidelity has a video titled Hi-Fi Reviewers can you trust them. It's pretty interesting. Linked below
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r_ny7jC5aQ
I began watching it until he warned that this was an adult video with adult language, so if you don't like it then leave. I obliged him. I am not sure when adult became synonymous with foul. Maybe I am just getting old, but being an adult and professional language were always synonymous in my book. Apparently, that has changed.

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post #11 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 07:15 AM
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First most important most if not all “professional reviewers” have day jobs that are NOT related to AV.

Next they get to keep great gear for months.

Last if they like it they can buy often for 65-70% off MSRP.

I am not saying this is the standard for all. In the past I have met with a few that have magazine following as well as discussed the “necessity “ of having reviews with manufacturers.

Both sides offer interesting insight...

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post #12 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by djp2k7 View Post
Thanks for posting. That was fascinating! Those emails from Eric - wow!!! I want to point out a couple things though. In the first email Eric said he's never been asked to have to pay for a review before and was surprised that he was asked.

Also, although this was a paid review, Ron made very clear the upper midrange issue and the cabinet resonances. So I'm not quite following your summary Mike. Unless you're implying that Tekton did not pay Ron well enough so hence the negatives in the review. I don't believe that. This seemed like an honest paid review. Am I missing something?

Zero Fidelity has a video titled Hi-Fi Reviewers can you trust them. It's pretty interesting. He talks about professional reviewers, publications, forum reviews, and youtube reviewers. At about 8:35 he discusses forum reviews and says that numerous manufacturers took note years ago of how influential forum reviews were and this led to many people being shills and on the take in forums, particularly one unmentioned forum. I assume it's AVS.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r_ny7jC5aQ
My summary wasn't really mean to deal with the findings of the speakers- what was good, what was bad- rather to focus on the paid/not paid status of reviewers. Also, on FB Tekton group chat, Eric posted some things additional about this Ron guy. I don't know who to believe other than the fact, money was somehow involved and Ron may/may not have been completely paid. I don't know seems like a drama that should've been worked out by both not brought into the open.

Set up #1 Speakers LR: Tekton Enzo XL ; Center: Tekton Pendragon Subs (2) 2019 JTR 118HTs
Set up #2 : QA3020i LR, Center: Emotiva C1 Subs (2) HSU VTF2 MK5,

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post #13 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viorel View Post
Data is true as long as you understand and trust how it was produced, and understand what may have been omitted (on purpose or not). Sometimes we are presented with the results of a flawed experiment, or statistics from a less than random set. At times, we just don’t understand statistics, despite our strong belief that we do. That’s equally true for producers and consumers of the data.
As Mark Twain said (which he attributed to Benjamin Disraeli), "There are 3 kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

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post #14 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by djp2k7 View Post
Thanks for posting. That was fascinating! Those emails from Eric - wow!!! I want to point out a couple things though. In the first email Eric said he's never been asked to have to pay for a review before and was surprised that he was asked.

Also, although this was a paid review, Ron made very clear the upper midrange issue and the cabinet resonances. So I'm not quite following your summary Mike. Unless you're implying that Tekton did not pay Ron well enough so hence the negatives in the review. I don't believe that. This seemed like an honest paid review. Am I missing something?

Zero Fidelity has a video titled Hi-Fi Reviewers can you trust them. It's pretty interesting. He talks about professional reviewers, publications, forum reviews, and youtube reviewers. At about 8:35 he discusses forum reviews and says that numerous manufacturers took note years ago of how influential forum reviews were and this led to many people being shills and on the take in forums, particularly one unmentioned forum. I assume it's AVS.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r_ny7jC5aQ
yeah , this guy(zero fidelity) doesn't suck , he seems to be a true "hobbyist" with decent motives.. i like his vids.... edit: my personal take on the reviewer's video.. that guy is a mess.. i wouldn't believe his reviews.. i've seen a few of his reviews before and a take him as a less credible darker more messed up version of zeos.. to me at least zeos is fun..
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post #15 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Russdawg1 View Post
I was gonna say, you missed the earlier thread Mike.

But you have a summary! Props to you.
@gajCA is this the recap you were requesting?
It seems there was a lot more drama than in Mike's brief summary.

I have a hard time believing WhatHiFi wasn't paid the proper amount when they panned the KLH Albanys!

There lukewarm review was actually kind!

Looks like I'm going to have to watch the whole darned video as it entertained Rich Craig of Selah and Dennis Murphy of Salk.

I doubt those guys paid for their pro reviews.
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post #16 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 10:08 AM
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always seems to be drama surrounding Tekton
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post #17 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 10:09 AM
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Subjective reviews are always going to be worthless unless they're comparing the speaker to other well regarded speakers in a somewhat scientifically controlled manner, ie level matched, A/B back and forth quickly, preferably blind.
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post #18 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 10:11 AM
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Trust your own ears. That is all ...

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.
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post #19 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 10:24 AM
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Properly presented data DOESN'T lie. Now, improperly corrected data sure can! We need to know the methods of collection of data and we need to know the equipment/space used to collect data. And we need to know the credibility of the reviewer, which is the tough...
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post #20 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 10:43 AM
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If we cease trusting all professional reviewers because of a few rotten apples then we should apply the same logic to other groups such as amateur reviewers on forums. It's well known that some amateur forum reviewers are actually social influencers who shill for certain products in return for being paid off with free products they get to keep, so the rotten apples logic applies here as well. But of course many of us are intelligent enough to be able to sort out the less credible in every group and not lump everyone together as guilty by group association. So, nothing really new here. It all falls under the old category of caveat emptor and taking the time to educate oneself on being an informed consumer.
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post #21 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by HarleyRider View Post
As Mark Twain said (which he attributed to Benjamin Disraeli), "There are 3 kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
statistics these days are *mostly* cherry picked to favor a pre ordained outcome.. i blame political based media for the the propensity but this phenomenon has been going on for a while(as witness to the 19th century quote) ...

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post #22 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
If we cease trusting all professional reviewers because of a few rotten apples then we should apply the same logic to other groups such as amateur reviewers on forums. It's well known that some amateur forum reviewers are actually social influencers who shill for certain products in return for being paid off with free products they get to keep, so the rotten apples logic applies here as well. But of course many of us are intelligent enough to be able to sort out the less credible in every group and not lump everyone together as guilty by group association. So, nothing really new here. It all falls under the old category of caveat emptor and taking the time to educate oneself on being an informed consumer.
this is a true analogy.. well said..

YAMAHA TSR 5790.. front l/r emotiva b1's and /or kef q100's ..BIC v1220.....Emotiva basx10.... ascend cbm 170 center.. polk t15 rears..samsung 55" j620d
bedroom .. YAMAHA r-xv 383... front l/r.. wharfedale 10.1s... ascend cbm 170 center ... Emotiva basx8... samsung ku6300 50 in
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post #23 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 11:28 AM
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As far as I'm concerned, my main use of the reviewer is to bring something new to my attention, which gives me a direction of exploration, whether it has peaked my interest or just for fun. Whether its a paid puff piece or a legit review, at least now my eyes and maybe ears, have landed on it. So, he has my thanks for his efforts. Then perhaps, if it's speakers, I will find a place to have a listen in house. With other gear, get it home maybe, and test it out.

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post #24 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 11:28 AM
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Forum reviews are mostly useful to check possible reliability problems anyway (not counting DIY stuff, of course).
and "normal" reviews are mostly useful for overview of features, size, colour, maybe some measurements.
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post #25 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 11:38 AM
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Random thoughts...

I try not to worry too much about the credibility thing. People are right to be skeptical of just about anything but...

First... yeah, always seems to be some drama around Tekton. Could be because the company publishes some audacious claims about the performance of its speakers.

OK, so just some thoughts...

1. An established professional reviewer probably already has a system they like. Hoarding gear or getting steep discounts is not a realistic motivator.

2. I get paid a salary, not per review. But I can see how for a freelancer, a larger paycheck could be a motivator to "sweeten" a review. But in the end, ethics are what matter.

3. If you give negative reviews often, not only will the supply of review gear dry up (you'd have to be monumentally naive to believe otherwise). But it also implies either that you can't pick decent gear to begin with, or that you actually enjoy listening to bad sound for a living. I don't fit into either category.

4. Some of the best, most liked brands advertise here. Am I really supposed to turn down SVS Sound when a new sub comes out? Or Paradigm? That's just not gonna work. I pity the for-profit enterprise that has such a policy, I presume they all went bankrupt long ago.

5. Regarding industry accommodation pricing, consider the following: Once a review is done, that gear is no longer new. It's used and has to be sold as open box. The packaging takes a beating. Furthermore there is a cost involved in shipping it back, which with speakers can be considerable. So yes, companies offer a discount to the reviewer since that's the shortest path to solving the "what to do with these used speakers" issue.

6. As for keeping gear for months... It's funny but sometimes I do keep gear for months... in a box! Mostly because I'm busy with other reviews. Sometimes because it takes a while just to get return labels. But another school of thought is that you really do need time to get to know a product, you don't necessarily want to base a review on first/early impressions.

7. Influencers are a whole different situation. But I will tell you this, if I had a million followers on YouTube and the income that kind of audience can generate, I would in fact quit my day job. Alas, I don't think I'm cute or funny enough.

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post #26 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by madhuski View Post
always seems to be drama surrounding Tekton
+1

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post #27 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
So true.

I'd add that we should all be on guard against any claims of 100% certainty and "objectivity"...much better to approach things from a fluid, agnostic "probable/improbable" lens than a rigid "true/false" one.

Nowadays people apply the same naive, dog-like faith to "science" that they used to apply to institutionalized religion.

Basically, a very regressive and infantile hunger for the affirmation and security of paternalistic authority.

Not only with regards to this hobby, but in the much larger scheme of things.
that brings up an interesting scenario.. when is science "not" science .. the world was flat now we know better.. although some people aren't quite up to date with that..witness duke "alum" kyrie irving... tonsils left in? .. or taken out?.. so science does change .. truth, as we know from politics is a very elusive quantity..everything seems to be opinion based these days.. what's my point ?.. i wish a had a direct point , rather than just a random observation...
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post #28 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
Random thoughts...

I try not to worry too much about the credibility thing. People are right to be skeptical of just about anything but...

First... yeah, always seems to be some drama around Tekton. Could be because the company publishes some audacious claims about the performance of its speakers.

OK, so just some thoughts...

1. An established professional reviewer probably already has a system they like. Hoarding gear or getting steep discounts is not a realistic motivator.

2. I get paid a salary, not per review. But I can see how for a freelancer, a larger paycheck could be a motivator to "sweeten" a review. But in the end, ethics are what matter.

3. If you give negative reviews often, not only will the supply of review gear dry up (you'd have to be monumentally naive to believe otherwise). But it also implies either that you can't pick decent gear to begin with, or that you actually enjoy listening to bad sound for a living. I don't fit into either category.

4. Some of the best, most liked brands advertise here. Am I really supposed to turn down SVS Sound when a new sub comes out? Or Paradigm? That's just not gonna work. I pity the for-profit enterprise that has such a policy, I presume they all went bankrupt long ago.

5. Regarding industry accommodation pricing, consider the following: Once a review is done, that gear is no longer new. It's used and has to be sold as open box. The packaging takes a beating. Furthermore there is a cost involved in shipping it back, which with speakers can be considerable. So yes, companies offer a discount to the reviewer since that's the shortest path to solving the "what to do with these used speakers" issue.

6. As for keeping gear for months... It's funny but sometimes I do keep gear for months... in a box! Mostly because I'm busy with other reviews. Sometimes because it takes a while just to get return labels. But another school of thought is that you really do need time to get to know a product, you don't necessarily want to base a review on first/early impressions.

7. Influencers are a whole different situation. But I will tell you this, if I had a million followers on YouTube and the income that kind of audience can generate, I would in fact quite my day job. Alas, I don't think I'm cute or funny enough.
Yes indeed Mark--for some reason Drama + Tekton = Love
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Set up #1 Speakers LR: Tekton Enzo XL ; Center: Tekton Pendragon Subs (2) 2019 JTR 118HTs
Set up #2 : QA3020i LR, Center: Emotiva C1 Subs (2) HSU VTF2 MK5,
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post #29 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 12:21 PM
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The old saying about strength in numbers has merit, so when multiple credible forum members verify what multiple credible professional reviewers have stated about a specific product it tends to make consumers have more confidence in that product. Of course marketers also know this simple fact and may try to use devious means to create a credible image, so it's helpful for informed consumers to be able to spot subtle differences in credibility between genuine buzz and hype.

Shopping can be more difficult for early implementers because when you can't resist buying a new product that hasn't been thoroughly vetted you're taking a bigger risk. That's also the case for more obscure products that generate few professional reviews and user comments. Some people are more risk tolerant than others.
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post #30 of 166 Old 08-09-2019, 01:03 PM
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All reviews, whether here, on youtube, or some audio magazine, should be looked at with a critical eye. All reviewers are subject to their own personal biases, the room they test in, perhaps even their mood on a particular day. If you follow a reviewer over time, you will understand their biases, and whether your tastes coincide. What they don't say can be just as important as what they do say. Even if somebody is being paid to do a review, they still have to maintain some level of credibility with their audience. If they outright lie, then they quickly lose their credibility and their audience. So, read between the lines for the real scoop!

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.
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