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Are There Too Many Audiophile Reviewers?

The audiophile community is an extremely passionate and dedicated group of individuals who seek to acquire the best audio reproduction and equipment available. They value high-quality sound reproduction and take great pride in their audio setups. With an ever-growing number of audiophile reviewers, it's easy to get overwhelmed and it's becoming increasingly difficult to discern true expertise from mere opinion. Audiophile reviewing has become highly competitive in recent years, as the sheer number of people devoted to reviewing audio equipment is staggering. But are there simply too many audiophile reviewers out there?

My honest opinion is that it depends on your perspective.

Having multiple voices assessing different pieces of audio gear can be beneficial to potential buyers who are looking for more reliable reviews that assess sound quality objectively and subjectively. However, this increases competition in the market and can lead to inflated prices and poor-quality products due to intense hype surrounding certain models or releases. This also increases competition among reviewers and can lead to poor quality as they push hype over context.

On the other hand, it's not necessarily a bad thing to have an abundance of passionate individuals discussing their favorite hobby and sharing valuable insights with others. In fact, many believe that having so many audiophile channels helps promote innovation among manufacturers and encourages better customer service from vendors. Although having a lot of voices is beneficial for getting the most comprehensive opinion possible, there comes a point where it becomes excessive and redundant - diminishing the quality of each review.

In my experience, I have seen that the mark of truly great reviews lies not in the sheer quantity, but rather the depth and insight into their subject matter. Unfamiliar words and creative sentence structure help to capture a reviewer's passion and create something memorable and valuable. So, although more reviewers can be beneficial, if they're all saying essentially the same thing, it's probably time to take a step back.

Ultimately, I think whether or not we have "too many" audiophile reviewers is subjective; what matters most is that they continue to uphold rigorous standards and take responsibility for accuracy when evaluating products.

In my opinion, it is clear that there are too many audiophile reviewers currently in the audiophile community. The reality is that we have too many people attempting to provide audio critiques without sufficient knowledge or practice - a situation made more complicated by an excess use of audiophile jargon without true understanding. This has led to a decrease in the quality of reviews and has created a situation where it is difficult to distinguish between reliable and unreliable reviews. Additionally, the influx of new reviewers, forums, servers and websites has made it difficult to find reliable information on audio equipment. While these reviewers and sites can be useful for audiophiles and enthusiasts to gain knowledge and share experiences, they can also be a source of misinformation. This is because many of the posts and reviews are from individuals who may lack the same level of expertise as more experienced reviewers. As a result, the information they provide is not as reliable or accurate, and this has a negative impact on the audiophile community. A lot of these reviewer channels and sites are an example of the blind leading the blind or in the case of audiophila, deaf leading the deaf. Also, a lot of the reviewer channels and sites produce a toxic dog eat dog world and there can only be one top dog, their favorite reviewer.

As a viewer it is important to understand the reviewers. As a reviewer it is important to educate the viewers about your experience, knowledge so they can determine how well you comprehend and explain. This helps both in the long term with discernment of audio gear. and in the short term grows experience, knowledge and comprehension. Audiophile reviewers are individuals who are expected to have a certain level of knowledge and experience in the field of audio. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. While some audiophile reviewers can provide valuable insight and useful information, many lack the experience, knowledge, comprehension, and discernment to make their reviews truly meaningful and reliable.

Audio reviewers often lack experience, as it can be difficult to maintain an audio system that offers a consistent level of performance and quality. Many reviewers lack a reference setup that includes a DAC, amplifier, headphones and IEM that they can depend on and compare against anything they are reviewing; a lot of reviewers depend on what they have in on loan instead of investing in a true reference system within their budget. A lot of reviewers have limited listening experience when they first start out. Some lack listening experience even with long reviewing careers. They lack experience of hearing multiple systems and gear of varying budget ranges. Their experience of participating with live music as a performer or as sound technician is limited. They have small music libraries that focus on a few favorite genres and artists. They haven't invested in expanding their reference gear and music library. This effects their expectations and impressions of gear. as it can lead to single-mindedness and bias. Which leads to reviews that reflect the preferences of the reviewer, rather than the actual audio quality of the product. As a result, they may not be able to fully evaluate a product to it's fullest abilities.

In addition to lacking experience, many audiophile reviewers lack knowledge. Understanding the technical aspects of audio can be challenging and often requires a certain degree of technical expertise to fully comprehend. Unfortunately, many audiophile reviewers lack this type of knowledge, leading them to make uninformed judgments or draw faulty conclusions about a product’s performance. There isn't a set standard test to be a reviewer but a basic knowledge of do and don't is recommended. Reviewers should know what instruments and vocals sound like in a live setting along with how gear connects and works on the most basic of levels. Knowledge isn't gained merely by research but also by experience. Book smarts and street smarts are both vital when it comes to an audio review.

Moreover, audiophile reviewers often lack comprehension. While they may have a general understanding of what makes good audio sound good, they may lack the ability to effectively describe the nuances and subtle details of a sound system. A lot of reviewers are unable to decipher what their ears are hearing so they depend on graphs and measurements to tell them. Also, a lot of reviewers lack audio comprehension so they turn to a fellow reviewer to tell them what they hear and then turn around and parrot those opinions in their own review. A lot of reviewers admit that they can't hear differences in audio gear. As a result, their reviews lack the detail and specificity necessary to really understand the audio quality of a product. Furthermore, they are not able to accurately convey the differences between various audio components, making it difficult for potential buyers to determine which are the best for their needs. If the reviewer lacks the knowledge in a particular area when reviewing then they should reveal that to the viewer instead of pushing narratives that are inaccurate and misleading. Honesty is the best policy!

Finally, audiophile reviewers often lack discernment. This means that they may not be able to accurately distinguish between good audio and bad audio. Since audio quality is subjective, it can be difficult for an audiophile to determine what is a good sound and what is a bad one. As mentioned earlier, a lot of reviewers admittedly can't hear differences in gear. Furthermore, they may be swayed by their own biases or preferences, leading to reviews that may not reflect the actual audio quality of a product.

In conclusion, audiophile reviewers often lack experience, knowledge, comprehension, and discernment. As a result, their reviews may not accurately reflect the audio quality of a product, and potential buyers may not be able to make the best decisions when purchasing audio equipment. To ensure the accuracy and reliability of an audiophile’s reviews, it is important that they have a strong understanding of audio technology, a wide variety of audio gear, and the ability to distinguish between good audio and bad audio.

Make sure as a viewer to subscribe to ethical reviewers with appropriate backgrounds that make them experts rather than random enthusiasts who aren't capable and are just making a channel because it is the cool thing do and the easy way to get gear. Having subs and just pumping out videos doesn't make one capable, they are in an untrained bubble where they never learn. Be careful of reviewers collective decisions, it's just the blind leading the blind sometimes, more often than not.

Reviewers motivated to get videos out for the hype are not for good content or accuracy in sonic impressions. Making a channel when one has heard a handful of products makes no sense. Subscribers and manufacturers support doesn't make one an expert.

If you are considering getting in to reviewing or are reviewing, ask yourself why? What is driving you to review? If the driving force is something other than to give an honest, experienced, knowledgeable, comprehensive and discerning opinion, should you be reviewing?

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1 Comment

May 14

I think the real problem with audiophile reviews remains the steadfast refusal to participate in blind testing. I am primarily a guitarist and you see the sorts of blind tests done in the Anderton videos. Almost no one in audiophile circles dares to run similar blind tests. I wonder why.

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