There has been a lot posted on the Axpona thread about reviewers opinions on the gear and their opinions so here is a spot for us to post discuss who we feel represents audio components and give honest and accurate reviews. I read Stereophile, Absolute Sound, and many forum members post. I watch some of Darko’s videos and enjoy Hans I don’t want mess up his last name but you know who I’m talking about. Be nice and post away.
I may be dipping in the kool aid but I like New Record Day, Steve Guttenberg, Thomas & Stereo, and Steve Huff. But I ain’t lying’. If I find a review on something that doesn’t have a lot I’ll digest it and probably bite on it a bit. But I’ve not bought anything based on a single review. I have to develop some trust as well as find reviews coalescing around some conclusion.
I like OCD Mikey, who perfectly describes my tastes in hifi gear. I also think he’s a straight shooter, and an honest person about all things hifi. Also like Steve Guttenberg, and Thomas and Stereo.
I won’t name names to avoid exploding egos, but there are 5 or 6 people here on the forums I trust emphatically. There is too much Google to dissect. On YouTube, there are John Darko, Audio Excellence Canada, PS Audio and a couple of others. The YouTube is mostly for the philosophical aspects, as most recently I’ve been looking at 70% vinyl channels and I haven’t owned wax in 25 years. Now, of course, the analog guy in me is brewing.
Hans Beekhuyzen on YT seems like a straight-up no-nonsense guy for digital equipment
I like Guttenberg, Darko and Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity, in particular; but I will read any and all reviews on something I am interested in.
Secrets usually does a nice job blending measurements and subjective listening, as does Stereophile. Guttenberg is kind of an everyman’s reviewer and generally seems to enjoy the hobby. His YouTube stuff is always informative:
Here is a great aggregator of Hi-Fi reviews and stuff if you want to hit the buffet from time to time:
I do, indeed, stop by on an almost daily basis.
I tend to do a lot of research before making almost any fairly large purchase and that includes stereo gear.
I do a few google searches and pick out 10 or 15 reviews or recommendations from that search and then keep eliminating pieces from the possible choices based on a few key options.
I like Guttenberg, Hans B., Stereophile, TAS, Darko, Thomas, NRD, and a few others just for good averaging but I get the best feel for a component from the members here and highly value their judgement.
I also tend to stray away from mainstream or commodity level pieces. I like to buy from smaller “boutique” builders as I feel like they better serve the mid-fi and higher market. It is always nice to be able to speak to the person building your gear to get a final “good feeling” or not.
I specifically eliminate choices from communist countries unless there are no other options.
I will add that I have not purchased a piece of stereo gear from a retail shop for 20 years or more.
Same here. I gather as much information as possible, and filter it based on gut instincts, and how much I trust the reviewer, and how closely his priorities and tastes mesh with mine.
Ultimately though, I need to listen to said product in my own system before pulling the trigger, although I have made a few sight on heard purchases in the past, based on gut instinct and research alone. Lucky they panned out.
Sort of my stance. I’ll gather info but I have a salt shaker handy. My ears are what I would best use.
I find Guttenberg to be the most entertaining and reliable. He is often critical, pointing out disappointments.
Darko is entertaining and intelligent.
I read the magazines but I don’t know why; everything they “review” can’t be great. I almost never read the “Al-level” equipment reviews.
Seems I look at all the above resources
Of value to me are my hobby peers experiences…
I read Stereophile and TAS regularly, but it’s rare I use their reviews as a guide, since they’re nearly universally about gear I could never afford. But there’s still stuff to learn in those reviews, and in their other content as well, including their music reportage which I find very useful. If I’m interested in a particular piece of gear, I’ll pull up everything I can find on it via the web, and make my own judgments about the veracity and trustworthiness of what appears. If I can be said to have a bias, like others here it’s in favor of Guttenberg and Darko, and to a slightly lesser extent New Record Day. And I still mourn the loss of Art Dudley, very much.
Plus 1 for Art Dudley
One reviewer on YouTube I’ve enjoyed who also goes to the effort of creating the additional sound demo’s for much of the gear he reviews is Terry Ellis, Pursuit Perfect System.
This short client HiFi vid is tastefully done.
Regarding on line reviewers in no particular order I enjoy John Darko, Steve Guttenberg, Dagogo, and Positive Feedback. Regarding print media, Stereophile and HiFi News, with TAS to a lesser degree. As for Stereophile, Herb Reichert’s anaylsis and descriptions can be a little hard to relate to.
I recently picked up TAS at the local B&N and was surprised as to how much it has changed. Admittedly I have been away from print media for a long time. The reviews seem rather generic, and seem to spend a lot of ink on manufacturer’s build, specifications and innovations typically available directly from the manufacturer. I agree with others, Steve Guttenberg is an everyman’s reviewer, and though can be a bit wordy is honest in his opinions. Hans is a new name to be, and based on other’s recommendations I’ll investigate.
I too miss Listener magazine and Art Dudley. Other reviewer’s I miss for various reasons, Harry Pearson, J. Gordon Holt, Wes Phillips, Fred Kaplan, Robert E. Greene, and the fellow who advised the US State Department on Middle Eastern Affairs (his name escapes me at the moment).
I’ll mention a couple of head scratchers, SixMoons, which for me seems rather obtuse (Srajan Ebaen), and I believe they are manufacturer paid for reviews, YouTubes Mikey Powell, I’ve talked to him on the phone and felt best for me to move on. His videos did crack me up, but now I have better things to do. Jay’s Audio Lab, early on when he posted on AudioGon I thought he was sincere if a bit naive, but fun all the same. Having seen a recent YouTube of his I think he may be tied a little too closely with SunCoast Audio and possibly other dealers.
Regarding reviews available in various media, it is an entertainment for me, not a basis for a purchase. In person demo’s may set the hook and an in home demo seals the deal.
One that I like and hasn’t been mentioned is:
Audiophile Junkie on YouTube
I recently checked out his Axpona 2022 “best of” and thought he had a tendency to go “off topic”. Is there a review of his that you could share that stands out as one of his :“best”.
I’ll add Part-time Audiophile and Twittering Machines.
I have been following Mr. Lavorgna since his Stereophile e-mag days – forget the name of the gig he had over there at the moment. I just know I was very glad to see him do his own thing, with Twittering Machines. He and Mr. Darko are cut from a similar cloth and I appreciate their writing styles and sensibilities.