How much do you rely on others for audio advice? Please tell us who you listen to.

How much do you rely on others for audio advice? Please tell us who you listen to.
I rely heavily on others
11% (15 votes)
I seek a moderate amount of advice
48% (66 votes)
Just a little help
26% (36 votes)
Very rarely do I seek advice
12% (17 votes)
I never ask for advice
2% (3 votes)
Total votes: 137

Audio experts can come in all shapes and sizes: a great dealer, an audiophile friend or relative, an audio consultant---even a magazine writer. How much do you value their opinions?

Norm Strong's picture

Just because one asks for advice doesn't mean one has to take it. I seek all the help I can get, and appreciate it when it arrives.

John Crossett's picture

In a perfect world, I wouldn't have to ask anyone's help. I don't live in a perfect world, however, so I have no problems asking for some advice. And it doesn't matter if it's my dealer, a friend, or from a high-end (note, I specify high-end) magazine writer. I haven't and won't get to listen to everything out there, so advice on what might work for me is more than appreciated. But keep in mind that it is ONLY advice, not gospel. I take it, use it, but don't follow blindly. I let my ears make any final decisions.

Valerijus's picture

The best advisors for me are the audio magazines, especially Stereophile, sometimes WHat Hi Fi?

Nikolaj Hermann's picture

Primarely magazines

Jim Thomas's picture

I do a lot of research, which includes Stereophile and other rags. Dealers tend to be to biased toward brands they sell.

Neil Zasman, South Africa's picture

I have my own ears, which I trust. After all, I will be the one having to listen to the system.

Ken Kirkpatrick's picture

I only trust my ears. I ask about company history or product reliability, but I choose gear that sounds right to my ears. I do not care what others think sounds best. Except my wife!

Paul A.  Basinski's picture

A more complicated issue than you think. Simple answer is: "Trust your own ears, Luke." But that's facile. With thousands of products out there, a little help in sorting the wheat from the chaff is essential. Hence, I rarely trust a salesperson, unless I have a decent and long-standing relationship with them. They get paid to move gear, and even the best can give you a bum steer. Family are helpful only if they are into the audiophile world as well. (So when's the last time you sat around with Dad and talked about the sampling-rates war?) What about the critics in the mags like Stereophile, TAS, etc.? Good question. They too have a vested interest in the industry, and frankly, positive reviews of equipment far outweigh the crappers. Basically, then, I use the reviewers as a window on a world of hi-fi I haven't access to. If I don't wholly value their opinions, I at least respect the fact that they can get at the equipment and give me a sense of where I should head for purchases. The rest is up to those pointy Vulcan-like appendages attached to my head!

Ren's picture

I read lots fo mags;but all I bought so far I did because I like the way it sound.Finding the components on the recommended list has been a bonus

RAC's picture

I query many folks, experts and not.

HD Audio's picture

No matter who the "expert" is, he, she, or it is limited by their exposure and experiences in esoteric audio. The key is to remember that it is advice and not truth that is disseminated.

Joe Hartmann's picture

I look for direction from audio publications. Like film reviews, they are a direction to what might be of interest. My ears do the rest. I attend enough live music each year that I know what I am after. We are still far from the live experience, but my system brings music I would never hear into my room.

Richard Horan's picture

It's good to get advice on where to start looking and then narrow the choises with my own ears.

Carlos T.  Martinez's picture

If I seek advice, it's usually from the manufacturer's rep. I used to sell Audio and video products at The Federated Group(when they were in business) and at Ken Crane's. Electronics is my hobby. I've built Dyna kits, and more recently my own pre-amp.

Jean-Luc's picture

I do not value the opinion of a dealer or audio consultant much. They are going to recommend you to buy whatever they sell! They sell Yamaha: Yamaha is the best. Also I remember a high end dealer in Chicago who was telling me that the Pass Aleph 0 was better than the Aleph 5 because it had three gain stage, instead of two only for the 5! They'll tell you anything! An other high end dealer here was telling me that his pair of used Apogee Studio was $20,000 new and he was selling them for $10,000 only. No problem to service them through Apogee! (Apogee was out of business and the firm who had bought the brand had said several months earlier that they would not service Apogee speakers anymore). And on , and on , and on. Can you trust an audio magazine? More, up to a certain point. You can trust The Absolute Sound. J. Valin. H. Pearson. They'll tell you their mind about a piece of hardware. I don't know about Stereophile. I heard stories of payback between reviewers and hardware companies (Dunlavy). It's common practice in Japan. Velodyne cancelled all adds when they had a bad review for a new pair of speakers(by J-10 I believe). Now they have systematic good reviews. They are back advertising like crazy!'s picture

Generally, anything written by T.J. Norton is excellent advice. Nothing but honest and sensible information (also fun to read).

John Carlson's picture

I am always open to the advice of others, since it may give me a good idea. But, ultimately, only one opinion matters: Mine. After all, I'm the one who has to live with the system. Then, too, different people have different opinions--sometimes VERY different--as to what is great and what is lousy.

Mike Reynolds's picture

I read the equipment reviews in Stereophile and other magazines and I talk to friends, but ultimately I trust my own judgment. I haven't made too many mistakes, but I usually approach a purchase pretty well prepared.

Anonymous's picture

I was a stereo novice before I met Chris at, he tought me alot about hi-fi. -Joel

nils lord's picture

people who know can be extreamly helpful in puting things in perspective. USE THE EXPERTS!!!!! referably all of them.

Tim Chisholm's picture

Such large amounts should never be spent without knowing all the facts.

Richard Cheong's picture

There is only so much that one man can do. So I always rely on my audio-freak friends to give me advice on new equipment purchases and/or tweaks.

Zafar Iqbal.'s picture

I do really respect other's openion as music is a very deep subject.Nobody can claim that he knows every thin about Music. So do I.That's why one should respect other's openion if it "sounds" good.

Dave Carpe's picture

I find more people seek my advice than vice versa. I have been involved in audio for many years and I find that there are many more people who claim to know about audio than actually do. I restrict my seeking of advice to a select few who have demonstrated knowledge in audio and who hear the same types of things I hear.

A.  Lungu's picture

I tend to trust the reviewers more than the audio dealers.

Frank Garbie's picture

There are no acceptable excuses for failure to stop learning. Age, income, status, title, and responsibility are sometimes accepted as reasons that more learning is unnecessary. None are legitimate reasons. To hear the opinion of what a great dealer like Brooks Berdan has to say, or a great magazine writer like Sam Tellig, is an extraodinary audio consultation experience. Many knowledgeable sources of information are out there for the asking. By reading and listening to the many experts we can at least hope that we are channeled toward the things that count, such as reliability of product, its quality, as well as the taste imparted to it by the designer. Not all of us can afford to experience the things we would like to own. The audiophile friend, relative, dealer, consultant, or magazine writer provides a glimpse of their experiences for us to ponder.Their opinions are important and are valuble, even if you disagree.

Nick Fulford's picture

Mostly because my gear is custom or highly modified, I seek advice from designers on a regular basis. Whether it is power-supply design or soldering those pesky surface-mount chips, good advice is welcome. I have also welcomed input with respect to acoustics (since I am also in the middle of building a music room from the ground up).

dcline's picture

In the Yellow page add's the caption was "Let your fingers do the walking". I was trying to come up with something similar but along the lines of "Let your ears do the listening" or maybe "let your friends do the talking but your ears the listening" Maybe there is some other phrasing, but I guess you get the point. I value your opinions for the subscription price I pay you, for which I feel I get a pretty good return! I especially value reviews of music and equipment that is awkward to audition. For music after a couple of "reccomended" buys either panning out or getting tossed out, I value future reviews by the reviewer.(or not). Your equipment reviews I value only as a direction to go and listen to. Generally you do not seem to review products that you would have to pan which is either a good idea in that you keep your reviewers on good quality equipment but sometimes a pain when "my" device never gets a reveiw. It is however, always nice when something you have bought after the usual protracted audiophile selection process gets a subsequent positive review.

S.  Bradford's picture

I have a great local dealer: Atlantic Stereo.

Patrick Blond's picture

Heed advice if people know what they're talking about - Federico Cribiore! - Can I get a copy of that Coltrane DAT?