Who or what do you trust the most for useful information about audio products?

Who or what do you trust the most for useful information about audio products?
Professional reviewers
18% (46 votes)
Internet newsgroups
2% (6 votes)
Audio journals
6% (14 votes)
Sales people
0% (1 vote)
Service Technicians
0% (1 vote)
Manufacturers' Web sites
0% (0 votes)
3% (7 votes)
Mail-order operators
0% (1 vote)
0% (1 vote)
My ears
69% (172 votes)
Total votes: 249

Other people usually have experiences or insights that we lack, and their opinions can be extremely useful when we make our own decisions. This is especially true when it comes to forking over big bucks for new equipment. Below is a list of expert sources. When you are considering a purchase, which do you find most reliable?

Werner Ogiers's picture

My ears, a few friends, and a few acquaintances. Magazine reviewers? No, not really. With the exception of a few . . .

Ladd Bodem's picture

I am the one and only expert on my opinion. I may use newsgroups, journals, friends, etc. as data points, but in the end, it's my ears that make the final judgment.

Steve Robinson's picture

Hearing is believing! Although I will read article about a particular component or speakers I never believe the hype until I can sit down and listen. Forget about what the saleman has to say and trust your ears.

John Napier's picture

Professional reviewers---but they can't always be relied on!

eugen's picture

The ears is the reason for purchase and those to trust.

Geff Ratcheson's picture

i'm somewhat frustrated that the 2 stereophile reviewers who seemed to hear music & eqipment similarly to me (CG & RH)are no longer with you.

Jeremy Karpenske's picture

I find that Sam Tellig and I have similar tastes in sound, so I make my "Must Audition" list after reading his column.

Rusli Ash's picture

It is always a tremendous pressure that one's hifi components should be well reviewed in the major magazines. At the very least, there should not be any adverse comments, because one's mind then starts the painful process of component rejection. To avoid heartache and dejection I would audition only those components that have received rave reviews. But my ears will always be the final arbiter in the choice I make.

Ken So's picture

Actually, all the above. But in the end it's my music taste, my money and what I hear and not somebody elses except maybe my wife's.

E.  Lin's picture

In the end, it is, after all, up to you!

G.  Strausser's picture

If you're waiting for a reviewer, editor, or Recommended Components list to validate a purchase, you'll never be happy. Always trust your ears!

John K.  Howell's picture

I always trust my ears first, but a good relationship with an educated (and like-minded) audio dealer/sales person is always helpful.

David L.  Cocker's picture

Though a particular audio component may have identifiable sonic traits, this does not preclude that it will be a unimous "like" or "dislike" attribute. For instance, what one listener discerns to be added detail, another will discount as "steely" treble, or even distortion. Audio and music are so peculiarly subjective that one must trust one's ears first.

Michael Relland's picture

I like to read colorful descriptions of the sounds as married to the equipment I see being reviewed. But this is like learning to read only by hearing. When I finally get a chance to HEAR FOR MYSELF, all (O.K., most) of my theoretical ponderings become questionable. I then curse Wes Phillips (love-hate, Wes) and begin again.

C.Speirs's picture

It really depend's on the individual as far as friends reviewers sales people, newsgroups especially like soundstage where everyone contribute you get much more information about the topic's involved. then again if you have a friend who is a professional reviewer, you have it made...someone who know's a great deal and you can trust.

Norbert Schmied's picture

The only way to tell if something works for you in your system is to listen to it. It really doesn't matter how good a review any piece got if it doesn't work in your system.

dave.mcduff@entrust.com's picture

Although favourable reviews may get you into the store, most audiophiles will only trust their ears before acutually purchasing.

Al T's picture

Professional rerviewers and your local dealer is a great start. But I would not buy a thing util I can hear it in my own home for at least a few days. Compare with your own ears is the best way.

Brian Boehler's picture

I wish you had allowed us to choose two choices and rank them in order of preference. I always trust my ears and what I hear above all other sources of information. I also appreciate the time and effort that many of Stereophile's writers put into attempting to describe what they hear in a product. I have found that I agree with some writers more than others. My assumption is that we hear things in the sound that have roughly equal importance to our enjoyment of the music. I appreciate what professional reviewers do to help further our understanding and appreciation of music and the equipment that brings it to us. Keep up the good work!

Richard Horan's picture

Despite the influence reviewers, journals and sales people may have, I trust my own instincts before shelling out money. But I do need to compare first before I trust my final judgment.

Anonymous's picture

Really it is a combination of the above. One can pick up a lot of information from web sites and the newsgroups and combine that with the professional reviews to give them a starting point. From there you can talk to your local salespeople. But in the end it comes down to what sounds best to you, not to someone else listening to different music in a different system, in a different room from your own. I do believe that in this day of access to so many sources, that reliance upon professional reviews is diminishing. At one time, they were the only game in town for many of us. Dana B.

james's picture

If it's not already, then it should be understood by everyone that the final arbiters are the ears. At least for those capable of thinking for themselves.

Karl Richichi U.T.  Media's picture

Professional reviewers..They see and play with ALL the new stuff every day. No one else does at their level really...

Carl's picture

PT BARNUM is alive and well in HI-FI

RAJ DIABLO's picture


Paul Randazzo's picture

professional reviewers get us in the ballpark, then I trust my ears

Andrew Oltman's picture

I generally tend to trust the professional reviewers, but have found a tendency on their part to avoid saying anything bad about anyone's product. If they say they noticed that it "lifted a veil," it might be snakeoil. If they go absolutely rabid over how good it was, it probably has something to offer.

a.l.'s picture

sales people can be helpful, but often they tend to sell you the best product for your needs according to what they will profit on the most and what they have in stock.

Anonymous's picture

Reviewers usually provide a concise point of view that can be used as a reference point for purchases. This point of view might prove erroneous to one's ears, or, a right-on recommendation that shuts down all cognitive dissonance. Either way, the reviewers point of view serves as a hinge for the correct decision.

SKOSRO@aol's picture

Objective reviewers like "Stereophile" and :Guide to Home Theater." I don't think I've ever seen "Audio" or "Stereo Review" seriously criticize a product. Sales people and mail-order would be at the bottom. I find that with a little research I know as much as the salesperson, and they're paid on a commission and they're going to push what they sell. Manufacturers' web sites help distinguish features of different models. Advertising helps catch the eye. I do enjoy different comments on the internet. My ears at my house. In summary, your reviews and my pocketbook help me make my decisions.