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?

T's picture

I have some magazines I trust. Yours is one of them. But finally it is my own ears that make the decision.

Alan Graham's picture

Come on! If I'm going to fork over the big $$, I'm going to be certain that "I" enjoy it. After all, it is my money. Reviewers, sales people, friends, and newsgroups may make me aware of some product I'm not familiar with, but I'd never buy a product "unheard"...not even with a full money back guarantee. Freight both ways etc is a big hassle......agram@goodnet.com

DJG from Cali's picture

At the end of the day, it's what I hear that matters. I do, however, try to consult a broad range of sources in order to narrow the field of products that I audition. I find that "Stereophile" reviews, discussion with other audiophiles, and the plentiful resources available on the web all contribute to my ability to narrow the field down to a few components that fit my requirements.

Frank Burzik's picture

The ear is the ultimate deal maker when spending the 'big bucks' if your being honest with yourself and your ego!!

Jeff Johannsen's picture

If you are buying gear without listening to it first, you have a big problem. Do not buy gear based on some one else's experiences. Create your own experience and trust your own ears.

Anthony Tam's picture

A combination of professional reviewers' opinions in publications like "Stereophile" narrows down the choices. My own ears do the rest to make the final selection . . .

m.  g.  bennett's picture

What else would any self-respecting a-phile admit to, i mean if one does not trust his/her own hearing, then it is just a wash. other's will endeavor to inform you of what to look for, er; listen for, yet they cannot perceive for us. that alone is our mind's job. it is better not to clutter up that on going process. i am not advocating ignorance of reputable resources, i just think that we should trust ourselves more, esp. when the BIG bucks are involved in a purchase. thanks for the rant space.

Anonymous's picture

I have learned to trust my local salesperson at my favorite hi-end store, but only after about a three year relationship. I do get a lost of info from mags/journals, but I don't usually buy based on their reviews/comments. Mags, including yours, have built-in bias in favor of advertisers. I can't remember the last time I read a leass than glowing review of a product advertised in any mag.

Marco A.  Hern's picture

Sales people suck!!!!

O.  Leminen's picture

Reading audio magazines and talking to sales people are excellent ways to get preliminary information on interesting products, but in the end it all comes down to your own subjective opinion of the quality of the sound. After all, you are the one who has to live with the sound system once you have bought it.

Anonymous's picture

primarily the radio

ted hanchett's picture

When I see more than one opinion about a component, then I try to visit a dealer that can demonstrate such a product. The Pro review just gets me started. I still like the sound out of a Klipsch - Forte. Why does no one at Stereophile seem interested in reviewing them, or are my tastes to juvenile? I did compare a set of Forte's next to B&W 604's. I could tell no difference. The price was close.

Seth Gordon's picture

What I hear is the most important thing. If I like what I hear and then what is wrong with it? It may not be the best but it gets the job done and enables me to enjoy music!

David Morse's picture

My ears are all that matter. Everyone else is trying to promote a product(s).

Dan Rust's picture

I find that specs about watts, frequency response, signal to noise ratio and power handling are the most reliable form of information. If I have these figures, I feel much more confident choosing a quality peice of equipment.

Dixon Lee's picture

Audio journals, of course. Isn't that why we subscribe to Stereophile?

Darren K Price's picture

Since I am the one who is going to listen to the equipment, I should be the one who decides if the equipment is worth the dollars I'm laying down.

James Barretto's picture

other people's advice are good especially from professionals and they make good reference. But the bottom line.. I am the one who will be listening to what I buy, and it won't do me any good if I bought something everyone praises but I can't appreciate.

Eric Bacon's picture

I consider the advice of magazines such as yours in addition to the advice of my favorite store owner, but my ears make the final decision.

Richard Remillard's picture

Reviewers, literature, friends, et al., are good for directing my attention to hot prospects. But, like test-driving a new car, pleasing my own ears in a listening test is the prerequisite to any buying decision.

Curt Simon's picture

Audio journals are useful in helping one narrow one's search to a manageable level. The measurements help me to assess the quality of engineering, and manufacturers' responses help me to assess the likely experience of dealing with them should the need arise. My friend's ears, combined with the shrewdest market sense this side of the Rockies, help me keep the faith that there are bargains to be had, provided one is willing to wait. But in the end, only my ears (well, my wife's ears, too) can decide what is hot and what is not.

Mike Fredericks's picture

I also review newsgroup opinions and contact authors directly for more info.

Roosevelt Kilpatrick, Jr.'s picture

Although my salesman is a great friend of mine, he is just like any other friend. He likes peanut butter and I don't. That doesn't make him wrong, it just states that everyone's taste is different. Especially when it comes to something like audio/visual equipment.

Daniel Thomas's picture

Elliot and Kevin from Acoustic Image in Studio City, CA are great guys! When I ask them about a certain component, all they have to say is, "We like it." And I certainly love my Joule Electra amps. They let me audition the equipment for sometimes two weeks. I like to hang out there on Saturday afternoons. There are always interesting people there. Tom from DCC Records drops by to restock the vinyl, and we compare original pressings to reissues. The shop has become the old country store in the megalopolis, where people drop in and shoot the audiophile breeze.

Simon C-M's picture

I bought my first and current system on how it sounded (Restek CD and amp, Lumley speakers). Couldn't find a review and never thought to ask for a technical spec. It's all about listenig and how you feel in response to the music. The music is "real, alive, exciting." Couldn't be happier. Maybe ignorance is bliss, but then I shouldn't read your magazine if that's true.

Fernando Sosua's picture

I also trust in professional reviewers, but ultimately in my ears and the combinations possible with my system, which is different from others.

Sean Sapone's picture

The Hi-end audio industry is infested with snake oil and lackadaisical reviewers who rarely vendture an incisive critique after its already hit the market for 6 months. What kind of review service is provided for here?

G.C.'s picture

Since stereo equipment is for my enjoyment, what matters is how it sounds to me.

Stephen Schwinn's picture

In addition, audio journals and my ears play a part.

RYAN's picture