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What Hi-Fi's Amp Reviews: A Basket of Unmeasurables?

Zensō

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What Hi-Fi’s primary purpose is to provide affirmation to those who are unsure about spending lots of money on products that are untested. In that sense they are working for their advertisers, not their readers, which makes their ”reviews” nothing more than thinly veiled marketing.

As for the flowery adjectives in the list, they are utterly meaningless without corresponding measurements.
 

fpitas

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Without delving into What Hi-Fi’s motives, I have to think that only a tiny portion of their readers would know what to do with measurements.
 

Zensō

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Without delving into What Hi-Fi’s motives, I have to think that only a tiny portion of their readers would know what to do with measurements.
Agreed. And I would venture that if they started providing measurements a significant number of their advertisers would drop them like a hot potato.
 

fpitas

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Agreed. And I would venture that if they started providing measurements a significant number of their advertisers would drop them like a hot potato.
Cynical! Perhaps true, though.
 

Ron Texas

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What Hi-Fi is kind of the antithesis of ASR.
 

fpitas

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it's a clown show, some readers like that


why do you insist that no CONSUMERS can understand measurements?

Everyone here is a CONSUMER, a tiny few are also DESIGNERS, of audio gear.

And you've had two years hear to get a sense of what measurements mean.
Amir made a tutorial video too, as I recall.
 

krabapple

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Martin Colloms (one time tech reviewer, consultant and audio guru in certain quarters) coined that phrase...

PLEASE don't tar the rest of us with that accusation - thank you!

But it is a homonym of 'prat', a very British word indeed, and one that made me wonder if Collums was having a laugh with his 'coinage' of PRaT.

But having read his stuff, it seemed not. Which makes him a bit of a prat.
 
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Zensō

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Cynical! Perhaps true, though.
I can’t deny it. There was a time before the internet when some print publications served their readers because subscriptions provided the bulk of their revenue. These days, with free content being the norm, the equation has flipped and in most cases advertisers now primarily pay the bills. Publications have to protect this ad revenue, which naturally introduces bias into their reviews.
 

DSJR

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But it is a homonym of 'prat', a very British word indeed, and one that made me wonder if Collums was having a laugh with his 'coinage' of PRaT.

But having read his stuff, it seemed not. Which makes him a bit of a prat.
We usually typed it as 'pr@t' or 'pr@t factor' to save insults... Best not say more about said reviewer/consultant though, but it took a few years in the 80's and 90's for me to read through his prose to what perhaps he really meant...
 

fpitas

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But it is a homonym of 'prat', a very British word indeed, and one that made me wonder if Collums was having a laugh with his 'coinage' of PRaT.

But having read his stuff, it seemed not. Which makes him a bit of a prat.
His was one of the few books I simply threw away.
 

Digby

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interestingly, prattle means:

to talk in a silly way or like a child for a long time about things that are not important or without saying anything important
 

ta240

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why do you insist that no CONSUMERS can understand measurements?

Everyone here is a CONSUMER, a tiny few are also DESIGNERS, of audio gear.

And you've had two years here to get a sense of what measurements mean.
Because, it is fun thinking of oneself as part of a unique group that understands things better than others. Knowing or thinking you know things that most others don't is one of the most popular pastimes today.
 

ta240

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It gets very weird when conclusions and commentaries on measurements state that the issue being analysed is not in the audible domain (!?).
I do find it a bit funny when one side raves about measured differences that are inaudible and the other raves about untested differences that are also inaudible and both mock the other.
 

Overseas

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why do you insist that no CONSUMERS can understand measurements?

Everyone here is a CONSUMER, a tiny few are also DESIGNERS, of audio gear.

And you've had two years here to get a sense of what measurements mean.
A guy that understands technical stuff is TECHNICAL, not consummer.
And I did not know I am under pressure here for the last 2 years. It gets funny so go on.

Even funnier the OP becoming every minute.
 

robwpdx

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I said listening, not measuring, not objective, not blind. What Hi-F describes their listening process here.

I am not looking for anyone here to endorse that process.

I am asking whether these amp characteristics can have any objective basis, or are they all the result of fertile imaginations.
Amplifiers of today, and since about the mid 1960s vary little. If you terminate the input and have no signal, you will have some variation in mains hum and broadband noise.

There is a slight variation in overload which should never be present. It will be similar in character across groups of amplifier topologies, including the negative feedback topology.

Theoretically you could build a pure resistance attenuating network between the amp and the speaker that would present about the same original speaker load while diverting power from the speaker, then listen to the amp near overload through the speaker. That would be like listening to the knee of @amirm's distortion verses power graph. The idea would be to listen in steady state to what would only be found in peaks where there is not enough power for the speaker. But today in mastering the peak to average is very controlled because you never want to hit full scale on your A to D converter.

They would be more credible if each reviewer had an ongoing log of live music they are listening to with details. They could list their reference recordings often discussed here. The other problem is the deterioration of hearing in the reviewers with age. Their "reference equipment" except the ATC studio monitors show a bias for cost and snake oil. Using the same listening room is good. Adding blind A-B testing would be a good idea.

From the early HP distortion meters and their famous oscillator, work by Brüel & Kjær, and Tektronix - birthing Audio Precision, test equipment was the realm of engineers.

These review companies are a business, not science or engineering.

TL : DR Bollocks, complete rubbish for electronics.
 
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krabapple

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A guy that understands technical stuff is TECHNICAL, not consummer.

So by your definition, a consummer [sic] can only ever be someone either too lazy or too willfully ignorant to educate themselves.

Perhaps you're right. Entire businesses depend on consummers!

And I did not know I am under pressure here for the last 2 years. It gets funny so go on.

Even funnier the OP becoming every minute.

Don't be modest, you're already funnier than that.
 

JeremyFife

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A guy that understands technical stuff is TECHNICAL, not consummer.
And I did not know I am under pressure here for the last 2 years. It gets funny so go on.

Even funnier the OP becoming every minute.
It's really not about that

I'm not technical.
However I can easily tell from the comments of the technical people here that, for example, expensive cables do not (cannot) affect the sound of my hi-fi.

WHF are still recommending that consumers spend 10-15% of their total system budget on cables. To be fair, they do seem to have stopped recommending mains cables and the really expensive stuff ... perhaps there's hope.

That's not "unprofessional language" it's just misleading and plain wrong
 

Killingbeans

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A guy that understands technical stuff is TECHNICAL, not consummer.

"Consumers" buy sound bars and soda can sized bluetooth speakers. Sometimes a JBL Partybox.

Self proclaimed audiophiles are enthusiasts who go the extra mile, or at least that's the idea. Some level of "technical stuff" should be expected.

Even if you don't understand any of it, you don't get far without the help of those who do. Problem is that charlatans who spew pseudoscientific nonsense have become the go-to "experts" when people seek technical advice. Not only that, but those who consult with caution and healthy scepticism are being shunned as "non-believers".

Gaining just enough knowledge to reliably identify when people are giving you solid advice and aren't simply trying to plant a fairy tale in your mind, is probably one of the biggest favours you can do for yourself.
 
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