Written by 6:40 pm High End Audio

A “Good” Review

What is a good review? It means different things depending on who you are and what your relationship to the product under review might be. Steven Stone believes that good review should be about information…

AR-review1.jpegWhen I write the words “a good review” what do you think of?
For manufacturers a good review is one that’s positive and effusive with praise
for their product. Conversely, a “bad review” would be one full of negative
comments and opinions about a component’s value.

Obviously for a consumer a good review should mean something
different. In fact a manufacturer’s concept of a bad review may be exactly what
some consumers would consider a good review! Seems that consumers and
manufacturers are not quite on the same team.

But what, as a reviewer, what do I consider a good or a bad
review? I’m glad I asked that question…

For me a good review is one that accurately describes the
features and technical advantages of a product, as well as why a manufacturer
claims it is superior to its competition. A good review should lay out a
reviewer’s sonic and ergonomic experience with the product so that the reader
can decide whether that product is appropriate for their needs.

Whether a reviewer likes or dislikes a product for their own
use is largely irrelevant. I also think that any one reviewer’s take on a
component’s relative value in the marketplace should be discounted as well. Only
after several reviews from different sources can you really begin to get a fix
on a product’s place relative to it’s primary competition.

A reviewer’s personal opinion of a component’s innate sonic
goodness is only really useful within the context of their entire signal chain
– if you have similar gear, you can expect similar sonic results. If you have
different gear a review supplies fuel for some sonic extrapolation, but the
accuracy of this depends on the reader’s technical skill and their deciphering

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