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HiFi reviews in general, and 6moons in particular


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Does anyone trust reviews from 6moons?

 

Their terrible website design and sometime impenetrable wording aside, they seem to operate entirely from ad revenue from the very same audio companies they review products from. I realise this is probably how a lot of the hifi industry press works, but it seems more blatant here. And importantly, their reviews seem to embody the problematic aspects of this economic model: in a random sampling of 10 or so recent reviews, I saw that all ended positive, mostly flattering, and often explaining away potential issues and reading more like a sales pitch.

 

I also realise the vast issues with reviewing HiFi gear in general (effects of room, other equipment, subjective experiences etc. etc.), and maybe this is as good as it gets? I do in some ways prefer raw measures of performance, like on Audio Science Review, mixed with random user reports though...that seems a better way to get at the 'truth'.

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All ad-revenue website reviews are worthless if you read the conclusions as they always say the same things. You could rip out a conclusion of a $1000 pair of speakers and apply it to a $10,000 pair a

Oh dear! Not another ASR led objective vs subjective thread which will lead to the usual trolling and inevitable shutting down...

Interestingly, there's been some of that in the past on ASR - many of the reviews are hardly impartial!

Oh dear! Not another ASR led objective vs subjective thread which will lead to the usual trolling and inevitable shutting down...

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28 minutes ago, marlott said:

and often explaining away potential issues 

 

Interestingly, there's been some of that in the past on ASR - many of the reviews are hardly impartial!

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Someone recently posted here after buying an amp based on the excellent ASR reviews it received.

 

Did not end well.

 

Edit: last time I looked at the thread he was now looking for an amp that will sound good in his system.

Edited by muon*
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3 hours ago, marlott said:

they seem to operate entirely from ad revenue from the very same audio companies they review products from.

There’s no “seem” about it. They are quite open about the fact that they are paid (via ad revenue) for reviews 

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All reviews serve a purpose... some more value than others.

 

ASR are technical to measurements... value ? yes ? though not be all and end all...especially if measuring the wrong thing :D I recall one example very recently where maker got in touch and told them they were doing it wrong... not even measuring the right output that most would use for device... turns out amir at ASR corrected the review (to his credit) and declared the item "recommended" after previously consigning it to oblivion.... I would couple ASR reviews if looking at them...with ones that also listen to item... and check out with  a combination of gear... also reviews I see of value are comparative reviews... you dont often see those... because one is going to come off 2nd best ? no one wants their product to come off 2nd best ... non commercial reviews (ie with no commercial links at all) from end users can be help to add some balance in these cases.

 

One person's opinion is always welcome.... as is someone/anyone elses... but most important is your very own opinion  :D

 

To certain amount doesnt even matter if an item was rubbish in a reviewers system... they are entitled to their view and based on their context(music taste, room, system etc)... but if is fantastic to you in your context all that matters :) 

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@marlott,

 

I have read far more condemnation of  the supposed validity of the findings of ASR than I have ever seen said of 6moons.  I find 6moons useful to assist me with forming a position on something.  It is not the absolute go to though.  I could never say that of ASR.

John

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I have bought a single piece of equipment wholly due to the review it received in Six Moons that completely altered my mindset in regards to Hi-Fi in every aspect.

 

Not just in the art of sound reproduction but as a commercial enterprise in all aspects from technology, innovation and  marketing and a kind of weird subversive undermining of its own clientele and spoken in whispers reverence of audiophilia.

 

I came across the review entirely by accident. 

 

It was for the original Sonic Impact T-Amp amplifier. 

 

Blew my mind.

 

 

 

 

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All ad-revenue website reviews are worthless if you read the conclusions as they always say the same things. You could rip out a conclusion of a $1000 pair of speakers and apply it to a $10,000 pair and not tell them apart.

 

However, they're not completely useless. You have to learn how to read them by looking for the hints.

 

"Not the final word in bass" - means pissweak bass

"Tight punchy bass that compensates for lack of lower extension - means no lower extension

"Soft non-fatiguing midrange" - means lacking any midrange detail

"Razor sharp imaging"- means fatiguing midrange or top end

"Dark tonal balance" - means too much bass/not enough treble

"Light tonal balance" - too much treble

and so on.

 

Don't even bother reading the superlatives, they're the superfluous part of the review.

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14 hours ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

There’s no “seem” about it. They are quite open about the fact that they are paid (via ad revenue) for reviews 

here it is

https://6moons.com/audioreviews2/why/why.html

 

So here's the upshot. From mid July 2014 on, our review policy changed from what it was until then. From that point forward manufacturers who want a review from us commit upfront to at least a small one-month toekn ad. Here we're not talking about a full-page print ad for a costly one-time insertion rate. We're talking about a commitment 1/10th of that. Less than monthly health insurance. It's a very small fee. It is a demonstration of professional respect and courtesy for the time we spend to properly listen to gear, then write and publish a review on it. It makes it very easy even for brand-new manufacturers to participate in the process without having any large resources. And, it puts an end to the imbalance that the few carry the many. Put plain, it eliminates the freeloaders.

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1 hour ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

So here's the upshot. From mid July 2014 on, our review policy changed from what it was until then. From that point forward manufacturers who want a review from us commit upfront to at least a small one-month toekn ad. Here we're not talking about a full-page print ad for a costly one-time insertion rate. We're talking about a commitment 1/10th of that. Less than monthly health insurance. It's a very small fee. It is a demonstration of professional respect and courtesy for the time we spend to properly listen to gear, then write and publish a review on it. It makes it very easy even for brand-new manufacturers to participate in the process without having any large resources. And, it puts an end to the imbalance that the few carry the many. Put plain, it eliminates the freeloaders.

"Leave a brown paper bag full of unmarked bill's on the bus seat outside the 6 Moons bar and grill, a friend of ours will be there, don't be late.  Think of it as a down payment or health insurance.  We'll arrange things real nice. Don't disappoint us, put plain, we eliminate freeloaders.:

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1 hour ago, allthumbs said:

"Leave a brown paper bag full of unmarked bill's on the bus seat outside the 6 Moons bar and grill, a friend of ours will be there, don't be late.  Think of it as a down payment or health insurance.  We'll arrange things real nice. Don't disappoint us, put plain, we eliminate freeloaders.:

at least they are upfront about it ..

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I now only use the reviews from HiFi News and Record Review as a 'reliable' opinion on a component, and have done since the mid 80's

Their technical testing of components is probably second to none, and a lesson in consistency , and has always been used side by side with the subjective element of a review.

 

They also tend to tell it as they find it, with some very high priced components getting a less than stella reviews

 

I must admit though a lot of the components they tend to review would be found in most peoples 'Fantasy List' IE: way out of most peoples price range, but a bit of escapism isn't all bad.

 

I have noticed over the last 8 to 10 years that the overall stance of the magazine doesn't favor one type of sound as being ''Çorrect'', where prior to that, a review of say a pair of Kilpsch La Scala horn loaded speakers would have gotten a more tongue in cheek, almost goading type of review, today it gets a a more positive review on the understanding that they wouldn't be the speakers for most people.

 

The reviewers all have their own style and preferences, which you get to learn what they are over continued reading, and quite a bit of their review equipment tends to be hired, or on long term loan, so the thought of a 'Payola' type situation isn't going to happen.

 

I also like the fact they don't tend to review items that some would say fall into the Snakeoil category, like ridiculously priced power cables and equipment stands [Unlike HiFi+ which seem to have a different one every issue, and surprise surprise you can usually win one of those reviewed highly overpriced power cables if you take out a subscription...no thanks!]

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56 minutes ago, Tweaky said:

I also like the fact they don't tend to review items that some would say fall into the Snakeoil category, like ridiculously priced power cables and equipment stands

/me dutifully subscribes...

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I gave up trusting magazine reviews during the heyday of the Linn/Naim hegemony. It was amazing how many good products were sacrificed on the elusive altar of PRaT. There must have been plenty of companies producing good kit that went broke because of a bad review during these times.

One of my fond memories of this time was going down to Salisbury for a Naim open day at the factory. Before the tour we taken into the demo room to hear the legendary (at least according to the mags) Linn/Naim 6 pack system - I was shocked at how bad it sounded!

Nowadays I very rarely buy hifi mags as I find them full of equipment that I have not got a hope in hell of owning unless I win the lottery.

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2 hours ago, rabidlistener said:

I gave up trusting magazine reviews during the heyday of the Linn/Naim hegemony. It was amazing how many good products were sacrificed on the elusive altar of PRaT. There must have been plenty of companies producing good kit that went broke because of a bad review during these times.

One of my fond memories of this time was going down to Salisbury for a Naim open day at the factory. Before the tour we taken into the demo room to hear the legendary (at least according to the mags) Linn/Naim 6 pack system - I was shocked at how bad it sounded!

Nowadays I very rarely buy hifi mags as I find them full of equipment that I have not got a hope in hell of owning unless I win the lottery.

That was essentially to shore up their defences against the super decks from far east......the fight against yellow peril still continuous....in politics as well as hifi....:)

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I like the 6 moons reviews, some of them are hard to read but I think they are fairly honest. The main reviewer acknowledges audiophiles have very different opinions of what sounds good and also different tastes in music.

 

In his review he will often try to describe the sound character of the equipment under review and what audiophile preference it is suited. Once you understand his writing style it is usually fairly clear where the product lies in terms of your own preference.

 

6 moons also reviews equipment from any continent which is great for us audiophiles as there are some sonic bargains particularly from China, such as Denafrips which are very reasonably priced.

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8 hours ago, rabidlistener said:

the heyday of the Linn/Naim hegemony

Makes it sound like a couple of nation states that conspired to rule the ancient world.....................Hang on!!......................that's what it was! Twas only after the two co-emperors fell out and began making competing products (with each other) that the Resistance was able to get a workable foothold. To this day there are probably people who have an opinion on SMPS' that were forged in the crucible of that conflict.

 

Do we all remember how snooty the sales staff were in those days?

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Goodaye all

 

You take any review with a pinch of salt, use it as a guide in your purchase.

 

Check out other reviews and sources.

Find out if there is any issues with that model or earlier models.

Find out about there customer support.

 

Lastly, listen, inspect and sniff it.

(yes l did say sniff it)

 

regards Bruce

 

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Very long time since i read any review, except out of curiosity in regards to the reviewer.

 

Although I do find Stereophile helpful sometimes when looking for speaker impedance charts.

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34 minutes ago, muon* said:

Although I do find Stereophile helpful sometimes when looking for speaker impedance charts.

This right here is the most useful part of stereophile by far.

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11 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

This right here is the most useful part of stereophile by far.

Agreed.

 

And every review is subjective in describing sound, but it can help but lots of caveats need to be observed and considered. Going just on measurements alone is not enough, as we often see with ASR.

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On 10/08/2020 at 5:39 PM, muon* said:

Someone recently posted here after buying an amp based on the excellent ASR reviews it received.

 

Did not end well.

 

Edit: last time I looked at the thread he was now looking for an amp that will sound good in his system.

Link?

 

Poor amps, they usually get blamed for unlikeable sound. :no:

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IMO unless you're taking the gear home, you're always buying blind.
Demo'ing in person doesn't really tell you much about how something will sound in your system (unless they have similar electronics/speakers in-store), let alone reading what some guy thinks about it.

Reviews should be viewed as a form of entertainment. It's quite hard to ever come across a bad review in this hobby, which really says something.

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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^   What he said.

 

Could not agree more on every point.

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The only review I trust is my own ears.  I have a great relationship with Audio Taylor here In Brissy. They let me take the gear home for a decent time to see what it sounds like in the environment I’m going to use it in 

 

I’ve read many reviews over the years and glowing recommendations by people, bought the gear blind ( normally second hand ) only to find out I don’t like what I’m listening to 

 

Everyone has their own ideas of what’s good.  If we all liked the same, it would be a boring world 

Edited by Bill125812
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6 minutes ago, Gabehcuod said:

It's quite hard to ever come across a bad review in this hobby, which really says something.

You do have to read between the lines a bit.

But an alternative view is that, perhaps for the most part very few components that are "bad" will ever survive long enough get to be reviewed anyway. 

 

6 minutes ago, Gabehcuod said:

Reviews should be viewed as a form of entertainment.

a form of comedy perhaps :)

 

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34 minutes ago, Gabehcuod said:

Reviews should be viewed as a form of entertainment.

I think that's going a bit too far.

I believe while Audio Science Review and 6 Moons (SNA even) review from different angles they take what they do seriously and should be treated and appreciated as such.

 

36 minutes ago, Gabehcuod said:

It's quite hard to ever come across a bad review in this hobby, which really says something.

As has been mentioned is it really hard to make decent sounding gear? Probably not.

So it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that most if not all gear reviews reasonably well.

Our ears ain't that good and a bit of sloppy engineering here and there is probably going to get mostly unnoticed.

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Ask yourself this.

If you were new to HiFi in 2020 and say 17 years old and had NO guidance on the topic [I gather that's historically when most started to get interested in HiFi ] where would you be getting your information from ?

 

How more or less trust worthy is the information available on line for such a person now, than it was from specialist HiFi magazines in the 70's ?

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22 minutes ago, Satanica said:

I think that's going a bit too far.

I believe while Audio Science Review and 6 Moons (SNA even) review from different angles they take what they do seriously and should be treated and appreciated as such.

You ever think they just pluck words out of their glossary :hmm:
https://www.stereophile.com/content/sounds-audio-glossary-glossary
 

Just a random one from there "chalky: Describes a texturing of sound that is finer than grainy but coarser than dry. See "texture.""
Also: "coarse: A large-grained texturing of reproduced sound; very gritty. The continuum of reproduced sound seems to be comprised of large particles. See "texture.""

Edited by Gabehcuod
Found another one.
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58 minutes ago, Tweaky said:

How more or less trust worthy is the information available on line for such a person now, than it was from specialist HiFi magazines in the 70's ?

Well I think that I've gathered a lot more useful information through the years from certain individuals on SNA that I would never find in HiFi magazines of any period.

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59 minutes ago, Gabehcuod said:

You ever think they just pluck words out of their glossary :hmm:
https://www.stereophile.com/content/sounds-audio-glossary-glossary
 

Just a random one from there "chalky: Describes a texturing of sound that is finer than grainy but coarser than dry. See "texture.""
Also: "coarse: A large-grained texturing of reproduced sound; very gritty. The continuum of reproduced sound seems to be comprised of large particles. See "texture.""

I'm not sure what your point is. But if it was that these kind of reviews are some kind of audiophile parody then I don't agree. They are serious.

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There was an interesting review of the new Sonos soundbar that appeared today on SNA. The reviewer seemed to be in two minds simultaneously, which according to F.Scott Fitzgerald was a sign of genius.  But it may have been an editing error.

 

"Indeed with Ry Cooder’s Nobody, things began to approach actual audiophile performance.
There was more precision in the stereo imaging, especially the acoustic guitar. The stereo image seemed a
little behind the usual soundstage, further away from the listening position.
The nearly a cappella male voices were beautifully and powerfully presented.
There was a touch of upper-bass muddiness occasionally detracting from proceedings, but this was barely noticeable."

 

"The Ry Cooder track was served up in a less precise way than you’d expect from a half-decent pair of stereo speakers.
The latter can create a sense of instruments aurally existing in the sound stage, rounded and real – but in truth,
there was little of that here. All the notes were presented in proper proportion, but not in the
perfectly cohesive way required to create a sense of authentic musical reality."

 

"Oh, and since I’m being fussy, there was clearly a section in the mid-bass which,
when pushed, sounded a little muddy. Here endeth the list of imperfections."

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2 hours ago, Gabehcuod said:

You ever think they just pluck words out of their glossary :hmm:
https://www.stereophile.com/content/sounds-audio-glossary-glossary
 

Just a random one from there "chalky: Describes a texturing of sound that is finer than grainy but coarser than dry. See "texture.""
Also: "coarse: A large-grained texturing of reproduced sound; very gritty. The continuum of reproduced sound seems to be comprised of large particles. See "texture.""

Haven’t seen that glossary before. It’s a good idea. People rarely seem to agree on a descriptive vocabulary with hi fi and as such talk at cross purposes. Surely it’s a good thing that they try to use a consistent and defined descriptive language for sound. It at least allows some precision in meaning. 
 

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37 minutes ago, buddyev said:

It at least allows some precision in meaning.

"The continuum of reproduced sound seems to be comprised of large particles"

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1 minute ago, Gabehcuod said:

"The continuum of reproduced sound seems to be comprised of large particles"

ANALOGY: a comparison between one thing and another, typically for the purpose of explanation or clarification.

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44 minutes ago, Gabehcuod said:

"The continuum of reproduced sound seems to be comprised of large particles"

My ears were burning!

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https://www.soundstageaustralia.com/index.php/reviews/423-yamaha-gt-5000-turntable-tonearm
 

How can anyone legitimately review this TT and not address the short straight tone arm and head shell having no offset and hence high distortion 

 

things like this make me wonder about the audio press 

Edited by Chill3
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9 hours ago, Tweaky said:

Ask yourself this.

If you were new to HiFi in 2020 and say 17 years old and had NO guidance on the topic [I gather that's historically when most started to get interested in HiFi ] where would you be getting your information from ?

 

How more or less trust worthy is the information available on line for such a person now, than it was from specialist HiFi magazines in the 70's ?

It would depend on the particular specialist 1970s magazine but that was an era when some of the technology was still very much in the development phase and distinctly audible deficiencies were in evidence.  HiFi magazines could be very helpful for a reader to learn which products were less deficient than others.

 

For example, audio cassette decks of the 1970s were subject to audible tape hiss combatted with emerging noise reduction methods. (Dolby B was introduced in 1968, and Dolby C in 1980.) Wow and flutter were problematic. (It was difficult to reproduce a concert piano using a cassette deck without an audible quivering or wavering effect.) 

 

Another example was FM tuners. These varied considerably with respect to harmonic distortion.  Review magazine staff could measure the distortion at different RF signal levels, prepare graphs for the review article, and in addition listen critically and provide a (quite often useful) subjective opinion.

 

It's a different ballgame today, where audio cassette tapes are considered so deficient they are hardly ever used for audiophile listening; and where high quality FM tuner performance is so easy to obtain using cheap specialised integrated circuits that how the FM tuner will perform it is not normally an issue of concern when deciding to purchase a modern AVR.

 

Today loudspeaker systems are still very much in the realm of audible deficiencies, but most components perform very well. This is why HiFi magazines of today tend to struggle to find products to review meaningfully.  In place of meaningful reviews we tend to find biased or vague or idiosyncratic reviews.

 

 

 

I can't comment specifically on 6 moons but I note the absence of taking measurements, disclosed in this first paragraph on their audio reviews disclaimer page:-

 

1/ We define our obligation to our readers as reporting fairly and honestly on the performance of submitted review gear. Because we don't conduct independent measurements, our product descriptions (specs, ratings, circuit specifics, material makeup and other aspects that aren't verifiable otherwise) rely on what the manufacturer provides us with. This in turn is passed on to you in good faith. The manufacturer has previously been provided with a pre-publication copy to assure that objective product design and operational facts in our reviews are stated without error and conveyed in accordance with the maker's intended meaning.

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I do believe there aren't many bad products out there these days. If there is, they may be a a DIY product or from a tiny, obscure boutique manufacturer who will never put many out in the marketplace anyway. Occasionally, reviewers request a specific product that interests them, but more often we are asked or offered a product for review. The smart product managers these days already know how good their product is, how it competes with the competition on performance and price, and will never send something out they think is not up to scratch.

 

What's probably most important in a review is the features and functions. Most of our reviews end with a recommendation to go seek one out, and to audition it. We don't say go buy it. We don't know what you like, or what other gear you're running. But if we can help explain what something does, how it might work for you, or reveal something not obvious in the name of the product or its marketing material that makes you want to investigate that product further, than our job is done.

 

SN Editor-in-Chief David Price wrote this recently, and I think it's valid to this thread: https://www.stereo.net.au/opinion/opinion-read-all-about-it

Quote

David Price recalls how he learned to read hi-fi reviews, rather than worship them…

Let's not use this platform to bag reviewers or other publications please. There's an awful lot of work that goes into a review. 

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