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O.K., so who are the gear reviewers you RESPECT? Condenser Microphones
Old 21st December 2002
  #31
Jr. Gear Slut 2nd class
 
chessparov's Avatar
 

Bummer on the VMP-2. I bet it'll be starting an upward climb in values for it used. Never had the chance to use it, seems pretty cool though. Am looking forward to, however, what Alan Hyatt at Studio Projects "may" eventually come up with (hint, hint!).

Some of the differences in our evaluations can come from relative
experience (or lack thereof) of each of us, and whether we have
a home set-up, project studio, or a full-blown commercial facility.

Ending up with a harsh Chinese condenser like a Rode NT1
(original model/most parts made in China NOT Australia BTW),
in a cassette portastudio is a heck of a lot less of a big deal than
in a RADAR, PT HD, or 2" set-up IMHO. No offense meant to those
"down under" either. Supposedly the new NT1 is an improvement
over the old.

Been starting to learn the value of acquiring the time tested equipment pieces along with what's "hot", relative to my home
studio needs/wants. Fletcher's historical article at PSW regarding
audio equipment was very helpful to improve my understanding of the evolution of "pro audio" up to this time. Made me appreciate stuff like the RCA 77DX much more.
(Fletcher please write more articles!)


Chris
Old 21st December 2002
  #32
Lives for gear
 
Mike Jasper's Avatar
I like Rip Rowan of ProRec.com.

He writes clearly, concisely and from a strong point of view. When he has a bias, he admits it freely and doesn't try to hide it.

He has all the personality quirks shared by great reviewers. He's slightly arrogant, slightly sarcastic, slightly cranky and very aloof. Rowan absolutely refuses to answer reader email or participate in pro audio forums (although he'll read through both).

Unfortunately, his focus is on the home project studio, so he rarely reviews high-end gear. But of all the reviewers I've read in pro audio magazines or Web sites, I trust his opinion more than any other writer's.

And yet... I don't really trust him all that much.

Jasper
Old 22nd December 2002
  #33
Moderator emeritus
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Curious G
I wonder if there's much payment in the form of complimentary gear???
No.
Old 22nd December 2002
  #34
Gear Addict
 
Curious G's Avatar
 

oh well, I guess my aspirations in the lucrative field (LOL) of audio gear reviewer were awfully short-lived!
Old 22nd December 2002
  #35
Lives for gear
 

My .02:

I have written a number of reviews for MIX. I couldn't give a rat's buttocks about selling ads, or selling magazines. I would never alter what I write for the purpose of sucking up to the magazine or a manufacturer. If being honest means loosing the gig, so be it. However, I cannot imagine that ever happening at MIX. They simply print what I send in. Not one whiff of editorial funny business.

So why do most reviews tend to be favorable?

First, a lot of equipment is pretty good!

Second, writers, being the gearslutz that they are, gravitate towards equipment that they suspect will be good. After all, if you could write about anything under the sun, and Manley was coming out with a new compressor, would you rather spend a couple of months with that, or with a new 4 track mixer from Behringer?

Third, the point of view at MIX, as I understand it, is to give exposure to those products of interest to the readers, rather than use the space to say "Check this out. It sucks." If something sucked, and no one was using it, it would simply be ignored.

Incidentally, I wrote an unflattering review of a product from a big advertiser, and it went on to win a TEC Award -- go figure.

Fourth, there is a certain trite format that many writers follow: 1) Regurgitate promotional literature, 2) Express things you liked 3) Express something minor you didn't like, in order to appear even-handed, 4) recommend readers consider it if they're in the market. Unfortunately, because many writers are good engineers and bad writers, they sometimes allow this format to determine content.

Finally, with all due respect to Dave, there are a number of ways in which various forms of payments may influence the reviewer, and with some knowledge of the system, I can sometimes sniff out funny business between the lines (this seems to be a problem with some magazines more than others). There are quid pro quos (which I have been offered and turned down), favoring a particular manufacturer over others in supposedly comprehensive reviews of the field (with surprise, surprise, equipment from favored manufacturers winding up in the reviewer's studio), etc.

In practice, I think that readers get a pretty good sense of which reviewers have integrity using the same feelers that they use to evaluate anyone they might meet in "real life." Over time, I think it becomes clear which writers are credible, and which are simply out to fill their studios with fancy gear at huge discounts.

-MattiMattMatt
Old 22nd December 2002
  #36
Lives for gear
 
Mike Jasper's Avatar
MattMattMatt --

I believe you.

I used to write theatre reviews for a small newspaper, and I always chose to cover plays I wanted to see anyway.

And as you say, some reviews are just bad, formulaic writing, whether it's about pro audio gear, theatre, sports, cars... whatever.

Sometimes a positive review won't be seen as objective if the magazine is running a 1/4-page ad of the reviewed product. Readers see the two together and the suspicion kicks in (especially if they're both on the same page). I think people are more inclined to believe a bad review anyway. It's human nature.

"So I plugged in the Jasper Preamp and the fuse immediately blew out. I replaced it and turned the knob, which promptly fell off into my hand. Using pliers, I managed to boost the gain, but after ten minutes the entire left channel went out. DON'T BUY THE JASPER PREAMP!"

Who's not going to believe that review? Especially if it comes with a 1/4-page ad.

Jasper
PS -- Seriously, do not buy the Jasper Preamp.
Old 22nd December 2002
  #37
Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Jasper
Seriously, do not buy the Jasper Preamp.
I thought it was pretty good Mike. I didn't see the need for 300 db of gain though....are you recording gnats or sumthin?
rollz
Old 22nd December 2002
  #38
Lives for gear
 
Knox's Avatar
 

I bought a new digital camera a couple of weeks ago. My first one. Been using 35 mm for years. Anyway . . . . I bought a NEW model that was coming out and had not been reviewed, though I knew the models before it as I had been doing homework and some people I know have the older ones.

Anyway . . . searching around on the web the past week or so, I finally came across some reviews. I was reading some last night and I was thinking how refreshing it was to have someone reviewing something, where they had no ad budget over their head . . . . no boss, or editor, no sales rep friend that dropped the piece off, nor does the reviewer have the "I wants" to skew his judgement.

Just his web page. He wasn't selling the product nor had he had a run in with the owners of the company, nor did he hang out with the owners of the company. His ONLY motive was trying to help people with info and a decision. Wish we had more of that.
Old 23rd December 2002
  #39
Lives for gear
 
Mike Jasper's Avatar
Damn, Knox, what's the Web page? I'm looking for a digital camera.

Jasper
Old 23rd December 2002
  #40
Lives for gear
 
Knox's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Jasper
Damn, Knox, what's the Web page? I'm looking for a digital camera.
Jasper
Mike,
If you are . . email me or call me (toll free at the bottom of my sig) I will tell you what little I know and where to go to read some reviews.
Old 23rd December 2002
  #41
Lives for gear
 
davemc's Avatar
 

MattiMattMatt yes I agree you cannot always trust what you read on these forums, even people I respect around all these places have there own set of ears. . At the end you have to just try yourself. (if you can get them)
Then there are those great reviews of products from people who never posted on the forums before, like all the amplitude stuff on DUC.
Old 23rd December 2002
  #42
Gear Addict
 

Actually, that's sort of how I decided on my digital camera: a certain model had been out for a while and had received great editorial and consumer reviews. Just when I was looking, this same company introduced a new, more expensive version with a little higher model number. So...of course it has to be better. In comes the power of the internet. I found a site from England that pulled no punches. The punch line here being; "I cannot recommend this camera. Period". I would have blown it, based on very obvious reasons. The old model was 'good'. The new higher number, higher priced one has to be better. Not the case. It would have been a, "Who knew??" But...I was saved.
Benjy
Old 23rd December 2002
  #43
Moderator
 
EveAnna Manley's Avatar
 

In the digital realm, my Olympus 3030 has served me quite well for the last few years. I have even used some of the shots in 4C press brochure printing. It was a bit of a stretch, but if the shots are kept small... ... more megapixels please!

In analog world, I love my Canon A2.

The next camera I buy will probably be one of those nifty new Canon digital SLRs. Mucho expensive right now.... more megapixels please!
Old 23rd December 2002
  #44
Lives for gear
 
Knox's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by EveAnna Manley
In the digital realm, my Olympus 3030 has served me quite well for the last few years. I have even used some of the shots in 4C press brochure printing. It was a bit of a stretch, but if the shots are kept small... ... more megapixels please!

In analog world, I love my Canon A2.

The next camera I buy will probably be one of those nifty new Canon digital SLRs. Mucho expensive right now.... more megapixels please!
I bought the Olympus 5050. Cool so far.
Old 23rd December 2002
  #45
Anyway, draggin it back.....
I haven't been reading many reviews since I could ask about something on these forums and hear back from people who are actually using the gear.
You can even learn a lot from the people that say something is a piece of trash.
Happy holidays to all.
Old 23rd December 2002
  #46
Lives for gear
 
Mike Jasper's Avatar
I think accurate, fleshed-out descriptions are the best thing a reviewer can do. If I read about a preamp and it says, "It gives you eight channels of..."

I'm done. I don't want eight channels of anything. With the exception of ESPN, maybe.

Jasper
Old 26th December 2002
  #47
Lives for gear
 
David R.'s Avatar
 

Just read a review by Miles Boysen in Electronic Musician. He did a very gentile slam of a mic pre. Refreshing to read.
Old 26th December 2002
  #48
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

I would love for someone to start a "Consumer Reports" of audio gear.
Old 26th December 2002
  #49
Harmony Central website kinda has user reviews. its great for stuff like gtr amp opinions.... dunno about recording gear... but its a valuable on line resorce fo sho.

Old 26th December 2002
  #50
Lives for gear
 
Mike Jasper's Avatar
Harmony Central's user reviews have been very handy for guitars, effects, amps, etc. Unfotunately, they do balk at pro audio gear.

Jasper
Old 26th December 2002
  #51
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

Well, it's a start. Guitar amp knowledge is one of my weaker spots, well, sort of. I just move stuff around and change settings until it sounds good. Although, give me a dual rectifier and I can rule the world.
Old 26th December 2002
  #52
Lives for gear
 
atticus's Avatar
Quote:
Originally posted by e-cue
Well, it's a start. Guitar amp knowledge is one of my weaker spots, well, sort of. I just move stuff around and change settings until it sounds good. Although, give me a dual rectifier and I can rule the world.
Until you come across the guy with a TRIPLE rectifier, then you're SOL heh
Old 26th December 2002
  #53
Lives for gear
 
e-cue's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally posted by atticus
Until you come across the guy with a TRIPLE rectifier, then you're SOL heh
Yeah, I can rock them too... I'm an engineer, not a guitarist.
Old 26th December 2002
  #54
Gear Head
 

I think most of the Harmony Central reviews are worthless, as they usually fall into one of two categories:

1) Justify my purchase. "I just spent $X on this, and it is the greatest thing ever."

2) Compared to what? "I just bought a Marshall and it's much better than my old Crate."

In terms of Pro Audio reviews/reviewers, for the most part, if you accept that they're really only going to review things that are pretty good to begin with, you can generally get a sense of whether something might work for you, or whether it's worth the time to check it out.
Dave Martin did a comparison of several different compressors a while back. That review always stood out as a very useful overview of the market.
Most of the reviewers who participate in rec.audio.pro are more than on the up and up. I can't think of any who aren't.
On the flip side, I'm still mad at Electronic Musician for giving rave reviews to the ART Tube Pre- my mileage varied, to the point where I was ready to leave the POS on the side of the road. I have subsequently read many positive reviews in EM on gear that just flat out blows.
But I don't really get mags looking for reviews anymore (though Tape Op has pointed out some cool under-the-industry-radar products). This forum, r.a.p., and other online sources have replaced the "real world" reviews we used to have to rely on.
Old 27th December 2002
  #55
Lives for gear
 
Mike Jasper's Avatar
Lyle -- Your points are valid and pretty damn funny as well.

But... sometimes you get someone who really knows how to write a review on Harmony Central. Again, it comes down to accurate and precise descriptions for me.

But that is funny. "It's way better than my Crate, dude."

I'm dyin' here.

Jasper
Old 10th August 2005
  #56
The last 'respect?" thread got deleted (not by me!, I put effort into a long post on it ) by the original poster I guess..

So I did a search and found this old thread and 'revived' it

We can swerve the discussion to forum members if you like..

Don't want you to think the site admin had 'disappeared it' for any sinister reasons!

Old 10th August 2005
  #57
Lives for gear
 
Marlowe's Avatar
 

Why let the reviewer off the hook for crappy reviews because they have to put food on the table? Either you do good, informative, honest and helpful reviews or you don't. Either way you get paid.

Why blame the reviewer? Because if the review is crap then they are disseminating bad information, that's why. If you buy because of one review then you're foolish but that doesn't let hack reviewers off the hook.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curious G
I'm not gonna knock Ty Ford or Mike Rivers just 'cause they've got to put food on the table.

If you buy "sucky ass" gear based on a review then why blame the reviewer??? Take the piece back for a refund if you've fallen for a line...
Old 10th August 2005
  #58
Lives for gear
 

You cannot justify dishonesty with the "food on the table line". With that reasoning you could justify any type of criminal behavior.

I've bought one pre soley based on reviews, and it was the best money I've ever spent - because it hit home the fact that YOU MUST rely on your own ears to know what works for you, not reviews. Reviews are good somply because it gives you an idea of what the product is about - but "GREAT" is very subjective.

BTW, the pre was an LA-610. It's "OK", but the hype surrounding this thing was rediculous.
Old 10th August 2005
  #59
Lives for gear
 
James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Hugh Robjohns of 'Sound On Sound' gets my vote as one of the best gear-reviewers in the business. He's incredibly meticulous, thorough and writes very well. Ideally I'd never base a gear-purchase on a review alone but HJ's reviews are rarely wide of the mark and he can generally be trusted to dish up the honest scoop in some detail.

Generally speaking I often find myself thinking that reviewers can be a bit 'soft' on some products but in fairness they're often caught betwen a rock and a hard place - they may very well wish to write "this Chinese-built mic sounds absolute cr*p" but when it costs €0.01 it may be difficult to slam it outright when there may be some readership for whom €0.01 is the right budget. 'Value for money' is a relevant review criteria as well as pure sound/build quality and functionality. Heck, I just bought a new DVD player for €40 - probably utter sh*t on a relative scale but if I was reviewing it I'd have to point out that it works fine and is doing the job for me just now, if it blows up after a year that's OK at that price.

But all hail the internet and forums like this which have redistributed the power from the days when magazine reviews were one of the few sources of opinion available to most of us.
Old 11th August 2005
  #60
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djui5's Avatar
 

"Who are the gear reviewers you respect?"


My ears. That's it.
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