How to write a great review

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 6, 2011
12,684
10,948
3,515
USA
Below is a link to a new review written by fellow member and professional reviewer, Tim Aucremann. This is the best review I have read about a component in a very long time. Tim's approach is a bit different from what I typically see. The review embodies various subjects that we have been discussing on this forum for the last year or so: language, system videos, references.

I find the review very comprehensive and well written, but what really strikes me is the skill with which Tim describes what he hears. Tim eschews the typical audiophile glossary of terms preferring to describe the listening experience holistically rather than in the dissected bits and pieces of sound we have come to expect . Using the language of music, he describes very well what he hears when listening to specific music tracks. The language is clear and easy to grasp. Here is one example:

"The performance is complex and the Mammoth Gold lets you hear that. The sense of propulsion is amazing. The battle rages as it builds intensity, briefly dying then rising over and again. Snare drums and a glockenspiel add their color. The coherence and integrity with which the Gold renders the groove offer a unique sense of texture as the music grinds and flows in a moving tapestry of cacophonous sound. Add to this a fine sense of depth and layering."

Tim compares the cartridge under review with two other cartridges he has on hand. He includes system videos to support and supplement his written descriptions. There are some excellent photographs, technical descriptions, and clear comparative analysis. Perhaps most importantly to me, the review does not come across as mere company marketing. The review strikes that rare balance of being written by a professional with all of the experience and knowledge necessary to create a comprehensive and clearly articulated and persuasive opinion, but also with the passion and common, non audiophile language usually found from the perspective of the hobbyist and music lover sharing his thoughts enthusiastically with friends.

I find Tim's latest review to be quite unusual and worth reading. It is an example of good, clear writing that conveys the relationship between music and sound, the recording and the equipment. By describing what he actually hears in such vivid and relatable terms and then supplementing that with his system videos, I have a really good sense of how this cartridge contributed to Tim's listening experience and what it sounds like. For me, this is an example of how to write a good review.

Here is the link to the review in Positive Feedback: https://positive-feedback.com/reviews/hardware-reviews/aidas-mammoth-cartridge/
 
Last edited:

thedudeabides

Well-Known Member
Jan 16, 2011
2,192
708
1,200
Alto, NM
Much better than "very organic and I forgot about the equipment and just listened to the music duh. Problem is so many reviewers are robotic in style (same structure, words, cliches, etc.) and the reviews become boring and predictable. I agree that the sample above is well written and does tell a sonic story.

An off topic example but a good analogy. Used to like Mitchner but, after reading several of his novels, I realized he was just a "formula writer". Wallace Stegner. On an entirely different level. Amazing literary artist.
 

Tangram

Well-Known Member
Nov 10, 2022
211
282
70
60
Agreed, great review. I own a Mammoth Gold but haven’t mounted it yet, since I’m chewing on getting a second tonearm. As a fellow 4Point owner I was pleased as punch to see Tim’s writeup.

Two nice-to-haves though. First, a full equipment list, especially phono pre and SUT (if used). Second, I would have liked Tim to include some rock music, something everyone knows and loves. Aja, anyone? I know, never pleased.

Thanks Tim for the review and thanks Peter for spreading the word. You’ve spurred me on to get serious about that second tonearm purchase.
 

Tangram

Well-Known Member
Nov 10, 2022
211
282
70
60
For any equipment review on Positive Feedback, click on the author's name at the top of the article to see his equipment list and system information. Thank you.
Thanks. I would never have found that if you hadn’t pointed it out.
 

PYP

Well-Known Member
Jan 13, 2022
584
519
110
Southwest, USA
Below is a link to a new review written by fellow member and professional reviewer, Tim Aucremann. This is the best review I have read about a component in a very long time.

Here is the link to the review in Positive Feedback: https://positive-feedback.com/reviews/hardware-reviews/aidas-mammoth-cartridge/
Agreed. And I don't own or listen to vinyl. Didn't matter since this is about listening to, and deeply appreciating, music. I especially like the conversational tone and the economical (and I mean that with the highest regard) writing. To me, this kind of depth and care are missing from the standard equipment reviews. Of course, it requires more than a passing familiarity with the music and taking the time to listen and report.

However, had I not know this was a legitimate review, I might have thought the whole mammoth tusk thing to be a joke meant to illustrate just how weird this hobby is. My wife happened to come by when I was reading the review and I asked what material the cartridge was made from. She said it looked like plastic. When I told her it was mammoth tusk she couldn't quite grasp the complete compulsive mindset that could have arrived at trying and using that material (and where does one source a mammoth tusk?). Had I instead told her that I had been abducted by little green men, she probably would have shown less skepticism.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 3, 2014
5,859
6,932
1,400
the Upper Midwest
I especially like the conversational tone and the economical (and I mean that with the highest regard) writing. To me, this kind of depth and care are missing from the standard equipment reviews. Of course, it requires more than a passing familiarity with the music and taking the time to listen and report.

Thank you PYP -- I very much appreciate your comments.

And yes, the same thought about the mammoth tusk occurred to me when I first agreed to take on the review. Aidas Svazas is a serious cartridge maker.

Ivory today is pretty much verboten to buy or sell, but there are no such restrictions on ancient ivory and there is a trade for it. I cannot say how it influences the sound apart afrom talking about resonance in general, but the body of any cartridge is a factor in the sound of a cartridge. And you see a broad variety of choices, no doubt the product of experimentation. Koetsu cartridges are a brand well known that has been around a long time; they do something similar but with stone or fossilized material. Your wife might be attracted to a cartridge whose body is, for example, jade.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PYP

PYP

Well-Known Member
Jan 13, 2022
584
519
110
Southwest, USA
Thank you PYP -- I very much appreciate your comments.

And yes, the same thought about the mammoth tusk occurred to me when I first agreed to take on the review. Aidas Svazas is a serious cartridge maker.

Ivory today is pretty much verboten to buy or sell, but there are no such restrictions on ancient ivory and there is a trade for it. I cannot say how it influences the sound apart afrom talking about resonance in general, but the body of any cartridge is a factor in the sound of a cartridge. And you see a broad variety of choices, no doubt the product of experimentation. Koetsu cartridges are a brand well known that has been around a long time; they do something similar but with stone or fossilized material. Your wife might be attracted to a cartridge whose body is, for example, jade.
You are welcome. When I read most reviews, my usual mental question is what the editors are doing with their copious free time.

Jade would appeal to me too, but I would wonder about the size of the counterweight needed. My bias for light cartridges and tonearms was formed when I was young (and the mammoth roamed freely). My father introduced us to music via a Weathers turntable. From an online article about that turntable: "In an era of record-chewing cartridges that tracked at 6 grams or more, the Weathers would track at 1 gram. Combined with a viscous-damped tonearm that applied tracking force with a spring (rather than gravity), and protective stylus guards on the base of the cartridge, the Weathers cartridge made it almost impossible to destroy records."

My brother and I were fascinated by the way the tonearm would float if knocked off course. From memory, my father set the tracking force at less than one gram (and bragged about it in the way engineers do). We were also fascinated by the stylus gauge, a very simple but effective way to ensure the tracking weight was correct. My father loved that turntable (still has it in its non-operational state).
 
  • Like
Reactions: tima

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. This is THE place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss vintage, contemporary and new audio products, music servers, music streamers, computer audio, digital-to-analog converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel-to-reel tape machines, speakers, headphones and tube and solid-state amplification. Founded in 2010 What’s Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals, we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people, and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing