"Long-Term Equipment Loans: A Win-Win for Everyone" by Robert Harley, The Absolute Sound

adyc

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Really, in which world, Peter? In the very successful biotech company that I work in no one gets a prize or award for mediocre performance, only the best do. Same in my godson's school and summer camp. And yes, the James Webb telescope is the best space telescope. Nobody with some knowledge of the matter disputes that objective fact. And no one disputes that the Large Hadron Collider is the most powerful particle collider out there. Everyone knows which is the objective best in those cases.

Yet audio is very subjective, and by the very fact that judgment is based on personal taste, perception, priorities and preferences there can be no "objective best".

But I see where this is going. As Ron astutely pointed out, you always want to establish your subjective preferences as "objective fact". You have done so, to the anger of many on WBF, by usurping the term "Natural Sound" for systems of your personal preference, clearly implying, for everyone easy to read between the lines, that any other system configuration cannot yield as much "natural sound" as your preferred ones.

Of course, if you believe that your superior minded subjective preferences and higher revelations received in Utah are the objective truth, then there must be an objective best on WBF. And that objective best is according to your taste and perceptions, hence your nomination of the Neumann DST cartridge as The Best, for example.

Why do you think that Bonzo (Ked) and Morricab (Brad) get so much pushback on WBF? They also have this superior minded attitude that their subjective opinions and preferences are the objective truth.Brad might even argue that "fact" with psychological listening studies exploring the effect of amplifier distortion patterns. Well, some disagree on this point, too, including industry experts. Also, both may claim that they have the most experience, but even if that were so (debatable), their opinions are *still* subjective.
Really, in which world, Peter? In the very successful biotech company that I work in no one gets a prize or award for mediocre performance, only the best do. Same in my godson's school and summer camp. And yes, the James Webb telescope is the best space telescope. Nobody with some knowledge of the matter disputes that objective fact. And no one disputes that the Large Hadron Collider is the most powerful particle collider out there. Everyone knows which is the objective best in those cases.

Yet audio is very subjective, and by the very fact that judgment is based on personal taste, perception, priorities and preferences there can be no "objective best".

But I see where this is going. As Ron astutely pointed out, you always want to establish your subjective preferences as "objective fact". You have done so, to the anger of many on WBF, by usurping the term "Natural Sound" for systems of your personal preference, clearly implying, for everyone easy to read between the lines, that any other system configuration cannot yield as much "natural sound" as your preferred ones.

Of course, if you believe that your superior minded subjective preferences and higher revelations received in Utah are the objective truth, then there must be an objective best on WBF. And that objective best is according to your taste and perceptions, hence your nomination of the Neumann DST cartridge as The Best, for example.

Why do you think that Bonzo (Ked) and Morricab (Brad) get so much pushback on WBF? They also have this superior minded attitude that their subjective opinions and preferences are the objective truth.Brad might even argue that "fact" with psychological listening studies exploring the effect of amplifier distortion patterns. Well, some disagree on this point, too, including industry experts. Also, both may claim that they have the most experience, but even if that were so (debatable), their opinions are *still* subjective.
Again another well said reply.
 

bonzo75

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Hi Al,

To be fair to Peter, I think quite a few of us believe that our subjective opinion has some objective truth to it. The difference is that we mainly keep it to ourselves. :)

which is why people should just post videos of their truths, and let people hear the lies if any.
 

Al M.

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bonzo75

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We are looking forward to your system video one day. Seriously and sincerely. Not being sarcastic.
Why do you want mine, I have posted tons which I consider the truth, and some of which I don’t consider the truth. I am putting my opinion out there.

I have zero interest in being that guy who comes online everyday to simply say what I own is the truth.
 

Lagonda

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is this true in a broad sense or only one or two schools? This is shocking. People from India would have an existential crisis if there were no rankings and spots to compete for.
Yes, and why are you not a doctor Ked ? ;)
 

bonzo75

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PeterA

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I don't think it's helpful to map to WBF your frustrations in the larger world which you think have some analogous relevance here. You did this also with your misplaced accusations of "censorship" on WBF.

I am describing my imaginary world for Al and others. Context was cover photos of six or seven super speakers on TAS. They are all great.

Are you telling me that I can not post my opinions Ron? Am I violating some rule?
 

tima

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Mar 3, 2014
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As Ron astutely pointed out, you always want to establish your subjective preferences as "objective fact". You have done so, to the anger of many on WBF, by usurping the term "Natural Sound" for systems of your personal preference, clearly implying, for everyone easy to read between the lines, that any other system configuration cannot yield as much "natural sound" as your preferred ones.

I and others are not offended by your opinions, but by your superior minded attitude regarding your "Natural Sound".

... anger ...

... attitude ...

So much pearl clutching. Do you feel better now? :p
 

caesar

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May 30, 2010
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In that case, I give Robert credit for taking a declarative stand!

If I read something like that on a board like this one, I am okay. The naive realism psychological fallacy is part and parcel of the hobby - guys believe what they perceive is real, is the absolute truth and applies to everyone, and everyone must have the same emotional reaction to the music played through their favorite concoction. "If you don't share my taste of stereo reproduction of Wilson/ Magico/ dcs Brand XYX, you are an idiot!"

But this "worthless to the audio fans" Harley is supposed to be an expert. So he is either an idiot for not being aware of the naive realism fallacy or he is purposely misleading people. No wonder his reputation and reputation of his brand is in the gutter. And will never recover.
 
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Mike Lavigne

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If I read something like that on a board like this one, I am okay. The naive realism psychological fallacy is part and parcel of the hobby - guys believe what they perceive is real, is the absolute truth and applies to everyone, and everyone must have the same emotional reaction to the music played through their favorite concoction. "If you don't share my taste of stereo reproduction of Wilson/ Magico/ dcs Brand XYX, you are an idiot!"

But this "worthless to the audio fans" Harley is supposed to be an expert. So he is either an idiot for not being aware of the naive realism fallacy or he is purposely misleading people. No wonder his reputation and reputation of his brand is in the gutter. And will never recover.
completely disagree.

cover quotes and audio press declarative statements are filed under 'data points' by the most even reasonably experienced audiophiles, as much as manufacturers might have us believe differently. they do however give you fodder for your cynical perspectives. you give the audio press way too much credit.

most of us don't even connect the quotes to the actual persons even. more to their positions. there are a few exceptions certainly.

so many shades/degrees of what we actually perceive as real.

the truth is mostly buried deep. and that requires some work to find. you don't need to protect us.
 
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divertiti

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Long term loans are de facto marketing agreements between the brand and the reviewer. The brand is foregoing real economic value in exchange for promotional utility the reviewer provides to the brand. The prolonged usage of expensive equipment is given in exchange to be top of mind for the reviewer and garner future mentions in future reviews and discourse by that reviewer. The "loan" is essentially a gifted lease.
 

Another Johnson

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I’ve been told that the printed spec, which is absurdly low, is a misprint. I’ve seen a lot of discussion about this on forums. Even some discussion pointing out the misprint. I have not personally measured it.

In any event … The gain is all there. The bass is all there. The distortion isn’t there. My ears tell me it is a good match. If the misprinted spec were correct, it would be clearly a bad match.

The dealer is Paragon Sight and Sound and they have several customers that they’ve set up with ARC preamps and Burmester amps. They’re one of the most knowledgeable dealers in the US and their service department is an authorized service center for ARC and for McIntosh. I discussed the match with a staff technician.

For me, the proof is in the listening.
I was at an event with Norman Steinke this evening. Norman is the Burmester sales manager for the US.

I asked him about the apparent impedance mismatch between ARC Ref 6 SE and 911 mk3. He agreed that this match is known to sound very good but he said that the spec is probably not a misprint. He said that the very high damping factor of the 911 mk3 is probably why this combination works so well.

I also auditioned the new 216, a pair of 218s, and a pair of 159s. All in all, it was an enjoyable meeting.
 
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caesar

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May 30, 2010
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completely disagree.

cover quotes and audio press declarative statements are filed under 'data points' by the most even reasonably experienced audiophiles, as much as manufacturers might have us believe differently. they do however give you fodder for your cynical perspectives. you give the audio press way too much credit.

most of us don't even connect the quotes to the actual persons even. more to their positions. there are a few exceptions certainly.

so many shades/degrees of what we actually perceive as real.

the truth is mostly buried deep. and that requires some work to find. you don't need to protect us.

Hey Mike,

Didn't see this earlier. But please re-read my post where I define the Naïve Realism psychological fallacy: "The naïve realism psychological fallacy is part and parcel of the hobby - guys believe what they perceive is real, is the absolute truth and applies to everyone..."

So why do you assume my statement applies to you or to "reasonably experienced audiophiles"?

The reality is that people getting into this hobby, who don't know the nature of disgusting guys like "Worthless to the Audio Fans" Robert Harley "default to truth" and place more weight on their statements than they should. Personally, I wasted a lot of time and money on travel when I was starting out. It takes some time to make sense of things and determine whom they can trust in this hobby. Many people get there eventually , but many others are more impenetrable.

And why is this cynical, as disgusting guys like "Worthless to the Audio Fans" are willing to mislead people about a $40 record? If this guy had any ethics, why not .instead, write an editorial how it is wrong for audio companies to mislead people?

When I started talking about this misalignment of incentives between reviewers and fans many years ago regarding the over-promotion of magico, it was considered "impolite" to question reviewers. Now more and more people are aware of the perverse incentives from many disgusting industry insiders and reviewers.

And why do you also assume all experienced guys are immune to disinformation that guys like Worthless to the Audio Fans Robert Harley promote? When I was at Axpona, I attended a seminar on mastering. Audiophile darling Michael Fremer was a participant, and the whole time Fremer was whining about how he was misled by Mobile Fidelity and how the lies from Mobile Fidelity and supported by disgusting misinformation artist Harley from the Analytical Sound, in effect, smeared sh!t on his personal brand. Huge reputational stain on Fremer ....

Nothing personal, Mike. And no need to respond if you don't want to. Yet this hobby would definitely be a lot better if guys didn't assume everyone was just like them.
 
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Another Johnson

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Yet this hobby would definitely be a lot better if guys didn't assume everyone was just like them.
I feel like I’m opening Fibber McGee’s closet by responding … but this line struck me as ironic. My sense from most of your posts has been that you subscribe to the view that everyone should be just like you and that it is an irritant to you that they don’t “get this.”
 

Richard Austen

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As a reviewer, I would like to bring up a few points. One problem that TAS and other magazines have is that they may have found audiophiles who like to write reviews but that doesn't mean any of them are "wealthy" people.

So if TAS is targeting the wealthy class of readership then their reviewers can't all own NAD, Arcam and Cambridge Audio. It was explained to me by a wealthier reviewer who owns a $million plus system that if I wanted to review a $10k or $20k amplifier I needed to own a system with similarly priced components. Manufacturers want their stuff to be compared to "like" priced equipment.

If I say the $20k preamp sounds much better than my $1,500 preamp what value is there for the manufacturer? It SHOULD be better and worse if it's not or if the reviewer writes a wishy-washy read between the lines kind of review then it can do damage.

So what can outfits like TAS do? The writers aren't making enough money to live on their income as a reviewer (if any) and so they have to have a day job which may not be able to allow them to buy $50,000 amplifiers to be a "reference." So enter the long-term loans.

But as you note - if you are solely relying on these loans then they are free - and so if the free turntable is $5k and another brand offers a reviewer discount of 40% it is still $3k. $0 is better than $3k. So which table will wind up winning the shootout? If the loaner loses maybe they want their table back and the second manufacturer isn't giving out loaners - so in such a system of who is beholden to what is pretty clear.

Another problem is that some manufacturers outright offer free gear, seriously higher discounts than others and or loaners - a smaller company can't. I wanted to review a speaker but I had not auditioned it first and I told the owner of the company that I am not a guaranteed good review machine - I review so little because I like so little. And when he factored in the huge expense of shipping large speakers to Canada without a guarantee of a positive review it was just too costly for him to do it. Big companies tend to only send stuff reviewers in their good books - back in the day UHF Magazine in Canada gave scathing reviews to Cambridge Audio, Arcam, B&W and Paradigm and never got another product. So this sort of shoots you in the foot because without product your magazine doesn't do as well or even survive.

I have had discussions with some reviewers and makers and there are some reviewers who love certain products but then when they don't get the discount they want they ignore the product and instead tout the products of a competing maker who does "playball." And there are some heavyweights doing this. Also, Manufacturers who when they are sending a product for review are providing a "special" version of it with better parts - dialed in etc. Then people say - gee that reviewer said it sounded like X but my unit sounds poor - well yes because you got the off-the-shelf mediocre version while the Reviewer got the ones with the best caps and cables and you got the junk from China.

I would not put any more stock in the review industry than I would a movie critic - you find a reviewer or three who hear(s) it like you and if they hear something they love then chances are you will too. I would not read "the magazines" I would read a hand-picked set of reviewers wherever they may be from forums/magazines (print/online) even some of those YouTubers.
My ear/ taste profile tended to be similar to Wes Philips/Art Dudley/Herb Reichert/Peter Van Wellinswaard/Ken Micallef at Stereophile over JVS/Kal Rubinson/Michael Fremer/John Atkins/John Marks. If the latter group liked it I probably wouldn't.

I don't think reviewers or magazines lie - I think they just cover their bases by hiring enough reviewers with enough broad taste that everything will be liked - give the 1000-watt amp to Michael Fremer and the 8-watt SET to Art/Herb. Then both will get a rave while Art/Herb wouldn't likely touch the 1kw amp with a bargepole and MF would probably roll his eyes at an amp under 100 watts let alone under 10.
 

andromedaaudio

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So if TAS is targeting the wealthy class of readership then their reviewers can't all own NAD, Arcam and Cambridge Audio

Why not , it only becomes a problem for you if you say the 1500 one sounds at least as good as the 20 K one .
Because then they wil never give you a long term high $$$ loan (again)
I don't think reviewers or magazines lie

Why not all sales people do it .
Dusting over the truth / being diplomatic aint the same as lying :)

I would not put any more stock in the review industry than I would a movie critic - you find a reviewer or three who hear(s) it like you and if they hear something they love then chances are you will too

Thats it :cool:
 

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