Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by ken2242, Oct 2, 2009.
Surprised you haven't got an infraction for that comment, which is clearly insulting.
I'm jumping the gun, but I'd guess it's safe to say he is involved somehow in selling high end cables.
What sums thing up about cables to me, is that a certain online company often throws in £100 worth of cables for free as part of it's bundles.
Of course, it's a gift and they're doing you a favour
My take is it sounds good and in reality this is costing the company £15 or so.
I'd suggest Mark Grant cables are of at least equal quality to any make you care to mention (I'm an ex radio ham, so know about specs), but he doesn't have that "name".
Now let's talk about markups
Mark Grant Did not get a 5 star rating Due to he Refused to pay them Money for stars ..
What HiFi for some reason Give the Latest LG blu-ray player a Dam good review from the last player Lg released
I posted before all this got out of hand but I think it is time to change the subject - nobody is going to get anything out of this discussion.
I agree. It's one thing to call me embittered or a loser but Left Wing, now that really is insulting.
For the sake of the record my political views are anything but left wing and I believe in capitalism. My comments about the owner of What Hifi being a minister in the Thatcher government were not meant in a negative way but to point out that the prime purpose of What Hifi was to return a profit to it's owners and it's modus operandi is to publish nice things about the companies who advertise in it rather than accurate incisive journalism.
There have been hundreds of opinions posted on this forum about this particular magazine and almost all of them are negative and they have all been posted by ordinary forum members with no axe to grind.
Obviously someone employed in the AV retail industry like Peterkinxl5 will have a vested interest in What Hifi reviews as they are used as promotional sales aids but I didn't think that the retailers and their employess actually believed all the guff they spouted . Still you live and learn.
Dammit Jon, You've rumbled me, I thought no one would be able to figure that one out
All I can say about mark grant is
1) I bought a 8 meter sub cable and build quality is excellent, I don't know how it sounds yet as I haven't connected anything yet still re wiring but I'm sure it will be fantastic as it is highly recommended,
2)his customer service and knowledge is excellent
3)his cables and him self are very highly rated and recommended
I will be buying all my hdmi cables from mark grant
re what hifi I'll tell you a little story!
A good few years back I went into seven oaks in Leicester (shut down now) looking at buying a LCD tv, we got chatting and I asked about Sony as a particular model got 5 stars and was hoping to buy it based on the 5 star review the advisor said to me "don't buy a tv just because what hifi have given it a 5 star rating"
I asked why you say that as they do all sort of test ect and know what they are talking about!
He said to me he had a Sony rep in which he was good friends with he basically said that he's going to have dinner with a what hifi representitive and this is going to be written for a review on 1 of there next review on a DVD player that's going to be reviewed. (the Sony rep was gonna tell what hifi to write about there product)
The advisor at seven oaks said look in the next following issue off what hifi and look for the review on a DVD player (can't remember what model it was)
and I garantee you this will be written about it!!
I waited for the next issue with this DVD player reviewed and I was absolutly amazed that it was actually written, same words!!
Amazing what a few browny points can do or even ££££!!!!!
Since then I just use what hifi as a guide and read reviews on here and else were and if they more or less match up I will buy it
I also remember when Sony first bought there silver chunky Looking LCD out what hifi basically said they were crap and gave 3 stars but then about 6 months later they decided to review its range again and gave 5 stars!!!
They put it down to faulty sets so they thought let's review them again!!!!
Come on guys if a tv was faulty why on earth would u try to test and review it????
I can't honestly see how a £60 audio cable can get a 2 or was it a 3 star rating!!
That is taking the micky if you ask me
That's easy - it's marketed through What Hifi's major competitor
Once upon a time a subwoofer that was very popular with AV Forums members was tested by an AV magazine and the reviewer who lived with this sub for a few weeks gave it the maximum five star rating but the editor who had neither seen nor heard the subwoofer reduced the rating to four stars and that was what was eventually published.
The reviewing of AV and hifi products in the glossy magazines is a very underhand and grubby business indeed.
From what I understand, you are saying that the Sony sales rep told a magazine something about one of their products. I'm not having a go but that is hardly evidence of anything. I agree that journalists could have personal biases but the rest is completely speculative. I know that Hifi World were actually involved in producing products such as Amps and Speakers and this was seen as unfair competition, but at the same time all magazines will surely have a close relationship with manufacturers and retail.
The fact is, they review all sorts of products, some of which have limited distribution (such as the high-end). I doubt very much that they could make enough money from these companies to survive, let alone prosper in such a competitive environment.
It's not so much that I think AVForums is biased for commericial reasons but there are obvious links between some of your sponsors and the website. For example, you promote ISF services through a company (Calman) which apparently produces products aimed at calibration of consumer TVs. There are also a number of features on Panasonic and Pioneer (while they still existed) and these products are usually the first to be reviewed.
Now, I understand that the reviewers might not be much interested in Samsung, Sony, Philips, Sharp or LED whatever but this does not seem very representative. Again, I appreciate that this site focuses more on high-end Home Entertainment and Video but there are big gaps in coverage. I mean, the clamour over Panasonic is almost beyond expectations.
Here is a promo video for Panasonic -
YouTube - Live from Abbey Road and Panasonic story....(Part one)
And another -
YouTube - Teufel Product Launch
The editorial staff are often writing about private meetings with various companies like Panasonic, Teufel, THX etc. and although it is fair game to criticise magazines, I don't see how this approach is any different. I've seen AVForums contributors tackle Which? magazine (an independent business) for no reason, and I doubt many have even read most of the reviews.
I believe you have to promote products but in the end the press actually give their readers what they are interested in ie. a heck of a lot more. The high-end mags and websites are all very well and good but 1) nobody reads them 2) they deal almost exclusively with the expensive and esoteric.
Whatever you think happens behind closed doors (and I know plenty of things do happen), reviews are written with an audience in mind. Perhaps WhatHF are less technical or discerning than the likes of HFWorld or Home Cinema Choice but there no chance they would openly back one brand. The problem is, people disagree and then they think something has to be wrong. Unfortunately, nobody has any proof and the argument seems to be circular.
The big difference between the editorial content of magazines like What Hifi and ourselves is that the reviews and editorial content of AV Forums probably makes up less than 1% of reading matter and I wouldn't mind betting that it's an even smaller proportion of the membership that actually reads it whereas editorial makes up 100% of magazine content once you have removed the advertising.
The prime objective of this forum is the exchange of views between the forum members and it's the views of forum members that make this forum what it is.
You mentioned Panasonic and using that company as an example it wasn't that long ago that What Hifi gave the Pannny plasma sets their highest commendations and they raved about them for months winning every award in sight but if one wanted an accurate assessment of their performance one only had to turn to AV Forums to see what "ordinary mortals" thought about them and it seems that they weren't impressed as they were discovering purple snakes zigzagging all over the screen.
correct...and i still have the purple snakes
That's correct, but when I brought some of these issues up I got a talking to on this same forum by one of the hardware reviewers. Having something like 18 Panasonic reviews (most Plasma) and few if any Samsung, banging on about LED being a scam and all that. Also many of these sponsors seem to chime in from time to time to back it up.
I haven't really read this site much in the last few years and the reviews are fairly new, but there is a fair amount amount of editorial content. Look at the threads S Wright posted on the LCD and Plasma forums basically saying that 'the whole industry' is against Plasma. Then look up all the posts by P Hinton on Which?.
If What Hifi or someone else did a promo video for Sony or Samsung or another Panasonic competitor what would the response be on this forum?
Best example of reviews not conducted properly are the ones of the AVR600. Not idea what it's like now, but on release it was a bug riddled POS, and any thorough testing would uncover these huge problems. Yet 5* reviews all over the place. Nonsense.
Yes, but isn't that a different argument? I know there are sometimes practical concerns which are ignored ie. technical faults, lack of information but surely that is more to do with laziness or insufficient testing. I know there are some issues which merit long-term investigation but that might not be within scope of deadlines and other business priorities.
It's just a simple argument really - someone feels that reviews aren't in the interests of the consumer. On the other hand, I would argue that if reviewer Jimmy Mac had some say as to whether you would want to buy something, another reviewer might say the opposite. If the buyer can look at both points of view and come to the decision that is all fair and well. However, saying that Jim Mac from magazine x is wrong and should be ignored is likely to confuse the situation further. That is particularly true of counter-arguments that assume a reviewer is implictly biased or lying.
I've seen some posts here that suggest that the publisher of What Hifi is either affliated with Sony (not sure about the other magazines or Future Publishing), and some members have even stated that Sony products are used too often in still shots and that this amounts to advertising (?) Again, I'm not trying to offend anyone but if you believe that you might as well believe anything.
I don't wish to be insulting but you are only 26 and I guess that you aren't that commercially aware as the plain fact is that it's the Advertising Manager at magazines like What Hifi that dictate the number of stars that a product will receive and the more a company spends on their advertising budget the more favourably their products will be treated.
I have no idea what you do for a living but I used to be a publisher and know how these things work
I'm not going to get involed in cable discussions, but just wanted to add some balance to some points being made.
You are right, Editorial has nothing to do with any commercial side of AVF. You are right that there are links between the editorial staff and manufacturers. There has to be otherwise we wouldn't get product for review. BY that I mean we need a relationship with the companys so they send us stuff to cover. However, the review process is independant and objective in nature and conducted by suitably trained and qualified individuals.
No, we don't promote ISF the company or CalMAN. Our editorial is however aimed at presenting correct and important information about image quality that has the desired effect of a consumer getting the best from a product. You need to understand what ISF is. It is a training program from industry professionals that teaches them how to correctly calibrate TV images to match the professional industry standards that are used for video playback. This then breaks into two areas. Thos who then set up a business to sell calibration, and then those who use the skills to assess and test that products meet the standards.
CalMAN support the forums editorial staff by providing the necessary equipment so that assessement can be carried out fully for the benefit of forum members reading the reviews. In return CalMAN gets a link to the left hand side of the review for their support. They have no input to the reviews.
As an editorial providing feedback to manufacturers it is encouraging that they listen and add the features we suggest. I fail to see why that would be seen as a negative. Indeed, they listen to what the forum members want and respond.
You see this comes down to who will actually send us product to review. The best company out there by far is Panasonic. Ask any AV Journalist who sends them everything they ask for and in good time and I bet they are number 1. However, Sony are the worst by far and have yet to send us a TV for review. Again, ask industry professionals and you will get the same answer. Everyone else mentioned above are equally bad and good and need to be pushed every day to actually send stuff through. Hardly the sign of bias, just poor PR and manufacturers set ups for providing kit.
We intend to move away from using just Manufacturers to provide kit and will instead source retail stock from retailers to test and review. This will work in a few ways to better the coverage on the forums. We can select any item from a retailer and it arrives for review, so no more battling with PR departments to source equipment. Secondly the retailer has no say in the review, just like the manufacturer. Thirdly, we are testing retail product that any joe can buy, not a sample chosen by the PR or manufacturer. In return for this the supplying retailer gets a link next to the review and that's it. No say in what we cover, and no say in any result because graphs and measurements never lie. So that seems like the perfect solution to me.
We have reviewed most of the major manufacturers in both LCD and Plasma, infact, for a supposed LCD hating site we have covered more of them than any other product.
No, more like one of the few companys that actually gives a jot about supporting features and helping to produce interesting content, and supporting and interacting with forum members with feedback etc. We can't help it if other company's are not interested.
Nope, that is an editorial peice on Live at Abbey Road - interviewing and behind the scenes of an interesting production. The interview was set up by Panasonic who were the TV program sponsors and asked us if we wanted to do a peice on the program and how the production was using consumer products. This interested us because a professional TV production felt it was getting good enough quality from the kit we forum members buy as consumers, that they used it for production of the program. This is pretty good stuff as most pros think consumer kit is crap and it made a good story for the forum members.
Nope, again this is editorial for a product being launched, the same as the Toshiba product launch, the LG product launch, the Pioneer product launch, the Samsung product launch, the Sony product launch. - not all of those are advertisers. We cover these and make videos for two reasons. One forum members usually get to know info first, plus they get interviews where not the usual questions get answered, they are from an enthusiasts point of view.
If you look at our reviews you will see a section at the bottom where we give inbiased and measured feedback to the Manufacturer. Sometimes, not always, the Manufacturer gets in touch and asks us how they could improve the product as suggested in the review. I don't see any issue in providing that kind of feedback and pushing certain company's to add features or update items. We write about our meetings in the open on the forums and also ask for consumers to feedback to us things they would like us to put to the Manufacturer to better the product and have the features people want. This is believe it or not what the forums is all about, people getting the best from their products and puching companies to give them what they want as consumers. It happens to be a very successful off shoot of the in-depth and fully tested reviews that has opened up conversations between the big AV company's who take part and the end consumer. It might never always result in anything positive, but you can't complain that its biased when the aim and result is better product. Just look at our constant feedback to Panasonic, a company who listen and help, and the fact they have taken on all the feedback we gave them and added features to their TVs for this year. The same with LG, another company who actually listen and get involved. Again hardly bias, it promoting the forums in a positive light and allowing members to feedback directly and get support where they can, the ethos of what a forum is.
Comments made were aimed at the lack of information on how they test and what they test as hard information was not available. Hardly having a go. We are completely open on what we do and test, so why can't the claimed consumers champion?
I just wanted to add balance to what appeared to be accusations against integrity. I find it hard to see how we could be any more open with what we do as we tell everyone everything we do and are completely open and honest about it. At the end of the day the forums is about getting the best and helping each other. That is what the editorial aims are, and we are very clear and open about it. Above all the editorial staff here are not journalists looking for a job or part of the retail or industry in any way. We are enthusiasts and forums members first and foremost and the aim is to help people get better performance from their kit and get the latest news first in a way they want it and not just the normal PR bumff. And for the record I do not see our editorial in anyway competition to the magazines, we do things differently.
Now I will leave you guys to get back to your cable discussions. Best of luck.
I think the cable discussion died about a page ago
Good post Phil.
Well going back to cables.......
My two lots of two metre rca bi amp cables from Mark arrived today and they look very well put together. For the price I've paid (even though he hasn't charged me yet!) they are a bargain.
I'm surely not that innocent and I understand that businesses depend on advertising revenue. However, to say that magazine reviews are dictated by revenue seems to rely on assumptions rather than fact, as you put it. Many of the magazines I have mentioned review products with zero promotion. For example, Hifi World does not seem to cover many manufacturers but dealers, even though they once produced and marketed products in their own magazine. What Hifi awarded one of their speaker prizes to a company called EB Acoustics who trade via the web (I think one of staff posts on the forum, but that's it). Many of specialist magazines support cottage industries and the like but I don't have anything against it.
The problem with this whole argument is that it cannot be disproven and I think it is fairly obvious that you can say these things on the web without receiving much in the way of a rebuttal. I find most of the posts on the subject immature and degrading to all involved.
Once again, bias has nothing to do with it. I'm just pointing out how easy it use to generalise from one source and the arguments against Which? seemed to have nothing in them. Perhaps they do test things differently, but nothing they do justifies the criticism. To be honest, I only made these points because I was disappointed, not to mention -
Right of reply...
It's also a business though, so far as I understand it (based in the US? International?). I know there is an organisation for TV broadcasting called the ITU but I don't know if they have any role in production. Again, I think that if a magazine or commercial publication/website whatever had actually promoted another organisation or business they would be either in breach of advertising standards or their publishing agreement (unless that was with ISF).
To quote Ian, I'm not the most commercially aware person but this all strikes me as promotion (I know LG are sponsoring the shows also). Panasonic and LG are the same as any other company, I doubt they would look a gift horse in the mouth. Again, I'm not really bothered about it but until about a year ago the reviews were nearly all from the manufacturers. Perhaps they are 'doing everything right' but it's not like they are doing that well in the market, ditto Pioneer. I don't know how you choose products and believe it or not I respect your views but that does not mean I am a devout follower. There are plenty of other review sites on the web and about twice as many in the US with about the same audience.
I'm not trying to prove anything but it seems like politics are carried into every discussion. Is this just a case of crying wolf? - I have no idea.
Although we are in danger of going round and round in circles I feel that whilst most of it has already been covered I will re-iterate that the major difference between reviews published on AV Forums and in magazines like What Hifi is that all of the forum members here have the right of reply.
If What Hifi give something a five star review their readers are denied the right of reply or discussion whereas any review here is open to discussion on the review thread itself or elsewhere on the forum and if Phil or his team produced a glowing report of a product but forum members disagreed they would very soon lose any credibility.
Try disagreeing with a product review on What Hifi and if by letter it won't be published and if on their forum the reply would either be heavily edited or deleted completely.
Try spending ten years buying both WHF recommended gear, and AVF recommended gear, and see for yourself which is the reliable resource. It's no quick answer, but for many AVF members, that effectively what we have been doing.
WHF and others would like you to think that you can be confident in buying their five star recommended products, but I think its fair to say that the collective view of the vast majority of experienced enthusiasts here is that WHF reviews have no value whatsoever. None.
BTW, I just got some Mark Grant G1000 cables, and though I have yet to do any scientific comparisons, I'm very impressed indeed. Its really useful to know which people and organisations you can trust, and which you can't, and Mark Grant defintitely falls into the former category.
Very little if any objective info just opinions that are sometimes wrong or misleading.
As Panasonic was mentioned earlier there was a great example not so long ago regarding proper processing of 24hz Blu-ray on a certain model. IIRC correctly they claimed following their review that Blu-ray film motion was great and failed to notice the 2:3 pulldown applied because the unit actually refreshed at 60hz. Not only that they argued the claim that is was processed properly on their forum until they were forced to concede. Yet this is the same mag that claims to be able to observe the difference in motion between short HDMI cables.
I agree with Nick no value.
Fact of the matter is AV Forums is a source of solid factual, data based reviews, as Phil mentions above, the measurements don't lie. The suggestion that AV Forums is biased, particularly when compared to certain paper publications that provide mostly subjective reviews is frankly laughable!
Well my Mark Grant 2m bi amping cables arrived yesterday and as expected they are very well constructed and put together. Mark even colour tagged them so I can tell one from the other in the mess of wires behind my cabinet.
Cost me about £50 delivered.
Do they improve the sound? No idea, not sure how much cables would make a difference over and above my speakers, amps, preamps etc.
I am over the moon however with the obvious quality and workmanship of these cables and the fact that Mark will make me whatever I ask for and is so easy and honest to deal with.
I'm a customer for life.
Sorry, but that is an example of a one-sided argument. To say that qualitative analysis shows nothing is fairly insubstantive and I think most researchers are willing to consider it (often in collaboration). By contrast, I think the arguments for blind testing are overstated. Again, opinions are just that and I'm not going to get worked up about what someone said last week. If the standards of the reviews drop then I'm sure you can let them know about it. If you want me to post for you or write a few letters I'm more than willing to do it. Some of the members on here like Dovercat/Knightout have posted before (mostly on the same subjects, to which the Editor replied) and I think he only read the magazine once. I doubt most AV Forums members read every magazine or website, and they certainly weren't interested in Which? A subscription to their website costs £1 so why not give it a roll?
They made a mistake, yes, but who is getting short-changed? I'm sure we are all experts in our own heads but personally I can't tell a blind bit of difference between most of these TV features. If 100Hz makes everything look like a Soap Opera I must have been watching the wrong TV channels. The same goes for just about everything else - the processing does little for SD, which looks as bad on a £1000 set as one from the Supermarket. There are major technical issues which are usually accepted or given short shrift. Basically, the biggest difference between TVs is that some work well most of the time and others don't. The worst examples will have no viewing angle and image retention every few minutes.
If we're talking home truths then I'd say people really aren't interested in most of this stuff and the retail staff give them whatever they need to know. Some have their issues, and the sound quality is usually poor but when people want a 50 inch TV for £500 I imagine they aren't too concerned.
Again, that's a fairly limited interpretation. I'm not saying AVForums or any other source is full of rubbish - I can agree or disagree with anyone. The fact is, we all have opinions and if we wouldn't be human otherwise. If you read the reviews there are quite a few comments and such which are usually published in an opinion editorial. Hifi magazines actually do this most of the time and most of them don't have the space to begin with.
I've seen reviews with more quantitive info, like What Video and Home Cinema Choice (also disparaged from time to time), but they don't have the room to publish every chart or figure. Most of the web reviews post a summary but perhaps they don't work to same standards. Speaking personally I find all the conker-bashing and 'mine is better the yours' stuff boring.
Anyone who used their expert advice to make a purchasing decision. Given you can't tell the difference probably not an issue for you but it may be for others.
Bibby - Do a search here on What Hifi and look for opinions in other threads. I think that you will find that your opinion of them is outnumbered by 1,000 to 1 such is the disdain in which they are held.
Judging by some of your replies I think that you are guilty of selective reading in this thread as we aren't talking about simple human errors, we are talking about products that have been reviewed and rated by someone in the technical department only to find that the rating has been downgraded by the editor who had neither seen nor heard the product and we are also talking about "reviews" written on products that hadn't even been taken out of the box.
Sometimes when you are swimming madly against the tide and making absolutely no headway it's time to give up and reading all of the contributions to this thread it's fairly obvious that you are out on a limb
I've enjoyed reading this debate, although it has long gone very much OT. I think we should either create a separate thread or even just let this one drop.
FWIW I think Ian J's last post sums it all up. No disrespect Bibby_83, but you are fighting a lost cause here.
Just getting this back on track, I would just like to add that all my cables analogue and digital sound and vision come from Mark and I won't go anywhere else, the level of service and build quality cannot be bettered IMHO.
I am going to order a set of G1000HD cables soon, just to try them out, I wonder if I can get a discount as they are only good enough for four stars
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