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What are What HiFi up to?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Brox, May 30, 2003.

  1. Brox

    Brox
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    I recently read the receiver review in the Jun What HiFi and I can't understand some of their comments.

    For instance the Arcam AVR200 being described as reasonable in stereo when in august 2002 they described it as a superbly musical performer - have things changed so much in that time?

    The sony STRva555es got really applauded for it's sound in stereo, is this accurate, sony's used to be pretty poor in stereo!

    I haven't much experience with any of the others except the Harman, I own an older HK and I bought mine because it was good in stereo but I haven't heard the newer models, it does supprise me a bit as HK are always said to have good amplification.

    Anyway does anyone else have any comments about the reviews?
     
  2. wilber

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    Inconsistency in What Hi-fi reviews is nothing new - there are plenty of threads on these forums that will atest to that! Specifically re the Arcam - It is a very nice amp for stereo, but is very restrained when it comes to movie performance - some people prefer it's approach over that of say the in yer face approach of the Yamahas. Certainly if you have easy to drive speakers, it's well worth listening to simply because it is different.

    WHF love Sony at the moment - personally I can't see what the fuss is about. I considered buying a 555 'cos there was an ex-demo model going cheap after a head to head with the cheaper Pioneer 1011, it was very soon off of my list.

    Never been a fan of HK just because of their industrial approach to design so I can't say much, except that my local 7oaks are recommending the new HK ahead of the denon 3803 as a substitute for the pioneer 2011 if people aren't willing to wait (I respect their opinions very highly)
     
  3. HotblackDesiato

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    Subjective rating scales are notoriously difficult to get right. BUT it can be done if careful steps are put in place to maximise the internal/external validity of the scale. On my reading of What Hifi they make little attempt to maximise either.
     
  4. wookie

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    Yeah, the NAD C370 was "product of the year" in 2002.
    Now it is a 4* amp????
    I think that WHIFI is the FAST CAR of Hi Fi comics and the people who write for them are just Journalists.
    Sony must be taking them out for lots of nice long plush lunches:D

    Use a review to narrow down your choices, then use your own judgement.
     
  5. Hugo Skeeter

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    Wookie, be fair. Products that win awards one year have to compete in a different market a year later. If Sony release a CD that blows the competition away, do you think Nad, Arcam etc. all give up and go down the pub ? No, they put more research into developing their products and offer better value for money against the award winner. Things move on.

    Just think, the Mini Metro was car of the year once !!! How do you think that compares to this years vehicles ?

    But you are right about one thing - Make your own judgement. It's your ears and your money :)
     
  6. wookie

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    Things do move on fast in this market.
    After all its only someones opinion.
    & my opinion is Mini Metro's are death traps :D
     
  7. Crocodile JD

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    This is so true. When they wanted to promote the B&W sub sat system above the Kef eggs, they suddenly decide to tell us that the Kef eggs have some sibilance. Pitty they forgot to mention this earlier, when they were hailing them as best sub sat system around and every one was going out to buy them.

    Guess what speakers I've got:D (And a pair of Q35.2s which are the biz)

    Crocodile JD
     
  8. Vection

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    Dont forget that What Hifi are aiming at a particular segment of the market. As far as I can see there are three types of people who are going to buy this magazine:-

    1) the av enthusiast
    2)The casualy interested
    3) The one off purchaser

    to my mind no 1 is probably going to make up the bulk of the subscriptions, no 2 will purchase a mag every other month or so and isn't that bothered what was said before , finaly no 3 who is making a one off purchase and only wants some quick advice.

    What hifi is squarly aimed at 2 & 3 as this is the largest section of the market and likely to bring them the widest cirulation. Can't say I blame them really.
    :eek:
     
  9. Sunday Ironfoot

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    OK, so what magazines do people read on a regular basis, and what 'type' of HIFI person are they aimed at?
     
  10. neilos70

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    ive found the magazine reviews a bit confusing too.

    my wife bought a sub to it for xmas 4 me and i read every issue cover to cover. Ive really got into home cinema since buying a big tv etc and so i now want to progress onto some proper sound to complement my existing set up.

    after careful reading of amp reviews i decided i would check out a shortlist of 3, one being the sony db1080,which is the dog`s danglies from wh reviews...guess their expense accounts are high at the mo!

    from the info ive gathered on this forum no-one likes the sony and today at 7oaks my friendly assistant assured me it wasnt bcause the sony is particularly bad, more their after sales service is diabolical and they dont like dealing with them....

    wh seem to change their minds about products swiftly, but i think this is just the sign of the times in an ever changing market.

    thinking seriously now about denon, yammy 640 & pioneer
     
  11. Nutty

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    It may be worth pointing out that ‘What Hi-Fi’ also do the same thing with stereo amplifiers and the design of these has changed very little in the past 15-20 years, ‘WH’ would have you believe the market is moving faster than it actually is (for some reason), some things changes faster than others, most of the change is occurring in the av sector right now, with new surround sound formats and high resolution audio formats etc, in the Hi-Fi sector things have changed very little in recent years, I don't personally have much time for 'WH' they honestly seem more interested in giving out gold stars than actually telling us what a particular piece of equipment sounds like, it's out with the old and in with the new with them, despite the fact that the old may be very good and the new isn't really all that different other than the shiny new case and perhaps a few extra features, I don't personally read 'WH' much anymore but I am first a foremost a hi-fi enthusiast and so I guess I can forgive them as they are now catering for a different market segment and I and people like me always have ‘Hi-Fi News’ and ‘Hi-fi World’ to read, and of course I haven't forgotten ‘Hi-Fi Choice’ but they just aren’t my first choice (pun absolutely intended lol).
     
  12. sounddog

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    I tend to read all of them (at Borders) ... but don't buy any regularly ... sorry guys!

    Several people here have listened to the Sony along with its competitors and thought that for them it is the best (sorry names escape me at the moment). My opinion is that at each price bracket (that I've heard) are pretty similar in quality. Sometimes there's a real duffer, and sometimes there's something that peeks its head above the crowd (like the Pioneer 2011 in it's bracket). Thats part of the reason that What HiFi's opinions vary - different people write different reviews.

    Sevenoaks recently have been pushing the Harmon Kardon amps a lot. Maybe they're getting a better deal from them than Sony. Sony looses out a lot on aftersale most because of it's size I think. Also home cinema (and other HiFIi) kit for them is quite a minor side line ... though they have had some stunners over the past few years.

    Vikki
     
  13. groundy

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    What HiFi is the most inconsistent publication in the business. Do yourself a favour and avoid it although it will never change until the manufacturer's do the same.
     
  14. neilos70

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    yeah hk amps were heavily pushed to me today vikki. I dont like them personally, not even heard them, its a looks thing for me.

    re the 1080 ive seen some good deals on this amp about ( as its now a dinosaur and just been given full props in wh !!! at the same time lovl ...bizarre ) i dont know i suppose its up to us to
    use our brains and make an educated decision as to what kit is what.

    cant help thinking though that if you dont know your optical from your woofer you`ll be seriously misled by mags & retailers alike.

    im going to demo things a copule of times each and work that salesman next week @ 7oaks before i part with any cash!
     
  15. nathan_silly

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    Harmon/Kardon are better AV amps than Sony.

    Although the new H/K aren't to my liking (prefer the all-black simple design from a couple of years ago)
     
  16. sounddog

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    To be completely honest ... yes thats true. All the magazine and shops are there to make money.

    A lot of dealers see the best way to make the most money out of you is to get you to buy what suits you best ... in the hope that you will come back to them when you later want a CD player, higher spec amp, etc. but unfortunately there are also those out there who feel the best way to make money is just to sell you the kit that gives them the best profit margin.

    Vikki
     
  17. neilos70

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    have heard that about hk, still my ears wont let me down when i demo nw
     
  18. neilos70

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    yeah agreed but its a shame as im sure many people will be ripped off, no i`ll re-phrase that, short changed with their choice & performance of the kit if they dont have a clue.

    at least i know that i`ll get exactly what i want as i do tend to check it all out before buying ( got that from my wife!):D
     
  19. Spligsey

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    Well, after flogging off 90% of the 'Adzman' crown jewels, i've made my first purchase back in the 'middle' range of gear.

    HK AVR-8500

    Remember to include it on your audition lists.

    Adzman
     
  20. pwiles1968

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    I read What Hi-Fi and agree their favourite products do vary back and fourth, I do not however find that surprising, the differences between kit at a similar level are so small it is often difficult to make a judgement and different people have different opinions of what sounds good The difference between a 3* product and a 4* is minimal the differences become smaller the more money you pay. It is the law of diminishing returns.

    I recently reviewed a Yamaha CD Changer against an Arcam CD62 and a Rotel CD02, yes the Arcam and Rotel were better but not £350 better, so I bought my MA6100’s for similar money and got much better improvement in my system I think it sounds great and suits my musical taste, but guess what some days I don’t like it, they are few and far between but they happen.

    Read the reviews in more than one magazine narrow down products that suit your needs and budget go have a listen If you like it trust your instincts and if you buy it stop looking at the reviews for it, they are my pearls for today, I’m going up town now to look at What Hi-Fi and drawl over more kit I can not afford.
    :smashin:
     

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