Does someone’s opinion affect your opinion?

So I have a very nice turntable with a new MC cartridge which I liked and enjoyed…that is until someone said that the cartridge was very “piercing” and in his opinion almost unlistenable. Now I find I am not enjoying it as much. Two things to add, he is not anymore “golden ear” than me, and the brands are well known with good reviews. 
But now, I don’t enjoy it as much. I know I shouldn’t let it bother me, but it does and it has impacted my enjoyment.

So, has this happen to you and what did you do? 


You need to remember that his ears and his mental perception of sound are completely different than yours, and even if what he said is 100% accurate for his ears and perception, it has no relevancy to your perception of the sound that your system creates.

Relax, and continue to enjoy it as you did before.

Stop reading equipment reviews for the opinions usually expressed in the last paragraph.  When I occasionally read reviews, I stop once I have reached an understanding of how the thing works and what might make it unique or at least worthy of further investigation.

Post removed 

Well, your friend may be an ___ or a ____, but ’piercing’ has been let out of Pandora’ Box..

Once your confidence has had a hole drilled in it, it’s time to do your own critical evaluation, with music you are very familiar with, re-acquire assured love, restored confidence: or, hear what you might have been unaware of.

i.e. what familiar music do you take to audition equipment with? Among others, relative to your friend’s ’piercing’ comment:

I play Eurythmics, Sweet Dreams, which contains a lot of revealing highs. Helps mr make decisions when using my Tweeter’s L-Pads. Oh, that was there, very nice, or Jesus that’s too much.

Also: Barbra Streisand/Donna Summer Duet: No More Tears, Enough is Enough, the individual distinction of their voices is wonderous when revealed by a great cartridge/system.

Piano, content with full range. Violins,

Both of those, or music you are familiar with are enough for you to either fall in love again, or, hear something you never focused on, I’ll be dammmmmed, there is a piercing quality I missed, or he’s full of shiiiiiiiiiittttttte


What content suggestions to reveal ’piercing’ OR ’wonderful extension’???


Cartridge/Arm: Complete Proper Alignment?

Do you have the skills and the few tools to be assured all is physically correct for best results?

1. listen 'as is', that's what your friend commented on

2. double check/re-adjust for 'even better' than you were already hearing.


+1, @roxy54 

Another way to settle this quandary, go listen to his system. After which, you will know if you need to tweak or leave your system as is! 

How a cart works in one system can have very little relevance how it’ll perform in another. There are a bunch of variables that impact how a cart sounds. The loading from the phono stage, cables, tonearm compatibility, VTA, SRA, VTF, different system synergy, room effects, etc.  It's possible to get some direction from others, and even some point of reference by listening to their system (if it's good), but in the end you really need to go your own way and piece together things YOU like on your system. 

It is normal for most to be influenced to some level or degree by others opinion....

But no audio system is the same nor the hearing filters are the same...

And the place where we are in our audio journey differ too...



Another important thing is learning to trust our ears....


Then we must set some acoustic experiments and train ourself then this improve self confidence a lot...


«Opinions are like an onion and we see only the last skin»-- Groucho Marx 🤓

“What if he said your wife is ugly....

I let all the visitors know ahead of time about my wife’s Santa Clarita Diet 😉

I think the kind of impact your friends comment has is somewhat dependent on your experience level, exposure to other systems, and depth of knowledge. For instance if someone said that of my system, I would have to exert some self control not to start laughing. I have been an avid audiophile for fifty years. While I am open to learning, I know exactly what attributes my system has; relative to real music and other systems.


On the other hand, I would become very interested in understanding where they are coming from. I would want to hear what they have been hearing to better understand.

I do understand your reaction. I think it is pretty normal… I’m assuming you have not been an audiophile for fifty years. It would spur me on to understand more. I would certainly want to hear what he is listening to, I would also go out and find some audio stores and listen to what they have. Is there any truth in the claim? If not, great, you can go back to enjoying your system. But if there is… then you can learn something… this is how we learn over time and zero in on what you will ultimately appreciate as you mature.

I would look at your friends comments as a great opportunity to learn and experience more systems.

It's only natural to seek validation or a rational for your personal opinions. I believe we've all experienced it, at some point or another, in some form, what @DEADHEAD1000 is experiencing. Most of us don't do this with just our audio, but with most everything in life: food, art & entertainment, cars, on & on. We read reviews, we invite opinions to inform our perceptions.

I think your friend has provided you with a valuable insight: you now know how his experience ("piercing" & almost unlistenable) relates to your perception ('enjoyable'). That is a refence point by which I mean that a refence point is neither right nor wrong, bad or good. It is simply a point to refer to relative to you and your opinion. That is the utility of audio reviewers: when you get familiar with their opinions you know how to interpret those in relation to your own.

Also you mentioned it's a new cartridge, so there's folks hear that will say it needs to 'break in'. FWIW I think its the listener that really needs  to 'beak in'.

Cheers and let your ears be your guide

If all adjustable parameters are good,your own ears do the final sign off.

Every listener at a show/demo room will not agree a SOTA rig sounds amazing.

It looks like your perception is tainted however. Time for another cartridge upgrade.




I spend a lot of time in Company experiencing different Sources, i.e Vinyl, CD and even Streaming of late.

Along with this there are Cables, Phono Amp's, Pre-Amp's, Power Amp's and Speakers put into service to be scrutinised be a Group of experienced audio enthusiasts, that have approx' 200 years of being quite interested in and owning audio systems under their belts as a group.

I can assure that at times the whole of the follow up descriptions can be largely gobbledygook, as there are times when each individual has locked on to a frequency that another had not been effected by, or overlooked the frequency and was more attuned to detailing and dynamics.

These items produced during a replay, that become a sticking point, are in my view related to ones mood at the time of the occasion, as mood brings out variances of sensitivities.     

It seems to me that your friend would be a more valuable friend if they would expose you to a system that is not harsh to their ears. That would at least give you some ability to relate to their comments, or not.

I engage my preamp’s 10k equalizer to compensate for my age related hearing loss. I am guessing that should I forget to disengage the equalizer, my teenage daughters would find some music to be quite harsh.


It is normal for most to be influenced to some level or degree by others opinion....

Another important thing is learning to trust our ears....

Then we must set some acoustic experiments and train ourself then this improve self confidence a lot...

Exactly, perfectly right!

Guttenberg said something interesting about the audio journey, recently. As we age, we change our opinions in part because of our physical hearing, but largely because of our ability to discern. 

If a friend made a comment which lead me to question what I was hearing, it would probably because I trust their discernment. That would give me a reason to do what Mahgister suggests -- do experiments. We only have the science and technology of audio because of skepticism, testing, questioning, and corroboration of results.

I am happy that we think the same about that...


In audio forums half the quarrel about sound perception is based on the gear difference and in our different stations in our each different audio journey...

Acoustic experiments help us to relativize the importance of the gear and make us more able to understand each aspect of the audio vocabulary...

there is three vocabulary and three perspectives in sound perception to understand , they meet, but they never reduce to one another...

The audio vocabulary : about imaging, soundstage , high , bass, mid-range etc

The music vocabulary : melody, rythm, harmony, tonality, atonality, polytonality, etc

The acoustic vocabulary: reverberation time, listener envelopment, first reflection and secondary one, diffusion, absorption , timbre experience...soubd sources localization etc To this we must add the psycho-acoustic vocabulary which extend physical acoustic ...

The three vocabulary correspond to three sound experience mediation with different tools...Three environment which intercept one another without loosing their specific power...

The three vocabulary for example meet deeply when audiophile analyse the "timbre experience" even more  more than about space localization of sound because the timbre perception is more subtle and more hard to get right ......In music, audio, acoustic and even in psycho-acoustic, the "timbre" experience is FUNDAMENTAL to understand... It is the basis... Localization and immersiveness are more audio and acoustic concept than musical one too...

Without knowing precisely how to use and control aspects of these three perspective , the "timbre" experience escape us in part....

I dont know if you think the same about that....

My best to you...


It is normal for most to be influenced to some level or degree by others opinion....

Another important thing is learning to trust our ears....

Then we must set some acoustic experiments and train ourself then this improve self confidence a lot...

Exactly, perfectly right!

Guttenberg said something interesting about the audio journey, recently. As we age, we change our opinions in part because of our physical hearing, but largely because of our ability to discern.

If a friend made a comment which lead me to question what I was hearing, it would probably because I trust their discernment. That would give me a reason to do what Mahgister suggests -- do experiments. We only have the science and technology of audio because of skepticism, testing, questioning, and corroboration of results.



You used the term "someone".  Is that someone a close friend or family?  Maybe that someone was purposely being an a** ,  because of jealousy and wanted to knock you down a bit?

I love the sound of my system and I'm the only human that has listened to it.  

I had an audio manufacturer (now friend) visit my home and listen to his gear that I owned in my office system. We played music by musicians he was friends with and knew how they should sound. After that session he gave me a lot of constructive criticism. I ended up rearranging my room and selling some gear. I did also sell the 2 amps he loved the most and kept the amp he liked the least. That was because I knew we had some slight differences in our audio sensibilities.

A few months later, I was proved correct in putting my faith in his musicians’ ears. There was a writeup on his great listening skills on

My room has never sounded better.

I enjoy opinions that agree with mine, and utterly reject those that don't. 


It could be that your friend is sensitive to high frequencies like some are to metallic tweeters, or conversely your high frequency hearing ability is less sensitive.

Some opinions are helpful, like a respected reviewer with much experience. Others like my “subjective” tastes are better than your’s are not. 

@roxy54 nailed it in the initial response to the OP. Please don’t waste money based on the perception/bias of another. Try to have the confidence to know what you like and enjoy it. 


I do not care at all what anyone else says something sounds like. You have to have more confidence in your own abilities including hearing. The problem for most people is that they do not have a solid reference. What should a certain recording sound like? This takes experience. Being too bright or harsh is a very common problem. You should never find yourself winsing at a recording. If you are not winsing you are probably OK.

Generally people opinions dont affect too much my opinion... But i trust some expert opinion way over my limited experience...

If i am on the fence for a change i must choose in who i will trust to operate a change if i am not able to listen to a future upgrade component ...

But at the end it will be my EARS who will decide...But it is my ears/trained brain that make me able to discern the problem to begin with...

Right now i am on the fence to change my satisfying Sansui Alpha 607i which is an amplifier designed for speakers to a lower noise floor headphone amplifier... The Sansui alpha is quieter already than my past  S.S. amplification...

Will it be an upgrade or a side grade ?

 Here i must confide in experts opinions and study them...

I decide not to change the dac or the cable for my AKG K340 but the amplification...

I am on the fence...

Do i need this upgrade?

No, not absolutely...

But my actual headphone are so refined, i put them near the top of high end not near the bottom at all... Then because they are sensible to the electrical noise floor at a level none of my past components were , i am thinking about a super quiet amplifier and more refined than the S. S. Sansui alpha which is very hard to beat...

It is why my trust in my ears now dont suffice... I need to read experts and trust some to make the change...

Is my identification of the change at amplification is a good decision ?

Why not the dac?

The dac is a battery low cost dac NOT LINKED TO THE COMPUTER NOR TO THE ELECTRICAL GRID  with a very low noise floor , with an internal big files storage, with a small needed equalizer to make the K340 nearer the harman curve for my ears... I cannot upgrade it without investing big money in a more erractic move than picking an improved amplification...Dac technology seems mature enough to me and my "perceived" problem is the electrical noise floor way more than the source dac quality here... i must adress the evident problem...Electrical noise floor...Most people are not conscious about it generally...

The electrical noise floor when we own refined component is on par with acoustic as a qualitative factor over even the mechanical factor (vibrations control) especially with headphones instead of speakers ...

WE all need experts opinions, even if only our ears will decided at the end... We must pick the right opinion..

For example, the new amplification which interested me is almost universally acclaimed, save by an audio frorum leader or guru... 😊

it is easy to discern why this guru cannot be objective about this piece of amplification for the sake of his site status... then i picked as trusty the designer of this piece of amplification , and all the numerous positive ectatic owners, not the audio guru and his bashing review ...😁


Before picking the right component we must pick the right expert...



@ roxy54

On behalf of the Audiogon members it’s comforting to know that we have an official Audiogon spell checker. Thanks much!

Roxy54 +2 , op your system sound is tune for your ears not His. Why when I invite friends I tell them ahead my system does not need their reviews. Just listen and enjoy. Because I tell them I won’t make a change regardless of what they say.

If the answer to the OP's question is "NO," as many here affirm, then what are you doing on the Audiogon forum? We're sharing opinions about SQ here, are we not? And without even listening together, so that none of us has any way of norming or otherwise checking the "objective" validity of the opinion offered, other than its logical persuasiveness. If how your system sounds to YOU is the only thing that matters—and, in the last analysis, it is—then reading reviews or audio blogs is worse than a waste of time. Its distracting you from the real purpose of this hobby, and possibly planting false seeds of doubt where once there had been delight.

On the other hand, there are a lot of potential purchase choices to be made, and one would like to make them in an informed way. "Informed" here means: seek out a dealer with the item you want, and listen for yourself; borrow it (or purchase it with return privileges) so you can hear it in your own room before you commit. But to guide us in the direction of which components to seek out for a listen in the first place, reviews, seek the opinions of others, etc. So, YES: of course other people's opinions  can affect your own. We are social beings; we share this world, these human bodies; we can reasonably expect to learn from one another.

And then, there's the delight one takes in sharing one's own delight with friends. Žižek tells a joke about an ordinary guy who finds himself shipwrecked on a deserted island with Cindy Crawford (update at you whim). Eventually they wind up sleeping together. Afterwards, she asks him if he's happy. "There's just one more thing that would make me even happier," he replies. "Will you dress up like my best friend Bob? I can sketch a mustache on your lip...." She thinks this is odd and more than a bit kinky, but she complies. And then, nudging her with his elbow, the man says: "Hey Bob, you know what just happened to me? I just slept with Cindy Crawford!"

Most of the people on here have forgotten more than I'll ever know about audio gear.

I joined this group to get their learned opinions on  things important to me.

Those opinions effect my opinions greatly.

Taking all of this advice to heart, I make my own decisions and I decide if I like what I hear or not. Nobody else's opinion matters there.

I've learned a bit about cables, toe-in etc  here and I'm grateful for it.

This is just MY opinion, yours may vary. Nothing wrong with that at all.


People can definitely “poison the well” so to speak, whether intentionally or not. Then it’s just a question of agreeing or getting it out of your head. It can be a tough situation that time can help with. I wish I had a magic bullet for you but it’s happened to me and it can be hard to deal with. 

I think everyone reading this has the best sound ever.  

Did that help?

The long and the short of it is it’s your ears.  If you’re happy with a $250,000 rig, great.  If you’re happy with a transistor am/fm from the sixties, great!

Don’t let anyone try to influence you in this.  Trust in your ears.  Trust in yourself.

For me? No. I know what I like and I also am well aware that what I currently have for components and speakers are absolutely not the holy grail of audio. I love the forum because I trust the opinions of a few when it comes to the quality and sound of something I am looking to upgrade or add to my system. But saying that.. it sounds better or it doesn’t after the addition. And if not…. I certainly don’t question my own ability to discern what I want to hear.  The only thing I do recommend is give whatever you are auditioning a fair shake. Try different music, don’t be afraid to try repositioning your speakers a little. If after a few hours of listening switch back to the original component. That is when I know for sure that what I just added is better or not. 

  As many other have said. People have different tastes, different ears, different expectations of what they want to hear. I had a couple buddies trying different carts on my table back a couple years ago. All three of us found a different cart the best. One of the guys preferred an Ortofon Blue over $2500 MC carts we had in hand. I think that was when it really sunk into me that there is just such a crazy difference in our likes. 


I don’t know if you’re familiar with an online high end audio magazine called Mono and Stereo, but after reading quite a few of their articles, several years ago I emailed the editor and suggested that the publication would appear much more professional and polished if the English wording and grammar were corrected.

The owner, who also writes some of the reviews, is eastern European after all, and English isn’t his first language. He subsequently invited me to edit a couple of reviews, which actually ended up being nearly full rewrites. He was satisfied, and actually replaced his originals online with my rewrites, but when I asked him about the possibility of being paid for other editing jobs in the future, he demurred.

I really love editing and copywriting, which I studied for a while. Errors always jump out at me. Of course, I make my own like everyone else.

Rewriting and correcting my horrible english posts is too hard job even for you Alas!

I apologize to all for my "square" syntax and my many typos... I apologize to roxy54 in particular...

I never spoke english in all my life and philosophical or science books are not the best to learn english...We miss slang, humor and wit, and fluidity of syntax...

The greatest writer i read in modern english a spanish born philosopher stun me by his prose... George Santayana.... It remind me that one of the greatest french writer in the last 70 years was a romanian : Emil Cioran


Some are more gifted than others...


I really love editing and copywriting, which I studied for a while. Errors always jump out at me. Of course, I make my own like everyone else.



You have no apologies to make for me @mahgister . You speak English pretty well for a second language. I only speak English, although I know a lot of French words, and some Latin words.

I will not report your post as too kind toward me...


You have no apologies to make for me @mahgister . You speak English pretty well for a second language. I only speak English, although I know a lot of French words, and some Latin words.

Dear @deadhead1000  : ""  I know I shouldn’t let it bother me, but it does and it has impacted my enjoyment. """

More than affect your or my opinion always is learning time and we can take advantage of that kind of opinion and how can we take advantage?: asking that gentleman if that " piercing " appeared in all LP tracks and in all kind of MUSIC both of you were listening it. I think you still can ask about.


In the other side and opinion of my room/system reproduction makes me , at least, to make a check up at each single link i the room/system chain and spcially to the cartridge/tonearm/TT set up and even if is ok I will mount again the cartridge to do a " freshly " set up and when I unmount the cartridge I will try to see it stylus tip/cantilever through a microscope.

Now and it does not matters the cartridge " pedigree " all new cartridges needs play hours to settle down and after those play hours we should to make a new check up tonearm/cartridge set up. Normally after settle down we have to " play " with minimal changes on VTF and/or VTA/AZ.

Always we learn a lot from " bad " criticas/opinions that the other way around opinions. A good audio friend is the one that tell you what he is listening no matter what.


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,





I can relate to your story. I’m guessing most people value other’s opinions and are subject to be swayed to a degree. The people we surround ourselves with and listen to is key, at least in my mind. But in the end, I make the call and live with the consequences!

After church tomorrow I’m going to see if I can catch a smallie or two! Have a great weekend!

I went to my doctor.  He said I needed an operation.

I said, "Doc, I'd like another opinion."

He said, "OK, you're ugly."

.... Rodney Dangerfield.

I can be suggestable. Sometimes I'm affected by other's opinions, sometimes not so much. I know I really like something when I continue to just love it even while the person next to me is saying it sounds pretty bad.