Example of a piece o’ crap, useless review

I’ve harped on how crappy and useless many “professional” reviews are because they lack rigor and omit critical information.  This one is from TAS that is a main offender of pumping out shallow/unsupported reviews, but most of the Euro mags among others are guilty of this too IME.  One key giveaway that a review is crap is that after reading it you still have little/no real understanding of what the piece under review actually sounds like or if it’s something you’d like to consider further.  I mean, if a review can’t accomplish those basic elements what use is it?  This review is so shallow it reads like it could’ve been written by someone who never even listened to the review sample and just made it up outta thin air.  In addition to failing on this broad level, here are some other major problems with the review:

- There is no info regarding any shortcomings of this “budget” turntable — everything is positive.  Sounds like it was perfect, ehem.

- There are no comparisons to another product in the same general price category or anything else.

- The reviewer doesn’t even share what equipment is in his reference system so we can at least infer what he may have based his impressions on.

In short, in addition to this review being so bad/useless for all the reasons stated it actually reads more like advertisement for the product than an actual unbiased review.  I can think of nothing worse to say about a review, and sadly many reviews out there are similarly awful for the same reasons.  Sorry for the rant, but especially as a former reviewer this piece of garbage pushed all my buttons and really ticked me off.  What say you?



"This turntable is gorgeous—its plinth is made from MDF wrapped in 2¼”-thick American walnut"

This is about where I stopped trusting the author.  Details matter as does critical thinking.  It appears he combined different sections of SOTA's website which states (somewhat misleadingly IMO):

  • 2-¼” thick walnut wood plinth with interchangeable tonearm base
  • ...the thick MDF core wrapped in American walnut.

Who has ever heard of a 2.25" veneer?  Where else has he not appropriately attended to details?

@lewm  Agreed.  A constant cleaning device like you describe should only slightly slow the platter and the Condor would be able to compensate for it as long as it was applied before the speed is "synched" (less than 0.005 RPM error).  After that point, if the speed error is greater than 0.025 RPM, it will be considered abnormal and will be ignored.  At start up, the first 4 revs are ignored as the platter comes up to speed, then it usually takes a half dozen revs (at a cold start) after that to synch the  speed.  This whole mechanism is reset every time the platter is stopped or the speed/tempo adjust is changed.

This has been discussed many times.  TAS, Stereophile and others always publish glowing reviews.  A careful read though gives you subtle clues that the reviewer liked his other equipment better.  They live on advertising, and what manufacturer wants to lend out a review sample of some $40K preamp or speakers, only to get slammed in the review?  Sure, I read the reviews all the time, but I look for owners' experiences much more than TAS.  Of course, someone who just bought some expensive piece of equipment will want to like it and will want to distinguish it from whatever they had, as well.  Just once I would like to see TAS or Stereophile say that the product is OK, but for $45K, it is not close to much less expensive equipment!

Nowdays truth is in short supply, just keep an open mind and use common sense if you have that.