Giving Advice without recommending your own equipment

I've noticed over the years that you can't ask a general question on Audiogon without getting people answering who with a specific model recommendation.  They  think the answer to every question is to just buy their model.  For example:

OP:  What is the difference between R2R and FPGA DACS.

ans 1:  I have a model x that is R2R and you should just buy it.  it is spectacular.

ans 2:  I have model y what is FPGA and it is spectacutlar.  buy it.

ans 3:  I have model z.  I don't know if it is FPGA, R2R or what, but you should buy it.

ans 4:  I have owned both.  I found the FPGA to have the following attributes..... and the R2R to be more ......  The models i owned were not exactly in the same price range so YMMV.  But my opinion is that I like ______ better.

Which of those answers sound more useful?  I'm just suggesting that your advice is more meaningful if you can refraim from recommending your latest and greatest piece of equipment.   I would totally ignore answers 1 thru 3.  Ans 4 is well thought out and give you a useful opinion.

Sometimes people ask for specific model advice from people who have heard certain models.  Of course 99.9% of the comments come from people who love their model x.  Apparently nobody ever buys something and decides it is not that great (I wonder why there is so much used equipment for sale).  But comments about specific models are appropriate then.

Just a few thoughts about how to navigate theough the forums and sort the wheat from the chaff.  there is lots of good advice here and lots of bad advice and this is more of an example of useless advice and how to avoid giving it.



Also, it seems many recommend equipment they do not own or ever heard.

Truth rides on the credit system, William James said. That means that most of what we pass along are claims we have not verified ourselves. Why would audio be different?

Why do we pass along claims we, ourselves, have not verified, experimentally? Because we have to get along without this kind of "hard" proof (which is typically not that hard, anyway), and we do so by making judgements about language and speakers. And it works, a lot of the time. And the alternative would be to remain silent, or caveat things to death.

That's the wisdom I see in @baylinor's comment, "read MULTIPLE replies on forums and product reviews." It's not perfect, but it makes a good judgment more probable.

Well, I feel like a broken record giving the same advice, same info about 'my' stuff, but I carry on, imagining 'newbies' following along.

People post what they know.

If it makes you feel better, classic car forums are worse.  I’ve been called names for loving certain aftermarket Porsche parts more than OEM, a heretic agaisnt St. Ferdinand 

I actually think the OP mistaking us for professional reviewers speaks volumes about the quality of replies so often given here.

OP: We don’t get paid for giving advice, and don’t personally benefit from it. If you want to hold us to some sort of standard then pay us.

This also means we don’t spend our lives reviewing gear. Unfortunately for you, the last time I was in a stereo store was 3 years ago. Again, either pay me or sponsor me so gear shows up at my home for me to review.  I would love for DAC makers to send me their gear to review, honestly, then I could start recommending something other than the best I could hear and afford. 

Otherwise, instead of complaining about how all these tinkerers and enthusiasts try to help others you should set a good example yourself. Be the change you want to see.


If someone is looking for a recommendation, of course it will be something excellent we own or want to own; or something we are aware of. To me that's the best kind of recommendation. I became aware of Aric Audio, Clayton Shaw, Anti-Cables, Audiolab CD transports, Bakcert Labs, Denafrips DACs, Aurender streamers, and a ton more....all from you guys or from friends.

Personally I recommend gear that I own and really like, or equipment that friends of mine own that I know well. I am very blessed to know some well healed clients (I'm a financial planner) that are into audio and can afford some really nice stuff.

I recommend my good gear, and think it would benefit others at a fair price point. Examples: Denafrips Pontus II DAC, Denafrips Iris DDC, Buchardt Audio S400 MKIIs, Clayton Shaw Caladans, brands of cables, Audiolab 6000CDT transport, Bluesound Node 130.

I've never recommended my gear that I know is not beneficial: Panamax power conditioner, Pangea cables, some failed cable choices, etc.