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Are the reviews completed independent and unbiased, or have they become a byproduct of paid advertising and industry pressure? Personally, I find them interesting from an entertainment standpoint, but no longer consider them as a trusted source. I do however, find their measurements part of the review quite valid and informative.
Same, I find their measurements interesting as well simply because so many companies can not be trusted to publish the truth. In fairness they also pick up info on new companies that I find interesting. One example being Okto Research out of Prague. I would have never even heard of these folks had I not read the list. Like any review or opinion, its all grain of salt to me. I'm still more interested in negative opinions and why.
They claim to be unbiased but travel and meals are provided by the manufacturer at times, I believe. I trust that listed components don't suck but they list KEF LS50s as Class A and I just don't hear it. Also Magnepan .7s are listed as class C and I think they are better than that, although set-up can be tricky. So, Stereophile is a source but not the absolute bible on things audio.
Just to add to the Audio measurement institutions above that I mentioned, is this an extremely thorough one call "Miller Audio Research" (AVTech tab) That do them for HiFi News and HiFi Choice and a few others
http://www.milleraudioresearch.com/avtech/index.html This has been logged in by me for the 2014, don’t know for how long it’s good for.
Here's a sample of the Burmester integrated
I'm a believer in the 10,000 hour rule. Nobody just stepped into this list- unless it was a family business. Sure, some are better at networking and building international business relationships. Some have more marketing prowess and interpersonal savvy. Likely some have more money.
In the end the list "is what it is" within the given categories. I've owned several products on this list but none currently. We are all individual in our pursuit of audio and if you end up using only items in this list you will do very well.
It's a nice accomplishment to be recognized at being near the top in any given field. It's also a well known phenomenon that is takes courage take all the competition and scrutiny that come with standing on top. It's common to be critical of success when we don't quite have it ourselves. Congrats to all these people who are making it in this competitive worldwide market.
Somebody should snap one up for themselves @clio09. If I didn't already have one (and an RM-9 Mk.2 and RM-10 Mk.2) I would. Not trendy enough for some audiophiles.
The late Brooks Berdan recommended Music Reference to his clients (and hosted Roger's in-store appearances to introduce the RM-200 and RM-10 amplifiers), but didn't refuse the $ they insisted on spending on Jadis and VTL. His used shelves were littered with ARC amps, all their circuit boards scorched. ;-)