The Impossible Has Happened

If you've been visiting this forum for very long you know that many people consider professional audio reviews, the ones in the print (Stereophile, TAS, etc.) and online magazines, at best to be paid promotion and more likely outright lies in an attempt to scam you out of your money.

Here is a quote from a recent thread that was about reviews, not about their honesty or value, but got a number of posts about those attributes anyway.

Just once I would like to read a review of a pricey piece of equipment that said that the reviewer couldn’t hear any difference between that and something far less expensive . . .

Well believe it or not that has just happened in TAS, considered by many to be the worst abuser of the truth. The situation is not exactly as in the quote above, the less expensive gear is being reviewed in this example, but it is the same in essence, IMHO.

Alan Taffel wrote a review of the T+A Series 200 components.  In it he says 

"I happen to own a wonderful-sounding modular integrated amp: the CH Precision I1.  Comparing it to the Series 200 was natural but a bit unfair.  The CH unit costs more than double the price of the Series 200 stack.  Nonetheless, I was glad I embarked on this comparison, because otherwise I never would have known that the two systems sounded almost identical."


The CH I1 starts at $38,000.  Fully loaded it costs over $50,000..

The Series 200 stack, consisting of a transport/streamer, a DAC and an integrated amp in 3 separate boxes, costs $18,475.

So I'm not saying you should believe everything you read in professional reviews or even any of it, but here is an example where a reviewer stated that a system costing less than half a more expensive system sounded "almost identical" to the more expensive system. 

And CH Precision has a full page ad in that issue of TAS, February 2023, while T+A has none.  Just thought you might like to know.


Let’s be clear, the effort that goes into a $10K plus component gets much closer to cost no object engineering than a $1K component that has built in compromises that often prevents them from achieving ‘better’ sound. Beyond $10K the hairs being slit become finer and finer to the point that diminishing returns sets in pretty quickly! There can be some ‘designed in’ (filtering) that can change the character of the sound that suits personal taste, but better becomes more difficult to describe and where different is the better descriptor!

I agree with @8th-note - There is so much good gear around today, why would anyone spend months listening to some piece of junk so that they can write a bad review about it? Wouldn’t a reviewer’s time be better spent finding and telling readers about some of the better gear available? I don’t think gear gets reviewed unless someone at the magazine has heard it and recommends it for a review.

The audio magazines are not an evil conspiracy, and we are not their target audience. They are trying to reach people who buy new gear. That means that there will be a dealer and an audition involved. The magazines regularly remind readers not to buy gear without hearing it first, preferably in your own system.

They are not as pure as the driven snow either. They are a commercial enterprise and they do not stay in business if they completely ignore commercial considerations.  People our age should understand that about anyone offering almost free advice.



“”One thing I’ve realized for sure, choosing gear for a beautiful sounding hifi is much like choosing which super model to marry.“”



a great feature of my dogs and stereo equipment, they don’t drive to cheap hotels and jump on a skin sword. 


Both options remind my of Crazy Eddie: “His prices are insane!”

Both options are … insanely … expensive. I would never consider either of them.

Over the 54 years I’ve had this hobby, I’ve spent no more than $30,000. The most recent visitor said my system compares favorably with one he consulted on putting together that cost $160,000.