What should be mandatory in every professional published review-

When testing a company's newest amp, preamp, etc, and it is a refinement of a prior product that was on the market, ie, a Mark II, an SE version, a .2 etc, it should be mandatory that the review includes a direct comparison with the immediate predecessor. IMHO, it's not enough to know ion the product is good; it's also important to know if there is a meaningful difference with the immediate predecessor.

I'm  fan of Pass Labs, and I just looked at a review of an XP22 preamp. I find it very disturbing that there was no direct comparison between the XP22 and the XP20. And this lack of direct comparison is ubiquitous in hi-end published reviews, across all brands of gear tested. I don't blame the gear manufacturers, but rather the publications as I view this as an abdication of journalistic integrity.


Opinions welcome- 



here’s the issue. very few of the reviewers you know make their living reviewing. They are published, yes. Might even get a few bucks for a piece. but they have real jobs. Its a hobby

@itsjustme That’s absolutely true, and it certainly was with me. But it’s also true that we’ve gotten to hear lots of gear in our own systems and in our own rooms so we have lots of experience in a real apples-to-apples comparison environment that we know well. That gives us a big leg up on people who usually only get to hear equipment in varied systems and rooms that introduces far too many variables combined with rapidly-fading aural memory that severely taints the audition and decision process. Any piece I reviewed I had a comparable piece to compare it to in my review system. Plus, every reviewer needs to be able to express in words the things they hear in ways that prospective buyers can relate to and use to help make more informed purchase decisions. Deride us as just hobbyists if you will, but we’re all in the same boat as you and most of us just want to provide useful information to others in the hope it could possibly be helpful. And trust me, we ain’t in it for the money cause we’d mostly all starve if that was the case. My advice — find reviewers who you trust and seem to be real and use them for useful information, because their impressions can be extremely helpful especially in this world of disappearing dealerships. Just my $0.02 FWIW.


@emrofsemanon Id encourage you to read reviews from Soundstage.com.  We were always required to do a thorough review of all the basics you’re looking for and also be able to compare it to a component in a similar class.  It’s a no BS site, and I was always able to write whatever the hell I heard with no outside influence or editorializing.  It’s a straight-up and honest publication.  FWIW. 


Just in case it was not clear,  no disrespect at all. No ding on "professionalism". but folks were talking as if they coudl define high end reviewers like plumbers, lawyers or economists.  Heck, mybe behind screen names we know each other, but many of the top reviewers that i happen to know have very different professions. Investment banking, engineering, defense analysts (seriously!).

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It would be desirable to have a comparison with the previous iteration of each piece of equipment reviewed, but that would mean you'd have to own the earlier iteration of every piece of equipment you review. I think any reviewer who does have access to the earlier version of equipment under review would naturally compare them, and I've seen quite a few reviews that do such comparisons. But I think buyers who are thinking of upgrading from Mark I to Mark II of a piece of equipment would be a rather small part of the interested readership. It's far more useful to compare the piece at hand with its competitors.