• WRITTEN BY ROGER SKOFF

For the last seven installments of this continuing series, I’ve been talking about various aspects of audio reviewing. In the course of it, I’ve said that reviews ARE necessary because we all want to buy the very best products available to us, but it’s physically impossible for anyone, no matter how committed, to personally audition all – or, really, even a small percentage of all — of the products on the market. I’ve said that any time anyone describes and critiques any audio product or system, whether verbally or in writing, that qualifies as a “review, and I’ve set forth what I believe to be the three most basic requirements for a good one: “(1) The ‘reviewer’ must, both in terms of his own capabilities and those of his reference system, be able to perceive and judge a product or system’s performance; then (2) he must apply some standard for rating it; and finally, (3) he must be able to communicate what he has found and decided to other people in a way that they will be able to understand and benefit from.” The first six articles I wrote for this series were about the first two of those requirements, and the seventh article got into the third requirement, talking about the two different basic types of review (“objective” and “subjective”); describing the types of information each provides in its purest form; and saying that, because test numbers can help us quantify a product’s performance, but not really tell, without any necessary interpretation, what it actually sounds like, I prefer a review in words, that will describe the sound for me directly, and that will offer test numbers only as or if they’re absolutely necessary to make some specific point. Read More