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The Audio Critic
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What they say about The Audio Critic

Should a speaker system or an amplifier be reviewed like a restaurant, or like an engineering design?

Compare this: With this:
      The mussels were a little rubbery in texture, but the Chablis sauce was beautifully herbed. My companion ordered the trout, which I also tasted and found seductively mesquite-perfumed though slightly underdone. The accompanying asparagus tips were lightly drizzled with an amusing vinaigrette.       The highs were somewhat chalky, but the upper midrange was wonderfully liquid, and there was palpable air around the woodwinds. The lower mids had satisfactory bloom; the bass, however, could have benefited from a little more rhythm and pace. Front-to-back depth yielded a Row G perspective.

      Isn’t the resemblance striking? Both the restaurant review and the audiophile magazine review are subjective, unprovable, and dependent on the exquisite taste of the reviewer. But there’s a difference. If the restaurant reviewer is incompetent or irresponsible, you could end up gambling maybe $100 on an unpredictable dinner. If it’s the equipment reviewer who’s just blowing smoke, you could end up blowing several thousand dollars on badly engineered gear.
      Enter The Audio Critic. Unlike other audiophile magazines that feature equipment reviews, we don’t do them restaurant-style. We wouldn’t dream of declaring that component A sounds better than B without having performed carefully controlled double-blind listening tests side by side, at levels matched within ±0.1 dB. We consider casual, sequential, “freeform” listening evaluations to be of very limited value.
      Furthermore, we not only measure the component under review in a very completely equipped audio laboratory but also bring you, when relevant, a detailed design critique by a graduate engineer. We are accountable for our findings and judgments: we can prove them.
      The average audiophile may not be aware of the utter contempt and jeering ridicule elicited from high-level audio professionals and academics by the self-indulgent subjective reviews in the audio press and on the Web. On the other hand, the same authorities—degreed engineers, E.E. professors, researchers in major electronics laboratories—show consistent respect for The Audio Critic, even though we try not to be too technical. Our files are bulging with letter from readers who think our reviews are the best in the business. We tend to agree.

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