Validity of Audioreview.com user reviews??

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Kevin_Breeze, Jul 27, 2004.

  1. Kevin_Breeze

    Kevin_Breeze Second Unit

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    I am considering replacing my JBL S312's to try something new and I was checking out the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170's and it's amazing to me the incredibly rave reviews this speaker has. After reading through about the first 50 or so, I couldn't help but be suspicious if most were all affiliated with the company...

    there was also a couple things I noticed like many seemed to push the HSU subs to go with it, which the company also sells and also the "similar products used" seemed to be very similar among most of the reviews.

    Is it just me?
     
  2. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    The first thing I would do is a search right here, that way you can ask the people questions and the reviesw are not so questionable.

    B
     
  3. Charles Gurganus

    Charles Gurganus Supporting Actor

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    Kevin, google is your friend! [​IMG]

    The soundstage review turned up on google is interesting. It also helps explain the HSU link.

    http://www.soundstage.com/revequip/a...ics_cbm170.htm

    "Ascend indicated that about half the customers are happy with the CBM-170s without subwoofer reinforcement; for the other half, Ascend has a very close relationship with Hsu Research and strongly recommends their subs."

    Have you actually listened to any speakers? Try and listen to some NHT SB2's (SB3 are better but are $500 a pair).
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I'd expect the reviews on Audioreview are all valid, however you have no idea what each person's background is or what they have compared to in most cases, so this type of info has to be taken with a grain of salt. I have read a large number of reviews there just to see what people have to say about items I'm interested in. These are not experienced reviewers doing measurements (in most cases), so what you are getting is an opinion. These reviews also frequently do not mention the rest of the gear, the room, media used, etc... which are all factors.

    I have never seen a negative comment about the CBM-170s, so it does not surprise me.
     
  5. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Preface: I own Ascends and help moderate the customer owned Ascend Forum. The forum was asked for, created, and owned by customers because there was not a dedicated place for folks on the net to discuss the speakers. I think that is a testament on how happy owners really are with the speakers.

    Without listening to the speakers, I understand the skepticism. The low cost with the high praise do seem unbelievable. It is great that the praise both comes from the professional side and customer side. I think numerous professional reviews reinforce what the customers feel. If it was only one or two professional reviews, then that would be a different story.

    The 30 day trial policy is nice. The shipping charge to send a pair across the country is about $30. Better yet, try and find someone in your area for a listen.

    The NHT SB3 that Charles' mentions is also mentioned in one of the Ascend CBM-170's professional reviews.


    I have...once, someone posted of a "boxiness" inthe sound, and others have noted they did not like how it looked.
     
  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I knew Curtis would pop in here soon enough [​IMG]

    I like how they look. Plain, yes, but they are for sound. If you want art, get some Norhs.


    Did they expect perfection at the $328/pr price point? Be realistic. Most speakers at this price point will have some cabinet resonance.

    I still have not heard them yet. I ended up picking up a set of A/V-1s for my surrounds [​IMG], so I did not order a pair to demo.
     
  7. Kevin_Breeze

    Kevin_Breeze Second Unit

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    Thanks for the responses guys.

    Charles, I have not been out auditioning any recently, no. I am pretty happy with my JBL S312's at volume but I think at low volume they are kinda poor and not full sounding. I actually think my HT sounds amazing in Dolby Digital and the bass is definitely there, but in regular stereo mode, sometime I feel like the sound is just not as full as it should be. Othertimes I am more than satisifed and sometimes it sounds almost like a live performance....depends on the CD I am playing. But b/c of those few times where I am not satisified, it sparked my curiosity for checking out other speakers.

    I like a really full, clean, clear sound on the warmer side. I don't like super bright speakers where you get the real pronounced almost hissing "S" sound when , in particular, female singers say words with an S in it, if ya know what I mean. At the same time I don't want it subdued either. I want it to sound like she's singing it right next to me, neither exaggerated or suppressed. Gee imagine that...I want a natural sounding speaker[​IMG]

    Do you think the NHT's would be better suited to my receiver?

    As a side note I have seen a few people put down monster cables here? I am plenty pleased with my Z1 cables and don't see why some people would say monster are garbage cables (probably should be topic of another thread)
     
  8. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    hehehe...

    John...there are folks in the Bay area that have a pair or two. Maybe a bit of drive for you, but 45 minutes. Glad you got a set of AV/1's to match your 2's.

    As for boxiness, I do not detect much if any resonance, and I think that is part of the reason for the shape of the speaker.

    Kevin...voices on the CBM-170 are a strong point. Your HK 7000 should be able to drive Ascends and NHT's without a problem, the NHT's will take a more power though to get to the same listening level as the Ascends because of their design.
     
  9. Kevin_Breeze

    Kevin_Breeze Second Unit

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    Thats one of the things I was worried about....I think my HK AVR7000 only drives speakers at 8 ohms and these are 4 ohm speakers right?
     
  10. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    If you look at the soundstage review, there are measurements. Check out the freq response. Very excellent!

    In general, I think you need to filter the reviews at audioreview. The filters I employ are:

    1) People who actually own the eqp vs have just auditioned it.
    2) multiple posts
    3) Sometimes you can spot a person with an axe to grind.
    4) You need enough reviews that the data is relevant.
    5) People with unrealistic expectations. Ain't no way a $100 Sony receiver is going to sound as good as a $5000 Krell amplifier. But some people expect that.
    6) You have to *read* the reviews and understand why the person graded the eqp the way that they did. Personally, I look for why people *don't* like a piece of eqp, and try to relate that to if it's applicable to me and my setup or not.

    I think the real value is *comparing* eqp within the same price range against each other.

    One interesting psychological fact that I came across: people tend to grade cheaper equipment harder than more expensive. Why? OK, I just spent $5000 on that Krell amplifier, am I going to admit that I just wasted my money on something that isn't that well performing? [​IMG] At least on a cheaper piece of gear, much easier to admit the mistake and move on to something else.
     
  11. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    The CBM-170 are 8ohms average....4ohms nominal. The HK will drive them fine.
     
  12. Kevin_Breeze

    Kevin_Breeze Second Unit

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    Cool, thanks Curtis
     
  13. Phil Volk

    Phil Volk Extra

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    The Major problems with these on-line reviews are as follows:
    1) people write positive posts about what they bought about 5 times as often as people write negative reviews...every item gets 4.4 stars out of 5(or similar rating)...no one ever admits a mistake and everyone convinces themselves that they've made the wisest choice.
    2) e-advertising has taken over many forums and reviews ...on-line, paid posters get re-imbursed from manufacturers and/or web sites for promoting a brand in a so-called "unsoliciting" way...
    3) groupthink...this is to say that differant sites bend the whole towards predispositions about many brands/models.....

    ------------------------------

    try blind auditioning and let your own ears decide
     
  14. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    This is a little bit different, but I was thinking the other day about...

    "Brand xyz (speaker, amp, whatever) vs brand abc" type of threads.

    And then comments are solicited. The problem is, is that if one brand sells a lot more units than the other, it is only natural that there will be more posiitve comments too. But that doesn't mean that brand is actually any better. The trick is somehow to directly compare products yourself, or at least get comments from others who have had experience with both.
     
  15. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Great thought Kevin and I totally agree.
     

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