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Gear Review Philosophy

Updated on March 11, 2016

To provide some background on me, I started out in product development as a hardware & software specialist working with a team of engineers for several years that produced a high-end film recording system that took digital images and recorded them on film up to 120 pixels per millimeter back in the late '80s to mid '90s. I worked on anything from system interconnects (high-end drum scanners and image workstations), file systems, real time processing, and image manipulation; and these products were shipped to customers all over the world. From there, I transitioned into designing/implementing communication networks (data, voice, and video) for any organization to billion dollar corporations for approximately a decade and a half. In short, I come from an engineering background.

In various products, companies or people can approach design and/or evaluate products from either a totally objective (how does it measure) to totally subjective (how does it sound or look) without regard to the other. I have come to realize through my own testing of products that measurements and specifications only provide an indication of performance. Some of this is because many manufacturers either fudge their specifications or measurements, measure specific parameters that make their gear appear better, or provide review gear that does not truly match the product shipped to the customer. Nonetheless, measurements are important if they are accurate and meaningful, but people have a tendency to perceive things not always in a true linear fashion and/or with their own preferences. In addition, I have owned budget to very expensive gear (i.e. costing several thousands of dollars), and I can say with some certainty that price does not dictate or even indicate a level of quality that can be achieved. Even if it did, as the price increases there should be a diminishing return where you would have to spend ridiculously large sums of money to even obtain a fraction of an improvement. In other words, I always strive to find gear that is the ultimate in performance, but there are limits to what I'm willing to spend these days. To many, I still spend exorbitant amounts of money while still others believe me to be thrifty. Nonetheless, I try not to fall into that trap that most reviewers do where more expensive gear is almost universally better then less expensive gear. In addition, an extra dose of skepticism is usually applied to expensive cables, cryogenically treated gear, and etc. Nonetheless, every attempt will be made to evaluate products from a fair and neutral perspective to the best of my ability, and I am willing to re-test things to continue to test my own biases/preferences or to prove/disprove new performance claims. In addition, my approach to product evaluations are from both an objective and subjective perspective. In short, if I have the test gear to measure any equipment, I will perform the tests and post my measurements. If do not have the test gear for a particular component or do not plan to invest in any, I will provide references to measurements that I have relied upon if possible or applicable. This is in addition to any subjective perspective that I can provide about the component. Nonetheless, this should give you a level set with which to judge my product evaluations and its effectiveness to your needs/requirements.

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