gordy53 a good post to read, when reading reviews of stuff they might as well be speaking a foreign language sometimes as I cannot understand what they talk about or I think it’s a load of Bollocks some differences they hear must be minuscule or only show up on a piece of measuring equipment, how about just listening using yous ears however iffy they may be because you are stuck with whatever hearing you have mine is not very good but hey ho it is what it is
That’s quite an interesting dichotomy, though.
Quite when is not being able to detect something a lack of training, education or experience and when is it mere techno-babble? Because, if a subject is inherently complex, unless you understand the terminology you won’t understand the subtleties.
Case in point - quantum physics. I am not any sort of physicist, but I have done a fair bit of reading, and I do have some friends that are physicists …. including one actively working on research at a very large particle accelerator. I can cope with some of what he says, to the extent of understanding roughly what he’s on about when he explains it. But as soon as he starts getting into quantum physics, it makes my head hurt. I mean, some of the concepts are sufficiently abstract that he might as well be talking an alien language. He could be imparting earth-shattering gems of wisdom, or describing a gobbledygook nursery rhyme for all I understand. That it goes right over my head is due to my lack of education, training and experience, not the terminology he uses. Unless he’s playing silly beggars with me, that is.
When it comes to coffee, I personally have no doubt that there are people that simply have a better ability to taste than I do. These are the so-called ‘super-tasters’ that have many more taste buds than the majority of us. So …. given that physiological difference, things that genuinely make a difference to them, I can’t detect. I have personally confirmed that much. But, when they describe things I cant detect, it doesn’t mean they can’t.
Same for hifi, up to a point. We all have different hearing, and two of us could be sitting side by side in the same concert hall, or hifi demo room, listening to the same thing, but cannot know what the other is hearing. One might be able to hear things the other can’t, because our hearing is different.
Many years ago, I took part in some experiments on hearing at university. I was a volunteer lab rat, if you like. It turns out I had hearing that went extremely high. High to the point that the technicians couldn’t quite believe I was hearing what I said I could …. so they tested it. With signal generators and some very expensive speakers, they tested me on various frequency of tones, and I had to push a button when I heard something, not knowing if they actually were playing anything at all. Sometimes they were playing a very high tone, sometimes they tested but played nothing. I hit a 100% score, on dozens of such tests, only ever saying I heard the tone when it was playing, with zero falso positives, but also zero false negatives.
That was decades ago, though. These days, age and a mild dose of left-ear tinnitus (thanks, I believe, to blood pressure) have degraded my hearing way below what it was, back then. In those days, I was pretty particular about hifi equipment choice because I could hear the difference. Several friends thought I was nuts buying some of the gear I did, because they couldn’t hear the difference. Well, so be it, but I sure could. Back then. Now, of course, I’m far less fussy about audio gear because the limitation is my hearing, not the gear.
All that stuff gives reviewers a problem. Do they have what it takes to review stuff in this or that category, or not? Are they physiologically equipped t taste or hear it, or to understand those quantum concepts? Is the terminology pure marketing psychobabble, like I believe a good many audio products to be, or is it terminology to describe something I just don’t understand?
Probably, a bit of both.
Reviewers also have to know quite who their target reader/viewer is. Trying to explain a concept in quantum physics to 14-year old school kids is going to be different to trying to explain it to Nobel-winning physicists. What, to that latter group, is conventional terminology is going to sound like babble to the former group. Ever tried listening to two senior doctors discussing a medical issue? They might as well be talking Martian for all I can get, yet it’s been ME they’re talking about.
It’s also one of the problems in this age of vast amounts of free ‘reviews’ on the internet - just how much does the reviewer understand? Do they know their stuff, or just can talk a good game? And who are they aiming their review at …. a novice, an expert, or somewhere in-between? The vast range of information available on the net certainly is hugely useful, but it should be treated with a degree of caution too. Especially “reviews”.