To Doug Schneider,

I frequently appreciate your thoughtful reviews. Your recent piece about measurements and the reviewers who basically deny reality with their biases and self-serving opinions is a sad comment on the current state of our society. As a former molecular biologist, I am distraught to observe how governments, most of the medical community, and the majority of the general public have no understanding of scientific facts and established knowledge, and therefore make irrational decisions when dealing with COVID-19. But that also applies to almost anything relevant to our future, like climate change.

In audio, the consequence of this is more of an annoyance than something which has a real impact on our lives. (Maybe just a little, in how we enjoy them.) One thing that frequently mystifies me is the invention of completely fictitious scientific “facts” supported by acronyms by audio marketers—most significantly, but not exclusively, in the cabling sector. I often notice that these “facts” are repeated by reviewers as if they are real, new scientific insights, thus promoting pseudoscience and “justifying” the pricing of these products. As far as I can see, no real research has been done. Lack of research and real innovation is quite common in the audio industry, but there are some quite notable exceptions which should be highlighted more often (just thinking of Børresen ironless woofers and Purifi Audio).

I would like to hear your thoughts on this!

Jakob B.
United States

It is definitely beyond my scope to comment on COVID-19 or climate change, but I know a thing or two about the way audio companies market their products with fancy phrases that wind up as impressive-sounding acronyms in their marketing literature, and morph into facts in equipment reviews. I certainly don’t blame the marketers for doing this—they’re trying to appeal to their customers, after all—but I do blame the reviewers who don’t look more critically at the claims companies make. And I lay more blame on reviewers who propagate this misinformation, using the phrases and acronyms as if they’ve been independently verified. I could cite quite a few examples, but suffice it to say that I think you and I are on the same page with regard to the frequency at which this occurs.

Like you, I also believe this process hurts real advancements in audio. I don’t know anything about Børresen’s woofers, but I do know quite a bit about Purifi Audio’s amplifier and driver technologies, which are making their way into a number of products from a variety of manufacturers now. Purifi’s tech is something I’ve written about and subjected to measurements, so I know that what they’re doing is the real deal. But, unfortunately, I’ve seen too many reviewers turn a blind eye to it and, instead, endorse the dubious claims of companies promoting products that seem to have no research behind them. This cycle of misinformation is discouraging, but not everyone’s headed in that direction—my goal is to find the real stuff and report on that. . . . Doug Schneider