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Old 20th June 2011, 03:47 AM   #12981
Previously: Kuei Yang Wang
 
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by anatech View Post
Another point to consider. Many junior reviewers will not write a bad review on a well respected product. They must gain trust in order to join the ranks of respected (?) audio reviewers. Many entrenched reviewers can easily end their career by going against a strong brand. A bad review need not be published as their are several to choose from. Therefore most reviewers will not write a bad review, simply choosing to skip reviewing a product instead.
Hmmm, there is actually an easier explanation. It is hard to write a bad review.

Not economically or because of repercussions, it is just such a boring task and bad task. Very few reviewers do this full time, most have day-jobs (outside HiFi). The 5-10 cents per word (not sure what they pay now that most Mag's are owned by the Governments) do not really compensate for the time you invest.

If I have the choice between spending my time with something that Interests me and the sound of which I like for next to no compensation or with something I hate, I used to pick up phone and ask politely if they would mind to pick up their gear and not wasted my time on it if I do not like it.

In fact, I regretted the times where I let a Manufacturer sweet talk me into reviewing something I did not care for all that much ("Hey, keep it for a while, maybe the sound will grow on you!?), life is too short for boring HiFi.

I guess if the public actually wanted "bad reviews" they would have to pay a lot more per issue. Ideally the magazine would have all fully paid staff writers, with good technical knowledge and would outright buy all gear from shops (and later raffle them off among the readers). No idea what the cover price on such a mag would have to me, 20 Bucks per issue, no discount for subscriptions perhaps? Anyone care to publish it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by anatech View Post
There are more ways to guide reviews than out and out criminal practices. As long as everyone plays along, everything will continue, status quo is maintained.
Sure. However, my personal experience on both sides of the fence has not been one that supports the common view of the review process as compromised in the ways many people claim and which some of us occasionally will joke.

Now we may debate the acuity of hearing of some of the reviewers, bewail their lack of technical understanding, find their selection of music for testing abominable and possibly suspect them of murder (I know at least one who is a Cereal Killer - he shot a pack of cornflakes) or at least want of sense, but this whole underhandedness I have just not experienced.

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Old 20th June 2011, 03:53 AM   #12982
anatech is offline anatech  Canada
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Hi Steve,
I had a pile of WTCPN (?) and the skinnier one. These ate switches (yes, the cap was changed for a new one) and the odd heater if the switch shorted (the normal failure mode). The tips were normally the 700 ° ones. I went through some barrel nuts that I had to get special order (I'm near Toronto, so no excuse for that) and the iron connector was worse than a DIN plug. They didn't last and were the normal cause for a cold iron. I didn't melt more than one of the older skinny types down .. maybe two actually. Another victim of a shorted switch.

Tips, my god did I go through tips! They were better than an Ungar, but I'm still unimpressed. I had a 120watt black beauty that still has it's original tip. Mind you, I don't have to solder that many old radio chassis anymore. Anyway, I was on the lookout for a new, reasonably priced controlled temperature soldering station that used real tip temperature sensing. That's when I was introduced to these SOLOMON stations. It was the first sample at my preferred semi supplier. It just arrived and was being set up for display - I bought it right away after a quick examination. That one cost me about $120 give or take. So now my supplier had zero stations to display and I had my answer. I ceased to look at Weller stations as they were grossly overpriced compared to the SOLOMON. I had ordered an assortment of tips and a spare iron assy just in case, and they arrived in about a month. Not bad considering a far east product that was brand new here. I still have that new, unused iron assembly, and many of those original tips. As Ed Simon mentioned, tip life is greatly extended with real temperature controlled stations.

I can't seem to locate my spare station though, and I only kept two of the many dead Weller stations, one in my case with a new transformer and a heater on LED (mod). These are my emergency use irons that see almost zero use.

Hi ThorstenL,
I know you aren't talking to me, but I have a couple comments if you don't mind.
Quote:
Industry accommodation is not "give", but rather "give you a good discount".
Exactly, but further discounts are available as "B" stock, and even deeper as "Serviced stock". There is really little to no incentive for trying top sell these. Normally this is extended to people employed in the industry but not always those working for that distributor. I did benefit from this program myself a couple times. It's also a form of "Thank you" for those who work hard in supporting a brand name.

Quote:
As said, some manufacturers may find it strategically a good idea to leave something the reviewer liked there on "permanent loan" (this means you cannot sell it), simply because it up's their chances to have their stuff mentioned again.
Okay, that is the intent and how things work on the outside. Things do not always work like that, although this would be in a minority of cases and may have more to do with a personal relationship. I have been instructed to service equipment under warranty for people who did buy from various reviewers. All I cared about was that I'd get paid and that the repair was not excessive due to customer induced failures.

Hi Soundminded,
I intended to answer you on this ...
Quote:
What's wrong with that? Sounds like one of many tests that should be performed to determine reliability. Thermal cycling is another. So is testing RF emissions which manufacturers must do to conform to FCC requirements. Magazines don't usually have the facilities for these types of tests but they can test at full power for prolonged periods. Manufacturers of consumer audio equipment don't publish MTBF data. How else would you find out what the limits are without testing them?
This was in response to a comment about a blown up Carver Lightstar Amplifier that was abused by a reviewer. Running any amplifier with a square wave signal at full power for extended periods is not a test by any stretch. It is simply abuse. Amplifiers are not intended or specified to deliver their full power at or just below clipping with a square wave. For one thing, the effective power is far above the sine rating. More importantly, this will probably wipe out the zobel network. The frequency was very probably 1 KHz - being optimistic, higher if the person is a real idiot. With no load, there is no useful data for a reviewer except to see if he / she can break it.

In this case, the "test" did reveal a weakness in the original Lightstar. The feedback resistor from the output was subjected to excessive dissipation for an extended period of time. One channel failed spectacularly. The feedback resistor was sized for music program material and a loaded amplifier. It was a 1 watt part. The failed channel suffered a hole burned through and around the resistor, probably because the value dropped as it burned open, then it appeared to arc. I replaced the PCB complete, just the one channel.

Keep in mind that this amplifier is rated for 300 wpc into 8 ohms, and uses 125 V rails, plus and minus. A down converter drops the supplies as demands dictate. This amp is also rated for 600 wpc into 4 ohms and 1,200 wpc into 2 ohms. It has two heavy power cords. This product delivers more than 300 wpc into 8 ohms. I was lucky enough to have one for a while. Cool amp. Anyway, what the reviewer did was irresponsible to say the least. In the aftermath, I ended up modifying all the other Lightstars by upping the resistor wattage and spacing it up a bit from the PCB. I am not aware of any other failures even remotely like that. I kept the PCB for an example of what a user can accomplish from the outside.

The only other massively damaged high power amp I had to repair, excepting pro amps, was a poor Nakamichi PA-7II that ingested a copper box staple. The staple did not survive, but that amp was repaired and returned to the customer. Pro amp disasters are a whole 'nother kettle of fish as many of us here know all too well.

-Chris
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Old 20th June 2011, 04:16 AM   #12983
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I use a magneostat Weller as my personal iron. A temp variable Weller for the tech.
Anatech, I must politely disagree with you, I have evaluated the Marantz units from the very first model 14. All marginal, compared to the Otala design.
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Old 20th June 2011, 04:32 AM   #12984
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Hi ThorstenL,
Quote:
What a peculiar statement this.
Why?
I had bad experiences with this brand continually over many years using a population. The users included myself and the technicians I had working for me. They were expected to turn the station off when they were not going to be used for a while, so these were not abused in the sense they were left on.

I can't speak to what you experienced before you had a Weller, but I tried many. Ungar was another good brand, but not as good as Weller (perspective). The Weller products cost me a lot to maintain over the course of many years, and I had some techs that preferred them. So I supported these for 16 years in that business. I think I can speak from a neutral standpoint since I also enjoyed my first station (until it failed), and even made up a base for the first station to replace the transformer that opened up ... naw. It smoked and stunk the place up. I went to the front for about 15 minutes and it died.
Quote:
I guess Soldering Irons are as subjective as the sound of HiFi, quel dommage, what a dismal surprise...
No, I don't think that is a fair statement at all. A soldering station is a hand tool used by professionals in my case, and hobbyists. The fit to your hand, comfort and performance is all important. But, the performance can be measured as can reliability and cost of ownership. Comfort can be subjective, but a handle that gets too hot is simply not comfortable. An iron that is hard to hold is not as subjective an issue from my experience listening to comments from everyone in the field in my area and beyond. The agreement between people is far higher than it is in audio and sound.

In short, it has to work.

In fairness, I had a couple Weller irons that seemed to do better than the others, and a couple that had more than their share of problems. But looking at the totals for iron maintenance for the year, I can say they were expensive to keep running. That was my mindset before I found the Solomon irons.

I'm going to bet that if you find a better iron, you will change your viewpoint. Maybe you are more lucky than I am, but the Weller irons I bought were new, boxed and random samples over a period of years. I did not get stuck with one bad production run.

I am happy for you that you don't experience what I did. Maybe it's that we put more hours on our stations than you do. When I travel, the iron isn't used nearly as much as when I'm on the bench. I also do not travel with my bench iron.

Quote:
Hmmm, there is actually an easier explanation. It is hard to write a bad review.
No one said anything about a bad review being desired. What I said was that a clear and concise report on audio equipment is what would be helpful. I'm pretty sure that most non-technical people just want answers. Following clues in print is not why they buy these magazines.

Not only that, but an unfavourable review is easy to write. It is much more difficult to have it published. The only reason it might cost more for the magazine is that advertising revenue may be lost. However, the gap would probably be filled with products that were actually better in performance.

Quote:
I know at least one who is a Cereal Killer - he shot a pack of cornflakes
Have you ever tried this? It's fun. The flakes end up everywhere and seem to explode from the box. Use a shot gun, more dramatic. Always make sure you have a suitable back stop and abide by the local laws and common sense. It was a great stress reliever. Other items can be fun as well.
Quote:
Now we may debate the acuity of hearing of some of the reviewers
Nope. All that is needed is consistency.
Reviewers, by what they do, are in a position as an expert. They are knowledgeable of the field, and while not expected to know technically what is going on, they are expected to understand the meanings of the specifications, how to connect the unit and to use the features. I understand that Bob Carver could make that a challenge from time to time, but a reviewer is an audio expert. Otherwise he/she has no business recommending or reviewing a product. By all accounts, these people do go to great lengths to justify their point of view and their knowledge. They hold themselves up as experts, so we expect them to conform to that position.

I am not attacking every reviewer out there. They do have to have their work published first of all. It is the industry and each magazine that controls what ends up in print, so that is who should be held accountable. It's just that reviews have become somewhat useless to their intended audience, and pretty funny / embarrassing as well. Hat's off to all honest reviewers that do not hide their real message in a morass of descriptive text.

As you yourself have stated, there are practical reasons for reviewers to write as they do. They have to eat.

-Chris
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Old 20th June 2011, 04:36 AM   #12985
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anatech View Post
Hi Steve,
I had a pile of WTCPN (?) and the skinnier one. These ate switches (yes, the cap was changed for a new one) and the odd heater if the switch shorted (the normal failure mode). The tips were normally the 700 ° ones. I went through some barrel nuts that I had to get special order (I'm near Toronto, so no excuse for that) and the iron connector was worse than a DIN plug. They didn't last and were the normal cause for a cold iron. I didn't melt more than one of the older skinny types down .. maybe two actually. Another victim of a shorted switch.
Damn. Never had any problems like that.

Quote:
Tips, my god did I go through tips! They were better than an Ungar, but I'm still unimpressed...
When I was doing amp channel boards for Coda, I used the little WLC-100 for the bulk of the work I'd done over the years. The tips I used lasted for tens of thousands of solder joints.

I still haven't had to buy any new tips for the WES-51.

Maybe some old woman put a soldering iron curse on you or something.

se
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Old 20th June 2011, 05:07 AM   #12986
anatech is offline anatech  Canada
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Hi Steve,
I'm happy you didn't have the troubles I did. The issues were actually weak points in the design of those irons. Your use was somewhat different though, I had 10 or so guys using these irons all day. Before starting that company, I had a Weller station that lasted many years with the odd problems. Switches mostly, and one barrel nut. Once they are used every day, things change. I think that's why factories use irons we don't often hear of. Fixed many of those in the calibration lab I worked at.

Quote:
Maybe some old woman put a soldering iron curse on you or something.
Nah, just constant use over many years. The WES-51 looks to be a better product, and I just happened to find one that didn't hurt me as much before progressing up the Weller line. The little 25 watt Weller pencil iron I used in telephone service worked okay, but anything over replacing those Nicad batteries I tool home to a real iron.

-Chris
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Old 20th June 2011, 06:59 AM   #12987
Previously: Kuei Yang Wang
 
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by anatech View Post
I can't speak to what you experienced before you had a Weller,
Eastern Block C.R.A.P..

But I have been quite exposed to a wide range of others since, I keep my Weller for now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anatech View Post
No, I don't think that is a fair statement at all.
It was not meant to be fair, it was meant to be humorous... Maybe I should have added a smiley...

Quote:
Originally Posted by anatech View Post
I'm going to bet that if you find a better iron, you will change your viewpoint.
Not just that, the Iron too.

Note, I only ever use the Weller Magnetostatic ones, where the tip sets the temperature. I have at times used them daily, at others infrequently.

I recently bought some cheap "Weller" branded Soldering Irons (battery powered) for travel use at Radishack. These are fair rubbish, though adequate for the quick touching up of a single solder join on a cable or such.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anatech View Post
Have you ever tried this? It's fun. The flakes end up everywhere and seem to explode from the box. Use a shot gun, more dramatic. Always make sure you have a suitable back stop and abide by the local laws and common sense. It was a great stress reliever. Other items can be fun as well.
Well, I never did the cornflake one. I did shoot RPG's against old Tanks though, as well as russian sniper rifles, both 7.62mm and 14.5mm caliber against Melons (the big rifle nearly broke my shoulder with the recoil, I was sore for ages) and AK-47, AK-74 and Armalites against sides of beef back in the east german paramilitary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anatech View Post
Reviewers, by what they do, are in a position as an expert. They are knowledgeable of the field, and while not expected to know technically what is going on, they are expected to understand the meanings of the specifications, how to connect the unit and to use the features.
Reviewers are first and foremost writers, writers that need to write to entertain. Otherwise no-one bothers reading them. To expect them then to also be Experts in something is a bit much. Of course, some are, but what I find is that those who I enjoy reading would (mostly) flunk out as experts while those who have the clear expertise and technical background are so hard work to read, I normally just look at what technical things are written in the sidebar and save reading the rest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anatech View Post
but a reviewer is an audio expert. Otherwise he/she has no business recommending or reviewing a product.
Well, well, they do let Jeremy Clarkson review Car's on TV. I mean how silly is that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by anatech View Post
As you yourself have stated, there are practical reasons for reviewers to write as they do. They have to eat.
From all the reviewers I know personally only two (one is Michael who started this round of reviewer bashing - I do often give him a hard time BTW) make their living from Audio or Audio Writing.

I know people that work for the NYC Transit Authority, as Bankers, run Nightclubs, are real time assembler programmers, retired or on disability benefit (they usually review budget stuff) and the list goes on. To get a job as staff writer at a mag is very rare, even with major mags few of the writers are permanent, fully employed staff.

Ciao T
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Old 20th June 2011, 07:28 AM   #12988
EUVL is offline EUVL  Europe
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I now use a Goot PX501, and will not trade it for anything else.

Mini-Soldering Station Goot PX-501 - Lead-free Soldering - Soldering Equipment - ToolBoom online store
http://www.goot.co.jp/e/

Not a Weller (used many before).


Just my 2 cents,
Patrick

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Last edited by EUVL; 20th June 2011 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 20th June 2011, 07:39 AM   #12989
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1audio View Post
Thanks for making those available. i have a lot of documentation but have never seen the original article. Also the special transformer option I have never seen before for the CLT-1. It would be very useful to have the 4 wire/kelvin connection ability. I have two so I can measure 3 and 4 terminal devices, which really eats up floor space.
Yes, I remember that at one time you thought about selleing the second CLT1.
Anyway, I haven't seen the schematics, but I am very impressed with a tube unit the size of a full 19 inch rack that measures 30kHz harmonics down to -150dB. I'm not sure there is any equipment on the market today that does this. Some thing of a trend; if you look at AP, the newer units have less dynamic range than the original S1 and S2.

jan didden
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Old 20th June 2011, 01:18 PM   #12990
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThorstenL View Post
I mean how silly is that?
I can't stand that guy anyway, so i stopped watching TG-revisited after checking out the first episode (and hell may freeze over before i shop a TG magazine copy).
In the original series, that bloke only came on whenever something was lined up for review that others didn't fancy, even then the redhead annoyed me so much that i VHS'd the episodes to skip the stpd bstrd.
Goes to show what a bizarre line of bizz the TV world is, handing an idiot a contract worth millions of pounds, when the capable of the class have left the BBC building.
Even Tony Mason was more amusing in the 1st run, me personal favorite car-bloke still is Q Willson, despite his Merc fancy.

Though not exactly cheap in the late '80s, me Weller EC2002 has been trustworthy and affordable in the long run, even grown on me over the years.
Only had to repair it once in 1/4th of a century (but that was after one of me periodic ADHD violence frenzies)
Got me a spare solder iron for peanuts, when the model went obsolete, to be on the safe side.
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