Do some audio reviewers need protection against themselves?

Audiocrack

Active Member
Aug 10, 2012
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#1
Today I visited the AVS showroom website of Peter Breuninger. I had not done so for quite a while and I must confess that what I experienced greatly puzzled me (to say the least).

Firstly I would like to say that I really like/admire Peter's idea of reviewing components and giving us show reports with the help of videos that can be viewed on the internet and respect the time and effort he puts into his website. Pictures and sound (however mediocre the sound quality might be) trough videos/the internet gives you in my view a (much) better picture about the performance of audio components than words that are published in audio magazines.

That said I viewed a few videos, inter alia from the Axpona 2017 audio show and the Audio Note UK set up at his home, that amazed me. If I concentrate on the latter my question is: why on earth does a reviewer wants to state that a certain component is the best in the world? And not only once but several times! And while doing so he included two turntables - components that were not reviewed at all and were therefore not part of this video/review - that were 'rewarded' with the qualification 'best in the world' as well.

While talking about the Audio Note UK set up Peter Breuninger made several comments (such as "audio God") that were so over the top that they (even) embarrased the founder and big chief of Audio Note UK!

So I am wondering if some reviewers are so out of touch with reality that they should be advised (ideally by someone the reviewer (greatly) respects) to behave/review in a different way in order to protect such a person against himself? I am asking because in my view this kind of rather strange behavior of audio reviewers will (in the long run) damage the credibility of our hobby.

Or am I wrong of this and maybe need protection myself?
 
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Joe Whip

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Feb 8, 2014
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#2
There is no changing Peter. I will say that I would be concerned about announcing to the world that I have a million dollar system and a $400,000 turntable as I would think it might attract unsavory characters to my home unannounced and uninvited, especially when I was not at home.
 

Audiocrack

Active Member
Aug 10, 2012
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#3
There is no changing Peter. I will say that I would be concerned about announcing to the world that I have a million dollar system and a $400,000 turntable as I would think it might attract unsavory characters to my home unannounced and uninvited, especially when I was not at home.
So you are saying he does not understand that he is seriously undermining his credibility as an audio reviewer?
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#4
likely I view Peter's efforts similarly to you. the video's do allow for a more involved experience on certain levels, but the hyperbole get's in the way of a comfortable aftertaste. OTOH, I do appreciate the less veiled promotional approach. Peter, to some degree, is only a bit more obvious with his promotion than others, and part of that I would guess is intentional to rise above the noise of all the other approaches. and establish his 'brand' as distinct (I'm not saying it's my cup of tea).

there are degrees of exaggerated verbiage and headlines; and maybe Peter is at the top of that list, but not the only one on it.

in an objective sense, what's the difference between what Peter does and what 6 Moons does? where the manufacturer has to advertise to get a review? or the long terms loans of gear that happen on a regular basis? or accommodation pricing for reviewers? or the manufacturer paying the magazine to use lines from a review as promo material on their website or brochure's?

all these things clutter the strict objective feedback loop......but some hit our restrictive zones as demeaning and crass.....such as Peter's.

as individual audiophiles, we appreciate respect and accolades when judged credible and properly expressed. we'd like to have others think highly of our efforts, but not cross the line of propriety. it's the culture of our hobby. so Peter's over-the-top approach makes us uncomfortable. his filter......well.....maybe he has no filter.

is Peter likely only hurting Peter? yes, I think so. is he self-aware of this effect? don't know. but he is also attracting attention on some levels for his efforts. I wish him well and hope he is accomplishing what he intended to accomplish. and that he is having fun.

are his comments credible? so far the one's I've 'heard' in the video's appear to be sincere. he apparently does believe those things he says when he says them.
 
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Joe Whip

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Feb 8, 2014
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Wayne, PA
#5
So you are saying he does not understand that he is seriously undermining his credibility as an audio reviewer?
I doubt it. After all, isn't he the best of the best, the biggest of the biggest? :rolleyes:take a look at what he said of the VS Master Built room. I was not there and it would appear that it was one of the best rooms at Axpona but what he says is so over the top, I can't take it seriously. Although I can see the comments showing up in some ad copy somewhere. :p
 
May 30, 2010
13,964
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48
Portugal
#6
IMHO most people expect too much from an audio reviewer. Reviewers are expected to give us an idea of how a component sounds in a determined system, not to tell us what is better in absolute terms.

Reviewer credibility is not determined by rankings, that will reflect his momentaneous preferences and system, but by how well he manages to describe how a component sounds in a system.

Sorry to disagree on this aspect, but "pictures and sound (however mediocre the sound quality might be) trough videos/the internet" do not give us a better picture about the performance of audio components than words. A proper review, well carried and written, can carry a lot of information.

A ranking of preference should be a statistical affair - when such statements are emitted in an absolute way by a single person they are meaningless, bordering the ridiculous. It is why I will never say that the DCS Vivaldi is the best existing digital system ... :)

And yes, reviewers supply us mostly information and entertainment ... All IMHO, YMMV, surely!
 

Johnny Vinyl

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May 16, 2010
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Calgary, AB
#7
He may be hurting himself, but his forward-thinking alternative to the traditional is not. He took a chance on a new approach, which appears to be paying off based on the views he's getting, and for that IMO he should be commended.
 
Apr 3, 2010
16,022
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Seattle, WA
#8
Hey, I need protection for my audio views and I am not even a reviewer! :D

On Peter, I have been to a number of suites at shows where he was getting ready or doing his videos. The manufacturers move heaven and earth to accommodate him. The do so because he is always kind to them. I don't think I have ever seen a video from him where he puts down the system. After all, he is there with the company representative and that video would not be finished if said anything negative right there and then. :)

I consider his commentary to be an "overview" not a "review." He hands softballs to the manufacturers as any friendly reporter would.

The gold in his videos therefore is not what he says he thinks of the equipment. It is the fact that we get to hear the company representatives talk and express their views of their equipment, show, etc. That, can't be captured across 400 suites at a show like AXPONA in words and pictures. In that regard I think he is providing an excellent service to the audiophile community. Indeed while I mind major reviewers taking over a suite and dominate the discussion, music played, etc., I don't mind him doing so for his videos. The former is a power play. The latter is useful to all of us.
 

Audiocrack

Active Member
Aug 10, 2012
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#9
likely I view Peter's efforts similarly to you. the video's do allow for a more involved experience on certain levels, but the hyperbole get's in the way of a comfortable aftertaste. OTOH, I do appreciate the less veiled promotional approach. Peter, to some degree, is only a bit more obvious with his promotion than others, and part of that I would guess is intentional to rise above the noise of all the other approaches. and establish his 'brand' as distinct (I'm not saying it's my cup of tea).

there are degrees of exaggerated verbiage and headlines; and maybe Peter is at the top of that list, but not the only one on it.

in an objective sense, what's the difference between what Peter does and what 6 Moons does? where the manufacturer has to advertise to get a review? or the long terms loans of gear that happen on a regular basis? or accommodation pricing for reviewers? or the manufacturer paying the magazine to use lines from a review as promo material on their website or brochure's?

all these things clutter the strict objective feedback loop......but some hit our restrictive zones as demeaning and crass.....such as Peter's.

as individual audiophiles, we appreciate respect and accolades when judged credible and properly expressed. we'd like to have others think highly of our efforts, but not cross the line of propriety. it's the culture of our hobby. so Peter's over-the-top approach makes us uncomfortable. his filter......well.....maybe he has no filter.

is Peter likely only hurting Peter? yes, I think so. is he self-aware of this effect? don't know. but he is also attracting attention on some levels for his efforts. I wish him well and hope he is accomplishing what he intended to accomplish. and that he is having fun.

are his comments credible? so far the one's I've 'heard' in the video's appear to be sincere. he apparently does believe those things he says when he says them.
As (nearly) always you are mild in your comments, Mike.

When Peter in one of his videos more or less shouted to us (or is 'demanded from us to accept his absolute truth' a better way of saying it?) that his two turntables are the best of the world - a rather stupid expression for an audio 'reviewer' in my view -, it was time for me to leave his website. Anyway, I am not going to return to his website because I consider him no longer as a valid audio reviewer. And as mentioned before, I am of the opinion that this kind of behavior in the end is not good for the audio industry and our hobby.
 

Audiocrack

Active Member
Aug 10, 2012
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#10
IMHO most people expect too much from an audio reviewer. Reviewers are expected to give us an idea of how a component sounds in a determined system, not to tell us what is better in absolute terms.

Reviewer credibility is not determined by rankings, that will reflect his momentaneous preferences and system, but by how well he manages to describe how a component sounds in a system.

Sorry to disagree on this aspect, but "pictures and sound (however mediocre the sound quality might be) trough videos/the internet" do not give us a better picture about the performance of audio components than words. A proper review, well carried and written, can carry a lot of information.

A ranking of preference should be a statistical affair - when such statements are emitted in an absolute way by a single person they are meaningless, bordering the ridiculous. It is why I will never say that the DCS Vivaldi is the best existing digital system ... :)

And yes, reviewers supply us mostly information and entertainment ... All IMHO, YMMV, surely!
I think we expect the same from a professional reviewer, Micro.

As regards sound videos versus words: let's agree to disagree. Imho is is very difficult to describe in words what a certain audio component is doing, in particular in comparison to other high quality audio devices.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#11
As (nearly) always you are mild in your comments, Mike.

When Peter in one of his videos more or less shouted to us (or is 'demanded from us to accept his absolute truth' a better way of saying it?) that his two turntables are the best of the world - a rather stupid expression for an audio 'reviewer' in my view -, it was time for me to leave his website. Anyway, I am not going to return to his website because I consider him no longer as a valid audio reviewer. And as mentioned before, I am of the opinion that this kind of behavior in the end is not good for the audio industry and our hobby.
I do agree with your.....shall I call it.....'indignation'......with Peter's antics.....to a degree. but felt the need to acknowledge the bigger picture of rationalization too.

but you are correct that my personal default setting is 'mild' when faced with something with negative aspects. high end audio is only positive for me. and it's a beautiful Sunday morning and the tunes are flowing.:D
 

Audiocrack

Active Member
Aug 10, 2012
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#12
Hey, I need protection for my audio views and I am not even a reviewer! :D

On Peter, I have been to a number of suites at shows where he was getting ready or doing his videos. The manufacturers move heaven and earth to accommodate him. The do so because he is always kind to them. I don't think I have ever seen a video from him where he puts down the system. After all, he is there with the company representative and that video would not be finished if said anything negative right there and then. :)

I consider his commentary to be an "overview" not a "review." He hands softballs to the manufacturers as any friendly reporter would.

The gold in his videos therefore is not what he says he thinks of the equipment. It is the fact that we get to hear the company representatives talk and express their views of their equipment, show, etc. That, can't be captured across 400 suites at a show like AXPONA in words and pictures. In that regard I think he is providing an excellent service to the audiophile community. Indeed while I mind major reviewers taking over a suite and dominate the discussion, music played, etc., I don't mind him doing so for his videos. The former is a power play. The latter is useful to all of us.
In my view no reason for any 'Amir audio protection'.

And I fully understand why audio manufactures are treating him as an 'audio king'. But this is getting 'dangerous' if someone is starting to believe he actually is an 'audio king'. Over the top (audio) qualifications being used again and again in the end mean nothing.
 

Audiocrack

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Aug 10, 2012
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#13
He may be hurting himself, but his forward-thinking alternative to the traditional is not. He took a chance on a new approach, which appears to be paying off based on the views he's getting, and for that IMO he should be commended.
Like you I admire his (new) video approach but ... well, I suppose you get the picture.
 

Audiocrack

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Aug 10, 2012
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#14
I do agree with your.....shall I call it.....'indignation'......with Peter's antics.....to a degree. but felt the need to acknowledge the bigger picture of rationalization too.

but you are correct that my personal default setting is 'mild' when faced with something with negative aspects. high end audio is only positive for me. and it's a beautiful Sunday morning and the tunes are flowing.:D
Well, this - mildly - positive attitude is in our audio hobby of huge ego's probably a wise approach.
 

Johnny Vinyl

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May 16, 2010
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#15
Like you I admire his (new) video approach but ... well, I suppose you get the picture.
I do indeed get the picture and there is a lot of complimentary excess (does everyone get a certificate"?), but I ignore that side as I don't view his website as a review option. It's entertainment to me as I get a look into what's out there. In that way he offers a valuable service.
 

Audiocrack

Active Member
Aug 10, 2012
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#16
I do indeed get the picture and there is a lot of complimentary excess (does everyone get a certificate"?), but I ignore that side as I don't view his website as a review option. It's entertainment to me as I get a look into what's out there. In that way he offers a valuable service.
Your suggestion/approach is: Do not consider him as a serious audio reviewer at all but only as a entertainer ... interesting view! Because Peter 'entertaiment' annoyed me I suppose the best way indeed is not to take him serious anymore as a reviewer.
 

Johnny Vinyl

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May 16, 2010
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#17
Your suggestion/approach is: Do not consider him as a serious audio reviewer at all but only as a entertainer ... interesting view! Because Peter 'entertaiment' annoyed me I suppose the best way indeed is not to take him serious anymore as a reviewer.
Maybe there will come a day when video reviews of audio gear are considered worthy of consideration, but it's too new of a format and it'll be awhile before someone finds the right pieces. I have no idea if that is even Peter's intention, but we'll see as time goes by.
 

DaveyF

Active Member
Aug 1, 2010
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#18
To paraphrase another, ahem..well known reviewer...King Peter is nothing more than a "video clown"! Since he apparently cannot see past the chaff:eek:....I would suggest a quick visit to a professional mental health practitioner.:D
Proclaiming anything the best in the world with such adamancy is highly suspicious given his supposed role as an independent reviewer. Perhaps he fails to understand how pathetic that has made his mortal enemy- JV, look over all these years. One day this is the best, the next day that is the best...and on and on....very weak, IMHO. The manufacturer will undeniably like the proclamation, but the public...who he should be representing ( unless he gives a disclaimer to the alternate, which i have NEVER seen any of these guys do:mad:) are likely to be drawn down the wrong path.:(
 
#19

Connect a pair of cans to your laptop's headphone jack and listen to the music ... starting @ 7:41

Peter's videos are among the best, picture and sound quality wise. It's not the first time I'm saying it.
No matter what people say or think, they are a source of expanded view on audio products from all over the world and their manufacturers.
Videos are a "superb" complement to written audio reviews from audio magazines and online. And Peter excels @ it; he inspires the new young next generation to pursue and improve further the good tradition in getting to know up close and personal the sound behind the people who design the audio products.

* Words are silver shining, music is golden silencing.
 
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asiufy

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Jul 8, 2011
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almaaudio.com
#20
I don't remember who posted, I think it was Keith, a video of high end watch news and reviews. Very professional, with informative reports and tasteful closeups of the watches. No garish graphics on top or scrolling stuff, just two presenters talking about watches.

Oh so very different from high end audio... And yet, we wonder why we can't get high end audio to be respected like high end everything else...
 

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