Ears vs the Reviews

Your ears vs the Reviews: Should you trust your ears?

I say we should always gravitate towards our ears.

Consider this: try to read reviews from different “experts” for your dream headphones or earphones. Chances are, you’ll have experts with contrasting and sometimes adversarial, condescending reviews against the other experts’ reviews.

The reason is simple and straightforward. We appreciate things differently and this is the absolute game changer. I don’t advocate total disregard of reviews as tool to help us choose the best audio equipment for our listening nirvana. Reviews may infact help in certain way to give us a well-informed decision when we make our first or next buy. BUT if we are torn between the reviews and the dictates of our ears, I say forget the reviews and follow the “voices” coming from our ears. Our ears, without doubt, can be our best judge.

So next time we visit the store, audition our fave or dream headphones or earphones and let our ears decide. Don’t let others especially that “pesky” sales attendant nudge us into buying something our ears may soon regret.

Happy listening folks!

*shure se535
*grado SR325e prestige series
*ath m50x
*revo wireless
*advance acoustic works earphones (singapore audiophile specialty store)
*sennheiser HD428
*sennheiser cx500
*moxpad X3, x6 and x9 pro (dirt cheap But awesome!)
*bose on the ear :blush:
*polk audio symphonized NRG


I definitely agree with you.

Reviews are a good source for finding out about build quality, what comes with the headphones and sometimes the frequency response to figure out the sound signature of the headphone. However, giving an objective score on sound quality based on something that is largely a subjective experience is difficult.

You have to read a few reviews by the reviewer to figure out what their preferred sound signature is and once you have that in mind, you can look at their reviews from a different perspective.

For example, if I were to do a comparison review between the Beyerdynamic T1 and the Focal Clears, the Focal Clears would rate much higher. But that’s because I gravitate towards a warmer sound signature and the T1s are much too bright for my taste.

Objective vs Subjective is a pretty widely debated topic among audiophiles but I personally think there is a place for both. Objective gives you a general idea on whether the headphones will be dark, warm, neutral, bright. But you can’t effectively measure for things like soundstage and imaging which is a huge part of the listening experience.

Ultimately, take every review you read online with a grain of salt as someone’s experience with a pair of headphones can be completely different than yours. It’s all about what you prefer and if you find a pair of headphones that review poorly but you like them, who cares? You’re the one that’s going to be using them now and in the future and ultimately that is what really matters.


Great! I agree with you… I add that several reviews pay a debt to someone and, therefore, are not even subjective …

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You made my point more clearer…wish i had it appended on my post. Nice!

Hi Edmond, sadly that’s the case with most reviews. Credibility suffers as a result.

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My way of choosing headphones is based on friendship with some people with a musical taste very similar to mine. Fortunately, one of them has the opportunity to buy a lot of headphones (!!!) also of great value and so, as a first skimming, I get an idea of what I might like … :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


More secure than a review !!!

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When I bought my first set of good headphones, I was lucky enough to talk with a couple different techs from HeadRoom. They listened to my style of “listening”, asking many questions before finally suggesting a couple different units to try. I bought my first set of Beyer Dynamics from them and couldn’t have been happier. Shopping online is always a roll of the dice but when i find a good place, I keep them; sometimes prices aren’t the best, but the service and support are more than worth the cost. I love good music and will pay to have that ability; having a place that i can trust to give me good info and support is just as valuable and I will also pay for that bonus.


Good for you brother…may be you can lend your friend :kissing_closed_eyes:

I heard good feedback about them. You’re lucky.

In addition to these two points (which are both very important):

The potential for different reviewers having very different hearing/auditory profiles also comes into play - and understanding this (which is admittedly difficult, since people don’t talk about it much in reviews), can go a long way to understanding how to interpret what someone says about the sound of a given headphone.

You could look at this as being part of “appreciation” or “preferred sound signature”, since it’s a contributory factor, but it goes a bit further than that. For example, if you have someone that leans towards a brighter signature, and then they also have meaningful hearing loss in the higher frequencies, that’ll tend to result in cans they might consider “neutral” or “just right” actually being very bright when auditioned by someone with a more “normal” auditory response.

A close friend of mine is in this camp … his hearing is pretty much shot from 6 kHz or so up, and as a result the cans he finds to be pretty even handed are often way too bright for me (as-in “wince inducing”).


You nailed it well… That’s always an issue and until now disagreement is still the norm.

@andrew I know we have had a lot of talks on this subject over the last couple of years. What are your thoughts on the “Ears vs the Reviews” debate?

Well, I enjoy reading reviews a lot, but I think it always comes down to your ears. Headphones are so personal. In fact they’re the MOST personal category in audio gear.

However, it’s not practical to be able to listen to ALL the headphones you’re interested in (I know there are shows, but I find it really hard to evaluate a headphone at a show). So I think reviews can really help you narrow down the headphones and gear you might be interested in.

If you find a reviewer you tend to agree with, it can also be a great way to discover new gear you might like.

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I think this is what many of us are hoping for, in this forum…finding people with similar listening styles who will share experiences and patterns that mirror other individuals. I found “that” in the old HeadRoom and trusted them ever since on every subsequent purchase, and they never let me down.

Personally, I’ll be watching for individuals with similar tastes and styles, and will pick their brains, helping me as I replace and upgrade. I trusted other people’s “ears” before and it worked well…now I’m hoping lightening will strike in the same place twice.

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I’m finding all this out as I try new combinations. Some of the RAVES to me are just eh. But some of the pieces like the DT 1990’s that some don’t like I am loving with my darker WOO amp. Subjective!

I agree. I go with my ears. They are generally bigger than the reviewer’s ears.


Hahaha nice try…

Yeah, subjective at best. By the way sometimes our ears might betray us. Try to figure this out, a doctor friend of mine suggested that when auditioning earphones and especially headphones it’s better to do it at noontime or later But not in the morning where our hearing ability may be hampered by morning colds or that waxes lodged in our ears could defeat the purpose of good auditioning.

I don’t know the science on this but yes sometimes in the morning i thought the sound coming from my headpones/earphones a bit tinny.

You thought, pls.


I notice that the exact same things sound different depending on a lot of personal factors like time of day, mood, caffeine level etc.