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The "problem" with Jon Valin's reviews

Posted on February 23, 2010 at 14:38:51
His listening room set ups are crap!

Look at all the photos of his listening room and the big pile of audio equipment between and behind the speakers. That type if set up "totally" screws up the sound stage and tonal balance! He does not know crap about the "true" sound of the speakers he listens to!

Proper room set up is "much" more critical to reproduction than connecting up to $100,000 power amps! He gives the impression that he is the only one who can tell what the "true" sound of speakers are.

All his reviews are "total" hype!


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RE: The "problem" with Jon Valin's reviews, posted on February 23, 2010 at 16:28:18
john curl

Posts: 4680
Joined: May 16, 2000
Lighten up, Audio Trip. You should see MY living room! We get used to the stuff in the corners.


thats why God made roy allison n/t, posted on February 23, 2010 at 16:31:37
Industry Professional

Posts: 696
Location: arizona
Joined: November 11, 2005


HI john !, posted on February 23, 2010 at 16:38:26

Posts: 13792
Location: shaky sylmar calif, orig from buffalo ny
Joined: June 9, 2000
its refreshing to see some realistic commentary here.

while i didnt suffer from our fires here in sylmar as you did up north a few years ago, we had to BUG OUT for a couple of days. i hope you recovered nicely from that disaster (now quite some time ago but fresh in YOUR memory i will bet).

we dont all live in hallowed halls like some with this hobby/bizness. it would be soooo nice to have mikel's digs, eh?


Got a picture or a link? (nt), posted on February 23, 2010 at 18:01:34

Posts: 35184
Location: SF Bay Area
Joined: April 22, 2003
December 28, 2003


RE: The "problem" with Jon Valin's reviews, posted on February 24, 2010 at 05:14:13

Posts: 2154
Joined: November 17, 2004
>That type if set up "totally" screws up the sound stage and tonal balance!<

Do you have any evidence for that?

Sound stage: between my speakers is the TV and furniture, yet on special imaging test tracks the phantom image is exactly where it is supposed to be.

Tonal balance: reflections coming from the same direction as the direct sound are masked by the latter. Further it is known from psychoacoustic research that the more reflections there are and the more irregularly these are placed on the time scale the less comb filter coloration is occurring:

Salomons (1995), “Coloration and binaural decoloration of sound due to reflections”, Thesis, Delft University

So again, where is the evidence for that statement of yours?



I think it's valid., posted on February 24, 2010 at 06:29:47

Posts: 820
Joined: November 4, 2000
Honestly, if the reviewer is going to pass judgement on a $100,000 amp the least he(she)could have is a decent treated room. Harley had about $30,000 sunk into his dedicated listening room. Valin is a "senior" reviewer, so why not?


RE: The "problem" with Jon Valin's reviews, posted on February 24, 2010 at 07:23:44

Posts: 246
Joined: March 31, 2000

>>>"His listening room set ups are crap!"<<<

I don't want to diminish your strong opinions with any real context but.... :o)

I've been to his place twice for some informal listening. The room is angular with a sloped ceiling from left to right, lots of media storage on the side walls, some Shakti Hallographs near the corners and a comfortable couch a reasonable distance from the speakers. Full racks of electronics sit a foot or two behind the amps on 3' stands. Although the room itself has a unique shape he has room treatment placed in specific areas and the room is plenty big enough to support a full range system.

I heard both the M5 Magicos and Mini's there on separate occasions with either ARC or Japanese Be Labo electronics. I found the sound to be exceptional, even extraordinary with the M5's --with great center imaging and lots of natural detail. On several tracks, the system produced some of the most three dimensional sound I've heard--very memorable. Obviously, with almost no exceptions nits could be picked with any set up and room no matter how well they are prepared.

Maybe the stage was not as wide as my own and certainly every room has its own "sound" but I thoroughly enjoyed the system and believe it is a great room for listening critically to and differentiating speakers, electronics and other system changes. Like other busy reviewers I am sure he has a lot of electronics and speakers coming and going but the times I was there the floor was relatively clear and the room next door held all the extra gear.

The same held true when visiting Michael Fremer, unique room set up in a natural manner--like the basements in many homes. The system sounded great but different each time I visited and sure there was some electronics waiting to the side but nothing that would get in the way of the system's performance. What was great about both systems is they were real-world set ups in existing spaces that sounded extremely detailed and were obviously fine tuned for resolution. They were also wholly different, like most all the systems in homes that I have heard. Since most folks don't have dedicated spaces with specialized rooms I think that both systems were representative of where a lot of great high-end gear might find itself.

Just a few observations.



RE: The "problem" with Jon Valin's reviews, posted on February 24, 2010 at 09:35:42

Posts: 230
Joined: December 18, 2004
To me, the strangest set up is Ebain's. That rooms looks to be about 7 feet wide, and the speakers are a quite close to the side walls. How can you get a meaningful review out of that setup?


Your link is dead -nt, posted on February 24, 2010 at 18:38:08

Posts: 24547
Joined: May 12, 2000
April 5, 2002


Try this one, posted on February 24, 2010 at 23:09:24

Posts: 2154
Joined: November 17, 2004
If that doesn't work, copy 'n paste the thesis title into google.


RE: The "problem" with Jon Valin's reviews, posted on March 8, 2010 at 17:47:31
Hey why dont you ask for a photo of Mike Fremer's room with dimensions and a brief description.


RE: The "problem" with Jon Valin's reviews, posted on March 8, 2010 at 17:49:21
Yes but you are not a reviewer. I think he has a valid point.


RE: I think it's valid., posted on March 8, 2010 at 17:59:06
From what I hear, Mikey has old pizza box room treatments.


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