Updated January 16th, 2020.
Reviews are carried-out according to the following standard. Ultimately, the purpose of having such a standard is to streamline reviews and allow for better comparisons while helping readers select their next purchase on the most comprehensive basis possible.
The source’s model must be mentioned and the reviewer must pay particular attention to the source’s firmware version in use as well as mention if any audio effects are enabled. If available, a link to the manufacturer’s website must be provided.
Source: Brand & Model / Firmware version: #.### / Audio effects enabled: No / Yes (precise which one/s) / Music app used / Link to the brand or model’s website
The songs’ artist, album and title used for the review must be mentioned, as well as their format and quality. A minimum of four songs must me used in order to assess the lows, mids, highs and soundstage. ( See “Sound Analysis” below. )
Song: Eric Clapton, 461 Ocean Boulevard, I Shot The Sheriff / Quality: 24-Bit 192.0 kHz – Stereo, FLAC
Specify the cable and cable termination used. In case the headphones or (C)IEMs are connected wirelessly to the source, the codec must be mentioned.
Cable: Campfire Audio Smoky Litz Cable, 3.5mm, Single-ended
Codec: LDAC / aptX HD
A minimum of four songs must me used in order to assess the lows, mids, highs and soundstage. ( See “Songs” above. ) The vocabulary used must be coherent with the audiophile’s vocabulary primer and cover bass/lows, midrange/mids, treble/highs and soundstage.
For IEMs, it is critical that the reviewer mentions the results obtained with the various tips included with the IEM reviewed (e.g. foam, silicon, etc.). As mentioned in the guide’s 101, while everyone’s ears are different, the tips used and the fit/seal obtained with said tips can alter the sound signature of an IEM to a significant extent. Regardless of the cost, one person can have a wonderful experience with a pair of IEMs and another can have a horrendous one with the same pair due to comfort/fit/seal issues. Help the reader as much as possible. The reviewer is free to mention other tips with which they reviewed the IEMs but should detail why (fit/seal or sound signature preference). Again, help the reader as much as possible.
The IEMs sensitivity is also a point worth paying attention to, particularly if the source used for the review has a low noise floor.
Any other adjustment the reviewed headphone or IEM allows for (such as filters or modules) must be mentioned as well as which ones were used, if any.
You’ve all been there: this is the most helpful part for the reader, as long as it is made coherently. If to you, the $500 headphone or IEM you are reviewing sounds almost or as good as the $1500 you previously reviewed, great! Simply use a similar vocabulary in-between the two reviews in order to explain why.
Do it or don’t — just mention whether you did (for how long and what were the results) or did not do it.
Short and to the point.
5 stars: excellent
4 stars: good
3 stars: ok
2 stars: bad
1 star: very bad