"Reviewer "A" loves this preamp, reviewer "B" thinks it mediocre. Reviewer "A" finds this speaker atrocious, reviewer "B" pronounces it state of the art. Why is this, can't these people hear? Shouldn't the reviewers always agree? The answer is no.
An audio system represents a complex conglomeration of sophisticated electronic components. These components interact with one another and with room in which they are placed. The "sound" of a given system is determined not only by the sonic character(s) of the individual parts, but also by how those characteristics mix or interact, a sort of "sonic synergy," if you will. This interaction often accounts for differences of opinion, between reviewers and audiophiles alike, on any given product. Consider, for example, a preamplifier that sounds great in your system, but lousy at your friends house. Why is this? Most likely it is due to poor compatibility between components used in the system. For example, a slightly "bright" preamp may sound fine in a system with a rolled high frequency character. That same unit used in a system already tending toward brightness would sound atrocious. Not the fault of the preamplifier, just a poor match.
Reviewers, I think, sometimes ......"