Take the 3beez challenge

Still undecided? Here is a suggestion: Devise three challenges. Compare how well the systems you are considering meet the challenges.

You will probably need to visit dealers to perform the test. If you don't know how to operate the system, have a salesman help. If the salesman doesn't know how to execute one of the challenges, well, that tells you something. If the manufacturer does not have dealers – as is the case for 3beez – contact them to find out how you can evaluate their system. If they can't enable you to test a system with your challenges, well, that also tells you something. We would be happy to let you test drive one of our systems over the Internet.

Here are some suggestions for your challenges.

  • You are going to use the system to play music more than for anything else, so at least one test should be related to selecting a recording and playing. Do you own CDs with different versions of the same work? If so, one good test would be to see how the systems you are considering permit you to survey your collection and select the version that you want to hear.
  • Pretend that there is a mistake in the metadata for a recording. How easy is it to correct the mistake?
  • If you listen to classical music, rip a recording of a concerto. Can the system present all the information you need to identify the recording – at least the names of the composer, the soloist, and the conductor?
  • Rip a CD with several works. How easy is it to find the individual works.
  • Rip a 2-CD set. Are you satisfied with the way the system catalogs the recording?
  • Choose one recording with which to evaluate the sound quality of each system. Many reviewers have biases, so make your own judgement.

You might get ideas for other challenges by reading our Categories page.

If you have a salesman help you perform the tests, be prepared to insist that he address your challenges. Many salesmen will want to distract you with demonstrations of features that they hope will impress you. If you are interested, have your salesman demonstrate them after completing the challenge. Remember that your objective is to assess all systems by the same metric – one that you chose to reflect your priorities, not the priorities of the manufacturer or the dealer.