How Gearank Works

How Gearank Works
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What is Gearank

Gearank is a rating system for music gear that incorporates two factors:

1. In-depth quantitative research on user-based product reviews.
2. Knowledgeable expert-based guidance from our in-house team.

Our Original Research – The Gearank Score

We analyze thousands of music user ratings that result in a quantitative score out of 100 for you to use.

Our researchers do this by compiling all the information they can get their hands on. We use buyer reviews, expert reviews, and product owner forum discussions. We focus on reviews and ratings by and for musicians.

The collated information goes into our Gearank program. It uses a Bayesian Averaging process to produce the number you see on the page.

Our team provides insights into the most important key choices of equipment. Their expert knowledge points out comparative features to consider. Insightful analysis, together with a gear score, becomes our Gear Guides.

What does Gearank Measure?

Gearank is best considered a measure of user satisfaction with a product.

Although product quality plays a part, price is an essential factor. People appreciate lower-priced gear when it is better than they expect. In contrast, higher-priced gear comes with a greater expectation of performance.

For example, a $20 pair of headphones may generate positive reviews. A far better $500 pair of headphones that doesn’t live up to its loftier standard may not even rate.

Quality and gear satisfaction can have opposing meanings to alternate groups. Different uses and circumstances demand different considerations. We call this gear usage intent. Our team of researchers understands this. They probe not only the ratings but also the essential characteristics of intent.

We explain why buyers and reviewers love or hate the gear so that you can find the best equipment for your needs. You can find these in our ‘Things to Consider’ sections in our gear guides.

The benefits and drawbacks are also highlighted in each item’s pros and cons section.

How is Gearank Used in Gear Guides?

The gear ranking is essential in selecting the best gear for our roundups. But the real value comes when our gear researchers analyze it to give you their insights.

We look at the suitability of the gear for the particular purpose of the guide. Gear is significant only when it’s right for the job at hand.

Our researchers aim to include a gear category’s leading range of options. We contrast the benefits and disadvantages. All this is to give you a thorough overview of what’s available in that range.

We intend to select a mix of gear that’s:

1. Tried and tested with a good number of reviews.
2. Genuine, with a solid reputation.
3. Available from reputable retailers.

All so you can be confident that they will work for you and that you have the long-term support you may need. These products often have a large community of buyers, so you can often find handy tips and tricks.

We include well-regarded emerging products where there are reliable user and expert opinions. We avoid boutique products that still need more feedback from music users.

How Gearank has Evolved

The core of the Gearank algorithm remains the same as when we first developed it in 2015. We keep refining our data processes to ensure accuracy and quality.

More and more, we incorporate our own real-world experience. We like to show you what the product is like physically or how it is used. We have improved how we explain what sets a product apart from its competitors.

We want to cut through the noise for you and identify the key decision-making factors.

25 thoughts on “How Gearank Works”

  1. Gearank’s meta-survey approach and Bayesian averaging sound wonderful, but the initial selection of products to rank and the currency of rankings seemed to be a major issue in the case I was interested in: digital pianos. The assessment (from 2018) lists the Yamaha P45 as its only under-$500 choice, when today a quick manual review of web and Youtube reviews will show that there are half a dozen $499 digital pianos, such as the Roland FP-10, that have surpassed the P45, and the P45 itself is starting to be harshly criticized. That price point has actually been extremely competitive for years now, and for only the P45 to appear on a list suggests that the ranking was determined with either minimal effort or a bias toward Yamaha products, which are extremely well marketed. All the Bayesian techniques in the world won’t save a ranking from poor final results.

    1. Hi Tobias,

      I can see how you might think we have a Yamaha bias because there is only one recommendation currently in the Under $500 section of the Digital Piano guide, and that’s for the Yamaha P-45 as you’ve pointed out.

      The reason is because that guide is well overdue for a comprehensive update and I agree that much has changed in that category since 2018.

      When we published the last major update 2 years ago (see that version here) we were also recommending the Casio Privia PX-160 which has since had its price increased above $500, and the now discontinued Alesis Coda Pro.

      We don’t usually discuss our publishing schedule publicly, but I can tell you that we started developing the Brief for updating that guide a couple of weeks ago and hopefully we’ll be ready to publish a comprehensive update in a few weeks.


      1. Thanks, Jason. I’ll look forward to reading the updated guide.

        I can’t understand the price hike on the PX-160 after all these years. People really seem attached to it. Maybe I’ll get a chance to play one post-corona.

  2. Looking for a good 4 discrete output USB device to interface with MuseScore and Adacity. Have any suggestions?

  3. The Boss GP-10 is getting rave ratings from consumers. Would like to know the results of your team as to the worthiness of this unit.


  4. Hi,

    Thanks for a great site! I’ve been shopping got 88-key MIDI controllers, and I don’t find the M-Audio Oxygen 88 listed in your 88-key review or generally on your site. Are they too new to show up, or are there some aspects of their product which cause you to not review it?



    1. It’s not that it’s too new, instead it’s the opposite. The M-Audio Oxygen 88 is no longer sold by most major American online retailers – you can’t get it from Musicians Friend, Guitar Center, Sweetwater or Amazon.

      Quite a lot of work goes into producing our ratings so we only do that for current gear that is readily available.

  5. Using ratings from retailer’s sites means you’re just echoing their marketing-through-astroturfing. They always generate rave reviews for products with higher markups. What’s done to correct for this?

    1. Hi Bob, good question. We use a number of differect ways to avoid fake reviews impacting our Gearank scores including the following :

      • Firstly we employ various services to spot and account for fake reviews as well as our own in-house methods.
      • Our researchers manually check each of our sources and look for inconsitencies. 
      • We collect information from a wide variety of reputable sources including high quality hands-on reviews and well known discussion boards that can tend to be more sceptical in their appraisals
      • We generally look to select products that have a good amount of reviews from numerous sources so as to dilute the effect of any undetected fake reviews. Often fake reviews tend to be done on products with little or no history and in a limited range of places.
      • Finally we use our knowledge of music gear and try to select from reputable brands with a solid history.
      1. As an audio professional for many years I find some of your reviews to be rather questionable at best.

    1. Hi Akshita,

      If I understand your question correctly, I think you’re asking if we write articles about new products when they are released. The answer is no because there are plenty of other websites that do that.

      I hope that answers your question, but if not, please clarify and I’ll try to give you a better answer.


    1. Good question Greg.

      It represents the number of sources that were processed by the Gearank Algorithm to produce the Gearank score out of 100 that you see on all items in our guides and database.

      Sources include things like Expert Reviews, Forum Posts, Customer Reviews and Video Reviews about a product.

      When you see 40+ sources that means 40 or more sources were processed to produce a particular Gearank score.

        1. Hi Robert,

          You are technically correct that a smaller count is a sub-set of a larger one, however we think most people understand the difference.

          We chose to go with rounded source numbers because the groupings we’ve chosen to round to tell our audience enough to understand them, and because they result in a tidier looking display on our website.

          We also decided to protect the Gearank Algorithm from being easily reverse engineered – adding more precision to the displayed values would help people trying to do that. This is similar to the way that when Google used to publish PageRank scores it was only ever with a rounded presentation.

          Rest assured that we will never publish a low rounded number when there is a higher rounded value – EG we won’t publish 5+ when it’s 10+ or 100+.

  6. There have been many off-topic questions posted here which we have not published.

    Please restrict your questions on this page to ones about How Gearank Works.

    If you have a question on a different topic then please post it on the relevant Gear Guide or Article.

    If there are no relevant places to post your question then please use our contact form.

  7. Hi guys, wondering why I cant find RCF ratings on what seems to be an otherwise extremely valuable website to band and dj performers?

    1. Sorry about the delay in publishing and responding to your post – occasionally genuine posts like yours get caught up in the spam filters.

      At the time of writing this we currently currently have the RCF ART 310-A MK III featured in our guide to Powered PA Speakers.

      The only reason RCF haven’t appeared more frequently in our guides is because they are in one of the most competitive, if not THE most competitive, areas of pro sound that we cover – it’s very hard to out-rank giants such as QSC and Yamaha.

      1. In my opinion RCF is a more superior product than QSC and Yamaha. I have owned all three and the quality / performance of RCF is in a completely different category. I searched this site see where my RCF 8004 AS sub was ranked and it was not listed. I saw the EV EKK and I know for a fact that my sub can out run the entire EV line hands down. Just my two cents 🙂

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