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In Reply to: RE: I wrote about Luxman's DU-50 player in Stereophile last year... . posted by audio39 on February 13, 2012 at 10:18:04
Thanks for sharing your perspective.
My perspective is a bit different.
I have never reviewed a piece of Cary gear; I can't recall having reviewed a piece of McIntosh gear, and I last reviewed a piece of Esoteric gear IIRC in 2003.
I don't think that there is favoritism in Stereophile's coverage, with the proviso that all such media are subject to what I have personally called "the tyranny of the new." Manufacturers such as Sugden, who have made basically the same amp for 25 years, I think do deserve special solicitude, and I have made efforts to highlight such products from time to time.
I don't think that it's a matter of "shame on Denon." I did note that their PR shop sends update emails quite often. I happened to be jammed up with things to write about already.
I also believe that things like: power supplies, analog stages, and even grounding schemes are as important (taken all together) than which off-the shelf DAC a manufacturer buys, which in any event is not likely to cost more than ten bucks.
As far as other fine pieces hanging out there goes, that is precisely why I attend pro audio events and shows, which is where I encountered the Bricasti DAC, and which is why Stereophile was the first US magazine to review it. A second product from a relatively new manufacturer. You may recall that JA saw fit to put it on the cover recently.
So, in my view there is no set process per se. Some times a manufacturer gets lucky (Bricasti); other times a manufacturer has a fine product that slips between the barstools. But as John Atkinson has said, it is not a magazine's job to become a substitute for a marketing plan (or words to that effect). A manufacturer with a great product who spends the time and money to cultivate a dealer base will get his product noticed. Even if only in the way that really counts: committed dealers recommending it to real customers.
Excluding Stereophile for the moment, if I google any product I previously mentioned I will find more than one review for each. In the case of the Cary (a company I have a deep appreciation for) players I will find 3 or 4 reviews for near to every digital product they make or have made over the last many years.
If you take a peek in the Digital forum you'll find my opinion of the Cary CD500, which I became aware of via reviews found online.
So I targetted Stereophile and The Absolute Sound, only because I believe they would be most read here in North America, but there are many rags and sites that missed this one.
And thanks for reminding me of the Bricasti!!
My high school had a flea-powered "radio station," but at least it used real radio waves and not the wall wiring or the radiator pipes. I helped canvass record labels for promotional copies. Some major labels treated us like kings (gee, had I spirited away a few of those white-label LP promos with bottom-third tracklists, my my what they would be worth now, such as the original "Blood, Sweat, and Tears"), but--I digress. Some smaller labels said, yeah, in dreams. So we ended up with an odd assortment of music to play. Does anyone remember "The Crazy World of Arthur Brown"?
The same for audio companies and reviews. Years ago, precisely in response to complaints on AA's General Forum (before Critics was established), I asked readers to nominate products they believed were unfairly neglected. IIRC, I winnowed the list to 16 products, of which: EXACTLY ONE landed on my doorstep. The Sugden Class-A integrated amp, in fact.
One company was having it appeared both internet and phone trouble. Was that bad luck, or a sign they were circling the drain? I never had to take a stand on that, in that they never got back to me about product availability.
Another well-regarded company's response was: "We'll have to build you one. Call us in a month." I did. And the month after. And after the third try, I gave up. If an audio company can't send a unit to a reviewer for North America's oldest and largest specialty-audio magazines in 90 days, how on earth can I be confident that they are set up to give good customer service?
I get the idea that I am on the "poop list" of one particular US audio company, which is sad, because I love their stuff. Regarding another old-line US audio company, I don't think it is personal, they just would rather not have Stereophile write about their stuff. And then there's another company that is willing, but they apparently want to be exempt from the rules that generally apply.
OK: You are now Senior (and headed for the Soylent Green factory) Contributing Editor for a day. As between the company that can't build a unit and send it out in 90 days, the company that won't acknowledge your emails, and the company that wants to call the shots, AND a company that says, "Fine, we can ship tomorrow," which do you choose?
One excellent company that has only one review pair of its flagship loudspeaker hit a snag and could not deliver as promised. So, I phoned the National Sales Manager of a different excellent company and asked to cover a product that Stereophile had not yet reviewed. Their answer: "We can ship that Thursday." Thanks.
NB NB NB NB, this is not to disparage Denon. Every time I have asked D&M for product, they have come through. I simply did not ask in this case.
So, just like record labels, audio manufacturers. There is a spectrum. And in both cases, there is a small minority of companies whose business model is apparently to nurture the fan base to the exclusion of the media, and if that works for them, I am in no position to complain.
I have a friend that claims Stereophile missed the boat by not reviewing his speakers. I've heard them many times and the truth of it is, they haven't missed much, in my opinion.
WHY can't you buy or borrow one?????????????????
Assuming that the resale value after review is 70%, this should abe affordable except for top-price products.
If you are careful with them, readers may well want to buy a tested unit and pay a premium for it.
> Assuming that the resale value after review is 70%, this should abe affordable
> except for top-price products.
This has been discussed before on this forum. The danger is that the review
could be criticized on the grounds that it was overly positive in order to drive
up the resale price.
In the case of the Denon 100th Anniversary player, we didn't request a
review sample.We did review two of Denon's 100th Anniversary products;
these have already been discontinued by the manufacturer, we were told
when we compiled the April issue's "Recommended Components" listing..
''This has been discussed before on this forum. The danger is that the review could be criticized on the grounds that it was overly positive in order to drive up the resale price''
How does borrowing a unit drive up the resale price? I thought you guys have unshakeable integrity. Most audiophiles are savvy enough not to pay over the odds for a used item.
> How does borrowing a unit drive up the resale price?
It doesn't. But as was discussed in the older thread, people would accuse us
of giving a borrowed sample more praise than it deserved so that we could
then resell it for a bigger profit than would otherwise be the case.
is a ridiculous line of logic.
There is always some kind of 'rationale' for not wanting to do something to break the mould.
> This is a ridiculous line of logic.
No, it's what some think might happen if the magazine purchased review
samples. Again, this was discussed some time back on the Asylum. Did you
not read those earlier postings?
> There is always some kind of 'rationale' for not wanting to do something to
> break the mould.
Look. Your suggestion is not new. It is something that we have thought about
for a long time. On balance, we feel that having review samples on loan is
the optimal strategy for a magazine that publishes reviews. We are not alone
in this belief - other than Consumer Reports, all other magazines do likewise.
And in any case, this is not relevant to the thread. As I pointed out earlier,
Denon didn't refuse to supply a review sample, which would require us
borrowing or purchasing a review sample, we didn't ask for a sample. As i
also pointed out to you, we _did_ review two other Denon 100th Anniversary
products, as well as a Denon receiver, so we haven't been ignoring the brand.
Cuz I think it's really sad that these monster sized companies like Denon, that make some really awesome products for their own Japanese markets as well as those in the UK, don't send those same products to North America.
It can't be that they could not compete on a price vs performace scale...so what is it?
I wonder if any of the anniversary players would be left to buy if a review had given it due praise?
Audio magazines and the reviewers writing the articles have a huge influence on what is sought after and those products that are ignored. I would hope that most folks only use reviews as a reason to search out a product for their own review, but my point is that Stereophile and other audio mags are a source of info to get rolling with.
A quick look at a site like Hifido will give anyone good insight to products that we will never see, but are the cats meow for the markets they feed.
Anyway...that's my rant for this morning!
Ne need to,. The issue is not that Denon would not send it for review, but
that we didn't request a sample. If we did, I am sure they would send it.
Still pondering whether we should or not.
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