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RE: And once again...

Steve I can't speak for other reviewers but I can tell you it has cost me more to be a reviewer than I have gotten out of being a reviewer.

But let's take a $10k speaker - the reviewer may get it for around $6k but the first point is no one pays list - if you are an established customer of a dealer and you have a good relationship with a dealer chances are you are able to get most $10k speakers for between $8k-$9k. You will be getting 10-20% off and several dealers have offered me that before I was a reviewer. So the reviewer is getting 20% off what a "good customer" is getting.

BUT the customer is getting a brand new product. The review is buying a "used" product since once the reviewer opens the box and starts playing it it is no longer a new item and can't be sold as a new item.

Second hand items are typically down 40% of retail list - so chances are if you go out and look at second hand $10k list speakers you will pay $6k which is what a reviewer pays. I have directly experienced this where the manufacturer dealer has offered me an item that I can buy for the same or less on the second hand market.

I am a reviewer in Hong Kong and the one thing you may like about it is that there is no reviewer rate - you have to buy the review sample up front. So when I say in my review with the Line Magnetic 219IA, 215CD player and 502CA DAC that I bought the item - I paid the retail price for those items! I also paid full retail price for the KEF LS-50, and I paid what the dealer asked for my Audio Note speakers. Clearly I am not doing this right eh? :)

I'd say the bigger issue is that some reviewers can become a-holes to certain companies if they don't get a big enough discount. They will say to manufacturer ABC "manufacturer XYZ gave me 70% off why do you only give 40%?" and then they will jump ship - start reviewing XYZ and then continuously make snide remarks and broadsides against ABC because ABC didn't play ball and give in to the "demand/bribe".

But you are correct to doubt for "some" reviewers in the sense that they may be choosing stuff because of a "deal" - everyone is looking for a deal. I see so many audiophiles on forums say "should I buy this - I can get a deal on it" or "such and such is 60% so I bought it" to which I always think - if all this stuff is marked down so heavily then it NEVER sold at the original asking price. Something isn't GOOD because it is 70% off. All indications in fact are likely the Opposite.

I never see 50% off sales from Shindo, Audio Note, and other top makers. The reason Speaker X is selling for 70% off at Music Direct is because no one F-ing wanted the piece of crap at 100%. And they can't get rid of the garbage fast enough. But hey "it's a deal".

As my dad always said - " Many people know the price of everything and the value of nothing." They can't get past the sticker price. It doesn't matter if it sounds good - the price is better. I'd rather pay $3,000 for an amp and get something that truly satisfies me than some other amp sells for $6000 but that I can get for $2500. Ooh what a bargain - until you listen and realize that no the $3000 amp that never ever goes on sale and has sold for 25 years and prices rise not fall might actually have something going for it. While that $6000 amp has been filled with a lot of review hot air and in 5 years probably won't be on the market and in the used shop will fetch $1200.

What I would do if I were paying attention to reviews is a three pronged approach

1) read the reviews of reviewers who hear things like you do.

[I am a SET HE guy so I don't read reviews of reviewers who buy high negative feedback Class A/B amplifiers or speakers of the slim line design of several woofers in a tall box with a metal tweeter on top. To me virtually all of these designs are utterly vapid to downright appalling. IMO these reviewers don't know what quality sound is. It doesn't matter if I am right or they are right - it's that they're not right for me.

2)Consensus over time - does the specific product get very good reviews across many magazines and over a long period of time? If the product gets raves from say 8 magazines over and over for 20 years - then gee it just may be a really good product. An example would be Magnepan. I don't care for them but I don't deny them their due. The bottom line is they are definitely worth your time to try. (But see number 1 and number one doesn't love them then chances are you may not love them either).

3)Factoring in number 1 and 2 - you could also find out some tertiary factors such as the typical buyer of the product and perhaps if you know a dealer who is actually trustworthy you can find out the history of trade ins. Ie if you look at the raved about EFG speakers that win a bunch of editor's choice awards or product of the years - how many of them get traded in after three months and for what?

4) A blind test might not be a bad idea either. If the product that your number 1 reviewer bought AND where number 2 has been satisfied AND meets number 3 - AND also wins the blind level matched sessions you have a lot of very good indications that the product is really good. My latest speakers that I bought meet numbers 1,2,3 and 4. And most importantly meet my litmus test when listening for myself.

Edits: 03/25/17

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