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RE: One of the problems with ezines...

I don't blame manufacturers for not sending products to reviewers that don't like their product. After all, it's an expense, and who would want to spend the money to send out a product only to damage sales?

That, however, doesn't serve the reader very well. So I think complete reliance on manufacturer samples is problematic. But this I think is an issue for the magazines rather than the companies.

BTW, I suspect that editors aren't likely to direct equipment to reviewers who don't have an affinity for it, and reviewers don't seem eager to review components about which they aren't enthusiastic. That last makes sense to me, insofar as it goes -- who wants to waste time and space reviewing a product that the reader isn't going to want -- but I do think negative impressions should be reported, since otherwise it's hard for a reader to know what wasn't covered because it was bad or for one of many other reasons.

Agree with you that magazines should make their policies available in print. John Atkinson wrote an article detailing some of Stereophile's policies. This would have the effect of increasing reader confidence in the magazine, unless, of course, the policies were ethically questionable, in which case I doubt the magazine would print them.

I see reviews as more than entertainment, BTW. Like many, I no longer live near a major dealer so don't have much of an opportunity to hear new stuff. If I were contemplating a major purchase, I'd make a trip, but I'd want a short list of products to listen to. And some people don't even have that option anymore, or don't have a chance to listen to an item that their local dealer doesn't carry. Also, I think that a review can be useful even if you do get to hear a product at a dealer's, because critics listen at length, under conditions that more closely reflect the conditions at home. So buying something on the basis of what you hear at the dealer's is something of a crapshoot, and a show even more so, given the vagaries of show sound. I also find that I get a sense over time of which critics hear the same things I do and have tastes that are similar to my own. I'd say my experience has been about 50-50, in that whether I took the recommendation of a critic I trusted (I bought my Tympani 1-D's used without ever having heard them, and they were my best audio purchase ever) or listened at a dealer's about half of the things I've brought home were successful purchases. That's far better than chance, and I think the best that can be achieved unless you can arrange a home trial.

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  Michael Percy Audio  

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