Just read the Stereophile e-newsletter, and one of the sections caught my eye:
"...Buy a Patek Phillipe or a Porsche Cayenne and your neighbors will be impressed, or at least not regard you as crazy. But spend that same money on an amplifier or a pair of speakers and, as a Stereophile reader recently wrote me when canceling his subscription, "With all the crap going on in the world and you clowns are stressing over the next platinum-coated piece of electronics . . . You all should be ashamed of yourselves."
This reader was angered by Michael Fremer's admission that he had purchased the review samples of the Wilson Audio Specialties MAXX2 loudspeaker, which he had reviewed in August, and it was Michael Fremer who pointed out to me another example of this paradox a few months back. In a single weekend issue of the New York Times, one writer enthusiastically extolled the benefits of $600 table place settings..."
Pet peeve of mine.
The old "I was so impressed, I bought it" endorsement from a critic kind of galls me.
It's really the equivalent of saying, "At only 33 or 40% of retail (or less), I bought this marked down piece of equipment."
Have you ever seen a critic say, "This piece of audio Nirvana is so good that I paid retail for it?"
Heck, at half or less than half price, I'd buy most of the equipment they review!
If I could buy Patek Phillipe or Porsches at those mark downs, I'd be a stylin' kind of guy!
The point with reviewing is putting audio devices in a context. Reviewer purchases at a discount send the message that the equipment may be good, but not good enough to pay what the regular consumer has to pay.
I understand perks and all, but they can cloud the issue when the critics are shopping in a different world than the consumers that they are supposedly serving.
If a reviewer buys it, you should have to tell us how much he paid for it. That way I can make a more honest assessment of a product's actual value to the reviewer.
Pardon my ire.