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Buddha
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Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
The review sample was so good, I bought it....

Howdy,

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..."

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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.

Editor
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Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 8:56am
Re: The review sample was so good, I bought it....


Quote:
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.

Reviewers generally purchase products at industry accommodation price, which are about the same as that paid by dealers, ie, between 50% and 70% of retail. Sometimes they pay less, for example, at the price a company sells the product to its employees. If you think this a bad thing, consider a) that reviewers generally have to agree not to sell the component for a fixed period of time, especially not on eBay etc, b) that they generally buy more than one of the same kind of component in order to have references handy.

Speaking personally, I have bought almost everything I use long-term in my system, at a cost over the years of many 10s of 1000s of dollars, even at industry accommodation prices.

Also speaking personally, I believe postings such as this are much more about jealousy than they are about critiquing reviews and reviewers.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Monty
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Re: The review sample was so good, I bought it....

Assuming that reviewers need only pay discount prices for equipment that they review, I don't see what difference it makes whether they buy item (A) or some other item. The fact that something impresses them to the point of purchasing a review sample translates to me that if I'm in the market for that sort of item, I'm putting it at the top of my list to evaluate.

I view this along the lines of seeing the same equipment used in numerous reviewers systems to evaluate gear. If I see 5 reviewers using company X speaker wire, I'm going to make it a point to listen to company X speaker wire.

Buddha
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Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: The review sample was so good, I bought it....


Quote:

Also speaking personally, I believe postings such as this are much more about jealousy than they are about critiquing reviews and reviewers.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

No, no, a thousand time no!

Not jealousy at all, I just think the endorsement "so good I bought the review sample" is given out of the consumer context.

Please, you can all have champagne dreams and caviar whatevers you want and I'll applaud you for having fun, but if a reviewer touts a purchase as a sign of endorsement, then let me know just how accurate that endorsement really is.

I enjoy automotive magazines as well, and I cannot recall any of those authors saying that they enjoyed a car so much they made special discounted arrangements to buy it.

A reviewer making a value judgement based on that kind of discount is making decisions in a context that is outside of what he just made a recommendation about. It's fine, but spare me the "so good I bought it" part.

How about, "This product is so good, I am keeping it on as a reference."???

It just seems a little too too to offer up "endorsement by discounted purchase."

I do not begrudge any of you any equipment, it's your job to have the best tools available! Heck, I think the review equipment should be non-time limited and available to the reviewers for the life of the product! The more equipment you have to use and compare, the better for me!

Do carry on!

ohfourohnine
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Re: The review sample was so good, I bought it....Not Jealous No

Methinks he doth protest too much.

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