However, would a book reviewer ever say that he only gets excited by reading expensive books?
Would a literary reviewer only 'get excited' over books bound in the finest Corinthain leather and with museum quality paper?
If an audio reviwer falls back on, "I only get excited enough to do a good job if I'm given the most expensive gear," then that reviewers has a Hi Fi festish, maybe, but doesn't strike me as an audiophile.
I just can't see "I need to review only the finest to be at my best" as a valid reviewer position.
Point taken. The parallels only run so far, because in audio, equipment is so cost-dependent whereas in literature, the best of literature can be bought in a used bookstore for 50 cents. Still, my point was to emphasize that if a literary critic is keen on Russian lit, for example, he will be given those assignments & he will excel at it b/c he operates best based on his passion & expertise. This would apply to audio reviewing to a large extent, I think. Of course one may review the PS1 and Shindo amp despite the disparity in cost, as AD has done. I LOVE that a lot of Sterephile writers choose out of their own volition to review budget items that they're drawn to. But I think it's important to remember that the reviewer was drawn to do so, and such an assignment - if imposed on by a heavy-handed editor against the writer's instincts and wishes - will most likely result in a lackluster review.