Why Some Equipment Gets Reviewed and Others Not

This is meant to be just a dispassionate enumeration of the ways that I have observed that the press decides to review a piece of high-end audio equipment (or room at a show). Not saying whether any of this is good or bad; in this world, in this economy.

1. The manufacturer or exhibitor is a heavy advertiser in a magazine [getting this contentious reason out of the way up front]. A certain percentage of reviewers at a magazine will naturally feel appreciative that their mag is being supported by these folks.and write a few kind words

2. Wining and dining [often mass quantities at a show :-)]. A certain percentage of reviewers will naturally feel appreciative of the wonderful food, beverages, cigars, etc. and write a few kind words

3. Being treated as if they were the most important and wonderful person in the world [i.e. the exhibitor or manufacturer is a good sales person]. A certain percentage of reviewers will naturally feel appreciative of the respect being given and write a few kind words

4. An individual reviewer likes the manufacturer, exhibitor, or their products and/or likes what they hear [Reviewer as Champion – perhaps the most ethical reason]

5. Tradition – this manufacturer/exhibitor always gets a few words

6. Equipment on ‘perpetual loan’ [aka free]. Write a few kind words and keep the equipment for an extended period. Feature it periodically in your reviews and show reports and keep it longer. Tried and true, baby.

Ways That Do Not Attract Reviews (if none of the above are working)

1. Being nice, kind and cheerful [these exhibitors abound at shows – nary a review to be seen]

2. Being the most expensive [Where are the top Goldmund, the top Transroter (or ClearAudio) table’s reviews, etc. etc. etc. not to mention how many expensive rooms at shows are ignored. Is this the Triumph of the Mediocre – read any Stereophile letters page about the demand for ‘affordable’ gear reviews – or the manufacturers wanting to keep a mystique around their statement-level products and so avoiding reviews? Don’t know.]

3. Having the best sound [this is kind of weird, I know, but it is a truism. So much equipment out there provides good value at the price and is completely ignored. Having no special ‘aura’ of potential mass amounts of advertising dollars nor forthcoming with the food, wine and treats, and/or free equipment – and no ‘champion’ #4 above – means virtual invisibility].

Things That Do Not Prohibit Getting a Positive Review

1. Sounding worse than its peers

2. Periodically catching on fire [No, I will not divulge, except to say it ain’t nothing we sell… thank goodness]

3. Being outrageously more expensive in the U.S. than elsewhere [this is actually relatively rare in this global economy, but not unknown, and with some popular brands to boot]


As you can see, a manufacturer/exhibitor can take one of a few perhaps dubiously ethical and definitely somewhat costly approaches to get noticed… or hope and pray for a reviewer, hopefully prolific, to like them and what they do and be their free, unfettered champion.

For the purposes of this post, prolific posters on forums behave just like reviewers.