The pros and cons of manufacturer/dealer/designer participation

DSkip

Industry Expert
Aug 26, 2013
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Let's hear from manufacturers and dealers who are open and busy on WBF. Be honest. Would you take against anyone who logged a review that was negative about yr product? Esp in relation to another, again who is active on WBF?

When I relayed my joy at discovering Stacore, I directly compared it to Minus K and Kuraka. Jarek of Stacore has gone on to be reasonably visible on WBF. Had the other two platforms had regular input here from their manufacturers, I know for a fact I wouldn't have felt free/comfortable in reporting them less positively. And that's despite me being religious in not unreasonably dissing said platforms, striving to be practical in listing pros and cons.

So, all you industry contacts on WBF, do you have any beef w us leaving negative feedback (as long as comments are respectful and non-slanderous)?

I've become more of a lurker here, but in my limited experience (being a young distributor, both in age and experience) I simply want a truthful representation of the product I submit for review. The desired result is a client being completely happy with their purchase, and if a review is positive just for the sake of being positive, it could prohibit that outcome. If it stands on its own, both with appropriate praises and shortcomings, I am pleased.

On the other hand, negative reviews really serve no good. It can destroy a product run or even a business and make reviewers appear petty, possibly ruining their ability to review new pieces from ANY manufacturers. A good reviewer/submitter relationship is one where the time is taken to maximize performance. So far, I have no complaints about any reviewer I've worked with to date.


And yet whenever a review is made that is positive it is splashed all over marketing campaigns and websites as though the results are universal. And user feedback to manufacturers is splashed all over websites when it is positive. What standards are they held to?

One only reads negative comments about products on WBF from non industry types and only when the products are not represented or designed by members of the forum.

It's been pretty much covered now but being in the industry is akin to a forum muzzle. Many of us are true enthusiasts and it becomes quite the burden when you cannot express your opinions and experiences freely. I recently had to leave a forum I had long tenure on because I realized that there was no way I could be an active contributor and still talk even remotely passionately about this hobby. Silence is the only way to operate on a forum 90% of the time.


Are there full integrity and trustworthy and respectable high-end audio professional reviewers we can always count on, Ked and Marc?


While he does not review high end products regularly, if at all anymore, Zero Fidelity does some of the finest reviews I've seen. He has now reviewed two of my products and will soon be getting a third. He works hard to ensure products are able to showcase their abilities and communicates actively with the submitter to ensure his findings are par for course. He presents as objective a review as I think is possible.

I am also familiar with a few others my age who are up and coming with bright futures ahead of them if they continue their current trajectory.
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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I've become more of a lurker here, but in my limited experience (being a young distributor, both in age and experience) I simply want a truthful representation of the product I submit for review. The desired result is a client being completely happy with their purchase, and if a review is positive just for the sake of being positive, it could prohibit that outcome. If it stands on its own, both with appropriate praises and shortcomings, I am pleased.

On the other hand, negative reviews really serve no good. It can destroy a product run or even a business and make reviewers appear petty, possibly ruining their ability to review new pieces from ANY manufacturers. A good reviewer/submitter relationship is one where the time is taken to maximize performance. So far, I have no complaints about any reviewer I've worked with to date.




It's been pretty much covered now but being in the industry is akin to a forum muzzle. Many of us are true enthusiasts and it becomes quite the burden when you cannot express your opinions and experiences freely. I recently had to leave a forum I had long tenure on because I realized that there was no way I could be an active contributor and still talk even remotely passionately about this hobby. Silence is the only way to operate on a forum 90% of the time.





While he does not review high end products regularly, if at all anymore, Zero Fidelity does some of the finest reviews I've seen. He has now reviewed two of my products and will soon be getting a third. He works hard to ensure products are able to showcase their abilities and communicates actively with the submitter to ensure his findings are par for course. He presents as objective a review as I think is possible.

I am also familiar with a few others my age who are up and coming with bright futures ahead of them if they continue their current trajectory.
DS, that's a very well laid out post, but it gets us no further fwds. Certainly on any comparison I might report on by two products represented on WBF, I will edit negative comments twds one hugely. I'm not one for looking for trouble, and hate people angling for conflict. Same applies to reviews/reports.

When I reported negatively on finding it impossible to get feedback from two members here, even then I was told negative reporting was unethical and could affect their livelihoods. And that wasn't review related, just my reporting getting no responses to enquiries. Imagine negative reviews of their gear...
 

DSkip

Industry Expert
Aug 26, 2013
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I don’t think it’s unethical to point out how one conducts their business because it has a direct impact on others that could be damaging. I do think it is unethical to more or less attack products because they didn’t meet sonic expectations in a system. Key word there being ‘attack’. Even negative statements like ‘Brand X has never moved me in any system I’ve heard’ don’t bother me because while it is fairly definitive, it is also open ended and open minded. This is a subjective hobby after all and every great product will have their detractors.

Expecting such statements from forumites is more a precedent set by the culture and I don’t see why that is incapable of happening here with the tact and grace that our members exude.
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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DS, I would never attack the product that "failed" an A/B. When I discussed why Stacore beat Kuraka and Minus K, or why Revopods beats IsoAcoustics Gaias, I very carefully caveated that IN MY SYSTEM, TO MY EARS, IN MY EXPERIENCE.

I didn't go Stacore great, Kuraka etc crap. I was as stringent as I could in saying why the winning product ticked my own boxes, and why I could expect the other products could easily talk to other listeners.

But even with this level of even handedness I'd feel somewhat constrained being open and honest in criticisms of gear designed by guys on this forum.
 

DaveC

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Nov 16, 2014
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I think it's different to post comments on a thread vs a formal review, especially if said review has it's own thread. If it's a more formal review then I think standards should be higher and it should be carefully considered if you are going to make negative comments. Audio gear is not a universal fit in every system, for so many reasons it would take a book to spell out. Why review something that isn't a personal preference, or something that simply isn't a good fit for a system, like a SET amp driving YG speakers for an extreme example? Yet this happens, and more. Often the product is not used properly, not allowed to burn-in, etc. There are so many variables that it's difficult to have certainty of what's doing what in an audio system, even for professional reviewers with years of experience. This is why negative reporting on audio components may be considered unethical by some.

One exception is (maybe) audio shows... you're putting yourself out there and you know people are going to comment on the sound. I know folks that are still holding a grudge against me for a show report over a decade ago, way before I started ZenWave Audio. It was a horrible system and the folks might even admit that now. :) A lot of people have difficulty attributing what they are hearing to the system vs room acoustics, this is the major issue I have with show reporting. These days I'm unlikely to make negative comments, it's so much easier to simply not post anything. Sometimes I have to post some negatives about show setup but only to convey the sound I was hearing accurately, and in the context of a system I'm otherwise enthusiastic about.
 

tima

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Mar 4, 2014
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It's been pretty much covered now but being in the industry is akin to a forum muzzle.

Sometimes you have to choose your priorities. Then again there are several distributors posting here who don't act like they are 'muzzled'.

I don’t think it’s unethical to point out how one conducts their business because it has a direct impact on others that could be damaging.

Huh?

I do think it is unethical to more or less attack products because they didn’t meet sonic expectations in a system.

I don't know what "more or less" means here. Does that mean negative comments or something else? You rarely see "attacks" on products in published reviews.
 

DSkip

Industry Expert
Aug 26, 2013
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Sometimes you have to choose your priorities. Then again there are several distributors posting here who don't act like they are 'muzzled'.

I would suspect there are times they would like to air more than they do, but I cannot speak for them. I can only speak on how I've adapted to the change in status.



How a distributor/dealer/manufacturer operates can be damaging to the consumer. Abysmal customer support, shoddy build quality, theft, etc. - those things I don't have issues with coming to light because I view it as a public service.



I don't know what "more or less" means here. Does that mean negative comments or something else? You rarely see "attacks" on products in published reviews.

Talking about weaknesses of a product are one thing. Attacking a product is another. It rarely happens in published reviews but it does happen on forums frequently. I consider it an attack when no positive attributes are discussed, when the negatives of a product reign supreme in a review, when inappropriate system matches are present and not accounted for, or as mentioned earlier, immoral or political actions directly affect the review of the product. Some of these are mild while others are all out assaults.
 

Loheswaran

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Dec 20, 2014
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John Carr is known to post on Audiogon. He is articulate, friendly, well informed, and never uses the forums to put down a product and thus promote his own. He tends to use his encyclopaedic knowledge to share good articles, snippets, and insight into absolutely all things analogue such as the FR7 series of cartridges.
That being the case he's a shining example of how a manufacturer/designer can be the kind of thing any forum will appreciate.
All said and done - most manufacturers are so busy that they don't have much time to go on the forums.
 

tima

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Talking about weaknesses of a product are one thing. Attacking a product is another. It rarely happens in published reviews but it does happen on forums frequently. I consider it an attack when no positive attributes are discussed, when the negatives of a product reign supreme in a review, when inappropriate system matches are present and not accounted for, or as mentioned earlier, immoral or political actions directly affect the review of the product. Some of these are mild while others are all out assaults.

I don't find it happening frequently on WBF - at least not irrationally. But forums are a different animal from published reviews. My inclination towards a ranting negative post - "my Magico is bigger than your Wilson" - is to let it stand, preserving the author's screedy pathos for others.

Elsewhere? I don't go looking for that type of commentary. But it probably gets brought to the attention of a distributor or manufacturer. Not all products are worthy of tenderness - the kindly negative; some actually are mediocre or worse. It's a shame when someone has bought into a distributorship of something less than meritable but they should not count on being let down easy. I suspect the revelation of something as junk cannot be hidden for all that long. Forums, though sometimes brutal, can provide some value there. Half the problem is finding people who can do it clearly in complete sentences.

The art comes in when faced with unjust negatives.
 

bazelio

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Sep 27, 2016
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He also helped popularize the silliness behind putting everything on stillpoints and nordost Odin. That said crystal cable top of the line speaker cable is excellent if someone is a cables philiac

Less silly than Shun Mook to be fair.
 

bonzo75

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Less silly than Shun Mook to be fair.

No because no one said you need to put shun Mook under all components to get the magic.
 

bonzo75

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