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O.K., so who are the gear reviewers you RESPECT? Condenser Microphones
Old 11th August 2005
  #61
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams
I don't know of any reviewers that have this freedom today, they all know in the back of their mind that the pay they recieve is generated by the advertising dollars from the products they review.

Can you say, "conflict of interest"?
I would like to take this opportunity to cite TapeOp as an example of not being like this.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
Old 11th August 2005
  #62
Gear addict
 
Orren's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MattiMattMatt
My .02:

I have written a number of reviews for MIX. I couldn't give a rat's buttocks about selling ads, or selling magazines. I would never alter what I write for the purpose of sucking up to the magazine or a manufacturer. If being honest means loosing the gig, so be it. However, I cannot imagine that ever happening at MIX. They simply print what I send in. Not one whiff of editorial funny business.
Really?? Man, MIX must really have hit hard times!! I write regularly for Electronic Musician, and they give me girls, coke, cars, and free travel to keep me writing about how I love everything I review!!

Actually, not only would I agree with what you say, but I would add that I've written negative things about products, and EM has always stuck by me, even when manufacturers (who advertise LOTS) have whined that I wasn't fair.

Quote:
the point of view at MIX, as I understand it, is to give exposure to those products of interest to the readers, rather than use the space to say "Check this out. It sucks." If something sucked, and no one was using it, it would simply be ignored.
At EM, we are told to try and put ourselves in the shoes of the intended market. In other words, if I've got a $2000 tube mic pre, but I'm reviewing a $199 JoeMeek ThreeQ (which I did) they don't want me to say "This is crap, buy a $2000 mic pre instead." They want me to look at it from the point of view of someone looking for a $200 mic pre--can they do better than this one? In what way? If they can, they not only will "allow" me to write it, they want me to.

Quote:
So why do most reviews tend to be favorable?
First, a lot of equipment is pretty good!
Well, if it's not, there's alway the girls, coke, cars, and trips...

Orren
Old 11th August 2005
  #63
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cgarges
I would like to take this opportunity to cite TapeOp as an example of not being like this.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
Sorry to burst your bubble but as much as I respect Larry Crane he's said very clearly that he sees nothing good coming from a negative product review and he has no problem with being 'guided' to do reviews for advertisers in an advertiser funded mag. He's also said that if someone doesn't like a piece someone else will, just like in life ... so why not publish the review form the person that does like it?



Reviewers who like a thing are often offered a discount AFTER the fact.

Given the salary of a reviewer, why not?
Old 11th August 2005
  #64
Lives for gear
 
Mike Jasper's Avatar
If you don't believe Brian, show us one bad review from TapeOp.

Larry Crane works it, baby. He doesn't pay his reviewers, he only prints positive reviews, he sells the subscription mailing list, and he takes in revenue from advertising and some paid subscriptions. Yet, TapeOp has this amazing rep for being pure and unbiased -- probably because the design looks like it was done by a high school yearbook editor. They couldn't really be making money off this, could they?

I've written for TapeOp twice, and I probably will again. Why? Because Larry treats writers with respect. Larry and his editors always return emails, and he even gives his writers free entre to the TapeOp convention -- even if all they did was write one 500-word review that year.

Most importantly, he does what he says he's going to do. I've worked as a freelance writer for many media outlets -- from TapeOp to the Marin Independent Journal to NPR -- and Larry's one of the good editors. Believe it.

Jasper
PS -- I just went back and reread my TapeOp reviews. I did bring up one negative point for each of my two reviews. But I like both products -- Garritan Personal Orchestra and the Coleman Audio M3. I have to admit, I don't see myself ever writing any equipment mag and saying, "I just tried this new piece of gear, and it absolutely blows. Let's do a review." Because even a bad review is still publicity, you know?
Old 11th August 2005
  #65
As far as reviews in Tape Op goes..

Tape Op is a fanzine IMHO - the deal with fanzines - is the fans write em..

Fanzines are usually full of bubbly enthusiasm..

I have done a couple of reviews in Tape op

They weren't asked for by Tape Op. The were volunteered, by myself. I offered because I was a fan of the items and wanted to share the info about em with others. (Sony Oxford plug ins & Little Labs PCP Distro guitar splitter)

I hooked up a chum with Tape Op - he now writes interviews for em a lot. He is deliriously happy - he's a fan!

In fact I can give you an insight deep undercover into the editorial process of a review in Tape Op.

Location: gig venue - San Francisco,
Date: Nov 2005 (AES Show time)

People having conversation: Larry Crane, Matt Boudreau, Jules
(all people are shouting over band playing in next room)

Matt:Have you tried the Cranesong Phoenix plug in?
Larry: (rolls eyes) Man, I can't use that on my PTLE System, I have heard it's AMAZING...
Jules: IT'S BRILLIANT!
Matt:I LOVE IT!!
Larry: (Still suffering) We need to work on Dave Hill to make an Audio Suite version
Jules: Yes, lets nag him about that!
Matt & Jules - babble about how great it is for about 5 mins.. Larry looks on.. a little left out of the fun..
Jules: Hey! Lets me & Matt CO-review it! (never happened, I was too lazy/dropped the ball, Matt wrote the review thumbsup )
Matt: Cool!
Larry: Great!

A few months later Matt's review appeared in Tape Op...

Old 11th August 2005
  #66
Lives for gear
 
Mike Jasper's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules
As far as reviews in Tape Op goes..

Tape Op is a fanzine IMHO - the deal with fanzines - is the fans write em..

Fanzines are usually full of bubbly enthusiasm..
Huh. Never thought of it that way. I think you might be right, but I don't think that's the general perception. I think it's taken more as gospel, at least with the musicians I know in Austin.

Why even Ray Benson himself agreed to a feature interview with TapeOp. Oooooooo.... ahhhhhhhhh. Further, when Benson talked up the Rode NTV (he compared it favorably to a U47), I saw the prices of this no-longer-made mic jump two hundred bucks on eBay.

So it's probably a fanzine like you say, but it still has rep and clout. A couple of years back I told one studio owner that TapeOp had passed on his interview, but that I could probably get it into Electronic Musician, and he was clearly disappointed. Clearly.

Jasper
Old 11th August 2005
  #67
Lives for gear
 

I've written a bunch of reviews for TapeOp, both solicited and not. I've never once gotten paid to write a TapeOp review. I've never taken the time to write a review of something I didn't like because it would be a waste of time for me. Earlier this year, I was sent a very expensive piece of gear with which I was not impressed. Instead of wasting my time writing a bunch of crap about why I personally didn't dig it, I passed it on to another reviewer. I'll be curious to see what comes out of that.

My point is that I do not "know in the back of [my] mind that the pay [I] recieve is generated by the advertising dollars from the products [I] review," because I don't recieve any pay.

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC
Old 11th August 2005
  #68
Lives for gear
 

as a musician with limited resources i think the most valuable reviews would be those that address very hyped and advertised brands (do they justify the price?? what is the deal?) AND what are the hidden bargains (less that super expensive items that sound very pro). so a critical review of a "holy grail hyped" item that folks will really save up for months for is a VERY valuable thing....
Old 11th August 2005
  #69
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by eligit
as a musician with limited resources i think the most valuable reviews would be those that address very hyped and advertised brands (do they justify the price?? what is the deal?) AND what are the hidden bargains (less that super expensive items that sound very pro). so a critical review of a "holy grail hyped" item that folks will really save up for months for is a VERY valuable thing....
that makes sense ... except its still about your chain ... and this can be very subtle. best way to find out is to post here "Is Focurite LC hyped?" as many do.



great point jules, 'fanzine'. anything reflects it's creator and larry is a happy go lucky guy, so his mag is the same way. when his mood changes it changes etc, . its just like your influence here jules.



a review is all about knowing the reviewer ... there are better reviews here than anywhere as i know the people and they are really using the products.




as far as the trust people have for anything that seems cool ... that's just weird, scary and anti-creativity. i find this kind of thing most often in the alterna-crowd under 30 ... following trends dreaming it's a real movement of creative individuals doing something new. it's a phase.
Old 11th August 2005
  #70
Gear interested
 

Hi everybody, I'm the new slut on the block heh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jules
SoundOnSound magazine UK

In particular George Shilling

But overall the reviewers are very good.

US mags seem best for 'gear news' only.. (and engineer / producer profiles & 'trends' of course)
Totally agree with you and you can read his reviews on his site.

"The reviews here appear in original form, uncensored by magazine editors, who sometimes remove jokey comments or anything that might baffle American readers. George was particularly aggravated at the removal of any criticism from...!"

http://www.george.shilling.com/
Old 11th August 2005
  #71
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Curtis Franklin's Avatar
 

i think that music gets normally bad reviews is because everyone goes out and gets all the crappy gear that just got good reviews and makes the music.

why would anybody trust a source of information that takes money from one of the parties involved? thats just stupid.

i think the only way to judge something is to listen to it yourself. ask about store return policies/ trial periods.
Old 11th August 2005
  #72
Gear Guru
 
lucey's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by pumadrum
i think that music gets normally bad reviews is because everyone goes out and gets all the crappy gear that just got good reviews and makes the music.

thats clever and funny.



but to go OT a little ... music and gear reviewers are similar in that there is a vampiric element to both.

The Gear reviewer often wants to like the gear, as a way to relate to the genius of the designer and to imagine that we have an inside track on better work by our vision and ear. We cant design gear but we can feel like we are on the inside when we review it, and we can get excited about the imagined potential. That's a theft of sorts, harmless to others unless we inflate the review or have lemmings following our words as truth.

OTOH, the Music reviewer often wants to dislike the music, as a way to live through the artists work that the reviewer would like to do without all the suffereing ... it's a way to suck the life out of others by expressing our disappointment that the potential WE IMAGINE was not reached, creating a supposedly HIGHER world of music potential (i.e. criticism) beyond the actual world of music making and listening.

In both cases it's a theft of energy, yet the gear review is easier on the eyes!



(the same could be said for a negative gear review or a positive music review ... its all vampiric really as we created nothing, and claim an authority.)
Old 11th August 2005
  #73
Lives for gear
 
chrisrulesmore's Avatar
 

Anything in Tape Op!

Actually, Tape Op is the only magazine that actually runs objective critical reviews that I have ever encountered. When was the last time you read a bad review in Mix, Eq, Recording, etc...?
Old 11th August 2005
  #74
84K
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84K's Avatar
Mostly all the reviews we read are in magazines that accept advertising money. Therefore, you can not count on any editor allowing the reviewing journalist freedom to trash a sponsor. I read reviews to hear more about features in a box than opinions... I try to test things before I buy, so I guess I usually just go my own review. I do have a few friends who I trust immensely, and I would buy based on opinions drawn from their experiences. But, like I said, reviews are great to learn more about features and to see pictures.
Old 12th August 2005
  #75
Jai guru deva om
 
warhead's Avatar
 

The collective opinion is the best review you can find. Search around enough on this board and others, you will start finding common opinions on gear and it starts to make sense.

War
Old 12th August 2005
  #76
Lives for gear
The only time I take a positive review seriously is when the reviewer says "I bought the review sample" and *then* refers to it in his "associated equipment" listings in future reviews.

The best reviews? CD's which print the equipment used for recording. (Telarc is great at this.) At least you get an aural representation that way.

Of course, it's all so personal. I sold some $600 mics when I began using the Studi Projects B series.

And I own some really expensive gear that never gets any attention.

So yeah: it would be nice if reviewers used some standard pieces for comparison purposes. How hard would it be to compare cheap Chinese condensers to, say, a 414XLS, a U87, and a Shure SM32?
Old 15th August 2005
  #77
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Tone Laborer's Avatar
I like seeing reviews from users, i.e. those who have shelled out their own hard earned cash for a product and have used it over a reasonable time period. I think it makes for a more real perspective. I've always thought that rags like Recording would benefit from such a feature, instead of that waste of space TAXI info-mercial.

That being said, I think most reviewers try their best to be impartial. Like someone said, how bad can a $4000 mic be? I think they try to keep the product in perspective to other products in the same price range.

And then there's the line, "I liked it so much , I bought one myself", which should noted, but should be taken with a grain of salt, since they're given reviewer discounts.

When 3 or 4 different reviewers all like a product, then you've got something.
Old 15th August 2005
  #78
Gear maniac
 
cultureofgreed's Avatar
 

How about a bad review for a product that advertises with the reviewer? You wont see this very often. I try not to take a review for a product seriously when the manufacturer is paying the reviewers salary.
Old 15th August 2005
  #79
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SoundEng1's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwagener
Fletcher

Yup
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