How we got here
This page is meant to clarify the who and the what with respect to the Part-Time Audiophile adventure. In part, this is a response to the ethical issues laid out in my series “About Experts” (Part 1, Part 2.1, Part 2.2, Part 3 and Part 4) and under scrutiny again with “Blurred Lines” at Digital Audio Review and “Mission Trumps Bias” at InnerFidelity. The goal is to increase the transparency behind the process of reviewing, which not only levels up the playing field, but also increases the value of the work to the reader. At least, that’s the hope.
“To celebrate the people, the products, and the hobby of high-end audio with humor, insight and humility.”
On this site, we think of the hobby as not “all about the music”. It’s also not all about the art, the artist, or any kind of ineffable gestalt. We’re really just trying to have some fun, to share our experiences with you, and do it in a way that (hopefully) will not cause you to spontaneously slide into a coma.
To that end, we promise no baby seals will be harmed during our tenure, but there may be some face-painting. Be forewarned.
No time for trash
Part-Time Audiophile is not about vendettas, axe-grinding, or world-saving. This is supposed to be fun. End of line.
When we take a product in for review, it’s with the intent of enjoying our time with it. If it turns out that the time is not enjoyable, for any particular reason, we may well abort the review process right there. Why? Because writing about crap is cheap, easy, and can be tediously (if not maliciously) misleading. In an effort to eliminate the risk of damage resulting from malcontents, personal biases, catastrophically poor judgment, inadvertent misconfiguration, and/or general ineptitude, when things don’t work out well, we’ve chosen to simply say “mea culpa” and move on. You start your own site, you can do it different — with our cheerful blessing. I know some magazines take it as a sign of their integrity that they write about everything they get, good or bad, and include everything they experience, both good and bad. Which is great for them. As for us, we’d rather have root canal.
When we send things out to any of the kind and clever people who chose to write for our site, we apply the same metric. If the experience doesn’t warrant the time taken to relate it, it probably won’t hit the site. You want your fix of roadside tragedy, there are plenty of places to find that. Go forth and indulge your baser appetites, you heathen. We’ll be here when you get bored.
This site is lucky enough to be endorsed by some very interesting companies in audio’s high-end, and for their support, we are grateful. This support enables us to find and share exciting new products and relate the adventures we are having in this odd little corner of the luxury market.
The banners we fly on our site are all sponsored, but there’s absolutely no relationship at all between the banner ads we run and the work that gets done. We do not and will not take contributions in support of a review or an editorial. On the other hand, we will (with gratitude!) accept any and all assistance in sorting out travel expenses to and from the audio adventures we write about. To put that more strongly — without such support, we can’t and won’t travel.
That said, we will acknowledge that the division between the financial and the editorial sides of the house is not as clean as we’d like. This is a luxury that we look forward to exploring at some future, more profitable, point in time. Wish us well.
The Editorial Team stipulates that we don’t have any other financial interests in audio’s high-end, other than this site. But we do have contributors, so let’s talk about what we expect from them.
This is a tough, thin business. There is simply not a ton of cash available for the would-be writer, and we won’t be the ones to tell someone else that they cannot make a living. We fully expect (and pray) that the submissions we receive come from folks that have other sources of income.
Of course, this presents something of an ethical dilemma — What if a contributor has a job, or takes pay from something they do, “in the industry”? What then? Do we ban anyone with even the hint of ethical gray to their resume, even if it will deprive us all of their wit, charm, insight and experience?
The short answer is, “it depends”. Generally speaking, we like to think that there can be lines drawn that will preclude some of the most egregious nonsense. That’s all part of the job.
So, let’s draw some of those lines. Call them: Guidelines for Contributors.
Guidelines for Contributors
- The Editorial Team must approve all projects prior to contacting a manufacturer.
- Projects that are not so approved in writing will not be paid, regardless of time, effort, or work done.
- Contributors are solely responsible for the condition of gear they accept for review.
- All reviews should be completed according to a timeline established when the project was approved, unless approved by the Editorial Team.
- All review equipment must be returned to the manufacturer at the completion of the review or purchased at a reasonable price.
- Any review equipment purchased at discounted or “accommodation pricing” must be disclosed to the Editorial Team.
- Any review equipment purchased at discounted or “accommodation pricing” must not be re-sold for the manufacturer-stipulated period.
- Any review equipment purchased at discounted or “accommodation pricing” must not be re-sold for more than the accommodation price.
- Reviewers will not accept quid pro quo offers of money, goods, services, or favors in return for favorable treatment.
- Any current “for pay” relationship with an audio, or consumer electronics manufacturer, distributor or retailer, is a conflict of interest and is generally prohibited. Special exemptions, if granted, require that the reviewer does not review, offer comments on or even reference products falling into the conflict of interest. Past relationships must be disclosed and may require the same restrictions.
- All submissions must be accompanied by the appropriate and relevant disclaimers, and the Editorial Team reserves the right to add any such disclaimer that is deemed appropriate and relevant.
Expectations for Vendors
- Part-Time Audiophile will not make advertising a requirement for reviews. Conversely, we will not take advertising dollars as a contingency on a published review.
- Most reviews are completed within one quarter of receipt. Some are not. The publication schedule is fluid, and is responsive to both to the existing queue and the evolving calendar.
- That aside, the reviewer will ultimately decide whether a review is completed and their schedule will determine the when. Remember, we’re part-timers over here (hint: it was in the site title). Regardless, the Editorial Team will not make guarantees in advance about the when/if of any review.