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.”
There are no “professionals” on Part-Time Audiophile. Everyone writing here has a “day job” that is something other than the hobby we pursue at the expense of our own sanity, our wallet, and our time with friends and family. We all have varying interests, goals, and biases. We’re people, after all.
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 other 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 a hobby. It’s supposed to be fun. End of line.
When I take a product in for review, it’s with the intent of enjoying my time with it. If it turns out that the time is not enjoyable, for any particular reason, I may well abort the review process right there. I just don’t have time to muck about. Writing about crap takes as much of an investment in time and energy as writing about the fun stuff, so why bother? I know some magazines take it as a sign of their integrity that they write about everything they get, both good or bad, and include everything they experience and imagine, both good and bad. Which is great for them. But this is a part-time gig and I have better things to do than cause myself pain.
When I send things out to any of the kind and clever people who chose to write for the site, I 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.
This site is lucky enough to be endorsed by some very interesting companies in audio’s high-end, and for their support, I am grateful. This support enables me to find and share exciting new product and relate the adventures I and my friends are having in this odd little corner of the luxury market.
The banners I fly on the site are all sponsored, but there’s absolutely no relationship at all between the banner ads I run and the work that gets done. I do not and will not take contributions in support of a review, an article, or an editorial. On the other hand, I will (with gratitude!) accept any and all assistance in sorting out travel expenses to and from the audio adventures I write about.
That said, there is no one else on the staff that handles sponsorship other than the Publisher (Yours Truly), so I will acknowledge that the division between the financial and the editorial sides of the house is not as clean as I’d like. This is a luxury that I look forward to exploring at some future, more profitable, point in time. Wish me well.
I don’t have any other financial interests in audio’s high-end, other than this site. But I do have contributors, so let’s talk about what I expect from them.
This is a tough, thin business. There is simply not a ton of cash available for the would-be critic, and I won’t be the one to tell someone they can’t make a living. I fully expect (and pray) that the submissions I 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 I 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, I 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 me draw some of those lines. Call them: Guidelines for Contributors.
Guidelines for Contributors
- The Publisher must approve all projects prior to contacting a manufacturer.
- Contributors are solely responsible for the condition of gear they accept for review.
- All reviews must be completed according to a timeline established when approved.
- 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.
- 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 Publisher reserves the right to add any such disclaimer that is deemed appropriate and relevant.