Critic's Circle Guidelines

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Critic's Circle Guidelines
« on: 20 Sep 2007, 12:05 am »
Welcome to the Critic's Circle!

The Critic's Circle is a set of 7 sub-circles dedicated to reviews of audio gear by AC members.  (In other words, we're looking for your review, not a link to a professional review or a link to a review on another site.)  These sub-circles include:

The purpose of a review is to provide the reader with detailed information about a specific product, thus enabling them to determine:

  • Whether the equipment is likely to deliver a performance that aligns with their own musical preferences and system goals
  • Whether the equipment is likely to integrate well with the rest of their system
  • Whether the equipment is likely to integrate well with their room or listening environment
  • Whether the equipment has other qualities that may be important to the reader, such as ease of use, good looks, good value or price/performance, how easily it can be snuck into the house without the significant other noticing, etc.

As such, it is important that all reviews provide enough context, in the form of the reviewer's environment and preferences, that the reader can draw accurate conclusions regarding the component's suitability for their own system.  It is not a matter of simply stating which component kicked which other component's butt, but of providing sufficient information for readers to evaluate for themselves how likely the component will work well in their own system and room. A good review, therefore, contains information such as the following:

  • Why you chose to review the product at all
  • What you look for in an audio system (dynamics, frequency extension, detail, imaging, PRAT, tone, accuracy, emotion, looks, price, value for money, resale value, availability, warranty, spare parts, etc.)
  • Specifics on the component chain used to evaluate the review component
  • Specifics on your room size, configuration and acoustic treatment level
  • Which music was used during the evaluation, and why
  • What your favorite types of music are, and why
  • What evaluation criteria were used to select those other system components that ultimately impressed you enough to shell out your cash
  • What other similar components you have owned or auditioned, especially in the same system/room configuration using similar music
  • What particular strengths you felt were exhibited by the equipment under review, especially in view of your system goals
  • What particular weaknesses you felt were exhibited by the equipment under review, especially in view of your system goals

Basically, we want to make sure the reviews are worth something to each unique reader.  A glowing, but sparsely detailed, review from someone that listens to Wagner in an auditorium using horn speakers may be extremely misleading to a reader that listens to AC/DC on his mini-monitors in a broom closet.  With that said, here are some examples of higher quality reviews:

Not all reviews need to be as long or detailed as those above, but these are true reviews that provide insight into what the reviewer was looking for when they heard the component.  You can understand how and why different aspects of the review component's performance met or didn't meet the reviewer's needs.  Of course, if you also happen to have pictures of the review component or links to the manufacturer's website, those would be most welcome as well!

Comparisons against other components are inevitable and desired, but differences should be stated specifically and in the context of the reviewer's specific preferences and review environment (room/system/etc.).  We welcome comments from anyone on any review in the Critic's Circles, and this includes comments from the manufacturers, dealers or distributors of reviewed products.  All parties, however, should be respectful to all other AC members when commenting in these threads.

Please note - if you receive any form of compensation for your review, including any level of discount for the product under review, please disclose that fact in the review.

Please note that we do want to keep this circle focused on actual user reviews.  If you have questions about a product, or a link to a review at another site, please start a topic in Audio Central, 2 Channel Audio, or another appropriate circle.  Should an off-topic thread be posted to the Critic's Circle, the facilitators will (eventually) move it to a more suitable circle within AC.

Once again, welcome to the AudioCircle Critic's Circles - we look forward to your reviews!
« Last Edit: 31 Jul 2017, 02:08 am by brj »