Bitching About the Loaner Program

Discussion in 'Rules, Payments, and Other' started by penguins, Aug 21, 2022.

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  1. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    I don't pull any punches when doing gear reviews because I never get free loaners. Part of it is because I live outside the USA and ineligible for a loaner tour, but even in my country I never accept loaner units for review from companies that made them.

    I also happen to run a food blog, and every now and then I get offers from local restaurants for a free meal in exchange for a sugarcoated review, but I decline all of them. While the allure of free loaners and meals is tempting, for me it doesn't beat the freedom to crap on whatever I feel deserved to be crapped on without feeling guilty.

    As @rhythmdevils pointed out, nothing is really free. The reason I donated to SBAF despite knowing I'll probably never get a loaner here is because I wanted to express my gratitude to all the people here who helped keep the lights on.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 22, 2022
  2. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    Alright @rhythmdevils , now that you have that out of your system take a step back ;) Yep doing the grunt work of coordination is thankless and there will always be folks who are a little (or a lot) idealistic, and thus not realistic about loaners, site maintenance/finances, content creation, etc. etc. Heck with the vast majority of audio informational/review sites being nothing more than marketing gloss on manufactures, this sort of reaction is understandable if in the end not correct.

    The clear majority responding on this thread and elsewhere get it and some of us volunteered to do exactly what needs to be done. In any community effort you only ever (at best) get 60,70% agreement and there's always criticism, much of it not really constructive. You have to expect it and move/push past to what works.

    Anyways, I'm just waiting for the Irish girls to show up....I wonder when they will get here...
     
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  3. Azimuth

    Azimuth FKA rtaylor76, Friend

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    We did this to ourselves. You are all talking about the same site that has the Golden Schlong Awards as well as some kind of poop award for worst product. (Not that those things should go away)

    I think the issue here is that it is no secret that this site ranks very high in many Google searches. It is organic. It is was the Google bots like. Honest, little-noise, high-quality content forum. Real people with real feedback. And that gets attention from potential buyers and thus the manufacturers. However, as a manufacturer, I would be scared to death to send a new product on a tour for this forum. We are brutally honest and don't hide behind that fact. Some are more diplomatic about it, I mean, I could probably be.

    So I feel @rhythmdevils frustration. We can't afford to go out and buy all our own products for review. It is fun to be a part of things even a new launch of a product with embargos and whatnot (something I am still striving to be a part of myself). But there is still a fine line between being brutally honest and being honest, but diplomatic.

    All RD is asking is that when a thread is started on a new product from a loaner from a company who has been so brave and kind to throw their product to us for sheer honesty, the first post should probably remain fairly neutral. Even if there is nothing good to say (DAC-19), you can always fall back on facts. eg. "It is a DAC." RD probably has the hardest job because he likely gets turned down a lot before he gets a yes. Kind of like sales...you have to work through those 10 "No's" before you get a "Yes.", and likely even more than that. And then when he asks for a bit more diplomacy, everyone gets up in arms about honesty and integrity.

    My friend reviews movies and this kind of stuff comes up all the time. Because with being in the "press", you can get access to stuff early and get interviews. Sometimes you might not get chosen to get to interview X or get a screener of this movie because you are known as a scather. He finds it difficult to write reviews of terrible movies, but he also knows that is part of the job. The same kind of thing went on when I was in college radio and we were a CMT reporting station. We posted our 5 adds for the week (adding songs in rotation). And the promoters would send all kinds of stuff and call and call to get the latest whatever song on our list. And if we didn't sometimes they might not send us personal copies or slide us tickets of some of the other bands they represented. In the end it is all commerce related. I think this is why some YT reviewers just think everything they review is awesome.

    But there is still a balance. Find something good to discuss (in the very first post). And after the first post, you are free to be honest, but let's just try to be a bit diplomatic. The HF industry would not exist without them and competition is good for ushering in creativity and building a better mousetrap.

    So let's cool down the Gazpacho Police talk. I think there is a way and I don't think RD is asking too much here. This is why he reached out for the writers for the first pages in the first place. There is a way in being honest, having site integrity, and having a little bit of diplomacy.
     
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  4. Gazny

    Gazny MOT: ETA Audio

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    The whole point is an intro post to gear for loaners removing the work for gear masters. But of course this extends to other threads and many other members, drive by hate posts with weeks of leave. We are pretty far from the self governance we thought we had.

    I'll go ahead and say it, some people here are too satisfied by their own words.

    I don't understand how little compassion some members have to others, and insist on denying experience to others?

    It is a real shame we received the golden shlong this year because it really tarnishes the communities image. Acting like 2nd graders after receiving an award.

    I used to understand the gatekeeping, but at this point it isn't that. Privileged members believing they are the moral authority when they infrequently visit and have no sense of reality, and become dissatisfied by everything. Real lack of social intelligence if you know what I mean.

    I tend to enjoy the motive and friendliness of new members more so than the legacy ones simply thinking we are still in 2015.

    One has to ask themselves why they insist on stoking the fire, instead of giving valuable insight.

    Posing the water for everyone.
     
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  5. StandUp713

    StandUp713 Friend

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    Some loaner program feedback.

    I personally get great value from the program. Some of the products that I am interested in, I get to try out first hand.

    This program has saved me a lot of money by NOT buying a product because it did not impress me with its performance.

    Also, it opened my eyes to other products which performed in ways to push me over the threshold to purchase myself.

    So, in my opinion, it is a win win for both me and the manufactures.
     
  6. Josh Schor

    Josh Schor Friend

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    Rythumdevils please know that there are many of us out here that are very grateful for the hard work you do and appreciate it. We benefit so much from the gear you get for us the listen to at home on our own systems, where else can you do that. What you are asking for that the first review be "diplomatic" makes complete sense. Please continue as you are doing a fantastic job and it is much appreciated.
    best,
    Josh
     
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  7. loadexfa

    loadexfa MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    @rhythmdevils I'm sorry to hear you need to step back but you should absolutely prioritize your mental and physical health. As some recent posts have said, I SUPER appreciate the loaner program, it has been very helpful and enabled me to finalize where I'm going with my setup. It's also fun to see what's out there even the items I don't want to own. A lot of the fun of this hobby is seeing how my ears/brain react to different presentations and satisfying curiosity.

    Speaking of fun, I think too many are losing sight of the fact that we're dealing with TOYS. As I said in my previous post, this strikes me as blown way out of proportion. Clarifying questions rather than jumping to conclusions would go a long way.
     
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  8. dmckean44

    dmckean44 In a Sherwood S6040CP relationship

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    Not to me, it really rubs me the wrong way. If gear is shit (or even just 'meh') everyone here should be made aware no matter how it arrived in our hands.

    I would rather we just bought our own loaners before we ever started filtering content.

    And this conversation does not belong in this section and should be moved back to the regular part of the forum.
     
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  9. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    It's a drag that you feel this way. I don't blame you, but it is still a drag. If you feel unappreciated, you shouldn't do it. I don't think it is good for someone to continue to invest heart and soul in something when one feels the the way you do.

    I have never participated in a loaner tour or written a review, but I do consume the content that results from the program. Maybe that makes me part of the problem rather than part of the solution, at least if one must be one or the other. I have many reasons for my lack of participation, most of which boil down to 1. I don't think my opinions would have any relevance to members here, especially given that 2. I will never be able to afford the vast majority of the gear coming out these days, and that is typically reviewed here and can't see the point in taking up space on a loaner tour and paying for shipping of a product that I will never purchase, now or in the future, especially since I can't afford to contribute much $ to the site. But for these factors, I would have offered to help in some way, but I'm probably not a candidate to do so. I am pretty sure that if the program goes away, it will take some of the content, qualitatively and quantitatively, with it, but I have a hard time believing that there is not some middle-ground between shilling for manufacturers a la HF, and gleefully crapping on the results of people's hard work for fun. But it's not hard to believe that organizing the program is a thankless and sometimes soul-sucking job. My thanks to all who have tried to do it, especially RD and Dan.
     
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  10. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF's Mr. Bean

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    At this point I'm locking this thread and I'm deleting the thread about signing up to "help out." Some of you all just don't get it.

    @rhythmdevils did nothing wrong and I'm sad that he stepped down because of this. This whole thing is absurd and I'd prefer to just move on and have no more "discussion" on this.

    I'm calling this out; this is tone-deaf and idiotic and not even what we're saying.

    If anyone wants to PM me and ask me anything about this, I'll be happy to have a discussion there or even have a Zoom call.
     
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  11. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Some thoughts:
    1. Gearmaster is the worst job in the world. It does have its perks, first dibs on gear MoTs just leave with us, etc. Much appreciation for @sphinxvc, @Vansen, @ChaChaRealSmooth, and @rhythmdevils. The only thing worse is running this site, of which I've slightly stepped away from, or only work to my limits which I now understand better.
    2. On lack of criticism:
      1. It's still there, just toned down, matured. We don't post pieces of shit for gear reviews anymore.
      2. What @Claritas said: you guys know that folks like myself (and even @rhythmdevils) have either publicly or privately declined gear that we didn't think we would like. You guys know that I personally rely on many of you to pre-screen gear before I even touch it. Heck, I don't think we even ask for gear that we wouldn't like in some way or doesn't interest the community.
      3. Gear in 2022 is a lot better than ten years ago. There is a lot of good stuff out there, and at a minimum, 95% of stuff is decent.
      4. We've gotten to be better reviewers, being able to speak to a wider audience, pointing to why other people may like something if one did not like it personally, or how a piece of gear may only be good in specific circumstances. I'm glad we've gotten away from the Changstar method which was this - the worst kind of review in mind which does no one any good: everything is shit unless I personally love it and fits my audio philosophy, and even then, in 8 months, I will sell the shit that I once so-called loved.
    3. The biggest" piece of shit" that SBAF has collectively reviewed recently that I can remember was the Grado RS-1X with the sole exception of me personally. Stuff is still called out as shit, even against what I personally like.
    4. There actually is a of stuff called out as meh, not horrible, but meh or at least "not-for-me". People don't remember these things. It goes to show that we've placed more emphasis on getting stuff that we think the most or a niche part of this community would appreciate instead of wasting the community's time.
    5. A reviewer may pull punches. However, it's up to the reader to ask difficult / challenging questions. Readers rarely ask difficult or even simple follow-up questions anymore, e.g. does it scale as much as the HD600 with better upstream components (ding, we got a winner here), it this thing actually worth $5000, etc.
    P.S. Seriously, if we got a TOTL Topping DAC, we'd probably get x2 takers, that x2, 100% of the SBAF membership that would actually like that sound of the Topping DAC.

    P.S.S. Going back on my vacation from SBAF. I will be back soon.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 22, 2022
  12. crenca

    crenca Friend

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    I'm going to play devils advocate and come to the defense of those who came across as, I don't know, SBAF "puritans" on the other thread. Fact is they were defending an important point/principal, even if it was over emphasized/misapplied. That point is that in Audiophiledom there is simply too much "respect" granted to manufactures, audio media "personalities", and other (perceived or real) sources of authority. SBAF is one of the few places where genuine critique can be levied that is not drowned out by sheer chaos, fan boys, site owners with agenda's, ORFAS media with an agenda, manufactures with an agenda (the agenda is always the same - to sell you more stuff no matter the quality). When I first read @rhythmdevils I too thought maybe if not selling the farm perhaps he was giving too much deference to gear sources. I revised my opinion and think his request entirely reasonable, but I still respect the curmudgeon attitude that says we should not be dealing with manufactures at all. I don't agree, but I respect that attitude and would choose it over what 99% of "review" sites have done.

    Just 2 or 3 years ago a back and forth with a bit of full chested "what are you a sell out!" "Hell no f**k you!" "well f**k you too!" would have been just par for the course. Perhaps on this subject (and in line with the new kinder and gentler SBAF) we can throw are wadded panties back into the laundry and let it go, realizing both "sides" have good points.

    That's the way I see it...
     
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  13. loadexfa

    loadexfa MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    I disagree, it looked to me like people that were more interested in yelling on the internet rather than clarifying what they (inaccurately) inferred. The ones that want to throw away manufacturers from the process (from what I can tell, a minority of those that complained), were making a naive argument unless they want a very minimal loaner program. Everyone else was complaining about something we aren't doing so I don't see why this point/principle needed any defense. I've been in relationships where I'm yelled at to do things I'm already doing. It's not useful.

    To be clear I see nothing wrong with the post that brought up concerns, that was a fair question to ask. It's where people went after ...
     
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