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English
How we test

"Life is short, the art long, opportunity fleeting, experiment treacherous, judgment difficult."

 

Vita brevis, ars longa, occasio praeceps, experimentum periculosum, iudicium difficile is a Latin phrase ascribed to Seneca in its chiasm form, and successive translation of an aphorism of Ippocrate of Coo (Aphorisms, 1,1), whose original text is Ho bíos brachýs, he de téchne makré, ho de kairós oxýs, he de peîra sphaleré, he de krísis chalepé.

 

 

Enthusiast gentlemen

It is true. There are no universities or postgraduate courses that teach how to be an audio reviewer. Scientific degrees consider only the technical aspects of our devices, ignoring the listening and the aesthetical aspect, just to make two examples. On the contrary, humanistic courses, at least in Italy, are still affected by the historicist and neo idealistic approach to culture theorized, about a century ago, in our country, by Benedetto Croce and Giovanni Gentile. Just to make another example, the current degree course of Musicology at the University of Pavia, in its course programme (Italian language only), schedules only in the Music and Technology course some subjects that we can define somehow close to us.

Naturally, I do not want to be polemic or critical. Besides, we do not have enough competence to valuate this kind of didactic tools. But also what follows is a reality for sure: our passion of being able to understand, appreciate and assess the home audio reproduction devices, is practiced in a total arbitrary way by stubborn amateurs. Not by technicians, designers or engineers. Not by musicians or music critics. Only by audiophiles. By enthusiast gentlemen seeking out the perfect reproduction in their rooms. By romantic explorers looking for the musical phoenix. Hence, it is better moving in and, together with the most sensitive among the technicians and the most open among the musicians, we retrieve what is ours and only ours. In one piece. From hi-fi to high-end.

 

Mission

We write in Italian since the founding core of ReMusic.it – from here on ReMusic – is Italian. We believe that our worldwide recognized taste, maybe due to centuries of exposition to astounding cultural and artistic beauties, can still say something of unique and special, particular and refined.

We write in English because it is the language through which our world, I mean our sector, communicates.

We will write more and more in Chinese, as this is already the new world, whether you like it or not. And it has a lot to say and discover.

 

Obstinately on the readers side

We will test the devices trying to bring out their best. We will write only what we can actually grab. We will report only what we think, honestly. To insist, before giving up.

 

Correctly on the manufacturers side

Only who has thought and ideate a device knows perfectly its own quality. But also its limits and compromises. Only who has faced the engineering of a product and its destiny in facing the market can say to know it for real. The idea that the hi-fi designers are always seeking to take advantage of the crystalline good faith of the ingenuous audiophiles is pure conspiracy theory, which is born from our poor times.

 

Widespread editorial staff

Currently ReMusic does not have a centralized editorial unit meant as a sole, unique and unavoidably constricted listening room. On the contrary, we have as many listening room and system as our collaborators, sympathizers and supporters are. This concept of “widespread editorial staff” is due to the modernity of our project and not to whatever shortages. We are open to the world as well as to collaborations and collaborators from all around the world.

 

Freedom of correct writing

We know we are partial, therefore we have a clear editorial policy. This is all but a paradox. Who states that what is written by the collaborators stays untouched is wrong or in bad faith. Who writes makes mistakes. Orthographic, syntactic, conceptual, expressive, formal, content mistakes which come from inexperience or prejudices. ReMusic makes a careful editing work. The advantage of being online allows us to intervene always, even after the mere publication. We try to treasure our mistakes and amend them when possible.

Said that, every editor has a complete freedom in testing. While the heading has a precise editorial policy. Between this two extremes, everything is discussed, treated, negotiated, arranged, decided and approved. Hic et nunc. Now and never again.

 

Orchestrated roles

Except for the executive editors, the person who tests the devices has no direct interests in the sector. Who has direct interests in the sector can write everything on ReMusic but on the devices.

Technicians make measurements but do not express literary judgements. Reviewers can report technical issues only if verified by the technicians.

The executive editors decide whom they can give a device to, following criteria easy to guess and of good sense like the collaborator’s experience, the adequacy of his reference system, the availability of other eventual devices useful for the test, the interest, the time at disposal, etc.

Manufacturers and distributors may ask to have a particular reviewer to test their devices. The executive editors will therefore decide if it is possible to accept such a request.

Each of our reviewer or collaborator can write for other magazines. We believe in freedom and we expect the others to do the same. Maybe we are naïve.

 

Simple bureaucracy

The devices to be tested are directly request both by ReMusic and its collaborators. Or they can be directly proposed to our editorial staff by manufacturers or distributors.

The single appointed reviewer is to be consider the only responsible for the good preservation and the review of the tested device. For any proved or supposed damage, ReMusic cannot be considered responsible.

 

Admission selection

Each product, loudspeaker or device is pre-emptively tested by one or both the executive directors. In the best possible way, this procedure should allow an attentive “admission selection”, based on the experience of the manufacturers, on the distributors’ one and on ours. We hope, in this way, to affirm that the tested products will always be of superior quality.

 

Knowing the score

During the test, the reviewer is urged to get in touch with the manufacturer or distributor, to ask and get all the info, the eventual added components, and anything else, in his unquestionable judgement, could be useful to get the best testing conditions for him and for the device.

 

We are positive

Despite that, if the reviewer, the only final responsible of the test, should not be satisfied with the device and the review is turning to be negative, the case will be handled in concert with the manufacturer or distributor and the object will be given back to him. This is not to be meant as a harsh criticism and whatever product can have a second opportunity. But we never write a bad review of a product just to satisfy the sick need of useless bloodsheds. At most we can believe in constructive and not destructive criticism. We are here to support the market not to depress it. If you are frustrated people looking for gratifying your mean instincts, well we are not for you.

 

We are easily satisfied with the best

ReMusic does not believe in harsh criticisms, in "blood, sweat and tears" as an end in itself, in negative or – worse – lukewarm reviewers. We think that each good device has a soul of quality, which waits to be understood and communicated. It can also be a difficult soul, but this exalts us rather than scares us.

We do not want to write about mediocre products. Behind our project there is a clear marketing idea. Our approach is therefore marketing oriented. There are hundreds of hi-fi e high-end brands and manufacturers all around the world, with many thousands of available devices: so why should we write about the scanty or the worse ones? Do you think that our time on the earth is limitless? How much energy do you want to spend in negative emotions? When someone can give us a convincing answer we will change our mind. Since then, by ReMusic only the best will pass.

 

Respect of the product

There are old and well performing devices, new and bad performing devices and vice versa regardless of their price. In most cases behind the device there are years of study and pains of groups and singles. Or genial intuitions, maybe suggested by the experience. Obviously also the fortune counts. But, if they are on the market, they have required investments, researches, compromises and have passed disappointments. They deserve respect, care, the best listening conditions. Those people who are good only in criticize are warned: if you are able to make better hi-fi devices, do it.

 

Do not take us literally

When a hi-fi reviewer says he has tested by listening to some musical tracks, when he signals some references, it is because he has tested for days, weeks, with hundreds of musical tracks and groups. But he can report just few examples, usually the most significant to him. It is always about journalistic synthesis.

 

Right of replay

For each test we send an email or a communication directly to the manufacturer. What he decides to send us back as a reply is integrally published, as a rule.

 

And if I want it?

The reviewers have the right to ask, under their responsibility, for a prolongation of the devices in their systems. This, contrarily to what someone may think, is not just a “cost element” for the manufacturer or distributor, but also a continuous selling opportunity, given by the exhibition and visibility of the device in the tests, in the comparison and in the system of the reviewer. Obviously the final decision is up to the manufacturers and distributors.

 

Second-hand listened

The tested products are commonly considered as second-hand guaranteed products or liable to reduced priced. Whatever commercial formula has been adopted by the manufacturer or distributor does not prevent the reviewer to ask to purchase the tested device, for him or for other people. Manufacturers and distributors have the right to accept or not the request. The negotiation will concern directly and exclusively the reviewer and the legal owner of the device.

 

Blog, forum and DIY

ReMusic does not require Blog, Forum and DIY. There are good blogs, forum and DIY sites about hi-fi. We turn daily to them for cues, stimuli, info and exchange of ideas. Many of our collaborators make part of them, are fans or active members.

We are all media, but we do different things.

 

And now, publicity

ReMusic is an online multi-languages magazine totally free for its readers. Our collaborators are hi-fi enthusiasts, volunteers and unpaid guys: differently from what others do, we admit it. But as happens in every commercial firm, also ReMusic has its costs for travels, translations, site management, potential purchase of devices or products, etc. For this reason we ask to manufacturers and distributors, our factual customers, an advertisement investment, also modest: we are sure it will come back and earns interests.

To our reader we ask to keep on reading, to let us have their opinions and to click on our ads, the ads of our sponsors, which permit our work.

 

The judgement is difficult

We can make mistakes.

 

 

Giuseppe Castelli, Roberto Rocchi

Updated to 22 July 2012

 

 

 

This text is not a whatever article. It describes our modus operandi which evolves and can change in time. It is therefore updating one listening session after the other. Read it again from time to time to keep you updating on our method of testing the devices and of considering the reproduced music.

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