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June 2008
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Your Input Concerning Awards Sought
Should Enjoy the Music.com give away hundreds of awards a year?
Article By Steven R. Rochlin
Click here to e-mail reviewer


Who Is The Judge and Who Is The Jury?

  It is no secret that while manufacturers love to receive awards for their products, it is also an excellent marketing tool for the magazine. Make no mistake, there are many great products with incredible design and engineering feats that are truly at the 'edge-of-the-art', thereby moving forward what is possible in the field of sound engineering, recording, and music reproduction within the home. From Thomas Edison's earliest sound recording techniques to today's engineers working on a audio encoding/decoding chipset that enables 96-bit floating point processing at 384kHz... or higher. Just as it takes a team of writers here at Enjoy the Music.com to make up the proverbial whole, engineers in the recording studio to high-end audio manufacturers, each shares in a key role in continuing the steps forward in the progress of what we consumers can achieve within our homes. With innovation comes recognition from critics, and awards are earned as a result.

At what point do awards become only background noise, like the days of the 'DAC of the Month' club many audiophiles had to endure only a decade or so ago. Sure we magazine guys want to recognize those who advance the art and science, yet hearing about yet another advance month in and month out eventually becomes nothing more than background noise. While the conspiracy theorists will point to the offending magazine, claiming pandering to one of said magazine's advertisers. If the endless parade of awards continue, then perhaps there is no conspiracy at all?

 

The Letter

Here at Enjoy the Music.com i have been extremely stubborn-headed. There, i said it. Upon discussing this topic with my amazing beautiful partner, she would not disagree about my steadfast and unyielding ways i go about certain things in life. Yes life is about balance, and the reason for this article is that there are times that others have indeed helped to be my guide. As they say, "Those who know what's best for us must rise and save us from ourselves."

This morning i received an e-mail from an audio manufacturer and it asks very good questions. This is a very smart manufacturer who is posing the right questions, and in doing so hopes to secure more accolades for their products. If i were in their shoes i'd do the exact same thing. While the name has been removed, the questions and answers have not been altered.

 

From: (Audio Manufacturer)
Subject: Awards & Reviews

Hi Steve,

I hope this email finds you well. I was hoping that you might be able to help me with some research. One of the goals of our product development team is to create speakers that win awards. I have been charged with the task of researching what awards are available and what the criteria are for winning them. Would it be possible for you to share with me, what awards your publications offer and what criteria are used to determine the winners?

Please let me know if you have any questions and thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

Audio Manufacturer

Dear Audio Manufacturer,

Excellent questions! Enjoy the Music.com offers yearly 'Best Of' awards, and occasionally I personally choose an Editor's Choice award, yet those are very rare to perhaps being phased out. You see, my feelings are that an award from a magazine should be truly precious… and as such are very rare. While other magazines give out many awards during shows, more awards throughout the year for products that meet some form of standard they choose, and then perhaps a yearly or bi-annual award, I simply outright REFUSE to give out 50+ awards for this/that/the other thing each year. Sure manufacturers love awards, and yes giving out awards is a great marketing tool. Let us not mince words here, magazines greatly benefit themselves by giving out awards and the industry as a whole is well aware of this fact. Perhaps my stubborn-headedness is such that traveling the path of the least traveled means fewer awards and, when one is given, the Enjoy the Music.com readership can rest assured that it is truly earned.

As for the criteria on how to earn an award, once a year each writer can choose a product, perhaps two they feel deserves a 'Best Of' award. As editor, it is my job to agree or not with their decision and then we announce our official awards accordingly. There are no hard and fast rules on what makes or breaks a product from being eligible for receiving an award. If the formula was simple then every manufacturer would pander to such and naturally expect to receive an award. Instead, Enjoy the Music.com allows our writers to express themselves by choosing what each one feels meets their criteria and a decision is made to follow through accordingly.

Thanks for asking and realize your company is doing it's very best to exceed expectations, and in doing so to earn awards. Making the very best products at a given price level should bring accolades, and am sure every manufacturer does their very best in hopes of securing the critical acclaim they feel they deserve. Please keep in mind there are thousands of products, and perhaps only thirty Enjoy the Music.com Best Of awards to be given away each year. Those are indeed steep odds.

Thanks for your time and in the end what really matters is that we all…

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin

 

Am i Being Too Stubborn?

Self-awareness is key if one is to grow. Perhaps my reply — fangs as it were — were a bit too stubborn-headed and pointed? Perhaps Enjoy the Music.com should provide more recognition to products at shows to those truly deserving, instead of virtually zero awards during shows. Keep in mind this website has covered nearly 110 shows, adding about five a year and so even if we gave out only 10 award per show out of the 100+ manufacturers in attendance, that would add 50 awards per. Yes, perhaps it is a disservice not only to the manufactures, but to our readers who deserve to have a way (via the award) of knowing which products were above and beyond the others. Is my protective nature of award giving doing a disservice to our readers? Without an award from Enjoy the Music.com, are you able to easily know which products i and/or others within our staff feel deserve extra special attention from you? And so i pose this simple question to you, should Enjoy the Music.com give out more or less awards, and let me know why you feel the way you do. Click here to send me your thoughts on this subject.

As always, in the end what really matters is that we all....

Enjoy the Music (Queensryche "Anybody Listening?" right now),

Steven R. Rochlin

 

"You and I 
Long to live like the wind upon the water. 
If we close our eyes, we'll maybe realize 
There's more to life than what we have known...
I've just begun to see the light.

Long ago there was a dream, 
Had to make a choice or two. 
Leaving all I loved behind, 
For what nobody knew. 
Stepped out on the stage, a life 
Under lights and judging eyes. 
Now the applause has died and I can dream again...

Is there anybody listening? 
Is there anyone that sees what's going on? 
Read between the lines, 
Criticize the words they're selling. 
Think for yourself and feel the walls become sand beneath your feet

Feel the breeze? 
Time's so near you can almost taste the freedom. 
There's a warm wind from the south. 
Hoist the sail and we'll be gone, 
By morning this will all seem like a dream. 
And if you don't return to sing the song, 
Maybe just as well. 
I've seen the news and there's not much I can do... alone

Is there anybody listening? 
Is there anyone who smiles without a mask? 
What's behind the words — images they know will please us? 
I'll take what's real. Bring up the lights.

Is there anybody listening? 
Is there anyone that sees what's going on? 
Read between the lines, 
Criticize the words they're selling. 
Think for yourself and feel the walls become sand beneath your feet.
"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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