Your space to participate, comment & critique. Email srajan@6moons.com.

For published correspondence July 2014 - April 2014, click here; April 2014 - December 2013, click here - December 2013 - September 2013, click here; September 2013 to April 2013, click here; April 2013 - August 2012, click here; August 2012 to September 2011, click here. April 2011 to September 2011, click here; December 2010 - April 2011 click here; June to December 2010, here; February to June 2010, here; September 2009 to February 2010 here; June to September 2009 here; January to June 2009 here; May 2008 to January 2009 here; December 2007 to May 2008 here; July to December 2007 here; February to July 2007 here; November 2006 to February 2007 here; June to November 2006 here; April to June 2006 here; February to April 2006 here; December 2005 to February 2006 here; September to December 2005 here; July to- September 2005 here; April to July 2005 here; February to April 2005 here; December 2004 to February 2005 here; September to December 2004 here; August to September 2004 here; July to August 2004 here; February to July 2004 here; June 2003 to February 2004 here; June 2002 to June 2003 here.


By repeat inquiry, here is the owner's manual of the Garrard 301 vintage turntable [856KB PDF] whose rebuild Jeff Day described in his series of articles.

Hi Srajan,
Your new policy is not what oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd. Rather, it's what should have been done years ago to correct widespread abuse.  Most manufacturers I know can relate (but only in private) stories of extortion from the glossy magazines. You're trying to clear the stables and the air. Um zu besser.
Best,
Rich
Bravo Srajan,
For taking a concrete step to address the broken model as you've explained it. There's no replacement for having the nerve to lead by action. As you say, subscriptions would be more perfect. Your model does seem like a solid intermediate step. I have faith in any reviewer who is willing to state clearly what the policy is and why. I've recently discovered Part-Time Audiophile and think that his series on reviewing is excellent. In response to some previous posts about people's willingness to subscribe, I'd point out how low the price would probably have to be. Certainly some would pay any reasonable price but it seems most relevant to look at the price of print mags in your space. I've let my subscriptions lapse* several times. This quickly brings offers of less than $15/yr. for me to re-up. I do have a predictable question. What happens when there's a product with great price/performance value but the mfr. won't pay for whatever reason? Surely some will say that they have a strict policy of not paying for press. Do you think these cases will likely be covered enough in other places so it won't be a major loss to your audience that they're not reviewed here?

* Too much coverage of "statement" products, which I've gone from lusting after to largely regarding with contempt and disdain. Maybe I've subscribed to the wrong mags?
Thanks for all of your excellent work,
Dave Rosenblum

PS: Maybe you should follow Stephen Colbert's lead and offer a "Six Moons Platinum." You could charge 2'000 eur/yr. for 50 page reviews of the extreme statement products.

Thanks. It's never been our obligation or even ability to review everything. That's obvious. We've been an attractive destination for newer smaller companies because we had no entry barrier. Will those companies now balk at our minimum fee for access to the review process? That's hard to predict because, in our Western sector, this hasn't been done before. It's something to monitor and make adjustments for if necessary. As I wrote, the new policy was in response to successful makers refusing to support us despite participating in the review process. It wasn't an unwillingness to help newcomers. But you can't make a policy with the intent to be fairer than the one it replaces; and then make exceptions. That's just another form of unfairness all over again. Hence my deliberate decision to make this entry fee as low as possible - a token one-month small banner.

As to 'Platinum', like you I'm not keen on 'statement' products which very few can afford. I'm neither of the right mind set nor do I have the hardware context to pursue such a thing. There are other publications with specific writers who specialize in this sector to do a proper job of it already.
Srajan
Dear Srajan,
In UK terms 6moons is seriously Reithian - it entertains, and informs, and educates. I see no reason why it shouldn't be funded with a fee-based model, a bit like our beloved BBC. Would be delighted to see you go professional, and "unbiased", and ad-free - and to be paid properly for all your hard work.
Kind Regards,
Mark Hewlett

Thanks for the heads-up. Who knows. Perhaps that's where we'll end up indeed. Now, Reithian... as my good deed for the day on improving my vocabulary, that I gotta look up right now.
Cheers.
Srajan

Dear Srajan,
If you will forgive me for saying so, your audio journalism might possibly have wider appeal than the worthy and somewhat joyless efforts of Mr Colloms. Reading 6M enabled me to put together a new system that sounds much better than my previous ‘Brit Kit’ setup. As well as trying out new equipment and new tweaks, there was also much good sense on offer as to how to avoid contracting a terminal case of audio nervosa, or needlessly wasting money.

Arguably that’s what you are selling rather than review copy: some wisdom, advice and fresh ideas to assist hobbyists in making it through the audio jungle relatively unscathed and having an epic listening experience at the end of it. On that basis I would happily pay $10 or $20 monthly subscription for 6M. However, as you note, it’s not really that simple and there probably need to be wider changes, adopted by others as well as by 6M. I really do hope this gets suitably sorted. You deserve proper remuneration, we need good professional audio journalism!

All the best, and I will watch for appropriate use of "Reithian" in your next Nagra or ModWright review…
Mark
Hi Srajan ,
Yes Reithian.. had to look that up as well. I must admit that Mark has a point so kudos to you for standing up to be counted. We could do with a lot more reviewers like you who take an equal consideration of all viewpoints. As a recent start-up to the hifi market, I can attest as to how valuable 6moons has been to us. So as they say, the best of British/Swiss luck and long live 6moons.
Best regards,
Martin
New policy-phizog pics? Must be your inherent modesty? Your 'New Policy' article has nice historic pics of your various rooms. But, no equally historic pics of the Editor himself, in his various stages of life! The 'fade-to-grey' feature, let alone shots of the accompanying Art on the walls? We need more 'Lifestyle' articles. A food page?
Yours, in jest.
Chris Skelton

"Life is not riches nor structures of stone, but remembrance of those few people you've joined spirits with''. (Kung Fu)

Quite so about the jest bit. I think my personality is imprinted strongly enough on this site. Adding to it with too many mug shots would arguably get a bit much. There's plenty of fellow contributors deserving face time. But you're right, the art on the walls has changed. My wife's been busy. In fact she's in Edinburgh right now finishing up an advanced 2-week course in botanical watercolour painting. She has no intentions of getting into the formal botanical part of it (you know, illustrate botanical resource books and such). She simply wanted to acquire the raw techniques to subsequently apply them to artistically freer paintings of flowers. She's got another three days to finish up her portfolio to hand in for the certification. Then she'll be back primed to get creative. She sounds very excited about applying all the stuff she's learnt to her own compositions using various flowers in our garden for inspiration. So our art on the walls could be changing again soon. I let her know you noticed. She'll appreciate it.
Srajan

My partner of the last 20 years (we're both 65+) gave up being a teacher at 51 and with my encouragement went to Art College for 4 years, ending up with a First Class Honours degree! Claims it ruined her for 'Art' though she often produces all sorts of 'Art' things. Coincidentally, given your 'botanical' mention, our flower-filled garden is her passion.- Perhaps your wife should pop down from Scotland en route home for some additional stimuli!
Chris - currently selling all my vinyl!

Ha. She can't wait to get back home, eat our own home-cooked food and be immersed in what we call our domestic sanctuary. Otherwise the invite would have great merit, thx.
Srajan
Mr. Ebaen:
IMO, the appropriate solution for the future of 6moons is to believe in the intrinsic value of what you have to offer. Charge a subscription for it! The notion that on-line subscriptions only work for porn is false. Please don't take my word for it. Go instead to today's article in The Guardian titled "New Yorker Website Redesign" (they have 12 million on-line viewers as opposed to one million print readers!!) and the initial story which appeared in the  July 8th edition titled "New Yorker Alters Its Online Strategy." The following quote from the latter story is illuminating:

"Pay walls, once seen as untenable, have become something of a settled wisdom as online advertising revenue has proved disappointing. The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times all charge for online content using the kind of metered pay wall that The New Yorker plans to use."

I believe when you announce that access to 6moons—and its review archives!—will henceforth only be available to subscribers you will be instantly gratified at the response. What 6moons has to offer is unmatched in the audio world. Believe it! Readers will be quite happy to pay a modest monthly fee to hear what you and your cadre of reviewers have to say. In addition, with predictable revenues, reviewers can now be paid fixed amount(s) for their articles reflective of feature length vs. quick hitter. (The proposed idea to pay on the basis of the amount of advertising generated is simply loony.)

As The Guardian articles discuss, there are a number of ways to package and introduce the subscription. There may be some tinkering required to figure out what works best  and how much to charge, but not nearly as complicated as trying to make sense of the mumbo-jumbo of computer playback (the abbreviations involved are worthy of  Monty Python). I definitely think consideration should be given to an annual subscription, say $24.00, versus going monthly, say $3.00. The latter is a far cry from the $15.00 a month the NYTimes automatically bills me, which has quickly becomes as invisible as the monthly charge for my bank account.

You are right, the current model for audio reviews is broken. Charging manufacturers is not going to fix it. You have spent 12 years winning the absolute trust and respect of your readers. They will be only too happy to pay you to continue. 

Regards,
R.A. McCormack

Thank you for your vote of confidence. Here is what Alan Sircom with a UK hifi print magazine had to say about the same position expressed as, if your readers think you are professional and truly giving valuable advice with well written, concise and insightful reviews then they will pay.

His reply: Not enough will pay enough. For example, The New York Times lost more than 99% of its readership the moment it put up its pay wall in Feb 2011. Today, it currently posts 760,000 subscribers, which is better but still nothing like the 61.9m unique browsers it got before the pay wall. The London Times went from 20.4m unique browsers in 2010 to 131,000 fee-paying subscribers two years later (I don't have more recent statistics to hand). Most people in the subscriptions field expect an attrition rate of around 95-99% of the pre-pay wall audience, almost irrespective of content. A lot of site owners feel their content is distinctive, valued, and valuable enough to be a financially bankable asset. They typically put up a pay wall for their services, and disappear without trace soon after. A pay model is survivable (just) if you are the New York Times, because a tiny fraction of 61.9m is still hundreds of thousands willing to pay a subscription. It's survivable if you are the London Times too, because you have a very profitable multinational TV organisation holding out an umbrella for you. But when you don't have tens of millions of unique visitors every month, ridding yourself of almost all of them is suicide."

To be frank, I rather believe Alan has it right.
Srajan
Hi Srajan:
I am a full-time reviewer like yourself for www.avrev.com and I contribute to every issue of Tone Audio and PFO. I am writing to show full support for your editorial and asking manufacturers to support the publication. It is about time. I won't go on as I agree with ALL your reasons, the ones you eloquently laid out.
P.S. I have started a thread on the subject. Feel free to join in but please, no obligation.
Very kind regards,
Andre Marc

Thanks for pointing me at your thread. I'll participate if there are actual questions on the topic.
Srajan