Dear Volumio users, here's an initiative, and an idea for you all. As you know, with the Volumio shop we always try to bring great bang for the buck products: no snakeoil, just clever products made by small independent manufacturers. Of course, we listen and test them extensively before adding to the website, to ensure they comply with our shop mission. I always thought that the best opinion on the products we showcase is not mine, but the one from our community.
Since our main mission is to have an objective approach to audio, and to educate as much as possible to understand the real critical aspect of digital reproduction, we want to foster this critical approach with a new initiative:
The product review tours
This initiative will be in partnership with Ifi-Audio (but other vendors which are interested let us know!). Basically, when we showcase a new product in the shop, we'll give the chance to some members of our community to have those devices for a period of time. The goal is to allow critical listening sessions, product examination and so on. After 2 weeks, the member will ship the product to another member and write an honest post with listening impressions, feedback, complaints and recomendations (shipping costs will be refunded by ifi-audio).
I think this will be good for various reasons:
- When I do a review of a product I list, I might be biased, therefore our members could offer another point of view and act as "evaluation benchmarks" also for me - By having an hands-on time, we can give important feedbacks to manufacturers on how to improve our favourite toys - We'll have first hand, independent and unbiased opinions over the latest audio devices, allowing our community to have a shared and precious informative source. - The reviews on the new products will not be based only on my opinion (which could be biased by enthusiasm) but also from those from our members (this also means that those products will be tried on different setups than mine). - Since ours is an hobby, having new toys to try is always funny!
I think this is a neat idea, although it's a pile of housework in managing it. What will you do if a device goes missing and the user swears blind that they posted it on? I'd be happy to partake of this but I'm not the most representative member of the community...