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  • PRO REVIEW FAQ and FORUM RULES

    FORUM RULES
    This is a strictly on-topic forum. Pro Reviews are started ONLY by people affiliated with, or appointed by, Harmony Central. Topics started by users will be deleted, as this forum consists only of Pro Reviews; users are of course invited to post their own reviews in the User Reviews section. If you have general comments or requests about Pro Reviews, feel free to post them in this thread.



    HARMONY CENTRAL PRO REVIEW FAQ

    What are Pro Reviews?

    Harmony Central’s Pro Reviews are posted in an open forum format. The reviewer – an industry professional – starts the review as soon as the product package is opened or the software downloaded. As the review unfolds in a forum thread over time (like a “blog”), visitors to the site come to understand the product with a degree of depth that no print review could ever provide.

    Why do some people call this an “open source” review?

    Like "open source" code that is made freely available to the public for comment and modifications, Pro Review readers use the forum format to ask questions, contribute their own viewpoints, disagree or agree with conclusions, offer suggestions, and in general, become an important part of the review process. Furthermore, manufacturers are encouraged to participate. The Pro Review brings together reviewer, reader, and manufacturer to provide dynamic, accurate, useful coverage on all kinds of products.

    Who came up with the Pro Review concept, and why?

    Harmony Central’s Editorial Director, Craig Anderton, was frustrated by the limitation of print reviews, so he decided to re-invent the product review process from the ground up.

    What other differences are there compared to print reviews?

    There are no word count or page count limitations, so the review can be extremely thorough. Graphics, audio examples, and videos can be embedded in posts to provide an immersive, interactive experience.

    Sounds expensive. How are they monetized?

    The manufacturer underwrites the review for a nominal fee, which varies depending on the product complexity, to defray the expenses involved in maintaining a Pro Review. The reviewer is not compensated by the manufacturer, but by Harmony Central from the site's general revenue sources.

    But how does the manufacturer feel if the review has negative comments?

    It is somewhat of a leap of faith to signup for a review where no one knows what the outcome will be. But we’ve found manufacturers prefer to have any negative comments out in the open, where they can be addressed, rather than just having potshots taken at them all over the web. We’ve also found that manufacturers willing to sponsor a Pro Review have confidence in their product, and that confidence is rarely misplaced.

    Is the HC community concerned about manufacturer involvement influencing the editorial integrity?

    No, because this is the only review system with built-in “checks and balances.” It’s not possible to get away with unjustified slams or praise when there are literally thousands, or tens of thousands, of people (as well as the manufacturer) looking over your shoulder. Also, anyone affiliated with the manufacturer is required to state that affiliation.

    Why would a company want to sign up for a Pro Review?

    A Pro Review is ongoing - people keep coming back, links are made to it from other sites, and the content is dynamic and changing. It draws a huge amount of attention to a product over the life of the product, and provides valuable feedback to the manufacturer. (Note that HC does not accept all products for Pro Review, only ones that are well-suited to the format.)

    What kind of feedback have you been receiving?

    Overwhelmingly positive, from all involved. As one manufacturer said, "I really think you are on to something with the Pro Review format…It is truly a great way to reach users and potential customers with timely, in-depth product information. Also, along with all the 'how-tos' peppered through out the threads, there is much valuable insight into the user perspective regarding what features resonate and really matter to them. Thanks!" Another wrote to say "I got the impression that the participants were also very excited about the 'live' aspect of the Pro Review. I feel the Pro Review format is a great new way to get instant feedback from our customers as well as a cool learning experience." Comments from readers are within the Pro Reviews.

    I'm a manufacturer and I'm interested in having one of my products subjected to a Pro Review. What do I do next?

    Contact Dendy Jarrett, djarrett@harmonycentral.com.
    Last edited by Anderton; 11-16-2015, 01:31 PM.
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  • #2
    Pro reviews seem to be very slanted towards pro audio equipment. Will there be any upcoming reviews that branch out from the recording or pro audio industries?

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    • #3
      Yes. We have two guitar pro reviews coming up, in fact I think one is starting today.

      The reason for the slant is that pro reviews started in my Sound, Studio, and Stage forum, which is more "pro" oriented. However, the success of the format caused us to broaden out a bit. We now have more people capable of doing pro reviews on a variety of gear.

      However, also bear in mind that the pro review format lends itself to more complex or deep devices. I couldn't see a pro review of a guitar strap, for example As a result, our next stage in the review process is to continue developing a section for "expert" reviews. These are more like traditional, non-interactive print reviews done by assigned authors. There are already several in the Library, and a new expert review appears in each HC Confidential Newsletter (it's definitely worth subscribing to, you can do so from the home page by clicking on Newsletter).

      Overall, HC has three levels of reviews: User Reviews, Expert Reviews, and the interactive Pro Reviews.
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      • #4
        Word, I wasnt expecting basic things like straps or strings but something like an amplifier pro review by a studio engineer or a giggine musician would be good. Something like a long term car review where the person uses the amp for a full tour or an extended period of time. Even something like a line of effects would be cool. The pro audio stuff has been cool though and I enjoy reading it because I do a lot of live sound work in local clubs.

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        • #5
          Who picks the reviewers?

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          • #6
            I pick the primary reviewer, in consultation with other freelancers as to who would be most knowledgeable about the product and have the most experience with that type of product. I also request that someone from the company be available to answer questions from the reviewer or from readers.
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            • #7
              I was also asked about qualifications we look for in pro reviewers by Warped666 but deleted his post accidentally (yes, I know, always double-check before hitting return. Hey, I'm tired). Here they are:

              * Knowledge about the product category for the product being reviewed
              * Journalism experience (published articles/books), particularly with respect to product reviews of musical gear
              * Forum moderation or administration experience
              * Ability to generate accompanying sound clips and images, and eventually, video examples in the appropriate formats
              * Knowledge of data compression protocols for the above
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              • #8
                Sounds like a great idea.
                "You are the music while the music lasts." - T. S. Eliot

                SPAM References

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Anderton
                  I was also asked about qualifications we look for in pro reviewers by Warped666 but deleted his post accidentally (yes, I know, always double-check before hitting return. Hey, I'm tired). Here they are:

                  * Knowledge about the product category for the product being reviewed
                  * Journalism experience (published articles/books), particularly with respect to product reviews of musical gear
                  * Forum moderation or administration experience
                  * Ability to generate accompanying sound clips and images, and eventually, video examples in the appropriate formats
                  * Knowledge of data compression protocols for the above


                  All sounds like pushing MF/GC to us.
                  Originally Posted by PHILL MOSSING


                  Women's restrooms look like a place where chimpanzees are killed by hand.



                  Member of the Eye Spy Community-Military Intelligence (All Three)

                  "She'd look great on the end of my crank!" Ray "Bluenote" Marquette

                  Harmony Central Geeezer Brigade Wannabe #1

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                  • #10
                    <<All sounds like pushing MF/GC to us.>>

                    You might like to know that products are generally available from multiple vendors.
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                    • #11
                      Usually if I plan on getting a piece of gear and want to research it, I check the HC user review section (the home of the infamous Rip Glitter). May have to wade through a few "teh unit suxxors" and such, but for the most part they're written by people who paid to use the equip., not people who are paid to write about the equip., and are therefore a little more honest in their reviews.
                      Originally Posted by PHILL MOSSING


                      Women's restrooms look like a place where chimpanzees are killed by hand.



                      Member of the Eye Spy Community-Military Intelligence (All Three)

                      "She'd look great on the end of my crank!" Ray "Bluenote" Marquette

                      Harmony Central Geeezer Brigade Wannabe #1

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        << May have to wade through a few "teh unit suxxors" and such, but for the most part they're written by people who paid to use the equip., not people who are paid to write about the equip., and are therefore a little more honest in their reviews.>>

                        As you likely know, virtually all reviewers in the media world are paid by the media company publishing the review. The reason for paying professional reviewers is because they bring a wealth of experience to what they do; they have often had the chance to evaluate competing products, and can provide a sense of context. And, they often have outside gigs where they can road-test gear. While I agree user reviews can be extremely helpful, they are not immune to misinformation, and sometimes considerable amounts of it.

                        Of course, the debate about whether a media company accepting advertising money influences editorial content will continue. But that's the beauty of the Pro Review format: No one can get away with saying something sucks when it doesn't, or saying something is great when it isn't, because there are thousands, or even tens of thousands of people, looking over their shoulders, ready to call them on inaccurate statements. As far as I know, Pro Reviews are the ONLY review format with this kind of checks and balances in order to insure the most accurate, honest information possible. So, you get the best of all worlds: A professional reviewer who brings a wealth of experience, real-world users contributing their expertise, and the option for manufacturers to explain design decisions and answer questions.
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                        • #13
                          There have been a few post about 'ethics police', reviewer and who gets paid etc. Posters seem to forget a reviewer has a certain reputation. If he or she keeps praising gear that are POS, they will not get called back.
                          The HC user reviews CAN NOT be trusted either. Many praises or dislikes are obviously people trying to sell that particular gear on Ebay or is 100% slander to promote THEIR product.

                          Mr. Anderton I'm surprised to see you take this much abuse here.
                          IS it worth it?

                          Jun
                          100% AxeFX ode to Michael Schenker www.javajunkiemusic.com/Audio/Jun/axefxremix.m4a
                          Bravo mic'ed wet/dry/wet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BXG-kJCCXk
                          Axe-FX direct recording http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDMmA9tYIF4
                          Rivera TBR-1M http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROvOH2NajL8
                          Hafler T3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzEyWzTz8zo

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                          • #14
                            <<Mr. Anderton I'm surprised to see you take this much abuse here.
                            IS it worth it?>>

                            Well, first of all, it's my job to respond to concerns, no matter how ill-informed. I've been in the public eye for 40 years and have a pretty thick skin. You can't get upset by comments from people who don't know what they're talking about.

                            Second, the only "marketable" commodity I have is my credibility. By answering these people in a direct and forthright way, my credibility is enhanced, and theirs is reduced. I think most people are pretty sharp and by reading an exchange, they can make up their own minds as to the truth of the situation.

                            What's truly ironic is that if we were as devious as the conspiracy theory people would like to believe, we could have simply done the pro reviews without bringing attention to the fact that the manufacturer has to pay for the bandwidth and expenses of doing one. But from even before day 1, we were totally upfront about that. Once the pro reviews hit, and people realized they were truly an "open source" forum, the whole thing about sponsorship became a non-issue as people saw with their own eyes that sponsorship has no influence over content. In another irony, sponsorship seems to have increased the company's credibility, because they're willing to take a "leap of faith" and sponsor something that could have negative consequences. No one knows how a pro review is going to turn out.

                            The only posts that have ever been deleted from Pro Reviews were ones like "Hey Craig, great job!" because they detracted from the flow. No critical post about a product has ever been deleted.
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                            • #15
                              ...and you should also know that the positive responses outweigh the negative ones by such a huge amount the negative ones don't seem all that relevant. For example, someone just posted this in another thread about internet forums:

                              "The Pro Reviews are the hottest thing going IMHO. That's where the buzz factor for technical info has it going on, and I think they're truly great. As the paper mags drop pages and columns and dumb down their content, the Pro Review idea is a roaring train in the opposite direction. Kudos to Craig."

                              But I still need to answer the negative ones...all companies have to respond to complaints, and as Editor in Chief, that responsibility falls on me for questions involving editorial content.
                              CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

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