Mission Statement

“To celebrate the people, the products, and the hobby of high-end audio with humor, insight, and occasional humility.”

Whatever it is that brought you, specifically, to play with — or even think about playing with — a high-fidelity audio system, we believe it really should be something at least in the neighborhood of “having fun”. What we’re trying to do here is share our hi-fi experiences with you, and do that in a way that (hopefully) will not cause you to spontaneously slide into a coma. To that end, we promise that no baby seals will be harmed during our tenure … but there may be some face-painting.

No time for trash

Part-Time Audiophile is not about vendettas, ax-grinding, or world-saving — feel free to reference the above comment regarding the idea of ‘fun’.

When we take a product in for review, it’s with the intent of enjoying our time with it. If it turns out that the time is not enjoyable, for any particular reason, the editors have encouraged the reviewers to abort the review process right there. Why? Because writing about crap is cheap, easy, and more often than not, tediously (if not maliciously) misleading. Yeah, we said it.

So, in an effort to eliminate the risk of damage resulting from malcontents, personal biases, catastrophically poor judgment, inadvertent misconfiguration, and/or general reviewer ineptitude, when things don’t work out, we’ve chosen to simply say “mea culpa” and move on.

We know that some magazines take it as a sign of their integrity to write about everything they get, good or bad, and to include everything they experience, both good and bad. To this we say: good for them. As for us, we’d rather have a root canal.

So, gentle reader, if you want your fix of roadside tragedy, there are plenty of places to find that. We are pretty sure that this is what Internet Forums were made for. Go forth and indulge your baser appetites, you heathen. We’ll be here when you get bored.

Editorial Integrity

PTA is a founding member of the Association of International Audiophile Publications. While we do not begrudge anyone their right to make a buck, we have chosen to accept and endorse limits on what “responsible audio journalism” means.

Our stance, from the very beginning, has been clear and is unchanged.

  • We do not, and will not, do payola. No pay-to-play. Ever.
  • There is no requirement to buy an ad in order to get a review. Quid pro quo is a no-go.
  • Awards are based solely on the reviewer’s experiences and judgment.
  • PTA is not owned in whole or part by an audio manufacturer or retailer.

Yes, we know that this makes us very different from many of our competitors. All we can offer the reader is this: morality and talent are not necessarily tied together. Caveat Emptor.

With that said, all anyone can do is try to do it right. At PTA, we hope that we get it right more often than not, but when we do get it wrong, we commit to trying to make it right.

This site is lucky enough to be endorsed by some very interesting companies in audio’s high-end, and for that support, we are grateful. This support enables us to find and share exciting new products and relate the adventures we are having in this odd little corner of the luxury market. However, while we are entirely supported by the industry and its ads, there is a wall between advertisement and editorial. At PTA, our Publisher does the advertising. The Team does everything else.

How we got here

Speaking of ethical issues, I laid out way too many words in my series “About Experts” (Part 1, Part 2.1, Part 2.2, Part 3 and Part 4), which came during a time of finger-pointing and competitive pearl-clutching. See “Blurred Lines” at Digital Audio Review (since ported to Darko.Audio) and “Mission Trumps Bias” at (the now sadly, and bizarrely, defunct) InnerFidelity (but still accessible here).

The goal behind this series was to increase the transparency behind the process of reviewing, which not only levels up the playing field, it also increases the value of the work to the reader. Maybe?

Financial Disclaimers

The Editorial Team stipulates that we do not have other financial interests in audio’s high-end other than this site and the affiliated editorial network.

However, we do have contributors, so let’s talk about what is expected from them.

This is a tough, thin business. There is simply not a ton of cash available for the would-be writer, and we won’t be the ones to tell someone else that they cannot make a living. We fully expect that the team generating our content have other sources of income.

Of course, this presents something of an ethical dilemma — What if a contributor has a job, or takes pay from something they do, “in the industry”? What then?!?

The short answer is, “it depends”. Generally speaking, we like to think that there can be lines drawn that will preclude some of the most egregious nonsense. That’s all part of what The Editorial Team does.

So, for the record, let’s draw some of those lines. Call them: Guidelines for Contributors.

Guidelines for Contributors

  • Don’t be evil.
  • Please reference the “Mission Statement” and the “No Time for Trash” sections, above.
  • The Editorial Team must approve all projects prior to a writer contacting a manufacturer.
  • Projects that are not so approved in writing may not be paid, regardless of time, effort, or work done.
  • Contributors are solely responsible for the condition of the products that they review.
  • All reviews should be completed according to a timeline established when the project was approved. Changes to the timeline must be approved by the Editorial Team.
  • All review equipment must be returned to the manufacturer at the completion of the review or purchased at a reasonable price.
  • Any review equipment purchased at discounted or “accommodation pricing” must be disclosed to the Editorial Team.
  • Any review equipment purchased at discounted or “accommodation pricing” must not be re-sold for the manufacturer-stipulated period.
  • Any review equipment purchased at discounted or “accommodation pricing” must not be re-sold for more than the accommodation price.
  • Reviewers will not accept quid pro quo offers of money, goods, services, or favors in return for favorable treatment.
  • Any current “for pay” relationship with an industry manufacturer, distributor, or retailer, is a conflict of interest and is generally prohibited. Special exemptions, if granted, require that the reviewer does not review, offer comments on, or even reference the products falling into the conflict of interest. Past relationships must be disclosed to the Editorial Team and may require the same restrictions.
  • All submissions must be accompanied by the appropriate and relevant disclaimers, and the Editorial Team reserves the right to add any such disclaimer that is deemed appropriate and relevant.
  • The Editorial Team reserves the right to make edits at any time to address issues of punctuation, grammar, readability, clarity, SEO, or other minor issues as deemed necessary.

Expectations for Vendors

  • Part-Time Audiophile will not make advertising a requirement for reviews. Conversely, we will not take advertising dollars as a contingency on a published review, or for any kind of special treatment.
  • The Editorial Team will decide whether a review is completed and if/when it will be published.
  • The publication schedule is fluid and is responsive to both the existing queue and the evolving calendar.
  • Any review project may be terminated at any time without explanation.
  • The Editorial Team will endeavor to be responsive to requests for information. Remember, we’re part-timers over here (hint: it was in the site title).
  • All review products are to be returned in a timely manner or purchased by the reviewer. For all “long-term product loans” or any purchases that involve “accommodation pricing”, we request that the vendors inform the Editorial Team.
  • Shipping is solely the responsibility of the manufacturer and/or vendor.
  • PTA is not responsible for review products that have been abandoned by the manufacturer or vendor. After a reasonable period of time, abandoned products may be discarded or sold.