The really key point here is that reviewers are all in competition with each other. If you were not you would all simply create a small consortium to buy samples, and ship them around for review.
Reviewing has become an industry of its own over the years and as such, suffers the biases and foibles of any other competitive industry.
If we were to get clear unbiased reviews it would have to be done anonymously and treated as a blind exercise. Manufacturers are not going to go for that, they want a "Name" behind any published opinion of their stuff, as do end users.
You need the audio equivalent of "The Stig" where the anonymity is of utmost importance.
Welp that explains EVERYTHING!!! Not like i didn't know it already but still.... guess that's the territory of being labeled as a "troll" fo' lyfe and why i never get to shill for brands even though i have overtly reached out to them for review samples. haha Damn it, guess i can't be compromised even if i wanted to, grrrr!!!
Before i signed my lyfe away to this forum by creating my account i already kinda knew the "history" of this place if you will due to some old time head-fiers (some still active and some has been long banned) warning me about the internal power struggles, etc etc of his lil' site which dated back all the way to its inception. I even spoke to currawong about some of those issues, which he gave me pretty satisfactory reasons why they do the things they do here. So yeah, guess i already knew what was up and how this site operates in general so i am not really shocked by what some would view as "shady" business/ practices. In essence i do agree with OP that review samples no doubt creates biases towards a particular product under "review" cuz who doesn't like free stuff right??? But like ekey boi said there are other bias factors in play as well such as defending ones purchase, personal sound signature bias, brandname fan boism, etc etc. As with anything i don't think true objectivity can ever be achieved, it's just a matter of perspective so as the old adage goes it's best to judge one by their past track record and take impressions/ reviews with a grain of salt as you would do with anything in the inter-webs....
For what's worth i didn't read the OPs post but have seen his rant video regarding leaving head-fi (HUGE fan of your youtube review vids btw so keep on truckin') due to this unpleasant experience and i full-heatedly agree as well as sympathize with his situation cuz like him i have also met a lot of wonderful people and learned so much via this forum since i have joined. Head-fi is still an invaluable resource though esp. for beginners and your average audio hobbyist despite its many flaws. Akin to what OP stated, other audio forums such as the pirates one is not really a "better" alternative cuz of its overly cold "objective" take/ atmosphere on something that should be fun and welcoming in the first place since it is a hobby first and foremost. Those pirates take themselves and this hobby wayyy too seriously which for me is down right repugnant cuz of their uppity self-important and condescending remarks. Guess what i am trying to say is that a middle ground between these two extremes is the most ideal, cuz you don't want to have something that is so over commercialized that it only appeals to the general unwashed consumer masses where insight/ expertise is severely lacking nor do you want the other extreme where only dry data and facts dictate. I still think head-fi has some really good redeeming factors and that it can achieve this balance by simply going back to its DIY roots which was why this site was created in the 1st place and why it's still called .org instead of .com???
I dunno, just my 2 cents. But yeah wish some mofos would throw this troll a bone and let me shill for them, cuz i'll shill them REAL GUD!!! hoho
Edited by sfwalcer - 6/29/14 at 5:03pm