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To Jeff Fritz,

I have been reading your work on Ultra Audio for several years now. I have greatly appreciated that you give readers your honest opinion. For instance, I know that you like Rockport and Magico speakers, Gryphon and Boulder electronics, and that you think the Ayre KX-R is the best preamp out there. I also like the two recent articles where you tell readers what you would purchase yourself. I do question how this honesty will play for you in the long run. Are you being too honest? Specifically, I wonder whether you'll put off some companies to the extent that they won’t send you products to review. Can you give me your thoughts on that? Anyway, count me amongst those that appreciate what you do.

Ron Reddick,
San Francisco, California

Thanks for the kind words and for reading my work carefully. Here is the way I see it: The real threat to wide-ranging credibility and writing relevant opinions is clearly misleading the consumer into thinking that everything is very good to great and nothing is ever bad. This type of writing won't offend anyone and is what appears in most publications today, print and online. That is the norm, right? Ten years ago that is how I wrote, I'm sorry to say, simply because I didn't know better. I guess I thought that was what was expected from audio reviewers.

The reality is that all of these products are not created equal. If you read a publication where it seems that that is the case and everything the writer writes about is at least very good, you must ask yourself whether you can ultimately trust their opinions.

Although there will be, occasionally, a manufacturer that does not want to send a product to me for review, what this tells me is that they are not confident that their product can stand up to the scrutiny that the best products do. I'm not happy about that, but, oh well. What is the real threat in my line of work is writing irrelevant opinions because of being afraid that someone might take offense. . . . Jeff Fritz