The enthusiast's audio webzine

Reviews and loans

Hifi Zine is an independent audio publication run by audiophiles for audiophiles. We appreciate the support given to Hifi Zine and its reviewers with the loan of equipment or software, either for review or to assist in writing informative articles.

Reviews published in the Equipment Reviews section are required to be independent and impartial. The following guidelines below are intended to help ensure this, and that expectations on both sides are clear from the beginning.

Reviewing principles

Items that are the subject of a review in Hifi Zine may be provided on loan by the manufacturer or distributor (the “provider”), purchased by the reviewer, or on loan from an acquaintance. The following applies mostly to the former case.

We appreciate that products provided for review are the result of a significant investment of effort and finance. A provider of a product for potential review in Hifi Zine can review the reviewer’s profile, reference system(s), and previous reviews and online writings, to assess whether they feel that the reviewer is able to provide an impartial and useful review of the item.

While there can of course be no guarantee of a favorable review, we expect the reviewer to inform the provider of any issues found with an item early on, in order to ensure that the review fairly assesses the item in optimum operating conditions.

Requests for review items can be made only by those listed as an editor or writer on this page. Requests should be made using the reviewer’s @hifizine.com email address and include a link to this page (https://www.hifizine.com/what/reviews-and-loans/).

Review conduct

The provider will have the item shipped to and received by the reviewer in an appropriate time-frame. Shipping and insurance, both ways, are the responsibility of the provider. The reviewer will inspect the item as soon as received and update the provider. The provider agrees that under no circumstances will the reviewer or Hifi Zine be held liable for any damage to or loss of the item.

The provider undertakes to respond to any questions from the reviewer promptly and to work with the reviewer to resolve any issues with equipment performance or operation (electrical issues, equipment faults, compatibility with other equipment, placement, and so on). If issues with a component cannot be satisfactorily resolved early during the review period, or if the reviewer feels that component performance is such as to make it not worth the time and effort to complete the review, the reviewer should discuss with the Publisher and appropriate editor whether to proceed with the review, or to cancel it and return the item.

A draft of the completed review will be sent to the providor prior to publication, so the provider can provide factual corrections and (if desired) a “manufacturer’s response” to be published together with the review. Responses are requested within 3 working days.

The reviewer undertakes to handle the item with care and to use it only as intended. Under ideal conditions, Hifi Zine expects that a period of eight weeks is adequate to perform a review, but longer periods (due to reviewer or publication schedule, need for break-in time, availability of other required components, and so on) are acceptable provided this is agreed in advance. The reviewer agrees to submit the draft copy of the completed review to Hifi Zine at the completion of this time and to return the item promptly (see Disposition section below).

Disposition of items submitted for review

The default policy for items submitted for review is as follows:

  • For components and equipment, the provider will arrange for return shipping at the conclusion of the review period, at the provider’s cost.
  • Media items, such as CDs, LPs, and books, are assumed by default to remain in the reviewer’s possession. Reviewer requests for such items are expected to always be in good faith – that is, the reviewer only requests items for which they have an intent to publish a review.
  • Software items submitted for review are by default assumed to remain licensed with the reviewer. The reviewer is not, however, allowed to sell or pass on any such license, except to another Hifi Zine reviewer for the purpose of aiding creation of additional Hifi Zine articles. If the provider wishes the license to be active only for the duration of the review period, this must be stated in advance.

In some cases, alternative arrangements may be made, on the proviso that the Publisher and relevant editors are kept informed and agree that impartiality of the review is not compromised. If impartiality is not assured, an article may instead be published in the Industry Spotlight or Audiophile Experience sections. Any discussion on alternative arrangements is not permitted until after the completed review has been submitted for publication.

  • The reviewer and providor may agree that the review purchase the reviewed item for continued use in their own system at the provider’s standard “industry accommodation pricing” (IAP). Negotiation for a better deal is not allowed, and the reviewer undertakes to use the component for a reasonable period (typically two years) prior to any subsequent sale of the item.
  • The provider may offer an ongoing or indefinite loan of the item for use in the reviewer’s system and possible mention or comparison in future reviews. This typically occurs with smaller items and accessories. The item may not be sold or passed on – see “Long Term Loans” below.

DIY kits

DIY kits obviously cannot be returned in original condition. DIY kits may be offered to Hifi Zine writers with a track record of publishing in the Technical and DIY section, provided that the Technical Editor supports it and there is agreement on the number and rough outline of articles describing assembly and use that result. These articles will be published as Technical and DIY articles, not as impartial reviews. It is expected that the item will continue to be used in the reviewer’s system and/or mentioned or referenced in future articles, and that any subsequent sale of the item shall occur only after a reasonable period (at least two years) of such use.

Alternatively, a reviewer is of course free to purchase a kit, assemble and review it, and then resell it as a completed “reviewed by Hifi Zine” unit. Finally, where feasible, a kit manufacturer may wish to provide an assembled unit for Equipment Review, under the same terms as for normal components.

Long-term loans

Hifi Zine welcomes long-term loans of components, equipment, and software that will aid in creating informative and useful articles. In particular, ancillary items such as test equipment or software, and accessories that will allow a reviewer to optimize the use of components under review, are most welcomed. The Publisher must be kept informed of any offers or requests for such loans. Items on long-term loan, or licenses for them, may not be sold or passed on, except to another Hifi Zine reviewer for the purpose of creating additional Hifi Zine articles. A return, or cancellation of the licence, may be requested by the provider after at least a reasonable period has elapsed (typically two years).

Any article that uses an item on loan will acknowledge the use of the item in the footer of the article.