Pointing out the pros and cons of a piece of equipment is fair enough, because then you can evaluate these in the context of your own requirements and make a properly informed decision, but I feel it is carrying arrogance too far to tell you what you should be buying without first examining your particular needs. That would be rather like recommending you to buy either a Porsche or a pickup truck, without first asking whether you liked to drive fast or whether you wanted to carry large numbers of potatoes from A to B.
You may have noticed that our review style has changed a little since RM started out, with new ratings for performance and value, plus a summary of the pros and cons of each piece of equipment tested. Judging by your letters, this has been very well received, though there are those amongst you who would obviously like even clearer pointers on exactly which piece of equipment is the best in each category. However, that is a path I am reluctant to follow, as choosing recording equipment is more a matter of selecting something appropriate to your needs than choosing something that conforms most closely to a hypothetical set of criteria.
Very little audio equipment is either completely good or completely bad; the various products simply offer certain facilities at a certain level of performance at a certain price. If the facilities are the ones you need and the price is favourable compared with other machines offering these same facilities, then you don't need me to tell you which model is right for you. Occasionally, there are clear best buys in specific product categories, and in those circumstances, we make it quite clear that we think we've spotted a winner, but more often than not, there is no simple, black and white answer.
If you find that you still can't decide what's best for you, then by all means call us (during office hours please!) and we'll be more than happy to talk over your individual requirements — between us, we've tried out most of the more common recording-related products at one time or another. RM is something of an exception in the magazine world in actually inviting readers to phone in, but we feel the time is well spent. We're more than happy to pass the time of day chatting about equipment or recording techniques, and in the event that we are unable to help out, we can usually put you in touch with someone who can. We've even been known to take readers' phone calls at home, but please, stick to office hours if you possibly can — even RM's dedicated staff try to have some form of social life! Of course, this isn't all down to altruism — when you phone in with your problems, we get a better idea of what you need to know which, in turn, means that we can continually fine-tune RM to better meet your needs. On the same theme, you'll see that we have a Reader Survey in this very issue — we'd very much appreciate you taking the time to fill it in and return it, as the information you give us will be used to make RM even more the kind of magazine you want to see. And there's a little incentive for you — the senders of the first 10 completed surveys out of the bag will receive a CD LP of their choice from RM's CD Shop.
Editorial by Paul White
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