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I think online synth reviews are getting worse.


RABid

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I watch a lot of YouTube, music instruments, yoyo, drone, crafts, you name it I watch it. But reviews of synths seem to be taking a dive in detail and quality. Everyone wants to make patterns and patch. No one bothers to describe the structure of the instrument. I just watched 4 reviews of the Moog Subharmonicon. Not one gave the price or described the structure. What has happened to quality, detailed reviews? The people that I watch for drone reviews will tell the type of motor, communication method between the remote and drone, range, flite time, stability in wind, features such as follow me, sensors, price, where it can be purchased, etc...

 

Maybe Music Player Network should show them how it is done. Put up some real reviews. Set the standard.

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Do you mean like the MPN Gearlab?

 

No. I'm going to be brutally honest. Gear Lab has 4 reviews since February. That does not cut it. And while the people doing the reviews are talented and thorough, the forum format of reviews is not going to draw people in. It would be a great supplement, but we are in an age of video. YouTube is the most searched site on the web, by far. That is where music lab should be. It can take a while to build up a following, but once you have a following YouTube can be a good income source. Can you imagine Craig reviewing a guitar pedal or Dave reviewing a synth, and actually being able to hear what they hear as they try it out?

 

I did finally find a good Subharmonicon review. This is the competition.

 

[video:youtube]

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Many, many reviews are rubbish.

 

If any start with ..... wasssup, it gets turned off as does any that um and err there way through.

 

As for unboxing videos, yawn.

 

Yet some like James"s review of the Casio S3000

 

 

Are great and unleash a flurry of responses.

 

His two follow up vids are also well worth watching.

Col

 

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I'm going to be brutally honest. Gear Lab has 4 reviews since February. That does not cut it.

Here's why:

 

First of all, it typically costs money to pay good reviewers. We've run a few banners, but not enough to generate a ton of cash. I haven't spent a ton of time trying to sell a bunch of ads because I want to keep the forum as free of that stuff as possible - I like just having the one leaderboard. Also, they've pretty much been all manufacturer banners - we haven't really solicited any retailers yet....and, to be really honest, most of the folks running ads have been friends of mine.

 

Secondly, we wanted to try to differentiate the Gearlab from online reviews by attempting to get the forum members involved and make them more like interactive workshops than one person just talking...but the few reviews that we have started haven't really generated that much interactivity or interest. I even did the Pigments one where I got ten of our MPN Advisory Board folks copies of the software to play with and encouraged other forumites to download the demo to play along. Not so many folks did. I tried to get one or two of the Arturia folks to join in and chat with us...and one of them signed up to the forum...but never posted. If I'm going to get manufacturers interested in this concept, I have to make it work first. I lined up this amazing panel of reviewers in Anderton, Metlay, Fortner, etc...but I can't ask them to work for free (although they already have on those first ones). Others would gladly write for us...but again, there's the $ thing. :idk:

 

Thirdly, I'm still trying to work out if the main target for financing reviews are the manufacturers or the retailers. To me, it's not always terribly efficient for a banner or link inside a review to click back to a manufacturer's web site. Ideally, it should click back to some place where people can not only learn about a product, but buy it too...ideally at some kind of special discount for forum members...but,once again, the interactivity hasn't been there, so it's been difficult for me to get folks interested.

 

Fourth, since we really don't generate much income, we can't afford to hire a salesperson get out there and pound the pavement/come up with ideas. Yes, sales is what I do...but i work for five other companies, and am the main admin here...so my plate is a bit full. Hope this doesn't sound like a complaint - my only complaint in this area is that I don't have enough time to do it. :facepalm:

 

Fifth, we opened up the MPN Shop to try and generate a bit of income to do things like pay reviewers...but - since we're being brutally honest - the shop is almost a total bomb. We're not sure if it's because folks don't like the products, don't wanna spend money right now or just don't feel a need to support something they've gotten for free for 20 years...but the bottom line is that only five or six people have bought anything, and we haven't managed to get any real feedback to tell us why.

 

I'm actually entertaining an offer from a major retailer that will bring some income into the forum. That would certainly increase what we can do with reviews and other educational content. We have a few other things that we're working in in that area - Anderton, Fortner and Metlay are all busting their heads trying to help me figure this out. I know Fortner is starting a Nord review and Metlay has an Arturia piece - both of those should show up shortly.

 

We did have a few other things lined up to help generate income, but the COVID thing has not been real helpful in that area. An example woud be that we were going to be a pretty major presence at Synthplex and hoped to find a bunch of partners there...but...

 

I apologize that we haven't been able to do a better job getting this aspect of MPN off the ground. I feel badly it's taking so long, but I hope you guys will bear with us while we work it out. Sorry if any of this comes off as complaining - not my intention. You asked - I answered honestly.

 

I hope that clarifies the situation some. :)

 

dB

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For music gear, I've found Chris Martirano's videos to be excellent in explaining structure, programming/usage, and sound. After watching his videos, I feel like I could operate the unit out-of-the box without reading the manual. The clarity of his demo of the Nord Stage 3 (along with Nord's own promo/ demo) were significant factors in why I purchased one.

 

I also get a lot of value from Sweetwater's Mitch Gallagher and Jacob Dupre, along with Kraft's Adam Berzowski.

 

For electronics, RTINGS.com and The Wirecutter are my go-to sites.

Nord Stage 3 HA88, Nord Stage 3 Compact, Casio CT-S1, Radial Key Largo, Westone AM Pro 30, Rolls PM55P, K&M 18880 + 18881, Bose S1 Pro, JBL 305p MKII, Zoom Q2n-4K

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How can anyone complain about a free resource? love the GearLab approach, but I can see why they can exactly churn those out when it is essentially subsidized by other facets of MPN.

 

Imagine living in a world with no YouTube. Just try to imagine it . . .

 

As I see it, the downside of youtube is that sometimes you have to open a bunch of oysters before you find a pearl. Just about every "unboxing" and "first impressions" video could be deleted and we'd be no worse off. I mean, really, you couldn't spend a day getting familiar with your new keyboard before making a video?

 

I find youtube troubling on a more fundamental level. All those ads you don't watch, that's who you are indirectly supporting when you watch. On the rare occasion I actually stop to watch them, I find many of them deeply disturbing and inconsistent with my beliefs. Watching YouTube is supporting that ecosystem in much the same way as being on Facebook.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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I know I have not been around much in the past year, but I didn't know about the MPN Shop. When Dave mentioned it above I had to go looking. My saved link brings me directly to the forum so I never see the little MPN Shop link at the top of the home page. Kudos to Dave for not banging us over the head with adds and links to it, but I would not mind a link somewhere on the forum in a more noticeable spot. Hosting a forum is not free.

 

I pay the monthly subscription to YouTube so I never see adds. For me it is worth it because I watch YouTube more than I watch Dish. It is also nice to know that content creators get more money when I watch their content than they get from an add sponsored watcher.

 

Unboxing videos, uggg. To me they are totally worthless. Other people really like them. My favorite drone reviewer, Captain Drone, has found a good solution. He puts the unboxing at the end of his reviews. Those who want to watch can. Those who don't move on.

 

A good review channel would be a full time job for someone, or more than one person. Hard for a group of talented people with day jobs. Several major stores are already pushing out daily reviews. How do you compete with someone like Sweetwater or Anderton's? They only have to go pull something off of the shelf, take it to their studio, and film a review. Some people compete by being very focused, beat boxes, modular, guitar pedals, etc... That's the ones that I normally follow on YouTube. Some of them make decent money doing reviews and tutorials. But it is a major time investment. You don't just pull an Elektron Digitakt out of the box and review it. Just learning the unit takes time, and if you don't bother to learn about the equipment you review, people recognize you as a fraud and you loose your audience. If you do take the time to learn it, you can do a series of tutorials and give your video catalog a nice boost. Good tutorials draw a lot of views and generate income. It also draws the attention of companies and increases your chance of getting review units.

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I know I have not been around much in the past year, but I didn't know about the MPN Shop. When Dave mentioned it above I had to go looking. My saved link brings me directly to the forum so I never see the little MPN Shop link at the top of the home page. Kudos to Dave for not banging us over the head with adds and links to it, but I would not mind a link somewhere on the forum in a more noticeable spot. Hosting a forum is not free.

We're running a couple of banners - one for Craig's stuff, and one for the swag. It takes up some of the available banner inventory, but it seems worth it to create awareness. :thu:

 

I also want to take a minute to mention that Craig made a conscious decision to keep the pricing on his stuff way low. He wanted to make sure price was not at all an obstacle for anyone who wanted to own his stuff. I see the amount of work the brother puts into his products and I'm here to tell you - there's a ton of value there, and the quality of the products themselves is, not surprisingly, pretty killer.

 

As far as the merch - I made an assortment of products that I hoped would cover a pretty decent spectrum. If anyone was watching when the "No X Stands" KC shirt got created because mate stubb made a joke about having one, you saw how easy it is for me to create and modify the offerings. I'm more than happy to try and create any sort of merch y'all would like to see...and yes, the "Joe Broke It" shirt will appear at some point if the shop ever gets any traction. :D

 

 

A good review channel would be a full time job for someone, or more than one person. Hard for a group of talented people with day jobs. Several major stores are already pushing out daily reviews. How do you compete with someone like Sweetwater or Anderton's? They only have to go pull something off of the shelf, take it to their studio, and film a review. Some people compete by being very focused, beat boxes, modular, guitar pedals, etc... That's the ones that I normally follow on YouTube. Some of them make decent money doing reviews and tutorials. But it is a major time investment. You don't just pull an Elektron Digitakt out of the box and review it. Just learning the unit takes time, and if you don't bother to learn about the equipment you review, people recognize you as a fraud and you loose your audience. If you do take the time to learn it, you can do a series of tutorials and give your video catalog a nice boost. Good tutorials draw a lot of views and generate income. It also draws the attention of companies and increases your chance of getting review units.

I can't begin got tell you how much I would love to have MPN be the center of/solution to this exact issue. It is, in fact, a very large part of our focus and goals - we actually wanna try and link together a curated collection of people, manufacturers, retailers and service providers to create The (real actual) Music Player Network; however, we also want to preserve the groove and integrity of the musicplayer forums...which is why we created the www.musicplayernetwork.com home page to act as a hub, with the forums being a major spoke protected from the potential ecommerce. That should help explain why you see a banner for the MIDI Manufacturer's Association running now...

 

For anyone who doesn't know, www.musicplayer.com does not have a home page intentionally. That URL will take you to the page where you can see all the forums. We did that specifically becuase of what RABid mentioned above - lots of folks just have KC bookmarked, and we wanted to create a clearer path to show the other MPN forums.

 

dB

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Hey Dave, just on the MPN shop, I would have bought one of those damn great hoodies already but the exchange rate plus postage puts it out of my reach right now. But not for much longer ;) So my feedback is that there's zero wrong with the merchandise - like any of that stuff, the bigger the range the better ut that takes funding to grow as well. I'm biased but I think you and the team are doing a great job :thu:
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Hey Dave, just on the MPN shop, I would have bought one of those damn great hoodies already but the exchange rate plus postage puts it out of my reach right now. But not for much longer ;)

:thu:

 

I saw the rates when brother miden ordered his hoodie. You'll be pleased to know that the International shipping is surprisingly affordable.

 

So my feedback is that there's zero wrong with the merchandise - like any of that stuff, the bigger the range the better ut that takes funding to grow as well. I'm biased but I think you and the team are doing a great job :thu:

Thank you, Dave! We're tryin'... :wave:

 

dB

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I really enjoy the extended review format of the Gearlab. Instead of one massive data dump, different aspects of understanding a board comes in a bit at a time, which is closer to reading the book rather than just cramming the Cliff notes. And having interactions, questions and input from readers is great, unique as far as I know. And while I love a well-produced video, more often than not I'd rather read the review or have part of it in print and part of it in video.

 

I would suggest using the power of MPN to spread the word. IIRC, it was a forum post in The Keyboard Corner that alerted me to the gear reviews for both the Hydrasynth and CP boards. Great idea. Then, at different stages of the review, a new post within that thread is generated to alert the various forums that the reviewer is back with more material.

 

A creature of habit, I participate in the Keyboard Corner daily, but rarely in the other forums in the MPN. Cross-pollination between the forums would help!

 

Randy

Kawai ES110 & ES920 /// Casio CT-X5000

Yamaha Melodica and Alto Recorder

QSC K8.2 // JBL Eon One Compact // Klipsch KMC 3 // Win10 laptop i7 8GB // iPad Pro 9.7" 32GB

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I like the format of the GearLab, but it's certainly an entirely different medium and experience from a well-produced YT product review. I'd love to see MPN have a flourishing channel but man is it ever hard to get there. I'm certainly not as active on YT as you are RABid, especially not on the content creators' side of things, so I'm sure you know the time and effort necessary to get a channel up and running. Jim Alfredsson just posted a video on FB the other day of a creator detailing the $10K he spends a year on Adobe products. That's at the apex of things of course, he's running a team of video editors and multiple tech-related channels. But I also learned a lot about my Nord Stage 3 (both before and after purchase) from the My Keys to Music channel. I'm not sure what Marc is making from his channel, but he's clearly doing it for the love. Not sure if there will ever be an Andy Martin for keyboards... unless it's you, maybe?
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A good review channel would be a full time job for someone, or more than one person. Hard for a group of talented people with day jobs. Several major stores are already pushing out daily reviews. How do you compete with someone like Sweetwater or Anderton's? They only have to go pull something off of the shelf, take it to their studio, and film a review. Some people compete by being very focused, beat boxes, modular, guitar pedals, etc... That's the ones that I normally follow on YouTube. Some of them make decent money doing reviews and tutorials. But it is a major time investment. You don't just pull an Elektron Digitakt out of the box and review it. Just learning the unit takes time, and if you don't bother to learn about the equipment you review, people recognize you as a fraud and you loose your audience. If you do take the time to learn it, you can do a series of tutorials and give your video catalog a nice boost. Good tutorials draw a lot of views and generate income. It also draws the attention of companies and increases your chance of getting review units.

 

I find this really depressing.

 

I just spent nearly two months learning the Hydrasynth inside and out, writing about it in detail, walking folks through the functions and talking in the thread about places that could be improved, answering questions and following up on comments, and directing a fair number of people to MPN from the Comments sections of all the YouTube videos I've been doing. Apparently I've been doing everything right but it still doesn't matter in the long run. Why? Because...

 

I'm going to be brutally honest. Gear Lab has 4 reviews since February. That does not cut it. And while the people doing the reviews are talented and thorough, the forum format of reviews is not going to draw people in. It would be a great supplement, but we are in an age of video. YouTube is the most searched site on the web, by far. That is where music lab should be. It can take a while to build up a following, but once you have a following YouTube can be a good income source. Can you imagine Craig reviewing a guitar pedal or Dave reviewing a synth, and actually being able to hear what they hear as they try it out?

 

I'm going to be brutally honest in return. There is no economic incentive for anyone who's currently on the MPN Advisory Board to work this way. NONE.

 

YouTube is designed to drive eyeballs and income into the pockets of the people who make the videos, not of the groups that bring them together to increase visibility (if such things even exist). If Dave wanted to do video reviews and generate any kind of decent income, he'd do them himself. Ditto Craig, or Stephen, or yours truly. There is zero benefit to aggregating these videos in one YouTube channel, and a lot of negatives. How is such a thing administered and overseen? How does monetization revenue get split? How do we deal with viewer comments? What do we do about the negative PR that will INEVITABLY appear when someone with more free time than common sense or decency decides that this one reviewer's videos are genius but that other one's are shit, and starts demanding that MPN ditch one and focus on the other, and if MPN refuses, that it's an old boy network propping up substandard work and should be avoided altogether?

 

You mention Sweetwater and Anderton's... major players with real budgets for real studios and a dedicated team to shoot, edit, post, and monitor videos on a regular basis. Ditto sites like SonicState. It takes resources to make money, and they have beaucoups resources. I don't, nor does anyone else working in GearLab right now.

 

I have a day job writing content, doing paid online tutorials and blog entries, and doing complete website content overhauls for major players. I shoot these videos and write stuff on MPN when I have time to spare from that, and I do it because I love it and I love the community, and personally I love and believe in the forum format. The discussion in GearLab has been awesome for the folks who want to be active participants in the process rather than passive absorbers of knowledge. You talk about how great it would be to hear what folks you respect are doing as they review synths. Wouldn't it be even better to then be able to ask them about it and get answers in a better format than the video's Comments section? I think so.

 

You're suggesting that I should just give in and do things YouTube's way, run my channel, post the occasional link here, ramp up the rate at which I put out videos, figure out a supply pipeline so I am constantly in possession of new gear to review... to live the life of a Content Creatorâ¢, an agonizingly stressful high-pressure nightmare of constantly churning out something ANYTHING to keep eyeballs on, staying ahead of trends in podcast and video presentation that shouldn't matter for content quality but do for clicks clicks clicks, and worst of all (for someone who walked away smiling from a 23-year gig as the Editor of an internationally respected pro audio magazine who could get anything he wanted to play with just by snapping his fingers), constantly begging and whining and pleading for more STUFF that I don't give a shit about and wouldn't use myself if I didn't have to, making all kinds of promises and ruining my hard-won credibility in the name of trying to monetize and keep cash flowing from more clicks clicks CLICKS. (I will save discussion of the laughable idea that "good reviews make gear easier to get down the road" for another time.)

 

Sorry, but hard pass. Never. I'll stick with GearLab until something better comes along, and the YouTube life ain't it.

 

The thing about YouTube is that it's a closed system; it's designed to get people into its workflow and actively choke off any other approach to doing what it does. There's pushback whenever someone tries to buck the trend of what is currently the "only" way to do things, and YouTube has maximized that and put real money behind it. The very patterns of behavior you decry are supported by everyone; your demand that people provide this weird nebulous thing called "quality information" is a tiny blip on the need for clicks, clicks, clicks. Nobody gives a shit if a video channel actually teaches you anything; that's a nice side effect that comes along with the clicks, clicks, clicks. Many of the most successful video gear channels are worthless for actually teaching anything -- you've said so yourself -- so why are they successful?

 

Because in YouTube terms, people like us here in MPN are a vanishingly small minority -- we are outnumbered thousands to one by people who think they know everything and have about as much useful musical knowledge as your average hermit crab, and click click click on everything that looks flashy and sounds hip ("whassup?") and absorb what they see and hear uncritically. A shovelful of fresh manure is a lot bigger and heavier than a protein bar, but it's not as good for you... and MPN readers understand that and revel in it.

 

And THAT is why I do this for GearLab and have zero interest in doing it otherwise. MPN is healthy and wonderful because it acknowledges that we are a minority, that what we care about matters, and that we need to stick together and share what resources are good and worthwhile in an ever-deepening sewer of useless screen time.

 

mike

Dr. Mike Metlay (PhD in nuclear physics, golly gosh) :D

Musician, Author, Editor, Educator, Impresario, Online Radio Guy, Polymath-in-Training, and Kindly Pedant

Editor-in-Chief, Bjooks ~ Author of SYNTH GEMS 1

 

clicky!:  more about me ~ my radio station (and my fam) ~ my local tribe ~ my day job ~ my bookmy music

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A creature of habit, I participate in the Keyboard Corner daily, but rarely in the other forums in the MPN. Cross-pollination between the forums would help!

We agree...but we're unsure as to the best way to encourage/promote that. Suggestions?

 

dB

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Hey Dave, just on the MPN shop, I would have bought one of those damn great hoodies already but the exchange rate plus postage puts it out of my reach right now. But not for much longer ;)

:thu:

 

I saw the rates when brother miden ordered his hoodie. You'll be pleased to know that the International shipping is surprisingly affordable.

 

So my feedback is that there's zero wrong with the merchandise - like any of that stuff, the bigger the range the better ut that takes funding to grow as well. I'm biased but I think you and the team are doing a great job :thu:

Thank you, Dave! We're tryin'... :wave:

 

dB

 

And when it arrives, (with the cap as well haha) I'll post some pics! Exchange rates are nothing to do with the shop! And tbh I was pleasantly surprised by the shipping charge. Usually US outlets gouge a bit on the shipping $'s to add just a bit more profit, but MPN have kept these to an acceptable level, kudos to them for doing that! The gear is taking a while (again no fault of MPN) as there are no international freight flights allowed in to Australia (due to COVID) - all overseas is via ship so EVERYTHING is taking about 8 weeks or so to get here.

 

C'mon guys and gals, if you want something you need to support it! Every little bit helps and I daresay it'll make it easier for Dave and the guys to improve this IF they can show customer traffic through the shop.

It's ok to SAY you support it, but action is the only real way. The shop cannot survive on good wishes alone! Who knows, if we all ramp up support, Dave may even be able to score good deals on stage gear or anything, NOT just clothing similar merch! Let's not let it die off and then bemoan that fact we don't have it anymore! You never miss your water 'til you're dry ;)

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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A good review channel would be a full time job for someone, or more than one person. Hard for a group of talented people with day jobs. Several major stores are already pushing out daily reviews. How do you compete with someone like Sweetwater or Anderton's? They only have to go pull something off of the shelf, take it to their studio, and film a review. Some people compete by being very focused, beat boxes, modular, guitar pedals, etc... That's the ones that I normally follow on YouTube. Some of them make decent money doing reviews and tutorials. But it is a major time investment. You don't just pull an Elektron Digitakt out of the box and review it. Just learning the unit takes time, and if you don't bother to learn about the equipment you review, people recognize you as a fraud and you loose your audience. If you do take the time to learn it, you can do a series of tutorials and give your video catalog a nice boost. Good tutorials draw a lot of views and generate income. It also draws the attention of companies and increases your chance of getting review units.

 

I find this really depressing.

 

I just spent nearly two months learning the Hydrasynth inside and out, writing about it in detail, walking folks through the functions and talking in the thread about places that could be improved, answering questions and following up on comments, and directing a fair number of people to MPN from the Comments sections of all the YouTube videos I've been doing. Apparently I've been doing everything right but it still doesn't matter in the long run. Why? Because...

 

I'm going to be brutally honest. Gear Lab has 4 reviews since February. That does not cut it. And while the people doing the reviews are talented and thorough, the forum format of reviews is not going to draw people in. It would be a great supplement, but we are in an age of video. YouTube is the most searched site on the web, by far. That is where music lab should be. It can take a while to build up a following, but once you have a following YouTube can be a good income source. Can you imagine Craig reviewing a guitar pedal or Dave reviewing a synth, and actually being able to hear what they hear as they try it out?

 

I'm going to be brutally honest in return. There is no economic incentive for anyone who's currently on the MPN Advisory Board to work this way. NONE.

 

YouTube is designed to drive eyeballs and income into the pockets of the people who make the videos, not of the groups that bring them together to increase visibility (if such things even exist). If Dave wanted to do video reviews and generate any kind of decent income, he'd do them himself. Ditto Craig, or Stephen, or yours truly. There is zero benefit to aggregating these videos in one YouTube channel, and a lot of negatives. How is such a thing administered and overseen? How does monetization revenue get split? How do we deal with viewer comments? What do we do about the negative PR that will INEVITABLY appear when someone with more free time than common sense or decency decides that this one reviewer's videos are genius but that other one's are shit, and starts demanding that MPN ditch one and focus on the other, and if MPN refuses, that it's an old boy network propping up substandard work and should be avoided altogether?

 

You mention Sweetwater and Anderton's... major players with real budgets for real studios and a dedicated team to shoot, edit, post, and monitor videos on a regular basis. Ditto sites like SonicState. It takes resources to make money, and they have beaucoups resources. I don't, nor does anyone else working in GearLab right now.

 

I have a day job writing content, doing paid online tutorials and blog entries, and doing complete website content overhauls for major players. I shoot these videos and write stuff on MPN when I have time to spare from that, and I do it because I love it and I love the community, and personally I love and believe in the forum format. The discussion in GearLab has been awesome for the folks who want to be active participants in the process rather than passive absorbers of knowledge. You talk about how great it would be to hear what folks you respect are doing as they review synths. Wouldn't it be even better to then be able to ask them about it and get answers in a better format than the video's Comments section? I think so.

 

You're suggesting that I should just give in and do things YouTube's way, run my channel, post the occasional link here, ramp up the rate at which I put out videos, figure out a supply pipeline so I am constantly in possession of new gear to review... to live the life of a Content Creatorâ¢, an agonizingly stressful high-pressure nightmare of constantly churning out something ANYTHING to keep eyeballs on, staying ahead of trends in podcast and video presentation that shouldn't matter for content quality but do for clicks clicks clicks, and worst of all (for someone who walked away smiling from a 23-year gig as the Editor of an internationally respected pro audio magazine who could get anything he wanted to play with just by snapping his fingers), constantly begging and whining and pleading for more STUFF that I don't give a shit about and wouldn't use myself if I didn't have to, making all kinds of promises and ruining my hard-won credibility in the name of trying to monetize and keep cash flowing from more clicks clicks CLICKS. (I will save discussion of the laughable idea that "good reviews make gear easier to get down the road" for another time.)

 

Sorry, but hard pass. Never. I'll stick with GearLab until something better comes along, and the YouTube life ain't it.

 

The thing about YouTube is that it's a closed system; it's designed to get people into its workflow and actively choke off any other approach to doing what it does. There's pushback whenever someone tries to buck the trend of what is currently the "only" way to do things, and YouTube has maximized that and put real money behind it. The very patterns of behavior you decry are supported by everyone; your demand that people provide this weird nebulous thing called "quality information" is a tiny blip on the need for clicks, clicks, clicks. Nobody gives a shit if a video channel actually teaches you anything; that's a nice side effect that comes along with the clicks, clicks, clicks. Many of the most successful video gear channels are worthless for actually teaching anything -- you've said so yourself -- so why are they successful?

 

Because in YouTube terms, people like us here in MPN are a vanishingly small minority -- we are outnumbered thousands to one by people who think they know everything and have about as much useful musical knowledge as your average hermit crab, and click click click on everything that looks flashy and sounds hip ("whassup?") and absorb what they see and hear uncritically. A shovelful of fresh manure is a lot bigger and heavier than a protein bar, but it's not as good for you... and MPN readers understand that and revel in it.

 

And THAT is why I do this for GearLab and have zero interest in doing it otherwise. MPN is healthy and wonderful because it acknowledges that we are a minority, that what we care about matters, and that we need to stick together and share what resources are good and worthwhile in an ever-deepening sewer of useless screen time.

 

mike

 

I was just going to press "Like" on this , but changed my mind! This is a GREAT post and perfectly explains the vexing issues for dB SF and MM. So I guess, hahha, this is my "re-tweet" of this!

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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A creature of habit, I participate in the Keyboard Corner daily, but rarely in the other forums in the MPN. Cross-pollination between the forums would help!

We agree...but we're unsure as to the best way to encourage/promote that. Suggestions?

 

dB

 

hmm, "cross-pollination" ? Not sure that is an answer, I daresay the folks using the other forums (and indeed this one), and not another are doing so as that is their only area of interest. I think we need to, as individuals, get behind the Gearlab concept and provide member reviews. And then prevail upon other members to NOT wail in on the reviewer with negativity and counter argument, it is only the opinion of the reviewer. Perhaps this MAY be a reason why more folks don't post honest reviews here, because a perceived (and real??) fear that they will be mocked and derided for sharing an opinion on this or that gear. Often under the "guise"of a joke. My mother used to say "many a true word was spoken in jest" and in a lot of cases I agree. A few folks cover up derision and mockery by making out it's a joke.

 

So what if someone really likes a bit of Behringer gear, or "god forbid" a Roland KC amp, let them share why they like it!

 

Ahhhh, who knows, maybe nothing will work! Maybe it's the current human condition - perhaps we've all been lured into the "my space and my opinion are really all that matter" paradigm.

 

The team behind this site are the real deal, are genuine folks and, I believe, have a members before profit ethos, but if we do not support them, THEY cannot get support from external sources and ergo, maintain and create even better content for members!

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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I was just going to press "Like" on this , but changed my mind! This is a GREAT post and perfectly explains the vexing issues for dB SF and MM. So I guess, hahha, this is my "re-tweet" of this!

 

I pressed like for both of us. :)

 

It is a totally true, heartfelt post that demonstrates the termoil of an evolving, everchanging system of reviews and learning. There is no simple answer. No true solution.

 

One possible option, which may be immediately rejected and that is fine, would be to allow forum members to submit reviews to the overseers for possible posting in Gear Lab on a totally volunteer basis. It is hard work to receive a piece of gear, read the manual, learn it, and then write a review that informs and educates. But if you already own that piece of gear, know the pros and cons, and can explain things pretty well, it is much easier to write a detailed review. The core group could always have final edits. This may help build the catalog of reviews.

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I think we need to, as individuals, get behind the Gearlab concept and provide member reviews. And then prevail upon other members to NOT wail in on the reviewer with negativity and counter argument, it is only the opinion of the reviewer. Perhaps this MAY be a reason why more folks don't post honest reviews here, because a perceived (and real??) fear that they will be mocked and derided for sharing an opinion on this or that gear. Often under the "guise"of a joke. My mother used to say "many a true word was spoken in jest" and in a lot of cases I agree. A few folks cover up derision and mockery by making out it's a joke.

 

So what if someone really likes a bit of Behringer gear, or "god forbid" a Roland KC amp, let them share why they like it!

Ab-so-freakin-lutely...and therein lies the beauty of MPN not being under any sort of corporate control or ownership: folks can actually just share their honest experiences and impressions freely. Not only is that "allowed" - we want it.

 

 

One possible option, which may be immediately rejected and that is fine, would be to allow forum members to submit reviews to the overseers for possible posting in Gear Lab on a totally volunteer basis.
I love this idea! Here's the really cool part - we can do whatever we want here now. We own the joint! :rocker::w00t:

 

The only real issue I can see would be that I'm not sure if there should be some level of qualification, or if we should just let anyone who wanted to post a review/start a GearLab thread about a product go ahead and do that. I'm inclined to lean towards the second path, maybe with a way of designating which are Official MPN and which are not.

 

A designated moderator or two might not be a bad choice to make sure of things like there not being multiple threads for the same product, etc.

 

 

It is hard work to receive a piece of gear, read the manual, learn it, and then write a review that informs and educates. But if you already own that piece of gear, know the pros and cons, and can explain things pretty well, it is much easier to write a detailed review. The core group could always have final edits. This may help build the catalog of reviews.

No arguments from me, RAB. :thu:

 

I see high value in having someone who chose to buy something write about exploring it and sharing their experiences with it. I see even more value in having some Gearlabs pieces from end users and others from the pros.

 

LOVE the feedback, BTW. Thanks so much to all of you for helping with this - can't tell you how much I appreciate it. At the end of the dayk this is our place, and the more feedback I get the better I can help get it in order. :)

 

dB

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... A designated moderator or two might not be a bad choice to make sure of things like there not being multiple threads for the same product, etc. ...

 

dB

 

Restrict that forum so that only moderators can start threads, thus the submission process. Once a thread is started and a primary review posted, then anyone can comment or post their own reviews in the same thread.

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The first and greatest challenge is to find an actual review out of all the "reviews" you find.

 

The worst are the comparison things that basically list features of each item and then give somewhat of a summary at the bottom of pros and cons and who might use each...and call that a "review".

 

It's all about getting views and clicks and content makers know "review" is something people search for.

 

Even with the actual reviews, I get the feeling few people are willing to say anything negative about products these days. Not sure the exact reason for this if I'm not imagining it, unless it's that they don't want to burn bridges for future endorsements or something? "Reviews" by stores (of which you find plenty) OF COURSE aren't going to point out flaws in something they want to sell! Those are only useful occasionally as demoes.

 

I frankly find more information on forums. Instead of "

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Restrict that forum so that only moderators can start threads, thus the submission process. Once a thread is started and a primary review posted, then anyone can comment or post their own reviews in the same thread.

I like it...and that's effortless. I even know where the buttons are to do that. :D

 

dB

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I'm going to be brutally honest in return. There is no economic incentive for anyone who's currently on the MPN Advisory Board to work this way. NONE.

 

And now it's my turn to be brutally honest: The reason this is so is because the public says they want something, but doesn't vote for it with their dollars, or even take the time to click a Like button or share links, which doesn't cost anything.

 

Magazines like Keyboard had extremely competent people, and hired competent freelancers, to do detailed, long-form reviews with excellent credibility. Sound on Sound still does, but it gets tougher all the time for them, as it has for the few magazines that are left.

 

When I ran Electronic Musician, readers said they wanted detailed, in-depth reviews. So that's what they got...until they complained that it could take us a couple months after a product was introduced to get it in print, and why couldn't we speed things up? So we did, by deciding on products to review based on whether we could get it before anyone else, rather than intrinsic value. And we shortened the reviews, took fewer pictures, etc. to accelerate the process. Then, of course, people complained that we weren't doing in-depth reviews any more.

 

So readers gravitated toward the new shiny object, YouTube videos ("10 PRO COMPRESSOR TIPS YOU MUST KNOW!!!!!," of course done by someone who's never had a record that charted), and stopped supporting magazines. Magazines no longer had the resources to hire people to do reviews, let alone convert to being videographers to compete with free. Magazines went out of business, and with it, one source of thoughtful, vetted reviews.

 

As Dave mentioned, I thought selling my personal loops, presets, and samples created over the years that I use in my own projects (as well as eBooks) at the MPN Shop, might provide some income. That would justify putting more time into the site, specifically reviews. Not only are the prices low, nothing is copy-protected because I didn't want to inconvenience legitimate users. But no one is interested. Books, samples, presets, accessories...that's what I can offer. It's not your fault if you don't want it, it's my fault for not being able to create things you want. In any event, it's a non-starter for income.

 

Dave and I are adamantly against a "go fund me" or "tip jar" approach. If someone supports the site, they should get something tangible in return. Sure, we could say we want to keep the lights on and the servers humming, and ask people to contribute $10. But I don't want to feel like a charity. I'd rather have people buy something for themselves.

 

As to getting money from building up a following on YouTube, that's a fantasy unless you have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of views. We are a niche market. It's simply not possible to get the kind of numbers that do much more than let you go out to dinner and watch a movie afterward. By yourself :) It's great that companies like Sweetwater can have talented people like Mitch Gallagher doing video reviews, but I can guarantee you he gets paid to do them...and that Sweetwater is profitable :)

 

Remember too that good videos are hard to make. Go to instagram.com/craig.anderton, and check out the one-minute videos I've posted there (which, by the way, are paid for by Full Compass because they have the right to publish them first on their Instagram site). It takes me about 4 hours to do a simple, one-minute video. But, the odds are few people will go there and look at them after reading this, it's just ANOTHER social media site. And hardly anyone will make the effort to click the Like button so what I do can rise in SEO-world, nor will they spread the links to their friends and encourage them to watch my videos, or read the almost 200 articles on the free craiganderton.org educational site (and circulate those links as well), or visit my YouTube channel, or follow me on Twitter.

 

It's legit to ask why I even bother to spend time on social media. It's a question I often ask myself :) Well, some people like what I do, which gives me the incentive to keep doing it. I'm truly grateful for the followers I do have. It also keeps my name out there. Some people really like my music, so I'm okay with putting it on YouTube, and getting nothing in return aside from the validation from those who like it. But Instagram, YouTube, my web site...none of those generate income. I can't spend even more time working for free - especially when my gut feeling is no one really cares that much about it anyway.

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Restrict that forum so that only moderators can start threads, thus the submission process. Once a thread is started and a primary review posted, then anyone can comment or post their own reviews in the same thread.

I like it...and that's effortless. I even know where the buttons are to do that. :D

GearLab has now been set so that only moderators and admin can start new threads. :cop:

 

In addition, brother davedoerfler has graciously agreed to become a moderator for that forum. We'll probably add at least one more...

 

Gotta love it when it's easy. :)

 

dB

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Might I suggest that some sort of example outline be posted as a sticky for reviewers to follow? It may make it easier for folks to get words down who may struggle with where to start? hmmm, maybe a list of their personal pros and cons in a precis type format and then expanding on that in a support text. Or not haha!

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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I dunno - I can see making an argument that the beauty of a format like this is that each potential reviewer would be free to use/explore their own style. Members would be equally free to engage or not, depending on their level of interest. Same as any new thread really, I guess... :idk:

 

It'd fall on the mods to decide if a submitted review is worthy of posting, needed editing before posting, or just isn't what we're looking for.

 

dB

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Dave and I are adamantly against a "go fund me" or "tip jar" approach. If someone supports the site, they should get something tangible in return. Sure, we could say we want to keep the lights on and the servers humming, and ask people to contribute $10. But I don't want to feel like a charity. I'd rather have people buy something for themselves.

 

Don't want to derail too far but... I get where you guys are coming from, but I couldn't disagree more. I don't want to rock the boat too hard, but the concept of needing to have a novelty physical item shipped to my door to somehow represent the money I may choose to give to MPN, is incredibly dated to me. I'm not trying to dump on anyone who might want to buy merch and rep the forums (by all means please do), but I'm not gonna add another t-shirt to the pile when what I'm trying to support is the site itself. I know you're not running a charity (which, like, if you think about it, is a bit of a weird expression tbh), but I'd rather my money be useful to you guys than spread around to pay whoever is making and shipping the stuff.

 

The environmental impact of always needing a tangible exchange is really the biggest thing for me here. Not buying new clothes is one of the most impactful choices we have as consumers. Reduce, reuse, repair, repurpose, before recycle and replace, right?

 

Obviously the loops and books are a different thing considering the musical/educational value, but regardless. It feels weird to me to have you guys working so hard and wondering why there couldn't be more money in it while also actively shutting down a clear revenue stream. It doesn't have to be a full-on crowdfunding campaign, just put a little Paypal link somewhere and redirect all funds to server/upkeep costs.

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