In defence of Ken Kessler in particular and audio writes in general – or at least most of them – by Neil McCauley (part 1 of 2)

From time to time and on some but not all forums an audiophile magazine reviewer is used as a scapegoat for every illness in the industry. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that the more aggressive / virulent posters are those hiding behind anonymity. However that’s not the point of this piece nor indeed that it’s transparently clear that many such posers are working to an agenda. Mind you, it’s a change from the ‘bash the dealer’ threads.

What concerns me are the statements which are posted through either deliberate ignorance (ignoring the facts that contradict the cherished prejudice) or casual ignorance. Here is one of three – chosen for illustrative purposes. The other two will appear shortly.

Non-financial corruption or questionable ethics re some importers:

Right then, Absolute Sounds are the longest surviving importers from the ‘good old days’ of the mid 1970s. They have the highest profile and probably the most determined figurehead of any audiophile organisation. More importantly though they have a roster of twenty, yes twenty of the most respected global brands. That’s a fact. How they have come to dominate the UK high-end audiophile arena is an interesting story. We hope to interview the Company later this year.

The crucial element is this. Any editor wishing to include reviews on up-market equipment must inevitably have to engage with Absolute Sounds because they represent a substantial part of that market sector.

Consequently a reviewer such as Ken Kessler who reviews an Absolute Sounds product will be perceived by the unenlightened and unimaginative to be ‘in the pay’ of interested parties. It’s hardly his fault, or indeed anyone else in a similar position that Absolute Sounds have carved out such a niche.


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