Writing an Equipment Review
Many people have provided reviews of MiniDisc equipment for these
pages, and I am always grateful to have their contributions. Sometimes
however the articles need a bit of revision after they are written,
and I have come to feel that a little early guidance would result in a
better overall article. In this spirit I offer some ideas for
reviewers to bear in mind, arranged loosely in order of importance.
- What is new or unusual about this machine? In the absence
of information, most MD users will assume that a new MD unit operates
like existing ones. You should definitely mention any new features or
things that run counter to intuition.
- Does everything work properly? An ideal review would
involve going through the manual and trying every function. You
needn't mention every one in your review (especially functions that
are available on other machines and work as expected on the unit in
question) but you should mention functions that don't work
well, or were hard to figure out, or that worked especially well.
- Is this machine a variation on an existing machine? If this
unit represents the evolution of an existing model from a
manufacturer, try and state how this unit differs from the previous
one. This can be one of the most succinct ways of giving a review.
(e.g. ``The Q35 is just the Q30 with new sheet metal'').
- How does the unit handle? After you've had the unit for a
while (a week or two), you will be in a good position to say whether
the device has good ergonomics. Do the controls seem easy to use and
logically arranged, or are you frequently pushing the wrong button or
making a mistake during operation?
- What are the machine's specs? The manual provides a few
things that are hard to get elsewhere: the exact dimensions and specs
(e.g. headphone amplifier power, i/o port impedance ratings, etc.). A
verbatim transcript of this section of the manual alone is a
- How does it sound? How is the fit and finish? Do you like
it? Now that you've done all the hard work of describing this
machine, don't forget to express your sense of the machine's quality,
both in terms of how it sounds and how it looks and feels. We'd like
to know if you'd be happy to own one again.
- What does it look like? If a picture of the unit doesn't
yet exist on the MD Community pages and you can find one somewhere on
the Web, or can scan one yourself, this would be an important
- Where did you buy it and how much did you pay? After a
favorable review, others may want to buy the unit too.
Addressing these questions can help you create a good strong review
that will serve others in their decisions about which machines to buy.
Note that I am not necessarily asking for a fixed reporting style that
tackles each question in order, but rather that in the course of
writing your review you try and provide answers to these questions.
And as you may imagine, I am especially happy to receive material with
proper grammar, spelling and punctuation, and formatted as an HTML
document (there being leniency of course for those who don't speak
English or HTML fluently). Thanks in advance for your contributions!
If you feel I've overlooked an aspect of making a review in my
suggestions, please let me