Thin Line Between Critique and Courtrooms: A Dialogue on the Recent Audiophile Drama

Hey Audiogonians,

In the vast, vibrant universe of audio reviews, where the line between subjective opinion and objective analysis often blurs, a new saga unfolds. It involves a Youtuber, well-known within our community for their take on speaker designs – designs that, while innovative, haven't shied away from criticism. The plot thickens with another Youtuber's revelation: the speaker's designer and manufacturer has filed a lawsuit against a reviewer over their less-than-glowing feedback.

The core of the debate? Whether it's acceptable to push back against reviewers when their findings diverge from what manufacturers desire. It's not a new drama; history is littered with tales of reviewers facing legal threats for daring to express their truth. Yet, each story brings a fresh perspective on the delicate dance between free speech and brand reputation.

This particular episode raises several intriguing questions:
- Where do we draw the line between constructive criticism and damaging feedback?
- Is the courtroom really the arena for settling disputes over reviews, or should dialogue prevail?
- And crucially, what does this mean for the future of honest, independent audio reviews?

This isn't just about the nitty-gritty of legal battles, many of which remain cloaked in confidentiality and technical jargon. It's about the principle: the right to voice one's opinion in a space that thrives on diversity of thought.

So, fellow audiophiles, what's your take? Have you ever felt swayed by a review, only to discover a different truth upon listening? Have you faced the ire of those who didn't appreciate your candid feedback?

📢Let's make this a discussion to remember – not just for the controversy, but for the unity and respect we can foster, even in disagreement.



Actually, I think that this whole thing started as a misunderstanding.

The speakers were initially reviewed without feet, leaving four small holes in the cabinet bottom and the tester said that he saw an anomoly in the impedience curve. I don’t know that he originally shared his curve, but what it was was a tiny lump in a portion of the curve where it really doesn’t even matter.

He reported the anomoly and the mfg suggested that he needed to put the feet on to get rid of the shift in the curve.

BUT, I think that they were talking about two completely different thngs!

The feet were installed and the reviewer did infact notice a shift in the impedience curve, just as the mfg said there should be. But, this was not the same shift of which the reviewer was commenting on, and infact, he never even noted this shift due to the lack of feet.  Also, the reviewer and mfg never did agree on what frequency the shift was occuring at.

The reviewer attributed this miniscule bump to an enclosure resonance to which the mfg took offence.

The reviewer then retested the speakers this time also turning them upside down and noted that when turned over, the miniscule bump was now gone, and this is evidence of the top panel being resonant because the weight of the speaker dampened the panel resonance.

But when I look at his data, even upside down, I still see the bump, though it is slightly flatter and broader.

If the reviewer really thought it was a cabinet resonance on the top panel, he should have laid a towel on it and put a cinder block on top of that to dampen this resonance and checked again. For all we know, an interior piece of insulation hangs in a different orientation in the upside down test causing this slight difference.

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Erik has no business being the spokesperson for tekton. He should let someone else do it and stay off social media indef.  he should just say his reaction was emotional then just  go away, 

Just my two cents with the caveat that I am a lawyer, recently retired, but I did previous work in tort areas so I understand the law of defamation (slander, libel, slander per se and libel per se). The important things to know about defamation are that (1) if it involves a public figure, it is significantly harder to prove, (2) defamation only involves claims of provable or disprovable facts -- opinions no matter how thinly stated are not defamation as long as they are not based upon provable or disprovable facts (for example saying you hate something is not defamation unless you say you hate it because of a specific provable or disprovable fact), and (3) truth is always an absolute defense. 

I'm glad that @james633 posted the follow up video and I'm late to this party but I watched most of that video and think this is a lot to do about almost nothing. 

No litigation has been initiated as far as I know and Erin was having a cow due to the threats because he is a normal human being and didn't expect that kind of reaction to a generally positive review. Erik overreacted and acted like a bully/jerk for no real reason that I can see. He also impliedly blamed Erin for loss of sales probably without any kind of proof but just using it as a threat. 

Certainly Erik could have reached out civilly to Erin and discussed any suggestions or concerns he had and it appears Erin would have taken such communication seriously. Instead, Erik has created an uproar and cast himself in a negative light. 

There is no real defamation case that I can see (and even cases with good proof of defamation are usually not good cases unless they involve outrageous conduct -- see recent news on those types of cases). Even if Erik could show different measurement results, Erin's results, if not faked, are provable facts and therefore truth -- absolute defense. Any such case filed against Erin would be dismissed long before any trial. If filed in an anti-SLAPP state, attorney's fees would be awarded but hopefully Erik was just making an empty threat. 

I hope this all just simmers down and the YouTubers see there was really no real threat to their livelihood.  

@dz13 wrote: "Any such case filed against Erin would be dismissed long before any trial."

First, thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge of how these things play out.

My understanding is that Erin does not live in an anti-SLAPP state.

I realize this question may not be answerable, but here goes:

If Eric DOES file suit, can you guesstimate a ballpark range for how much it would cost Erin to defend the suit to the point where a judge would dismiss it?

Here is what comes to mind: IF Eric has a lawyer friend willing to take the case despite its apparent lack of merit (and Eric has bragged about having lawyer friends in a recent but now-deleted YouTube video), and/or IF Eric has deep pockets, it seems to me that he could still theoretically "win" by putting Erin in a position where the only course of action Erin can financially afford is to comply with Eric’s demands in return for Eric dropping the lawsuit.

(I think Erin could probably crowdfund his defense, but I'm still curious.)

Please correct any misconceptions you see.