Ch-ch-ch-ch changes (turn and face the strange)


UPDATE 29th February: And we’re live with the new look DAR!

A new dawn. Tomorrow, a fresh look and feel comes to DAR; the changes will go way deeper than just the cosmetics of the UI. You can expect to see faster page loads times, deeper integration with social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and better use of large/widescreen monitor real estate. The new template will also scale more elegantly for those viewing DAR on a mobile device and you should notice things are just easier to read. Lastly, content structure and navigation has also been given a work-over.

My deepest thanks go to web developer René Ertzinger of Raydianze who has done some pretty special things to the code to make sure the new look DAR’s engine runs lean and mean.

However, change isn’t always easy to deal with. For every ten shouts of “Awesome work!” there’ll be the odd dissenting voice – and that’s fine. You can’t please all of the people all of the time, especially when you’ve one eye on the longevity of a website. Nothing stays the same forever. Acclimatisation to change often needs time.

Best of all, when the new look lands, reader comments will be switched back on.

A good time then to clarify what you can expect from my commentary on these pages and which follow up questions will net you the best outcome. If I don’t mention a comparison between X and Y in any given review, it means I didn’t do it. Each review takes a minimum of 40 hours to complete. Therefore comparisons must be prioritised. And if a new product doesn’t meet with your individual requirements, no need to sound off in the comments about it being a PoS. A cool head is recommended until you’ve at least heard/used the unit. Moreover, a product update doesn’t instantaneously render all previous models unlistenable. Enjoy what you have today and upgrade tomorrow (or consider another hobby).

Please also keep in mind that you’re getting what information I do provide for free. I don’t ask for reader donations; nor will I as long as this site is funded by the banner advertising that you see around you. For more on how things operate behind the scenes please feel free to consult the newly revised ‘About DAR’ page.

Thank you for sticking with us throughout this ten day period of downtime. Not long now till the news, reviews and showcase posts kick back into action.

Take one last long look at the wood background and stand by.

P.S. Oh – and please be patient whilst we iron out any bugs. A redesign always brings bugs.

Written by John H. Darko

John lives in the NOW + HERE = NOWHERE. He derives an income from the ad revenues of DAR. John is also an occasional staff writer for Stereophile, 6moons and TONEAudio.

Twitter: DarkoAudio
Instagram: DarkoAudio
Facebook: DAR


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  1. Long time follower of the site, first time post…justified. Great work on the new site! Keep up with your excellent job John, it’s really appreciated from here.

    Greetings from Uruguay!

    • Thanks Dave – agree on both counts. My web-dev guy Rene worked super hard on getting the code just right.

  2. Hello John,

    nice work on the redesign. I wanted to give you some thoughts regarding the “comments” topic for you and others who chimed in to contemplate. Agree on most accounts on the unnecessary discussions regarding cables can not sound differently, resonators can not work, hand soldered resistors can not provide DAC functionalities and so on and on. This makes finding actual useful information ever so harder.

    I disagree however on some other notions that were raised. It is mostly that these reviews are provided for free and as also raised by some commenter you quoted that strips me of the right to criticize/comment for that reason.
    Point 1: I DO pay for the review/information:
    Yes, i do not pay you directly for my consumption of your information. Your site is however funded by the marketing spend of the audio industry. And this money is coming from me, the consumer. So i do not make the decisions on where and how this is spend, but i fund it, fully.

    Point 2: It is free so stop whining (i know you used different words)
    It is clear that there is only so much time which can go into each review and that means decisions on what to compare it to etc. This is understandable and i feel that you do a pretty good one on these (hence my coming to your site).
    But i find wasting my time with a lot of reviews when half way through it becomes clear the reviewer has no context of relevant performance levels, other products or even how to properly use the items at hand. Other times they did not bother to remove component x or y from his system and thus rendering the whole exercise mute.

    The reviewers are part of the audio ecosystem. I think it is only fair if the consumer who is the part that funds all this is entitled to raise comments and criticism. If a reviewer is not interested in this, fine, i can move on. It is however quite interesting that the same people who set out to comment and criticize on other peoples work become very arrogant and defensive (this remark intended not on you but on the mentioned other reviews) if one dares to question their work. And arrogance comes before …

    Eventually some food for thought

    • I was very, very careful NOT so say “it’s free, so stop whining” and of course, people are free to constructively criticise what’s posted (as you have here). Appreciated, so thank you. However, in claiming that your spend as a consumer ultimately pays for the running of DAR is a little like going up to a policeman and claiming that you pay his/her wages (via taxation), is it not? That works on the macro level but it’s a long bow to draw on an individual level, no? Impossible to ascertain how much money any reader spends with DAR’s site sponsors. One cent of your many taxation dollars might reach that particular policeman – a long way from being enough to tell him/her how to conduct their job. Similarly, you might have purchased an AudioQuest cable or an Aurender server. Fractions of pennies on those dollars reach me. Is that enough to dictate how reviews should be conducted? Of course, mass dissent would indicate that’s something’s way off here. But it isn’t. A little nicely worded criticism is fine by me.

      It’s guys who come off as rude and self-entitled that were the aim of the body text. They say, “You *should* compare X to Y”, “You *should* review this”, “You *should* do your reviews in *this* manner”. In the face of the very many readers who DO see the value in what DAR offers, it’s highly likely those coming off with self-entitled opinions are just not DAR readers. And that’s fine by me. Being held accountable is one thing but being caught in the middle of a readership-driven push-me-pull-you ain’t a lot of fun, especially when that focus is on what’s missing from – and not what’s present in – the review. Especially when, as you say, comparisons have been a central part of DAR’s M.O. for many years.

      The banner ad-funded business model under which DAR operates isn’t perfect and in an ideal world it’d be funded by reader subscription instead. Alas, experience tells us time and again that readers don’t like paying for web content.

  3. Very nice redesign and much snappier function-wise (for me). Please keep up the good work, I do appreciate the well thought out reviews and various content decisions.