Should mags review stuff not easily available

Wondering what people think about the stereo magazines running reviews on equipment you can't try out at the local stereo shop?
I hear about a lot of great stuff on the internet but I haven't been enticed to drive 500 miles to D.C. to hear VMPS speakers regardless of what people say.. Or spend $40-$100 on having Axiom, Athena, Nohr, or Swans shipped to my house (risk free). Could get expensive in a hurry.
It seems to me that the brick and mortar stores filter through the junk. First they have good hearing / know what the customer wants. Second if they don't sell stuff they go out of business. So their products better be good. The only bad thing being that they are slower in getting stuff on their shelves. So maybe they are missing a hot new product.

How many people buy something on the internet without hearing it first and expect to be fully satisfied? Or be better than what they presently own because someone else liked it.
Is this really a practical way to sell audio stuff where the buyer has no way of knowing what they're getting until they hear it for themselves?
If one thoroughly researches a product they're interested in, he'll know, for the most part, what to expect (sonically) before it arrives on the door step.

Regarding brick and mortar outlets: If your local dealer shares your audio philosophy and carries the products that you like, then, by all means, patronize their salon. I tried to shop at my local dealer, but they only offered 500lbs Krell amps, gargantuan Wilson Grand Slam speakers and exclusively digital front ends. When I stated that I prefer analog and SET amps (i.e., refinement), they looked at me as if I were an anachronism. The sales personnel was nice enough so I bought some accessories from them.

Again, do your homework, trust your instinct and, with a little luck, you'll be just fine...maybe [sardonic smile].

I'm very isolated from any high end shops..400-500 miles away.
High end in my city is considered top of the line JVC.SONY
or if I really want to go all out H.K...
To me its the foot a 50-100 bill so I can audition in my own living room with my own system..well worth it to me.
I am extremely jealous of anyone ,who can spend a day(s)going from high end to high end stores auditioning several pieces of equipment.
Three words to sum it all up..RESEARCH..RESEARCH.RESEARCH..
Happy listening....
Do you really want to stomp on the little guys? With out exposure they are doomed. All we will have is what ever your local appliance store wants to carry. Large bankrolls will buy up shelf space offering different colored bells and whistles to keep any competition at bay. The only way the small guys will expand their availabilty is if the word gets out that they have something better,cheaper or both. Long live free trade and free speech!
In some respects, reviews of products that aren't readily available may be more useful than those of products you can pop down to your local hi-end dealer to hear - for just that reason. If you can hear it for yourself, who cares what a magazine has to say. Just pop in to your dealer from time to time and listen to what's new.

On the other hand, there may be great equipment out there not available locally that you would not have known existed but for the review. Now that you know about it, you can go out of your way to hear it(either by driving or buying or whatever) if it sufficiently piques your interest.
Ignorant and abusive dealers really made me throw in the towel. I spend quite a bit on audio gear but hope to never walk into an audio store again. I would rather buy something, try it, not like it and end up reselling it than have to spend one more minute at a dealer's showroom.
All excellent answers with valid points that i think we can all relate to.

Now for the next question: What mags DO review products from smaller companies ?

Since i'm asking, i'll start off with by saying "Bound For Sound". While Marty does cover a lot of better known names, he does throw in gear and accessories from "no names" every once in a while. Some of these companies are so small that he has had a hard time contacting some of these companies after receiving their products for review. In that respect, i have to admit that buying "sight unseen" with who knows what type of warranty or customer support might be a scary thing. Then again, at least Marty lets you know that kind of stuff right off the bat. Sean
If magazines only printed articles about what I can buy in Green Bay it would be pretty sad to get the next issue of Stereophile or TAS. Macintosh and a little bit of Krell is about the extent of High-end audio in the third largest city in Wisconsin. I enjoy reviews even of things I can't buy here.
Hi Unsound. I agree with your point. Without competition there is no reason for the big companies to work harder.
But an example for me is a single driver speaker I found. I would like to hear it but then I get deterred from the concept when comparing a single driver JVC boombox vs. the comparably priced Yamaha MCR-150. Also chat on this board has not been too positive on single drivers so I guess I'll let it go. Maybe I'll miss something good. That bothers me.
Another example, Revel speakers have always turned me off. Then I heard them at a local dealer (the reviews never impressed me that much and I wouldn't have paid to ship them to my house) and I've been very impressed.
It's just hard to work around the shipping / convenience issue for me.