Unusual TAS bomb

Something you don't see too often in this month's issue of TAS - a truly bad component review, of an Audio Research piece none-the-less. Alan Taffell reviewing the the DAC8 said "Overall the DAC 8 is simply not as involving, musically informative, or relaxing as it must be to compete at its price point" and that might have been the most polite thing he said about it. I've gotten so used to reading fawning reviews I almost didn't think they had it in them to really pan a piece of gear.
What happened? Did Audio Research cut back on advertising? Or maybe Audio Research didn't offer the DAC 8 as a gift. Seriously, I feel sorry for anybody who thinks these reviews have more value than just pure entertainment.
There is an art to reading audio reviews. Anything that is not an enthusiastic comment is bad. I've read a couple. It is pretty obvious when the guy says at this price point I would consider this or that unit. That is different from reviewing this component was transformational, and made me rethink what is possible at this price point.
From what I gather the same issue has s stellar review of the PS audio perfectwave MKII DAC. To my knowledge PS audio never spend a penny on advertising in TAS. May be the guy just did not like the DAC8 and that is all there is to it.