The first thing you want to though when you receive an ambient mix is to change the reverb, that is the main difference between ambient artists I think, the professional use good reverbs, the younger generation use cheaper software reverbs.
I get hacked off when people on forums attempt to pass opinions off as facts - its misleading and unhelpful. Your opinions on percieved reverb
quality are irrelevant to this topic and take the focus away from the more salient points brought to this discussion.
I think that for a newer artist, it would be instructive to listen to the opinions of the likes of Paul Vnuk, Loren Inerell and APK (amongst others)
who have been part of the ambient scene (certainly on this forum) for some time, rather than voice your own opinions incessantly. Opinions are like noses and (on the internet) everyone has them. Its what you do - the music you make, that's the important thing.
Don't get me wrong, I have a more 'maverick' take on things and don't always agree with conventional wisdom, but I do respect people who have paid their dues/know their onions and have released their own material. I agree with the point about trusting your own artistic vision, but that comes with experience and craftsmanship - a skill which takes years to develop.