Announcing the HEADPHONE Community Preview Program



We want to share as many headphones as we can with the community so we’re launching a loaner program for members of the Core Team. Over time we’d like to build this into the most extensive headphone-loaning program available.

Here’s what you need to qualify:

  • Achieve Core Team membership (
  • Have a US or Canadian shipping address (international shipping is a real hassle, but once we have enough core members in a given area we’ll look into starting a loaner tour for that geography)
  • Post a review and/or impression post for each piece of gear you receive to remain eligible for the program

The current list of items in the program is as follows (new additions in italics)emphasized text:

  • Astell&Kern a&Norma SR15
  • Astell&Kern a&Ultima SP1000M
  • Astell&Kern KANN
  • Audeze LCD-2 Closed-Back
  • Audeze LCD-4
  • Audeze LCD-X
  • Audio Technica ATH-AD700X
  • Audio Technica ATH-AD900X
  • Audio Technica ATH-AD1000X
  • AudioQuest NightHawk Carbon
  • AudioQuest NightOwl Carbon
  • AudioQuest Dragonfly Red
  • AudioQuest Dragonfly Black
  • Beyerdynamic T5p
  • Beyerdynamic DT1990
  • Campfire Audio Comet
  • Campfire Audio Orion
  • Campfire Audio Polaris
  • Campfire Audio Cascade
  • Campfire Audio Andromeda
  • Chord Mojo
  • FiiO FH1
  • FiiO X5 Mark III
  • Final Audio E4000
  • Final Audio E5000
  • Final Audio F3100
  • Final Audio Sonorous III
  • Final Audio Sonorous VI
  • Focal Elegia
  • Focal Utopia
  • Focal Clear
  • Focal Elear
  • iFi Audio iDSD Micro Black Label
  • iFi Audio iDSD Nano Black Label
  • iFi Audio xCAN
  • iFi Audio xDSD
  • Noble Audio Django
  • Questyle QP2R
  • Sennheiser PXC 550
  • Sennheiser HD598 SR
  • Sennheiser HD 800S
  • Sennheiser HD 820
  • Topping D30

Items previously in the program but currently unavailable:
  • Audeze MX4
  • SPL Phonitor x

This post will be updated as new gear becomes available.

One last thing… Can anyone think of a better name than “loaner program?”

Best implementation of Product Reviews?
Maybe a Loan Company for Headphone Equipment
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Astell&Kern (A&ultima) - SP1000M Digital Audio Player - Official Thread
Welcome to The HEADPHONE Community - READ FIRST
Massdrop x Cavalli Liquid Carbon X (LCX) Balanced Headphone Amplifier - Official Thread
Ryan's Focal Clear Review
ZMF Headphones
HiFiMan Susvara Over-Ear Planar Headphone - Official Thread
Intros: If you just joined the community this is the spot to introduce yourself
Campfire Audio Comet in-ear Headphones - Official Thread
MQA Playback & Support
Astell&Kern (A&Norma) - SR15 - Digital Audio Player - Official Thread
A discussion about what we want this community to become
Massdrop x Cavalli Liquid Carbon X (LCX) Balanced Headphone Amplifier - Official Thread
The Ultra Cheap IEM Thread
iFi Audio xDSD

I think this is AWESOME, and truly shows that you guys want to spread the love of headphones. It is also a good way of keeping engagement high, and rewarding those that go above and beyond in the community. Well done.

As for the name, I was thinking about “Community Preview Program”. I’m not very good with naming things though…


It’s definitely better than “loaner program!”


I laaaahve this idea of a “Sound Share” of sorts.


I think this is a great idea. The “Community Preview Program” would be a nice benefit. Now I just have to figure out what to review.


Would this work for someone in Canada?


I think this is an excellent idea, as well as being quite generous of you. I’ve participated in such things on other sites and they’ve been very valuable to me personally - with the potential to also be so for the overall community - even beyond those directly participating in the loan of gear.

That last part - the value of such a thing to the community as a whole, beyond the actual participants - is realized by those receiving loan gear actually posting impressions or reviews of it.

All too often other loaner programs result in people hearing the gear, but never posting anything about the experience - which is a huge lost opportunity in my opinion. So I’d like to suggest that in addition to needing to be a Core Team member to participate, that people participating in a loaner are expected to post their impressions within a reasonable period after their time with the unit is up.


I love this idea and think this would be a huge draw of bringing people to this forum. One of the biggest challenges in this hobby is being able to audition gear before buying, particularly if you are not living in a big city with an abundance of high end audio stores.

I also agree with @Torq that requiring people leave at minimum some sort of impressions, even if not a comprehensive full review, be standard. It is a waste to send out gear to people that don’t contribute back to the community. I’m not sure how to enforce that, but there should probably be consequences like not being able to join the next loaner tour or something.


@Torq and @I_want_all_the_tacos

I agree that a review and/or impressions post of each piece of equipment should be a requirement to stay in the program.

I’ll add it to the post.


It will work for Canada if there is enough Canadian interest / core members. It will function as a separate loaner tour with different products on rotation so that no none has to deal with cross-border shipping.

However outside of the US / Canada there are no plans at this time as we have had a lot of issues with international shipping, particularly with headphones.


How about “You break it, you buy it?” :grin:


There will be a few caveats along those lines upon acceptance to the program, but we’d have to take look at the type and cause of damage.

No one wants to be stuck with a Utopia bill if a driver happens to fail while it’s in your care. However damage due to carelessness is a different story.


Fantastic idea gents!

Thank you for offering such a generous and valuable program. This is especially valuable to me since local dealers are non-existent in my neck of the woods as far as I know. Some have tried, but ultimately did not prosper. Plus, it’s also nice to have a goal to work towards!



Hi @andrew,

Will we be able to borrow a “system”, for example a headphone + amp, or just one item at a time?

If not for Core Team members, maybe a consideration as higher ranks are added to the community?


I feel like that is a minimum expectation from being a part of the loaner program. This has the potential to be a huge learning experience for both the community and the individual participating in the program. And there is no way to showcase this sound wisdom (pun intended) unless something is written up or vlogged. Furthermore, I think this may be how our community can carve out an identity and provide ever more knowledgeable dialogue to a pretty saturated topic.


I’ve been thinking about that and I think it’s the way to go. It’s not much good previewing a Utopia if you don’t have the gear to be able to properly test it.

I would also love to see some “community favorite” systems emerge that multiple members could experience.

We’ll need to figure out how to de-risk sending out $10k+ of gear to one person :wink:


Well said


For a name, how about Community Audition Program?

Totally agree that for the experience of the “trial” gear being loaned that some sort of feedback to the community be expected. What a great resource that could become!


Thinking about supplying gear to properly support given headphones…

The equipment behind the headphones in use out there is as numerous as snowflakes in a winter storm. For the sake of all those folks, it is certainly useful to forum readers/researchers to know how the headphones sound connected to “matched” equipment listening to pristine source material. However, it may also be just as useful to readers to know how the headphones sound hooked to other source equipment and listening material - from laptop onboard audio output playing mp3’s on up.

For those who audition the headphones, I think the perspective gained from reporting the experience of using the headphones with supplied matching gear AND whatever the individual routinely uses (or decides to use for those headphones, maybe just for fun!) would be helpful to readers. This entire hobby is about compare and contrast.


I followed you here for exactly this type of community! Thank you for the recommendation on reddit! Now to start working on getting the qual up to be a part of the sharing community! I have a couple headphones I wouldn’t mind adding to it eventually.

Edit: Once I’ve listened to my Focal Elex more, and I qualify for the Community Preview Program (CPP[almost sounds like CPAP which could be appropriate, CPAP is an acronym for “continuous positive airway pressure”] ) I’ll see about putting them on the loaner program.