Announcing the *new* HEADPHONE Community Preview Program



That’s very generous! Thank you


Headphone “Loaner Library” or maybe “Loan a 'Phone” but those sound corny… Also: What if someone donates to the program and there is a way to request headphones. I’d put in $50 to $100 to help the program work if I got to vote for what headphones get added.


“Cans of Loaf” … Ok, I leave the room.

#28 test swap


great idea, with some very good additions. The idea of forming a community pool of donated gear that others can try…very nice, and also reflects well on the forum and it’s members.

okay…title alternatives for the loaner program (and don’t shoot the messenger pls)
The Sound of Music
Coffee, God and Headphones
I can hear it now.
Sweet Harmony
With a Little Help from my Friends
The Muse in the Music

…and I’m done.


This is TERRIFIC! Thanks!

SPL Phonitor X DAC/AMP - Official Thread
SPL Phonitor X DAC/AMP - Official Thread
SPL Phonitor X DAC/AMP - Official Thread
Focal Clear Open-back Headphones - Official Thread

This is a great idea. I’m also a massive dive watch geek, and a lot of people I follow get involved in product tours for new releases that they then all review and pass on.

Sadly I’m in the UK, but I would happily pay for shipping to me, amd back out to the next person to test something like the Campfire Atlas, £50 or so really is a small price to pay to demo something that will cost 1000 (not to mention the i.port tax you’ll lose if you decide they’re not for you and you want to sell them).

I’d even go as far as saying a small membership fee (whether a one off payment, or small monthly subscription) could work, as it would also mean all user’s addresses and details are verified.

However this works though in the end, it’s a great idea!


As promised, @andrew and @taronlissimore have added some very interesting new gear to this program - tripling the number of things available since it started. It expands the range of items to include a much broader range starting with entry-level items and going all the way up to some serious flagships.

The complete list is always maintained in the initial post, along with a lists of items that were previously in the program but are currently on hiatus. New additions are shown in italics.

  • Audeze LCD-4
  • AudioQuest NightHawk Carbon
  • AudioQuest NightOwl Carbon
  • AudioQuest Dragonfly Red
  • AudioQuest Dragonfly Black
  • Campfire Audio Polaris
  • Campfire Audio Cascade
  • Chord Mojo
  • Focal Utopia
  • Focal Clear
  • Focal Elear
  • iFi Audio iDSD Micro Black Label
  • iFi Audio iDSD Nano Black Label
  • Sennheiser PXC 550
  • Sennheiser HD598 SR
  • Topping D30

This program is a great way to expand the gear you’ve had exposure to, audition and review something you’re considering buying, or to get your ears around gear you might otherwise only see at shows/meets.

If you’re interested in participating, and meet the requirements outlined in the first post, then drop @andrew, @taronlissimore or I (@Torq) a message.


How is this program working out?


Several people have qualified to participate, with a few others very close.

Of those that have met the Core Team requirements, some of them already have gear from the program in their possession - with reviews from that pending.

Several more are either in line for an item that’s already with someone else or have time conflicts (new jobs, moving, etc.) that they are waiting to clear before taking gear to listen to (very public spirited of them).

Right now I personally have the Dragonfly Black and the iFi Nano iDSD Black Label via this program. I’ve posted a review for the Dragonfly Black already, and will follow that up in the very near future with one of the Nano iDSD.

I’ll either be returning those units, or handing them off to someone else in the program, this coming week.

And then prior to that I got both the SPL Phonitor x and the Focal Clear as part of this program as well. I’ve already posted my review of the Phonitor x (and liked it enough to buy one), and my review of the Focal Clear will be posted in a couple of days.

I’d love to see more participation, even so.


One of these days I’ll bother to write a real review of something. I think that’s what I’m missing from Core. I do hope that Mr. @Torq will act as editor before I submit.

I’m pretty sure it won’t be speaker cables. I’ve got nice new speaker cables. I fully expect to connect them and have no particular comment about how speaker cables sound.

Or, I could do this - “I stretched the 20 foot cables between two trees, attaching them from Lowe’s hardware eyes (3.25 inches, #10) fitted with polybutylene grommets sourced from RockAuto’s performance suspension catalog for the 1968 Cooper front struts. Then I tried to twang them, without notable results. Finally, I put my ears directly on the sheath material, and listened to the cable as 2 squirrels from the local tree colony attempted to run across the cables. GORGEOUS! Great mid-frequency, and you could actually hear the scratching of their claws at about 4000hz as they scampered. Much better than my old Monster cable, where the inferior plastic dielectric obscured the tonalty.”


Very exciting. I am wondering if you have your finger on the pulse of what would be missing from my resume to qualify for the core team? I had messaged @andrew, but the message might have gotten lost.



This is what @andrew says right at the top of the topic.


Yes, you’re already at trust-level 3 (“Regular”) so it’s just a case of posting a review (as opposed to a couple of paragraphs of “impressions”). And, of course, continuing to participate here as you have been!

Happily! That’s part of my new role here.

You are, of course, free to post reviews in the forums as you wish.

But I am happy to work with anyone that wants either some editorial support/review/coaching or that wishes to try for something more on the “formal” or “comprehensive” side of things - even with a mind to featured reviews on the main site (we’ve already got a couple of people on that track).


Thank you @Torq. With my background I want editorial eyes on my writing.

Now I might mention that the trees in my earlier post are a Pin Oak and a Sweetgum. The Squirrels are grey - chosen for their neutral coloration. Red squirrels have less linear response curves…


I am curious at to any input. As for me,I have to stick to MY ONE AND ONLY(Gershwin) headphone set-up.


LOL…from what I have read. The US has grey squirrels and the UK has red squirrels although I have read some nasty UK programs concerning red squirrels. :wink:


As long as it’s not flying squirrels … I think we’re okay!

They have very strange dynamics.


I see that there’s both an LCD-4 and a Utopia in the program. I haven’t listened to enough (well, any) summit-fi headphones to feel comfortable doing it myself, but it would be fun to see someone do a shootout between those two.


You should jump on the LCD-4 … (or both), since you already have ample experience with the LCD2C (which would be an interesting comparison to the LCD-4 in itself)!

I’d be particularly interested to see what EQ curve you came up with for the LCD-4 as well, since I find them at their best with the EQ provided by Audeze’s “Reveal” plug-in (or the preset in Roon).

Though, the LCD-4 do need a fairly beefy amp to get them to show their best. The 1.4 watts @ 32 ohms (or 200mw @ the 200 ohms of the LCD-4) directly available out of even a Chord DAVE is not sufficient to show them at their best (regardless of what the math says).

At some point, once I get through my current review backlog, I’ll do a full shoot out between my LCD-4, Utopia, HD800S and Abyss AB-1266 Phi CC.