Beginning The Ultimate Headphone Guide
This fall, Source Interlink Media (my parent company and publisher of Motor Trend, Snowboarder, Surfer, and 70+ magazines and 100+ websites) will publish and distribute about 150,000 copies of "The Ultimate Headphone Guide" to news stands around the country. To the best of my knowledge this will be the first print publication dedicated solely to headphones. I've been asked to be the copy editor for the guide...I'm tickled pink.
You can think of "The Ultimate Headphone Guide" like a yearbook for headphones. It's basically going to be a 256 page guide filled with pictures and basic information on about as many headphones as we can possibly fit into the guide. It's meant to give consumers a broad over-view of what's available in the world of headphones today; a starting point, if you like, for people wanting to buy a pair of headphones for themselves or as a present for someone else this holiday season.
The guide will be broken down into four main categories: Over-Ear Headphones; On-Ear Headphones; In-Ear Headphones; and Headphone Amplifiers. (I'm very happy to say that my first important contribution to the Guide was the inclusion of headphone amps as a category.) There will also be some informational articles in the back of the book like: Headphone Safety; How Headphones Work; Exotic Headphones: Electrostatic and Planar-magnetic Designs; The World of Headphone DIY; Headphone Enthusiast Communities; and others.
To help you further visualize this publication here's a mockup of some UHG pages, and here's the sales sheet being used to sell the idea to manufacturers (who seem to love what they're seeing so far).
The exciting and challenging thing for me about this project is that I'm responsible for the meaning of the publication. Because they need to be enjoyable and understandable to the broad consuming public, publications like this are often more marketing fluff than they are relevant information. I aim to ensure that doesn't happen here; I want to write a book that's simple and easy to read, but that also contains the information needed for average consumers to orient themselves rationally in the world of headphones, and to find themselves in a good position to take their first steps into great sound on headphones.
Writing something simple and clear for beginners is no easy task. It's always tempting to take steps too far in explaining things, and in the effort to be simple it's easy to miss important points. That's where you, dear reader, can help me. On the following pages I'm publishing my first drafts of the introductions to the major categories of the publication. These introductory spreads in the magazine will be formatted like this:
Basically, the left hand page will be a broad description of the category, and the right hand page will have 3 or 4 blurbs bringing out some important details of that category. I can't format the copy here on InnerFidelity like it will appear in the magazine so you'll just have to keep the above lay-out in mind as you read.
The thing to remember is that there's a pretty strict limit on the number of words that can be written. In fact, some of my copy may already be too long, and will likely go through some changes as the book gets built. So we needn't be too concerned with the actual words on paper at the moment. The thing I would like your attention and comments on, and the thing I've most likely made mistakes with, is being complete. Have I included all the things that a total headphone n00b might need to know? I'm very interested in your comments in that regard...very interested.
I've also included photos that may be used with the copy, but these too might change over time.
On with the guide...