Badda-Bing, Badda-Boom, Bubinga

Posts from the Edge




“Yes. It’s a type of African Rosewood.”

“Huh. They’re huge.”

So went the conversation with my girlfriend yesterday when I walked into the room wearing a pair of Audeze LCD-XC headphones. The gorgeous Bubinga ear cups of the closed-back XCs had caught her off guard. I had just opened them up and plugged them into the Astell & Kern KANN digital audio player I had also been loaned by Hi-Fi Centre in Vancouver.

I thought this would be a reasonable rig to use as a starting point in both price and performance for reacquainting myself with planar-magnetic over ear ‘phones, since my two-channel work/review schedule (and moving into a new place with my girlfriend, son and daughter) had meant it had been a while since I had high-end cans in the house, never mind on my head.

But enough about me, let’s talk about the site.

I would like to start off this post by saying “Thank-you” to everyone for their patience, and understanding as I get things going here at InnerFidelity.

It’s an ongoing – and fun – process learning the software which grants magical access to the back end of the site via FaceTime with our IT expert in California and also sussing out a number of changes involving technical issues which are site-related.

There are also a tremendous amount of moving parts involved in transitioning a website as large, and complicated as InnerFidelity and it involves a number of super-talented people on different continents and time zones that I’m lucky to call coworkers, but things are starting to move.

Think of it like turning a supertanker – even though the helm has been spun about, it takes a while for the ship to actually change course.

That said, I’ve been making headway into who I’ll be reaching out to for contributing support on the site – I’m not rushing anything, this will be a properly thought-out progression – and as I mentioned in the comments on my introductory post, I’m co-ordinating on getting the Wall of Fame gear shipped from Tyll.

I won’t be taking delivery of all that kit though because the WoF will no longer exist in its current configuration moving forward.

I’m sure that while some of you will balk at this change, many others will be able to roll with it – whatever your take on this is – regardless, I respect your thoughts, opinions, and criticisms.

I’ll be curating “Reference Gear” lists for an updated set of categories, price points, ‘phone types and also assessing new reference amplifier rigs moving forward which will be reflected in the updated lists.

This all takes takes time to manage and integrate with manufacturers, and to secure new streams of delivery for review gear, so again, bear with me.

In the meantime I've got our man in the UK – longtime headphone legend Keith Howard – writing me up a specific, and in-depth piece regarding the new headphone-measurement rig that he will be helming for InnerFidelity.

Mr. Howard’s thoughts and explanations will be posted on the site before the weekend, so stay tuned.

KaiS's picture

The Wall Of Fame is a great achievement and source of information.
Maybe you should start to work with things before you change them.

Peragulator's picture

Ahhhh the lonely trolls with no avatar trashing the new guy. Gotta love the basement dwellers on the Internet. Much future success Mr.Arnott

JK's picture

Coming from the cartoon avatar, lol

Peragulator's picture

Jump now JK. jUMP.

JK's picture

...anyway, shows how much of a grown up you are.

Peragulator's picture

Let's attack a new writer submitting his first article. How brave you are. Don't let the hate consume you.

JK's picture

Ummm, I never attacked anyone. You're the person attacking the previous poster because they expressed their opinion, and jumped on them for having no avatar.

I was born and raised in Vancouver, wanna meet up and discuss in person one on one? We will see who the brave one is. Would I be wrong to assume you are a friend of the new editor... Which I have zero problem with, and have said nothing to the contrary.

Peragulator's picture

Vancouver? You are so brave. I was born and raised in Vancouver too! Here's the bottom line oh "Tough Guy". You went out of your way to support a put down of a new writer. It's his first go around ,but another creep couldn't allow the guy a modicum of respect. "HOW dare you defile the great Tyll of Herstens and his Wall!! Grow up JK.

Journeyman's picture

I did some trashing on this site and believe me that's hardly trolling.
In fact I (a old user) agree with the words above. The wall is special for most old users of this site. Even so I respect Rafe, even if I find it sad that the wall will be changed for a soulless list.
There are a lot of lists in the internet but there is/was only one wall of fame for headphones. Peace.

Rthomas's picture

Hi Rafe,

First of all I wanted to wish you good luck with IF. I've been a frequent visitor for the last 8 years. The Wall of Fame is my favourite feature of the website. I don't see why it needs to be renamed/reworked to a 'Reference List' which is much less catchy/interesting/distinctive. I'm sure a lot of long time readers will agree with me.

I'm happy that measurements will continue to be a focus.

If you look at the most popular or 'commented on' articles in the history of this website I'm certain that Bob Katz's headphone shootouts and the Big Sound 2015 project will rank very highly.

I very much hope you bring in a panel of experts (eg acoustic/mastering engineers) to evaluate TOTL or groundbreaking headphones or to shootout 2 or 3 headphones that are considered the world's best at least once a year.

The last thing the audiophile world needs IMHO is another sponsor pleasing 'everything is awesome' website. We have a dozen other websites for that....

Hope that Bob Katz continues to be a regular contributor as I always enjoy his straightforward and strong opinions on gear.

Again I wish you the best of luck.

Best Regards


Peter Puck's picture

Hi Rafe

A wall of fame is a personal thing anyone with a pair of ears and a opinion should have one ,I know the gear I own is my wall of fame gear based on my buying habits.while I value others options I listen if it interests me and then I form an opinion. If that opinion is awesome and the product is in my price range for gear that year it may get added to my wall of fame . Anyway I'm looking forward to your first full review to see if your style and ears jibe with mine . Have fun.

Supperconductor's picture
MattTCG's picture

Incredibly Frustrating

mariscosyketchup's picture

Hey there,

new management should rename the website to "Outerfidelity", because, hmmm, you know, all the core readership will be out and move to audio forums.

There're already plenty of shill audio websites, we don't need another one.

mariscosyketchup's picture

You should make a Wall of Frame, something so big that can contain a wall, thus bigger, better and innovative. New management was dumb enough to ruin this website so they'll buy it. Run with the money, as fast as you can, enjoy the pleasure of life, Hawaii beaches and proper shaving, life is too short to be a shill.

FrodoBaggins's picture

To tide me over until Beekhuyzen does his Friday update.

I'm looking forward to some serious audio gearhead content but I fear that two of my favorite gearhead sites are becoming lifestyle blogs.

pwjazz's picture

Tyll's headphone measurements have a become staple reference in the headphone community. Because the existing set of measurements is so extensive and they all use the same process and compensations, it makes it easy for people to compare a vast range of headphones using tools like

Tyll's measurement process and database are Innerfidelity's greatest intellectual property. Any new measurements made following the same protocol with the same equipment are immediately relevant to a legion of headphiles and would virtually guarantee continued readership from people like myself. Switch processes and you'll basically have to build your credibility from scratch and risk losing the interest of folks like myself.

Journeyman's picture

Something tells me Tyll probably sold his measuring gear already, he has no use for it these days and it's still holds a lot of value for other professionals. Also even with his gear the measurements would be done by other person not using his methods so not sure if that would be good database wise.
Anyway I agree with you.

gibtg's picture

The wall of fame doesn't sell the latest and greatest overpriced audiophile gear that is subjectively the best ever made - that's why it will cease to exist. As I've said since the day of Tyll's departure, these are sad times for this site.

Journeyman's picture

Cmon guys and gals let the man do his thing. Tyll asked us that in his retirement video. Lets respect his request and let Rafe do his job in peace.
Its sucks that things are going to change but the core audience will just move on forward be it here or in the forums.
Meanwhile better save those pages you really enjoy. Peace.

Dadracer's picture

I was prepared to see how it goes and decide if it was going to be an improvement or not. Then you mentioned those words "Keith Howard".

I still wish you the best, but its time for me to leave.

Dadracer's picture

I was prepared to see how it goes and decide if it was going to be an improvement or not. Then you mentioned those words "Keith Howard".

I still wish you the best, but its time for me to leave.

Johan B's picture

Good luck with that. There will be new gap filled by others

Three Toes of Fury's picture

First up...good luck with the move and family stuff.

Second up...try not to focus to much on the negative stuff in the forums right now...folks are inherently averse to change..myself for you and your team mold this site the way you see fit, fans will find it and detractors will leave (or just bash from the safety of comment threads).

As for the Wall of Fame...ive already commented on how much i appreciate it. That being said, your description above doesnt give alot of details so i wont pre-judge how it will change or how your reference list will improve/sustain/detract from it. I will however elaborate on WHY the Wall of Fame is unique and the value i took from it. This is not meant as negative feedback for your decisions, but rather stuff to think about as you rebuild the site..

There are a TON of options in the headphone world.
When one starts down the path of higher end gear, having some solid suggestions, across prices ranges, is valuable valuable information. I started as a casual visitor to this site...however...once i came away with some amazing new headphones, thanks to the suggestions on the WoF, i became a regular visitor. It was literally my gateway to the site.
The site needs the ability to be objective and independent of direct influence that contradicts and supersedes experience/review/measurements. I wont presume to speak for Tyll but i think one way he accomplished this is that he typically didnt even do large reviews on headphones that he didnt think merited it. And for those that he did, he provided a detailed review, and some delineation/ranking using the WoF.

Ok..enough of my of luck to you and your global team. I plan on remaining a regular visitor of this site and look forward to whats in store. I will provide feedback..positive and critical here and again but will try to make it constructive, actionable feedback at all times.

Peace .n. Living in Stereo


jherbert's picture

...enough money with objectivists. It's that simple.

Rafe Arnott's picture
Hi all,

Thanks again for all the comments, as I've said, I appreciate a healthy discussion on the site.

I understand people's concerns about the Wall of Fame, and measurements, etc. I get that any change to the current structure of this site upsets some people, but as I said in my introductory post, change is coming.

It's up to you – the reader – to decide if you want to roll with the changes, and see if you will enjoy what's going to be happening here, or if you'd rather cut and run. Your call. Not mine.

Tyll is gone.

I'm here now and I care about the core readership, I care about getting another measurement rig (Tyll sold his) and I care about growing this site into something more than it already is.

mariscosyketchup's picture

The main issue that Innerfidelity's core readership has is this that you're out of touch with the values of this website.

How do I know that? Easy, you refer to 2 objects of very low price performance ratio (Audeze LCD-XC & A&K DAP, a 3k rig) as a good starting point of price and performance...if you read what Tyll did, you'll know that the price/performance standard for a headphone rig is the Sennheiser HD650, Bottlehead Crack with Speedball upgrade and a Schiit Modi Multibit DAC...everything costs under 1k.

I know, you're not Tyll, but you could inform yourself better and do a much better job. Also, he was very consistent with what he liked and what he doesn't liked, his opinions were very useful because of can you do a good job if you have such a poor understanding of price/performance? How can you say that something is worth, for example, 3k, if you don't know how a proper 300$ headphone, out of a proper 500$ amplifer and a very decent 200$ DAC sounds?
Sorry, but clearly you're the wrong guy for the job and you have a very difficult task to achieve, you're a good fit for Headfonia, Positive Feedback or 6moons, for example, but not for here. I don't blame you for that, it's your bosses' (the new management) fault.

Good luck, you'll need it.

Rafe Arnott's picture

HD650s, a Bottlehead and Schiit Modi.

Decent choices for a rig under $1k. That's your opinion. Cool. Thanks?

Only problem is I wanted a portable rig that I could listen to high-res files through, stream Tidal Hifi with and wear on the bus, train or plane without disturbing those around me... hence the XCs, and the KANN.