InnerFidelity Call for Contributions

In a recent contest asking for ideas, this comment was made by yuriv:

    "Have readers write articles, and then submit them to you, Tyll, the editor. They can be anything--product reviews, technical explanations, how-to guides, etc. There can even be videos. Of course, if they're headphone reviews, it would be nice if they were sent over for measurements.

    "Since Wes Phillips isn't available, how about readers as contributors? You pick the finalists every round, then publish their articles here. Hopefully, a few of them will meet your standards.

Thanks yuriv, (not a contest winner, but worth a consolation prize, email on the way) I think I'm going to do something very much like that ...

InnerFidelity Call for Contributors
InnerFidelity is about Personal Audio. That means headphones, of course, and headphone amps as well, but Personal Audio is a broader subject. It covers portable players, audio apps, and boomboxes obviously. And may also include: computer speakers, table radios, USB DACs, protective cases, and even carry bags with a focus on the audio geek.

The problem for me at InnerFidelity at the moment is that just getting the important headphones reviewed alone will keep me busy for the next year or two. I'd like InnerFidelity to get broader much more quickly than that. I have talked to my management --- who are totally awesome, by the way --- and now have a budget for contributed articles. So, with this post I hereby make available the opportunity for InnerFidelity readers to submit articles for publication.

In the long run, I'd like to develop a cadre of writers for InnerFidelity and rely on them for content. In the short run, that means finding them somehow. I reckon finding writers from among InnerFidelity readers is a good way to go.

The Deal
InnerFidelity reviews need to be informative and authoritative. I'm very fortunate to be in a position where I've got a lot of measurement gear and many, many years of experience with headphones. As a result, my reviews are authoritative --- meaning they contain reliable information. Even if your tastes differ from mine, I know enough about the subject that you should be able to read my reviews and be able to get a really good guess as to whether a product would interest you or not. I'd like to keep that standard for InnerFidelity. You truly need to be well qualified in the subject if you wish to write an InnerFidelity article. There are lots of valid opinions out there, and lots of forum spaces to put them in. If you want to write an article for InnerFidelity, you need more than just a valid opinion; you need a very well informed and contextually sensitive opinion, and you need to be able to express it clearly.

I don't need flowery prose. Maybe I'm just not an audiophile in the traditional journalistic way, but I really don't want to read a 5000 word article when the information can be delivered in 1500. I think "personal audio enthusiasts" tend to be a bit more web centric than traditional audiophiles, and like their information dense. InnerFidelity articles should be 1000-2000 words, should have 2-8 pictures or diagrams, and should have 4-8 links to other important web resources. (Head-Fi or other forum threads; manufacturer pages; wiki or other informative reference etc.) Videos are totally welcome, but not required at all.

InnerFidelity's content is "Personal Audio." Generally speaking this means articles about: headphones; the gear they plug into; and the software to play the music and movies. But it can also mean audio products that are portable like boomboxes and portable computer speakers. There are some exceptions to the above rules like table radios, or small computer speakers, that would fit in well at InnerFidelity.

At the moment I am NOT looking for headphone reviews. I think it's important that I continue to do those as best I can so that a single voice is heard with regard to headphone evaluations. I think it will serve InnerFidelity readers better. There will be some exceptions to this is some specialty areas, which are already being worked on, but for the moment anyway, headphone reviews are not needed.

I am interested in amp reviews, but will be very picky in this area. Significant experience will be required. I am most interested in reviews of important commercial and DIY amps. I will also need to be able to measure the amp, so some arrangements will need to be made.

I am VERY interested in personal audio apps (audio testing and metering, media access, remote controls, players) and web music discovery and streaming service (Pandora, MOG, Spotify, etc) reviews. Any cool audio related iPhone/iPad or Droid stuff would be excellent. I am interested in OS replacements on portable devices (rooting Droids, Rockboxing portables) when it's media centric. The "personal audio" focus of InnerFidelity means that home media-center software and hardware will likely not be covered.

DIY. You know I love DIY stuff, the door is wide open here. I'd be very interested in all manner of documented build projects.

Think pieces are also welcome ... but likely to get my toughest critique, 'cuz i'm a bit of a thinker. How is fidelity related to art? Why are their so few women audio enthusiasts? What is the relationship between measured performance and subjective experience? If you've got some well founded thoughts, I'm interested.

I'd love to have some music reviews by people who are in the know. It's rather like dancing about architecture, but I'd love to hear from some folks with tasty advice.

Unfortunately, I can't yet be in the business of providing people with a livelihood --- the budget simply won't bare it --- but I can do better than many audiophile sites that simply publish uncompensated contributions. InnerFidelity will pay $200 per published article. The article must meet the requirements above, and must meet my personal standard for inclusion. To summarize:

  • I want to feel like it's believable and written by someone who know's what they're talking about.
  • I want to finish the article and feel like I learned something.
  • I want to have some fun reading it. It should be entertaining.
  • It should finish with me still wanting more
Still with me? Want to submit? Read on ...

Armaegis's picture

While I'm not really qualified to write articles, if for any reason you would like some materials research done, give me a shout. I'm a metallurgist and I have access to a scanning electron microscope.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
SEMs eh? Have you seen this post.

Thanks for the offer, you never know. Might be fun to look at some cable cross sections. Plating depth, x-ray analysis, I wonder if you could see crystal structures change with cryo treatment? That may be more TEM stuff though.

Anyway, thanks for mentioning it.

Armaegis's picture

Yeah, I remember that when you first posted it. I'm absolutely amazed at that.

I can do composition analysis and grain/microstructure imaging relatively easily. I can also do orientation analysis (such as to see if all those so called single crystals are actually aligned), but the work required for that takes a fair bit longer.

Trying to identify actual crystal structure is more involved and does lean more towards TEM or Xray diffraction (XRD). The TEM is out of my reach, and the xrd may or may not be useful since the resolution is limited on the equipment that I have on hand (if we're talking about a large change from say something like a BCC phase into an FCC phase, that I can easily measure... but if it's something like going from an ordered to disordered phase within the same cubic structure, then my ability to accurately resolve diffraction peaks is spotty at best)

yuriv's picture

Thanks, Tyll, for the consolation prize. I'll reply to your e-mail afterwards.

This can become interesting, hearing many other voices and points of view here--maybe even surprising stuff that you never would have thought of writing. At first there might be some uncertainty as you try to find the balance between control and letting go.

What got me to write that suggestion is that you can't put pictures in the comments. Some contest suggestions were about explaining sampling rates/depths, headphone imaging, and hearing above 20kHz. I'd love to see those explained well in a series of short, competing, text-only forum posts. But maybe only a full article with illustrations (or videos) can unify those ideas and explore those topics in more depth.

BTW, for the people unfamiliar with the paradox, it's now called the Dunning-Kruger effect (1999):

dalethorn's picture

I read the Dunning-Kruger Wiki, and red flags went up all over the place. Being a long-time software developer, I have seen many well-trained and educated programmers who are unable to write competent code, not due to incompetence as defined in the literature, but mainly because they lack experience. The term they use in the Wiki ("unskilled") is unfortunate, especially in my business, because my business is so diverse that I'm not aware of any skills test that can measure programmer competence. I have many examples that people would not believe. You might give a 'C' programmer a classic 'C' language test that they fail, yet for a particular application they may be the best 'C' programmer available.

LFF's picture

Hmmmm....I just might have to get to writing something good for once.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Luis, you're a perfect example of someone who is likely to have some interesting things to say. I encourage you to do so.
donunus's picture

Are you going to be providing the amps to be reviewed for example?

Tyll Hertsens's picture
I'm not sure. But I would guess that most folks who are well positioned to contribute already have the gear.

In the long run, sure, they will have gear shipped to them.