New Managing Editor Announced For Innerfidelity And Audiostream Websites

Rafe Arnott (previously Creative Director for Part-Time Audiophile & The Occasional Magazine) appointed to drive the editorial vision for AVTech Media Americas’ iconic websites

"We are very excited about this appointment and the opportunity it presents for the growth of these connected websites. Headphone and computer audio enthusiasts can look forward to in-depth reviews from our regular contributors, supported by world-class test and measurement from industry veterans including ex-AES UK Chairman Keith Howard. We also believe the time has come for specialty audio to realize a broader audience, and Rafe will be driving our engagement with these media savvy consumers through innovative lifestyle features tied to an enhanced social campaign."

Paul Miller
Editorial Director AVTech Media Ltd/AVTech Media Americas Inc.
The Hi-Fi Show Live Organiser
President of EISA

"It's an honour and a privilege to be part of the outstanding group of journalists and support staff at AVTech Media who have decades of experience in delivering what I feel is the most comprehensive, and respected, industry coverage in the world. I look forward to continuing the tradition of excellence in high-fidelity journalism that AudioStream and InnerFidelity have established, and am excited to help hasten the alignment of audiophile with lifestyle."

Rafe Arnott

dumbasstyll1's picture

I'm sure you'll do much better than Tyll the biased spammer and would finally bring some AKG, Audio Technica and Beyerdynamic and other headphone brands to general attention.

NathanH's picture

Just because he didn't like the headphone you saved up years to buy doesn't mean he was biased. Without him you'll be listening to $10 ear-pods. And it's not up to him what to review, too. Can you stop poison this place and keep your cancer to yourself?

sszorin's picture

Your sniping at Tyll is now a waste of time. It has never been secret that Tyll preferred headphones with slightly unbalanced frequency bands - headphones with slightly rolled off treble and increased bass end.
That said, it is a quirk of headphones history that he, a major reviewer, never got in his hands [on his head] the fabulous Audio Technica limited edition W3000ANV and that he is retiring now, before ADX5000, the best electrodynamic headphones ever made [they sound like it], could be reviewed. This is weird and unsettling coincidence.
The AKG headphones [K7XX line] are 'behind the times'.
The Beyerdynamic T1 are the Cinderella of the headphones world. There is inexplicable [to me] audiophile collective bias against them.

Journeyman's picture

I feel very sad that this troll actually mentions beyerdynamic.
If you didn't like Tyll you could always read other sites. Being a coward hidden behind stupid nicknames suits you. I hope the drivers of your Beyerdynamics burn from DC offset.

joseetcplus's picture

dumbasstyll1: "If my AKG finally made into the WoF, it would sound so much better =D!"

bogdanb's picture

Dude, the first thing you have to say to such an impersonal post is your own preference for some brands!
wtf are you doing here any way?!
Why don't you do your own wall of fame and start doing reviews yourself!?
Unfortunately as it might be there is a reason why Sennheiser Momentum sound better that any AKG, as well as any Focal is better that Audio Tehnica, and any Mr. Spekers better than Beyerdynamic.
But you DO have the freedom to spedn your money as you wish.

I also bought a couple of headphones Tyll say they were not as good as they should be, well I bought the second version he did not reviewed, (B&W c5 series2). I didn't started crying to have them on the WoF....

crenca's picture

Nothing that has occured at PartTimeAudiophile in the last few years leads me to believe that Mr. Arnott even understands, let alone would support the spirit and direction of Tyll's work. PartTimeAudiophile is part and parcel of "high end" subjecitvised Audiophiledom. Tyll made mistakes sure, but he was too much of an "objectivist" to ever be part of the insiders club that is "High End". Does Mr. Arnott have ANY experience in the value oriented pursuit of High Fidelity (which is NOT "High End") that is personal audio?

Of course, we will have to see but like I said but I suspect Mr. Arnott has a very steep learning curve if the new owners have any intention of connecting with personal audio at all...

Core's picture

Part-Time Audiophile reviewed a fuse. “The Furutech presents as a bit warmer sounding and the HiFi Tuning fuses present as a bit more lean/neutral.”

Will InnerFidelity make Stereophile look like The Audio Critic?

bogdanb's picture

Seriously, thank you!
I know nothing of PartTimeAudiophile nor Mr. Arnott and this impersonal board of directors meeting like text didn't do a thing for me other than make me as well worried. (and I left a long comment about that)

I cherrypicked the sources I thought were meaningful to listen before buying some audio gear, I have a life to live and I am not wiling to read all the audio stuff out there, especially if I sense the "High End" tone.

Tyll handled mistakes like a gentleman, and he is indeed an "ojectivist" that we like an love!
After this news post I am actually really happy for Tyll, I hope he enjoys the hell out of Putt!

You basically did the introduction I hoped to rad from the new guy.

GNagus's picture

I always equated Innerfidelity with Tyll Hertsens; it is difficult for me to imagine Innerfidelity to go on without Tyll. But I figured Brent Butterworth would be a reasonable replacement. Somehow, I just figured it would be him.

But it's not him. I should have known better. I wish Rafe Arnott all the best with what has become one of my favorite websites; I just hope it remains one of my favorite websites.

sszorin's picture

Mr. Paul Miller, can you please use plain and concrete language like Tyll always used and keep your feet firmly planted in the reality of physics and technology and aesthetics of music sound ? In your short statement I see a whiff of neo-marxist university lingo. Like : "an enhanced social campaign". These kind of words and phrases do not belong on this website.

castleofargh's picture

will somebody keep measuring headphones with Tyll's equipment the way he did and keep feeding the database? will you start a new one made with a different rig?

tony's picture

Mr. Arnott , congratulations on being chosen to be the one they feel is up to the challenge of replacing a Legend and Patriarch while trying to get a good grip on an entire new Audio Format that is taking everyone to places that Audiophiles never considered.

Headphones are probably the only way the Earth's rapidly increasing population will ever get any sort of chance to enjoy High Resolution/Performance Audio Reproduction.

Will you guide us into these next thrilling Audio Adventures? I imagine that your readership are already On-Board and kinda eager to hear from our New Capitano.

I'm wanting to hear where you're going to take us, what new things we can expect to see ( and hear ) and I'm expecting to see you Vloging with a fresh Canon D6 shooting in 4k ( and not one of those horrible 'jiggle Camera things the Analog People use )

I am beginning to feel worried because Beats is Lifestyle while our type of headphone is a Transducer.

Is Innerfidelty going to become a Fashion Site?

I'm a hopeful Sennhieser lover.

Tony in Michigan

ps. please have an Edit Button on the bottom of these completed posts. Stereophile allows me to correct ( edit ) mistakes, Innerfidelty does not!

ps.2 ) Bon Voyage

johnjen's picture

It appears that the power vacuum is in plain sight for all to see, at least at this early stage in the transition.

And I hope that the tone of this initiatory post isn't representative of the new direction for the site, but then corp speak has never set well with me for a variety of reasons.

The momentum established by Tyll will be difficult to maintain let alone enhance, but I (and I can only assume others as well) wish you well in taking the helm and charting a course that can provide the same (or better) degree of insights and solid advice we all have come to know and rely upon.
And even if we didn't agree with aspects of what was presented, we had a known base from which to evaluate, for ourselves, what was or wasn't applicable for ourselves.

Good luck in your endeavors.


gibtg's picture

Swing and a miss for Tyll's old new bosses...

Dadracer's picture

One thing is for certain and that is Rafe will be different to Tyll. Will that be good or bad? Why don't we wait and see before jumping to conclusions. I think Tyll did a lot for the headphone community and while I didn't always agree with his reviews he did have the courage of his convictions. I hope the new chap will at least continue in that vein and even if it is a different style I am prepared to go with it and then form my opinions afterwards.

BubbaJay's picture

Mark it down, May 16, 2018, is the day Innerfidelity died.

Well, I guess I can take it off my favorites list. At least there's still Headfonics and Headfonia.

NanoHertz's picture

Yup. They don't review headphones in a "limp-wristed" manner like those guys reviewing fuses and power connectors. By the way, they still have a problem: they need to upgrade the grid's wiring outside of the house.

Journeyman's picture

new endeavour. I will be around waiting for an article with some curiosity.
I hope innerfidelity changes for the better but always faithful to the core readers. If you guys and gals start shoveling up bullsh** just because it brings you viewers, I'm sure old readers will show you the finger. I'm being rude but completely honest about this.
Meanwhile I better save some articles before the winds of change blow them away.

mariscosyketchup's picture

I was expecting someone from SBAF or Head-Case to take over, but not a Positive Feedback lifestyle oriented astroturfer, guess I'm delusional, dumb and stupid.

The new management killed this website.

audiospecialty's picture

‘We also believe the time has come for specialty audio to realize a broader audience…..’ Note the oxymoron : ’specialty audio’ and ‘broader audience’ are mutually exclusive. The clue is in the word ‘specialty’. You can have one, or the other, but not both.

AV Tech Media is in this to make money. You can’t make the sort of money they are looking for out of ‘specialty audio’. You can make it by replacing it with glossy, frothy, shallow, vacuous, style-over-substance, and ultimately worthless ‘lifestyle’ articles. The phrase ‘A fool and his money are soon parted’ comes to mind. That’s why they have appointed a former creative director to ‘drive’ the editorial vision.

Bon Voyage Tyll !

Sean_S's picture

"... and am excited to help hasten the alignment of audiophile with lifestyle."
This was the last thing I will read here. Thanks Tyll. I'll miss you.

bogdanb's picture

For now it was a pleasure to see this carefully hammered text. Could you imagine the same language when writing about headphones.
I guess the tractors wrote the poetry!

NanoHertz's picture

When I read that part, I knew the baby was a stillborn. It's sad when the chances of people liking someone are killed by the person's own inability know...communicate like a normal human being. Tyll did, and that's why people liked him, because he didn't stick his pinky out while drinking coffee out of a mug.

Three Toes of Fury's picture


Thanks for the update and information. Welcome to Innerfidelity Rafe!

First: As you can see by the comments threads on the recent posts, Tyll established a strong following through his work. Alot of folks appreciate and respect what he did and it bears acknowledging here as the site transitions to the new staff. Tyll's outstanding efforts for this site have laid a STRONG foundation for y'all to build upon.

Second: At the end of the day, of course, this site will evolve based on your expectations, needs, and objectives. That being said, if you are interested in input from regular visitors, I'd like to offer a few thoughts on what I consider to be some of the current strengths of the site. Several of these strengths are differentiation from other sites..which is important as your interest is surely to drive traffic to your sites...

* Wall of Fame: I think this may be the biggest strength of this site. Also likely one of the biggest challenges. There are a tremendous amounts of offering in high end audio. Having a place which offers a handful of solid suggestions, across price ranges, is incredibly helpful. Its also something you really dont see anywhere else. I think of it as synonymous with Consumer Reports rating guides. Speaking of "across price ranges"...

* Reviews across price ranges: Absolutely no question that there are some amazing headphones out there for $1500 and above..and there are folks that play in that range..BUT..alot of folks cant afford such options. Innerfidelity has always reviewed gear across price ranges. Thats invaluable as it doesnt exclude the newbie buying their first pair of upgraded headphones, the high end player looking for the next best-in-class gear, and all in between.

* Headphone reviews AND other gear: Headphones are really the bread and butter of this site but it has evolved to include occasional reviews of gear like DAPs, DACs, Amps, and audio gadgets.

* Non-biased reviews: Not sure how realistic this is, but having a site with dedicated review staff is great. There's nothing wrong with sites that crowdsource input, however having a reviewer that isnt biased by or limited by the gear they own is a plus.

* Trade show reports: Brief updates from trade shows w. video is always nice to see: whats new, whats coming, whats exciting.

* Comparisons: This is a tricky tricky thing to do based on options out there but its always nice to hear how products compare to similar products.

Thanks for hearing my thoughts and best of luck to the team moving forward.

Peace .n. Living in Stereo

Three Toes of Fury

crenca's picture

Three Toes,

I agree with your list, but then so did Tyll and so does the majority of "High End" sites like PartTimeAudiophile. The difference however is in the *how* of "wall of fame", reviews, comparisons, etc.

For example, Mr. Arnott is coming from a background where ALL reviews are about "great" gear. It's all great, it's just all great man! "High End" never met a piece of gear, or a room, or a designer that was not revolutionary and great.

Tyll however would call it as he saw it - if it was junk in his eyes he said so. He measured objectively, while at the same time balancing objective measurements with subjective impressions. As near as I can tell, Mr. Arnott comes from the background where the objective of his work is to create excitement, "lifestyle", and clicks.

Just last week, I spent $1.5K on a new pair of Focal Clear's. But for a "lifestyle" enterprise this is not really relevant, because as a poster another poster put it is "specialty" and not lifestyle...

Three Toes of Fury's picture

Thanks for your reply and thoughts. We are well aligned in hoping that future reviews on this site are fair, honest, and, when applicable, critically negative. You also touch on a great point of having a good balance of measurements AND impressions.

Good luck with the Focal Clears! Those cans have been getting some seriously good reviews all around. Speaking of those ..not sure if everyone saw, but Tyll shared a story on head-fi that he was contacted by Jason Lord at TheSourceAV who was going to gift a pair of Clears to Tyll for his retirement!! Class act!!!

Peace .n. Living in Stereo


PS: I thought of one more thing that i love about this site:

* Education: Every so often innerfidelity would provide an educational posting. Whether it be the technology behind a headphone style or a deeper look at headphone graphing. This is a great service which helps increase everyone's knowledge.

crenca's picture

Really, that is truly classy of them. I happened to purchase my Clears from TheSourceAV, and it was a good transaction. Of course, as you well know there are those dealers who are less than great as well ;)

To add to your list, how about Katz's corner. I love the way he challenges us. I did not draw quite the same conclusions as he did from his last post on distortion, but he is not afraid to walk right up to the line and ruffle feathers is he! He takes on serious signal processing/audiophile subjects and is not afraid to ruffle feathers, say certain things are not great, etc. Good for him!!

bogdanb's picture

Who's writing to us?
(Who Let the Dogs Out)

To whom it may concern,

First and foremost this is such an impersonal post! What a horrible way to begin! (hence the " to whom..")
Two quoted paragraphs with a couple of names thrown around, by "Innerfidelity staff". Who is that?!

Then comes the text. OMG! what a random and definitely boring corporate vocabulary throned around:
"[...]very excited [..] opportunity it presents for the growth [...] can look forward [...] world-class test and measurement from industry veterans [..] We also believe the time has come [..] to realize a broader audience, [...] our engagement with these media savvy consumers through innovative lifestyle features tied to an enhanced social campaign.
What a pile of nothing!

It makes me wonder if any of the people that will fallow after such a statement will be able to talk "human".

And than comes Rafe's answer that sounds just a tad more articulate than a Miss Universe contest winner, saying nothing personal.

What a bummer! What a terrible way to fallow Tyll's farewell.

I could very well understand the statements and the quotes if they were sent to a board of directors, or to the shareholders, but this is by no means a way to address the readers!
I guess an introduction by Till of the person who will replace him and maybe a chat about audio gear between the two was too hard to pull off. I have seen him talking to Jude (head-fi) or even to Bob Katz even on subjects they had different opinions. But maybe that was something I would have liked to see but not necessarily something every other reader would have wanted.

Do I (we the readers) have to search and see what is Rafe's connection and history with headphones and music? Wouldn't that have made a better introduction!?

I wonder if this will be a hijack of us, the audience to a new thing we neither desired nor we would like. I sure hope that is not the case!

These are big shoes to fill, not that there aren't other great audio reviewers out there, but we were here for a style, for a personality with some interesting history behind that we liked more than others.
A radical change in style (writing style- or the way future videos will be made) is not a problem, just make it as personal as we were used too. Yes Tyll wrote in a very personal way though he was hugely objective even pointing out where he thought he somehow was biased ("I prefer that"), but then the Harman target came along...
If the approach will drift away from audio quality to style than thank you, but I don't need someone to educate me on the design of headphones, nor do I want to hear about fantastic headphones doing a lot of other stuff with a mediocre sound.

I'm tired writing a comment to such an impersonal post!

Guys you are on a bad start here! Good luck with a comeback!

tony's picture

Dam good points :

"Very Excited, Opportunity, growth, look forward, broader audience, media savvy consumers, innovative lifestyle features, enhanced social campaign".

Missing nonsense :

Mission Statement, perfectly honest, honestly, to be honest, if I'm honest, believe me when I tell you, I'm telling you the truth when I say..., you can believe me when I say.... annnnddddd all the rest of that sort of jabber talk.

Further worsening will be the common use of words ending in ly which should be ( judiciously ) edited out of all discourse.

My observation is that Stereophile's JA doesn't tolerate trash writing so I'm expecting a continuation of journalistic excellence.

Tony in Michigan

Johan B's picture

Good luck with your reviews. I hope you will strike the right balance with listening and measuring. The measurement plots are the thing that keep me coming back to this site.

funambulistic's picture

I am very sorry to see Tyll leave as I really enjoyed his informative reviews and writing style. Unfortunately, things change and life goes on - though he will be missed, I certainly am not bummed about it. He seems pretty happy.

I do, though, want to thank the members of the Inner Fidelity readership that took time out of their valuable interwebs schedules to post the above comments. I have not had such a hearty laugh(s) in a long time - again thank you! You all realize they are just headphones, right? Or maybe you don't, which kind of explains a lot...

Good luck to you, Rafe - I look forward to what you may bring to the Innerstream/Audiofidelity table even if what you are proffering offers versatile solutions to modern living. You know, "lifestyle" products. I am alive (I think - could be debatable) and I listen to headphones; therefore, headphones are part of my lifestyle ("He's a witch - burn him!").

PS - you may want to take a page from ML's book when he occasionally posted "controversial" subjects and turn the comments off for a while...

sszorin's picture

@ funambulistic :

1 "You all realize they are just headphones, right?" - Have you lost your mind ?

2 "take a page from ML's book" - Who is ML ? Is he MLK without K ?

funambulistic's picture

... listening to headphones to masturbation? Hmm - that's new, interesting and may explain a lot.

In answer to your questions:

1 Quite possibly - it depends on who is asking. M-mom?

2 Apologies: Michael Lavorgna, recently booted from the digital publication to the immediate left of this one at the bottom of the page. Sorry for the site crosspollination, but since Mr. Arnott is heading up both I thought it apropos.

GimmeCans's picture

First thing I notice reading through this thread is a dramatic uptick in the amount of 'snark', including a 'Don't let the door hit you in the ass' type post from someone who didn't like Tyll but read the website anyway, along with some snark in retort.

I'm willing to suspend judgment- or try to- for now, but the use of the word 'lifestyle' not once but twice in the opener seems to be an indication of where things are headed from here: Word-salad 'lifestyle'-focused reviews of 'trendy' products for people who just want their purchase decisions validated (or can't make a purchase decision without the 'moral support' of some 'guru'). Testing will probably be the first thing to go. There are signs of this already in some of the guest reviewer content. I hope I'm wrong, but the track record of this type of media acquisition for reporting quality is not good.

NanoHertz's picture

I feel you. Lifestyle written twice. I was expecting words like "sound", "quality", and "headphones"...not that Scrabble-worthy cluster of words that make people who write them feel good about themselves! Hopefully, the new guy reads these comments and prepares himself well! Someone smart would've said, "My feet aren't that big. Sorry."

dasman66's picture

"We also believe the time has come for specialty audio to realize a broader audience, and Rafe will be driving our engagement with these media savvy consumers through innovative lifestyle features tied to an enhanced social campaign"

I'm hopeful and I'll stick around for the time being... but if this is a sign of the new direction, then I guess I need to get prepared for disappointment.

Bill Leebens's picture

And here I thought the posters on Computer Audiophile were hostile: in one sequence there have been slams against the founding Editor of the site, who was single-handedly responsible for bringing headphones credibility in the marketplace; against the new Editor, who has always been a decent and responsible reporter; and against the new owners, who are just getting started.

Way to say "welcome", and show your appreciation. Sheesh!

crenca's picture

You say he is a "decent and responsible reporter", and I suppose as a generalized statement I have no real data either way. BUT (and this is a mighty big but) he does not appear to understand, let alone support the kind of reporting, reviewing, and HP investigation that Tyll did. On the contrary, based on the evidence (see the HP reviews at PartTimeAudiophile I linked above) he appears to only support "High End" reporting which is little more than hype and "lifestyle" fluff.

I would love to be proved wrong, or at least for it to be proved that this new editor not only understands but will actually implement substantive HP reviewing methodology and policy in the future.

Do you have any evidence that he has done this in the past, and/or is willing/capable of doing it in the future?

Bill Leebens's picture

I'm thoroughly familiar with Tyll's unique talents and abilities, and it's unlikely that anyone could replicate them. I'm also aware that Rafe has his own set of unique talents and abilities.I've worked with both for years, and know that they are not interchangeable,but both are capable, determined, and professional.

Will there be change? Undoubtedly. Will it suit you? Perhaps not; change rarely pleases everyone. Oh, well.

I'd say that giving Rafe a chance might be the first step in seeing what develops, and asking for "evidence" is both combative and condescending. As to what one is "willing/capable of doing it in the future"?

I wouldn't presume to address that which another human being is willing to do, and capabilities develop in result to challenges, no?

Again: give him a fucking break.

crenca's picture

We only have the evidence before us, which I linked. You offer nothing other than your personal character assessment. That might have counted as something for me, but you end up disparaging those of us who have merely pointed to hard data/history and their own words so far (limited they be) with an expletive filled rant.

In other words, I find your finger wagging unimpressive and unconvincing...

calaf's picture

InnerFidelity and Audiostream were the two Stereophile websites that did not read like marketing copy or elitist foolery. I am sure it is as accident they are both being revamped under the new management.

Good luck to Mr Arnott, he is going to need it!