FRANKLY SPEAKING #2

The first month at Headphone.Guru was exciting. Our writers are working hard and manufacturers have been showing their support. The passion from everyone is extraordinary. What is most exciting is the content. The reviews we have been publishing cover some really extraordinary gear.

Last month I discussed some of our goals and our main objectives. The personal audio market is incredibly exciting and consists of music lovers spanning all age groups. We also have manufacturers – under the age of 30 – developing and designing serious products that have somehow not gotten fair recognition from the mainstream press. The passion of these designers and the products that I have been listening to are a testament to the love of personal audio. More importantly is a love for music and this is clearly evident in the products being introduced.

The Hugo Chord paired with the Astell&Kern AK 240 has been inseparable since they have arrived at my door. Whether at the gym or traveling to see my daughter, this rig is always with me. The enjoyment this system provides is some of the best music listening sessions I’ve experienced in all my years in the hobby. I have told many that I could live with a system like this combo as an end game solution. The synergy of the Hugo and AK240 keeps me entrenched and involved with the music at all times.

The Hugo and AK240 also make their home in my main system, with the Hugo decoding both my computer files and the AK240 (connected optically, which makes for an easy solution to listen to a large library). The system is amazing and when I leave for a road trip, all I need to do is disconnect the interconnects and pack it into my bag with my favorite headphones or IEMs.

Michael Mercer, “The Personal Audio Evangelist”, is never shy about his passion for this new frontier of personal listening. His love for portable audio is undeniable. Michael grew up with The Absolute Sound and I remember when Michael first started with Harry Pearson in the early 90’s. He has taken that knowledge and turned it towards the new frontier that is Personal Audio. We are grateful to have Michael on our team here at Headphone Guru.

This frontier will continue to grow and there are more innovative products on the horizon. Wireless headphones with built in amplifiers and Bluetooth capability are arriving on the scene frequently. Some of these products will be explored in the coming months on Guru.

Our team has some very interesting products that will be covered on the website this month. There are some portable players and IEM review coming that will get your juices flowing. There will be many products introduced at Jude Mansilla’s CanJam event in Denver this month and our team will be there to report the exciting products coming out for our readers.

The CanJam event is one of the premier shows in the personal audio community. There will be over 40 vendors committed to personal audio (unfortunately, there is only so much that can be listened to in a weekend show). The friendship and relationships that I have developed over the years from these shows and headphone meets has been very special for me.

Personal Audio is more than the music. The music is our common bond. It is a brotherhood. The relationship and friendship that develop become a major part of your life. We care about each other. The private conversations and phone calls together with meeting each other in various locations throughout the year makes this the best hobby I have ever been involved with. Universally, the personal audio hobby has created lasting friendships. Some of my earlier friends that I have made are no longer involved in the hobby but they still remain a close part of my life. If you never been to a meet, I encourage you to attend.

It becomes addicting. The “mega meets” and audio shows not only allows you to hear the personal audio products being offered, but also helps you to develop relationships with manufacturers. You will find the manufacturers all have similar interests. They are small entrepreneurs who are passionate about the music but also approachable and really no different that you and I.

Even dinner at an audio show is an event. Usually, there are large numbers of friends attending the dinner and the attendees will end up hanging out either in rooms listening to music or hanging together discussing music.

Some of my fondest memories were as a teenager and I get much of that same feeling in personal audio. Feeling energized, excited, and passionate about music is what matters most. Our writing team is diverse in age and we are all are committed to giving our readers the very best content, opinions, and advice. The new horizon is exciting with new innovations daily.

Please feel free to comment on our reviews. Let the writers know your thoughts and questions. In my opening column I promised you we would take suggestions and make changes as needed. So please let us know what you would like to see more of on Guru. This is a community. I would like to thank everyone for coming along on this magical ride. The next few months will be exciting and filled with exciting content. Looking forward to seeing you at the headphone meets in the coming months. Listen on!

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Frank Iacone

Frank started his journey in high-end audio in 1978 and was quickly hooked. Frank’s passion for music and great sound reproduction is stronger than ever. His main focus is with high-end headphones and portable related gear. He is a regular Head-Fi.org contributor and is a co-founder of Headphone.Guru.

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