Happy New Year and Ramblings!

I want to thank all of the chronics and occasional visitors to Audio Rabbit Hole.  It is a pleasure to provide each of you with a glimpse of the life of an audiophile, and I feel fortunate to be able to demonstrate what a rabbit hole this enjoyable hobby can genuinely be. I appreciate all of the visits and your patience as I know I am slow to update. I commit to attempting to publish my reviews a bit quicker this year. However, I refuse to rush a review for the sake of posting something. I feel it is critical to dedicate the proper time to listen and know the gear.  Sometimes it is me being unmotivated to write, or uninspired and other times it is the fact that each company, piece of equipment and you, the reader, deserve the extra time to deliver a fair, honest and quality review.

There are a couple of pet peeves I wish to address with this review industry. I am becoming increasingly tired of the lack of honesty in reviews. I take this to heart. The old adage the pen is mightier than the sword applies here. I know many of you base your decision to purchase on my reviews. Thus in the About Me section, I caution, DON’T BASE YOUR PURCHASE SOLELY ON MY COMMENTS. That is too much responsibility to know that I may have been the catalyst for you to spend thousands of dollars on this hobby. Read other opinions, there is no such thing as an expert reviewer. Each reviewer is an expert in their subjective opinion. Some reviewers may use the Thesaurus better than others, but they are only making their view more colorful.

Pet peeve #1

The Truth

I state the positive as well as any issue I may have with a product. Thus the beauty of having my own self funded blog. I do not have to answer to anyone. Timelines and writings are all my own. In other words, if the packaging is lame, the stock cables, the fit isn’t comfortable, or the sound just isn’t up to par, I have no filter. I do not write for a larger, more well-known site that is worried about saying negative comments and losing access to gear or readers because they can no longer review a famous company’s equipment. Quite possibly, because they lose revenue from the banner click-throughs on their sites through affiliation.

I do receive some free gear from time to time to write a review, but each vendor is told my allegiance to the truth is more critical than freebies or frankly, their relationship. There are no paid sponsors on Audio Rabbit Hole, at this time.

The couple of banners that you do see have been granted their space on Audio Rabbit Hole for free. It is my opinion that these folks are an asset to their own part of this hobby and could be an asset to you. Custom Art, Piotr Granicki, because they deliver quality and have chosen not to follow the trend of overpricing for their IEM’s. Bloom Audio because Andrew DiMarcangelo, the proprietor, has an honest retail approach and will give you a discount on product foregoing more profit. I have cycled other banners on and off since this site’s inception, but for now, I can safely and confidently recommend these two companies.

Remember, that when you are dealing with TOTL gear, none of it sounds terrible, it all comes down to the sound signature that checks the most of your boxes.

Pet peeve #2

Quick Listens

There is a growing trend of folks posting quick listen impressions and gushing praise or spewing negativity. To carry this thought further, standing on a noisy CanJam floor, sitting in a headphone shop, listening to a friend’s gear in passing, or basing any opinion on charts and graphs should automatically discount an individual’s credibility. This is a travesty and it is totally rampant.

To fully understand and appreciate a product to it’s fullest takes time. I let my vendors know a month is the absolute quickest turnaround. Sound is a crazy thing. I have experienced days when nothing sounds good. While this is incredibly frustrating, I usually come back later and life is good. While I am not a massive believer in burn-in, I have seen a couple of IEM’s that have 100% improved over time. The Campfire Audio Atlas and the Empire Ears Legend X, another reason to not be hasty with comments or judgments.

To comment, make a ranking list, or any type of grading with a quick listen is irresponsible! I think that is enough said on this topic.

Pet peeve #3

Industry trends

There is an emerging and rapidly growing segment of IEM and DAP companies. The market has increased over that last 2 years, and Asian manufacturers are the reason for this boom. In my opinion, many of these companies have seen the trend and only wish to capitalize. I am fully in support of capitalism so allow me to explain my issue.

There are a few companies that have been instrumental in progressing technology in the equipment we enjoy today. Jerry Harvey, Empire Ears, Custom Art, EarSonics, 64 Audio, Astell & Kern, Audeze, ZMF, Sennheiser, and a few others have proven to have staying power. These companies are also the ones that spend money on research and development, they bring new technology to the market. They are the risk-takers and testers.

The newest wave of “one-hit wonders” basically “borrow” existing technology and hide it behind a beautiful facade. In the USA, we have seen this happen in many different retail segments. The Asian markets pay pauper wages and can produce the already existing technology in a much more cost-effective manner. Not a bad business model,  to not have the added expense of trial and error or R&D.  Just because it looks pretty doesn’t mean it has staying power or longevity.

I can only encourage you, the consumer, to not forget the companies in the trenches so that we can ALL enjoy the benefits of better quality sound. Their equipment may cost a bit more, but they have also put forth the effort. Remember it is love of music and the desire to hear your love at the highest quality possible that sent you tumbling down this Audio Rabbit Hole. This year, please let me know if there is something you would like me to discuss, review or change about the site. I genuinely want the feedback! In the upcoming year, I will be inviting a couple of more like-minded individuals to review on Audio Rabbit Hole, so be on the lookout and welcome them.

I wish everyone a prosperous and healthy New Year. Thank you again for reading my reviews, and I would love to hear from you.