Announcing the *new* HEADPHONE Community Preview Program

Are we going to start getting some “reviews?” Comparing this and that etc etc.

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I plan on finishing up my Campfire Orion review shortly, as part of this program. It’s mostly done but my hard drive where I store all my photos and headphone measurements crashed hard and I just recently was able to recover some of the data off of it. I plan on wrapping it up shortly.


I have done a review of the Dragonfly black and iFi Nano iDSD Black Label. I am working on the HD820 review/impression. I know @ryan just finished his review of the Focal Clears.

Maybe @Torq, @andrew, @taronlissimore, we could link all community reviews into one thread, so people know which reviews come from the program? It could be a requirement to post in the main thread of the gear in question, but to also link to the community thread?


I would think posting a quick blurb in the appropriate official gear thread (assuming the impressions/review aren’t posted in that thread to begin with - which is probably the right way to do it for impressions) with a link to the review/impressions. And then a quick note in the Community Preview Program thread with a similar link to the review would cover it.

The best reviews/impressions will get indexed into the main product/category review indexes, also.


Updated Community Preview Program

In order to increase participation in the “Community Preview Program” we are a restructuring how access it gained and what it contains; first, by dividing the program into three tiers of gear (divided principally based on price) and second, by having a progressive qualification model to access those tiers.

The basic idea is to lower the bar for initial access to the program to get more people involved, while still ensuring that we are sharing gear with members that are actively participating in the community.

Qualifying for the Program

Getting access to the program is now much easier, and once you have access there is an easy way to progress to get access to higher gear tiers. Existing “Core Team” and “Community Preview Program” participants automatically qualify for “Tier 1” access (the highest level).

Note that currently you must have a US or Canadian shipping address (international shipping is a real hassle, but once we have enough core members in a given area we’ll look into starting a loaner tour for that geography).

The requirements for participation on a tier-by-tier basis are as follows:

Tier 3 - Requirements:

Tier 3 is the “entry level” tier, and includes gear that falls under the $500 price point.

  • Requires that you achieve the rank of “Member” (“Trust Level 2”)
  • Have posted impressions, or a review, here, for at least one piece of gear.
  • No gear pre-requisites.

This is a much lower bar than the previously required rank of “Regular” (“Trust Level 3”).

This means that many existing members now immediately become eligible for participation in the “Community Preview Program”!

Tier 2 - Requirements:

Tier 2 is the “mid-level” tier and covers gear nominally ranging in price from $500 to $1,000, with some more expensive gear potentially included if/when we deem appropriate.

  • Have qualified for Tier 3 access.
  • Have participated in at least one Tier 3 loan/preview and has posted impressions or a review here.
  • Owns a discrete source and amp or comparable DAC/amp appropriate for the gear of interest.

Tier 1 - Requirements:

Tier 1 is the highest tier in the program and grants access to all program items, which includes all items over $1,000.

  • Meets “Core Team” requirements or has participated in previews under both Tiers 3 and 2.
  • Has posted one, full-length, illustrated, review or has three solid impressions posts.
  • Owns a discrete source and amp or comparable DAC/amp appropriate for the gear of interest.
  • Are using lossless source material.

Staying Qualified

One you have qualified for a given tier, you will retain access to that Tier provided that you both a) post impressions or a review, on “The HEADPHONE Community” for each item previewed and b) maintain the necessary level of site participation (“Trust Level”).

Gear by Tier

Tier 3 (upto ~$500):

  • Audio Technica ATH-AD700X
  • Audio Technica ATH-AD900X
  • Audio Technica ATH-AD1000X
  • AudioQuest Dragonfly Black
  • AudioQuest Dragonfly Red
  • AudioQuest NightHawk Carbon
  • AudioQuest NightOwl Carbon
  • Campfire Audio Comet
  • Campfire Audio Orion
  • FiiO FH1
  • FiiO X5 Mark III
  • Final Audio E4000
  • Final Audio E5000
  • Final Audio F3100
  • Final Audio Sonorous III
  • iFi Audio iDSD Nano Black Label
  • Sennheiser HD598 SR
  • Topping D30

Tier 2 (~$500 to ~$1,000):

  • Astell&Kern a&Norma SR15
  • Astell&Kern KANN
  • Audeze LCD-2 Closed-Back
  • Beyerdynamic DT1990
  • Beyerdynamic T5p
  • Campfire Audio Cascade
  • Campfire Audio Polaris
  • Chord Mojo
  • Final Audio Sonorous VI
  • Focal Elear
  • Focal Elegia
  • iFi Audio iDSD Micro Black Label
  • iFi Audio xCAN
  • iFi Audio xDSD
  • Noble Audio Django
  • Sennheiser PXC 550

Tier 1 (> ~$1,000):

  • Astell&Kern a&Ultima SP1000M
  • Audeze LCD-X
  • Audeze LCD-4
  • Campfire Audio Andromeda
  • Focal Clear
  • Focal Utopia
  • Questyle QP2R (see note above, re: this being an example of Tier 2 “exception” item).
  • Sennheiser HD 800S
  • Sennheiser HD 820


We reserve the right to grant or deny access to the program to anyone, at any time, purely at our discretion.


If you’ve been participating here (not just reading) for a little bit, the new Community Preview Program structure means there’s a very good chance you now already qualify for participation.

The details are in the above post (and updated in the first post of the topic), but I figured I’d briefly mention that requirements for participation have been significantly changed (and lowered).

The Community Review Program has always sounded good and I like that it receives attention. The updated rules will give more flexibility and access…but how does one know if they qualify for the different tiers?? Is the acknowledgment the same as a badge? Or is it requested? And…hopefully this hasn’t been answered already and I missed it :speak_no_evil:


There’s no current, specific, indicator for non Core-Team members (that one is indicated in their title).

If you look at your profile and see that your “Trust Level” is “Member”, and you’ve posted impressions or a review here in the past, then you qualify. At which point you can request something from the program (PM to myself, @taronlissimore and @Andrew).

We’ll see about adding a useful indicator in user’s titles.


:vulcan_salute: thanks


@andrew, @taronlissimore and @Torq – This is incredible. Thanks for opening the doors for more users to test out gear and provide their own unique insights. I’m excited for more quality content on this forum!


Any chance this can be stickied to the top? Seems like it gets lost in the mix.


Great idea. You thinking stickied at top of entire forum? If so @taronlissimore is the master of stickies.

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This could mean so many things… :wink:


It’s kind of up to you guys, but making it stickied will probably drive more participation and follow-on discussion and more active participants which will lead to world domination (eventually).


Let me know when domination makes it over here :wink:

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This sounds like a great program. There are a lot of good ideas in this thread for this program. I would love to be part of this loan program as a YouTube reviewer having the ability to review gear that I am unable to purchase or are on the fence about purchasing would be a nice addition to my channel. I need to work up on getting my rank changed to “member”.

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Bear in mind that one of the requirements to participate is that you post proper impressions or a review here for any items borrowed via this program.

This means more than a one sentence or paragraph summary. You can look at posts by @antdroid, @DarthPool, @pwjazz and @Resolve (especially where there’s a YouTube or video component) to see the kind of thing that is expected, especially if you are planning on putting your content for items from this program on other sites/channels.


I totally understand. Thank you for the clarification. I am not much of a written word reviewer but I will give it my best shot.