Our audioreviews.org team comprises 6 writers (all savvy Head-Fiers and/or Super Best Audio Friends) with their individual styles. They are listed below in the order of joining our team.
In this Article
- JÜRGEN KRAUS (author, blog owner)
- LOOMIS T. JOHNSON (author)
- BIODEGRADED (author)
- DURWOOD (author)
- KAZI MAHBUB (author)
- ALBERTO PITTALUGA (author)
- RETIRED: SLATER (author)
- RETIRED: BASKINGSHARK (author)
- RETIRED: KOPIOKAYA (author)
Calgary, AB, Canada. Head-Fier since 2016. He has been known as “Otto Motor” to Head-Fiers, as “Dr. Schweinsgruber” to audiobudget.com users and Youtubers, and as “Brause” to Super Best Audio Friends and the Headphone Community.
For the purpose of confusion, he decided to pose under his real name Jürgen Kraus (“JK”) from now on.
This is a hobby. In “real” life, Jürgen is a professional geologist operating his own petroleum-exploration consulting company Franconia Geoscience Ltd. (see ad in the footer) based in Calgary, Canada. He holds German and Canadian passports. Jürgen had a classical music education [piano, violin, choir; vocals and hearing training] from childhood through high school in Germany and he has been following popular music developments since the late 1970s. His understanding of arts and crafts was influenced by Bauhaus pragmatism: “less is more” and “form follows function”. He also has a profound science background [PhD, peer-reviewed publications/technical writing] and he is a world traveller understanding cultural diversity [7.5 years on Canadian/Chinese joint venture; extensive international business background].
Jürgen’s Tonal Preference and Testing Practice
In Jürgen’s opinion, an earphone has to reproduce a sound as accurately as possible. Such accuracy is tested best on natural instruments such as piano, strings, and wind instruments. He therefore doesn’t like inflated bass and hence the frequency response should be leaning towards neutral with a bit of warmth added. His money is on the midrange on top of a dry, well focused, unobtrusive bass.
Jürgen is of the strong belief that a good earphone should please the listener with all musical genres. And he is a huge supporter of the single dynamic driver.
He always tests earphones/headphones over an ever growing cross section of music that provides a broad coverage of the frequency spectrum, including naturally generated sounds such as voices and classical instruments. Particularly orchestral instruments are important for assessing the timbre.
In Jürgen’s opinion, most earphone and headphone testers and tests largely ignore or underestimate the importance of “timbre” (= tone colour or tone quality) which is a key factor for musical enjoyment over a longer period of time. It is the timbre that makes us subconsciously enjoy our earphone/headphones most in daily use.
All of Jürgen’s Blog Posts
Jürgen’s Test Tracks Explained
Jürgen’s Music Picks
Loomis’ Tonal Preference
All of Loomis’ Blog Posts
Loomis’ Music Picks
Biodegraded’s Tonal Preference
All of Biodegraded’ Blog Posts
Biodegraded’s Music Picks
Chicago, IL, USA. Head-Fier “Durwood” since 2007. From an early age Durwood liked to tear apart perfectly good working things to see what was inside, always an urge to understand what made it tick. His love of music started at the local roller rink and as a result grew up with pop, electronic music (think Freestyle, Trinere), and early hiphop from the 80’s. Hit the grunge era and Chicago house in his teens when B96 had their street mixes with Bad Boy Bill, Bobby D, Julian Jumpin Perez. Became a DJ at the local now defunct roller rink because why not? A sucker for catchy TV/movie themes (Thank you John Williams). Car audio was his first audio passion, but now with a family his audio time is spent listening to headphones. The nickname is not self-proclaimed, bestowed to him multiple times and fits his experiences in life. Collector of technology and music- a maximizer trying real hard to be a satisficer. Simplicity is the goal, but the maximizer fights every step of the way.
Durwood’s Tonal Preference
A mild or moderate V he likes his bass extended to the bottom and 5-7db Harman treble rise with upper treble in line with midrange to give it just the right amount if air. But don’t consider him a basshead or a detail freak, he likes things to sound warm and smooth most of the time but appreciates other signatures too.
All of Durwood’s Blog Posts
Munich, Germany. Head-Fier since 2019. Mostly lurking around r/headphones as u/kmmbd and a very active member in local head-fi community since 2015. Got into head-fi in mid-2019 under the username kmmbd, and has been reviewing audio gears sporadically on his personal Medium blog since 2018. His introduction to portable audio was through a Walkman cassette-player in his pre-teens, and music has been his getaway ever since.
He harbors a minor OCD regarding the tagging and organization of his music library (which is all digital on a local NAS). Also, spends too much time custom-theming his desktop Music Player for no apparent reason.
In real life, he’s a Bangladeshi living in Munich and currently doing his MS in Computer Science, majoring in Computational Biology. He’s a penchant for the academia and research, though life is strange so he’s still unsure how things will turn out in the long run.
Kazi’s Tonal Preference
Kazi doesn’t have any specific tonal preferences, but he does know what he can’t endure: shouty upper mids, oversized emphasis on 4–8KHz region, and of course — bass that rolls off way too early and just can’t inject life into the music.
Other than that, he can appreciate what the tuner intended to do with any specific gear. He believes that “Resolution isn’t everything , tonality and tuning ensures how long something will remain enjoyable.”
He also tries to keep “specialists” in his collection rather than “generalists”, i.e. gears that tend to sound excellent with specific genres or instruments rather than those which only sound competent at best with everything.
Oh, and he’s an amateur photographer trying his best to not embarrass himself.
Kazi’s Music Picks
All of Kazi’s Blog Posts
Bologna, Italy. Head-Fier “Hooga” since 2020. Alberto is a part-time music and audio lover. He’s got limited time to concede himself to listening to music, and that’s why his primary focus is min-maxing his audio enjoyment sessions. To make things further complicated, due to family compromises he stays away from airing music on room speakers and dedicates himself exclusively to in- or over-ear drivers.
Be as it may, min-maxing audio enjoyment is not an easy task: the market is flooded with ever developing new products and finding the “good” ones – adequate to one’s tastes, well built, and subjectively affordable – is a problem.
A technology enthusiast since he was a kid, Alberto is not overly attracted by novelties for the sake of themselves, he’s indeed not a compulsive gear roller, and is indeed mainly interested in understanding why and how a given piece of equipment produces better or worse results. His articles are about sharing his experience with the hope that it may be useful to others on the same quest.
In real life he is Italian, in his mid fifties, works as a sales&marketing executive, and his other main technical competence is IT.
Alberto’s Tonal Preference
Alberto is mainly fond of acoustic jazz, and even more in particular of cool jazz, bebop, and its developments (hard bop, post bop, avantgarde). He also listens to a few other genres mainly progrock, folk, and songwriters, and some pop, yet cool jazz plays the lion’s part and as a consequence he strives for his primary gear timbre to be as neutral as possible, with carefully calibrated fast transients, extremely controlled mibass, extended sub-bass as as airy and defined trebles as possible, without scanting into screechy exagerations – in short, not an easy target at all.
All of Alberto’s Blog Posts
Alberto’s Music Picks
Cincinnati, OH, USA. Head-Fier “Slater” since 2015. Growing up in the pre-digital music era, he was most at home digging through record shop bins, making cassette mix tapes, tinkering with synthesizers, and jamming with his battery-gobbling Sony Walkman.
He is an active member of HeadFi, avid record collector, former remix service DJ, and gear hacker/modder. Vintage HiFi equipment stickers stating “Do not open; No user-serviceable parts inside”, may as well have read “Open me up; Cool stuff inside”.
Recent trends in portable audio gear have reinvigorated Slater’s love of all things audio, as it allows enthusiasts of every budget to participate in the hobby.
Slater’s Tonal Preference
Slater appreciates different tunings, because he appreciates many different musical genres. The key is to select the right tuning for the chosen genre. With that said, if he had to choose 1 tuning to take to a desert island, it would probably be most similar to the Harman target response (although they keep revising it every few years, so even that doesn’t mean much).
All of Slater’s Blog Posts
Slater’s Music Picks
Singapore. Head-Fier “Baskingshark” since 2019. Baskingshark is also based in Singapore. He also contributes to Head-Fi and Headphonesty. He has played the piano and guitar in a band for the last 15 years.
Baskingshark previously had to almost sell a kidney to fund IEMs for stage monitoring, so he is always on the lookout for gear with good price to performance ratio. As such, with the rise of Chi-Fi in the last few years, he has never been happier with his audio hobby. Though the wife has never been more unhappy with the increasing number of IEMs and earbuds in the mail.
Baskingshark’s Tonal Preference
Baskingshark is a basshead and is slightly treble sensitive, but he can appreciate most other sound signatures. He believes that different tuning should suit different music genres and needs. For casual music listening, he prioritizes good timbre and tonality over technical excellence. For stage monitoring, he prefers something neutralish with good isolation and good technicals.
All of Baskingshark’ Blog Posts
Singapore. Head-Fier “Kopiokaya” since 2018. “Who is KopiOkaya?” that is the first question many audiophiles and earphone enthusiasts ask when stumbled upon his coffee cup avatar… “I am just a nobody…” – that is his usual answer. This “nobody” has his audio roots stretch until the mid-1970s when his father hauled back a set of Sansui-Luxman-Coral combo from “a friend’s place” (so that mom believed it was a given set). He fell in love with the sound instantly, and the rest is history. Previously taught in a public school, now a full-time tutor and an “ad-hoc” multimedia producer, Kopi wants to divert his attention from his teaching job and focus on something he truly loves – hifi audio. Throughout the years, Kopi owned many “nice” equipment and accessories… until the year 2009 when he discovered Chi-Fi or Chinese Hifi. An euraka moment, it was the sound he had been looking for all these years despite spending thousands and thousands of dollars on branded, highly-reviewed equipment. He sold everything (except a few good cables) and downgraded to pretty much bare minimal.
Back to the very first question… What is “KopiOkaya” then… In Singapore, where Kopi is based in, kopi O simply refers to thick black coffee and kaya is a type of toast spread made of brown sugar, coconut milk, eggs and pandan leaves, commonly served as breakfast in Southeast Asia regions.
KopiOkaya’s Tonal Preference