Every time I write this intro, it seems to be about the growing breadth of headphone audio and personal audio gear. Yes, there's a lot of it, and growth in our segment of audio doesn't seem to be waning at all--just the opposite actually. But we all know that already, right?
This year, I think I traveled more than I ever have in any other year in my life. I've been to visit many friends in the community at meets and other events all over the world. I visited many companies who develop, manufacture, and sell the gear our community likes to talk about, and based on what I've seen in the pipeline at many of those companies, we're going to have more to listen to, and talk about, next year than any previous year.
Anyway, on my way to the places I've been this year, I realized what I most looked forward to as I flew in wasn't gear, wasn't a scoop on a new product or story--it was my friends, and the prospect of meeting new friends. As I look back on nearly 14 years of Head-Fi, the gear that gets us closer to the music we love and that gives us common ground despite how different we all are...all that stuff comes and goes. When I look back to Head-Fi's founding in 2001, I think of my friends most of all. Many--perhaps even most--of my close friends have come from this community. Friends I visit, and who visit me. Friends who give me someone to travel with, eat with, drink with, get into mischief with, no matter where in the world I end up.
What brings us here is the gear that gets us closer to our music--that's our common ground. There'll always be gear to share and talk about, and that certainly doesn't seem to be changing. For those of you who go to meets--meets that seem to be happening with increasing frequency all over the world--you know how great they are for meeting people, making friends. For those of you who haven't been to a Head-Fi Meet, make sure you look for one local to you--or even organize one yourself--in ourMeet Forumhere at Head-Fi. I promise you new friendships will come into your life, many of which will last a lifetime.
With that, I want to thank some of my friends from Head-Fi who contributed to this Gift Guide: joe, whom I've had the joy of working with now for over 15 years; warrenpchi; Currawong; third_eye; Brooko; and project86. As always, thanks also to everyone who gave us permission to use your quotes in the Guide.
Actually, I'd like to thankallof my friends--both old and new--in this wonderful hobby of ours. As we near the holidays, you're all in my thoughts, and I wish you the best. Happy holidays, and sorry about your wallets.