My hope is that anyone looking to buy a new pair of headphones will use this site as a launchpad for their search.

The origin story

The roots of Headphone Scout go all the way back to 2012 when I was in college and this site was just a WordPress blog. I got into headphones as a hobby after doing hours of research, buying & living with a pair, itching for more, rinse and repeat. This is the natural progression of A/V hobbyists but it was actually kind of sad that it took so much time and money to find something I could settle on.

Sennheiser HD 700
Sennheiser HD 700

That something was the Sennheiser HD 700, a headphone I love which shockingly has been discontinued. At that point, I became less interested in reviewing headphones myself. I didn't need new headphones and financially it didn't make sense to continue buying headphones just to review (it was just a small blog so I didn't receive many demo units). Instead, I became more interested in helping others through the process. I am by no means a headphone expert but I understand many of the problems that people encounter when going through the research/demo/decision phase (or cycle).

At this point, partly inspired by my desire to make Headphone Scout better, partly inspired by my desire to switch careers (from supply chain consulting and business analytics), and partly inspired by the open source movement (incredible), I decided to learn how to program so that I could BUILD software. What I was mostly doing at work was configuring software, which, let me tell you, is orders of magnitude less exhilarating.

I love the word build because it conveys human ingenuity so succinctly. The art and science of taking raw materials and converting them into something meaningful.

I decided to focus on web development specifically because I liked the idea that I could take a product from conception to consumption all by myself. It is empowering, and for that reason I think web development is a great place to start for aspiring software developers.

Since 2018, I've been learning along the way as I build this site. The backbone of Headphone Scout is React.js and Node.js, with a plethora of supporting npm packages. Thank you lord for npm.

React.js and Node.js logos
React.js + Node.js

There is still SO much to learn and SO much work to do but I am happy with what I've been able to build so far.

So, what is Headphone Scout?

There is so much information on the internet about headphones, but it is all very disparate. The overarching idea with Headphone Scout is to bring all the important information together and make it efficient, accessible, fun, and not overwhelming to find new headphones.

Right now you can browse and filter through headphones, ask/answer questions and chat on the forum, and check out the release calendar.

As I build out more features and the database grows, I am hoping it will become the go-to resource for anyone looking for headphones.

A few design decisions that I think make Headphone Scout stand out from the crowd:

Filter focused

The core functionality of Headphone Scout right now is the ability to filter on pretty much anything that you'd care about:

Most people have an idea of what they're looking for on most of these dimensions, and entering them will quickly narrow down the search to a reasonable number.

I know, there are still a lot of filters that don't exist yet. I think this is a good starting point though.

Price is hidden while browsing

Headphone Scout browse page
Headphone Scout browse page

This is closer to how a boutique shop operates. In my opinion it makes for a far more pleasant experience when prices aren't plastered over everything like at Walmart. I encourage users to set their budget ahead of time using the price filters so they only see headphones in their price range.

Trusted reviews

There are so many great reviews out there from people who know a lot more about audio than I do. At Headphone Scout, I want to promote this content.

However reviews can be gamed so it is important to mitigate this possibility. I have yet to come up with a formal process/standard, but as of now, all reviews are manually checked and deemed reputable before they are added to our site.

Mannequin in tuxedo
Clearly not a real person, but on the internet it's harder to tell

The plan is to only promote reviews from people who have a good reputation reviewing headphones, regardless of the reputation of the publisher. For example, a writer at insert-your-favorite-mainstream-tech-website-here might specialize in smartphones but write a headphone review every once in a while to mix things up. Their review might be less accurate or helpful than the folks over at Headfonia who specialize in home audio. Basically, I want to uphold a level of quality.

Ensuring fake, low quality reviews do not get mixed up with genuine, high quality reviews is a top priority and I plan to put processes in place to prevent this from happening.

I realize saying this is a lot easier than actually doing it. More to come.

A glimpse into the future

I don't want to let all the cats out of the bag, but here are some upcoming features you can look forward to:

  • Moar headphones! I'll be building out the database to encompass 500 headphones and beyond.
  • Filter improvements
  • Subscribe to a headphone for price drop notifications

I would love your feedback

Deer with large ears in grass facing us
My ears are not bigger than my head, but they are open

Please let me know any questions / comments / suggestions you have here! I know I have a lot of work to do, but your thoughts and feedback will help make sure I am focusing on the right things.

Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the site :)

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