Audio Tours - What is your experience?

Does anybody else participate in demo/audio tours through headfi or another site? If so please provide which ones you participate in, any feedback on the process, the associated costs/requirements, etc…

I participate on Audio Tiers (Bill Barra) whom I “met” on headfi (

Next week will be my 3rd tour and the only cost is having to ship the product to the next tour member via UPS/USPS insured and signature required. I’ve tried a set of IEMs and the Burson Conductor 3XP and next up I’m getting a kit that has the Fir Audio M2, M3, M4, M5. It’s pretty sweat that I get to try out an entire lineup of a companies’ IEMs from entry level to Flagship ~$5k of products with really only a $30 shipping charge.

He typically will do a kickoff video introduce the tour package and a brief overview of them and possibly a review:

Anyway without a better network of dealers and shows to try products I find this an interesting method of getting your hands on products. Please share your methods!

I’ve signed up for about 5 tours and only got called up for one (Elysium + VE8). The demo is pretty sweet, but has slowed down quite a bit when Barra got busier.

Yep I’ve noticed quite a lag of say ~6 months between when I sign up and when I’ve received the tours. Some may be a lag of Barra getting busy but I’ve also seen a bunch of tour members not sticking to the 8 day schedule. Plus when I shipped the Conductor out it took over a week to get from Utah to Kentucky vis USPS. So 8 days session turned into 16 days interval between when I received the kit to when the next member got it.

Have you done any other tours elsewhere?

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That was the only tour I’ve done.
The lag time from the members actually may not be their fault. We are dependent on Barra to give us the next address, so a lot of responsibilities actually fall on him.

Anyways, big disclaimer though. If you do more tours, crap happens. Be prepared to be financial responsible if anything goes wrong.

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hmm not 100% clear “crap happens”. I was told if I can show proof that is was shipped/insured/signature required I would not be liable if lost in shipping.

If something happens with the equipment being played normally it would be covered by warranty so would be crap out of luck to cover. For example I didn’t feel comfortable switching out the op amps in the Conductor so I just left it stock. If I popped the chassis then ruined the internal clams of the op amps I would have assumed i would be liable. But if it goes kaputz when just plugged in normally I would have assumed 0 liability.

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This one seemed pretty lenient. I did specify about doing any additional tours (from other organizers). Even with that in mind, I still felt nervous about dropping or accidentally damaging the demo though.

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That’s exactly why I created this thread… trying to understand what other organizations people are participating in, the types of products they are receiving, and what the costs/liabilities/risks are.

I participated in a few of his tours and am signed up for several others. It pretty nice but the main issue is that Bill is dragging his feet alot these days and the exchange ends up taking forever sometimes. I currently have the FIR audio m4/m5 kit on tour, I recieved almost a month ago… Yes a month. I’m only supposed to have it for 7days. It was supposed to have seen 3 other people by now but because of the organizers poor management its still here with me waiting on a address confirmation for the last week and a half… Smh

Overall I would say that it’s a great tour and in the past it has worked very well but obviously the organizer needs to get somebody else on board to handle the logistics when he is busy with other things.

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Sweet I’m excited to hear the M4 & M5!

Are there any other providers of tours that you have used? I’ve signed up for a few on headfi or at least reached out to the manufacturers when they do a product release; however, they never respond to me. My assumption is they are looking for professional reviewers or people that have a following or provide great photo takes.

Towa I’m getting the same delay on my end for our kit… I asked the current person with the kit to pass me over as I’m headed on a vacation. Would hate for the kit to be sitting at a USPS site for 3 weeks.


I was after you on the Burson Conductor tour :wave:

If I suggested to have a tour for the iFi iPhono 3 is that something your company would participate in? The members of audiotiers are primarily IEM people but perhaps they’d be interested in a phono tour.

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Hey, bud!

Good to hear from you, hope you enjoyed the Burson I did! - the audience being primarily IEM folks is why the Signature went out with them.

I’d be happy to consider if the usual threshold displays interest, but I am limited to that like any other manufacturer is.

Yeah they are primarily an IEM crowd but I did make the suggestion on the audio tiers forum for the iPhono3 and a Holo phono. Barra is non responsive but they have a new admin involved (Kevin) who seems to be speeding things along.

Guess we’ll see if there is any interest…

On the burson I did quite enjoy it but would prefer the soloist 3xp to the conductor. It’s a pretty sweet all in one solution though.

I hope to try the Soloist myself soon - the Conductor is a great all-in-one solution, but a little too neutral for my tastes (maybe iFi has ruined me there lol).

Yeah, I hope they can pull it back together there. It’s pretty much up to the community members at this point.

The FiR VxV tour hasn’t even started yet and I got it early - had it over a month so far but I’m not complaining lol, it’s an awesome all-rounder. Still waiting on who I should send it to because there are multiple units out.

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Yeah I’m next on the list for FIR M2 → M5 kit but haven’t heard anything in 1.5 months.

I have the Noble sutans (listening right now) and it’s a bit meh for $3k but still nice to demo it.

The FiR line-up is excellent, but overall, I think they played it a little too safe and should have taken some more risks with their sound.

My favorites are the VxV, which is a fantastic everyday carry and Andromeda competitor, and the M4.

The Sultans were alright, but definitely not worth the price. My favorite Noble products are their more budget and legacy ones, mainly being the Savant II, K10, Khan, and M3.

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