An interview with the Audiophile Group on Facebook

[The Audiophile Group page on Facebook]

A really social group

[Italian version here]

Reviewer: Richard Varey - TNT New Zealand
Published: December 2016

A phenomenon of the Internet age is the rise of the amateur expert - passionate hobbyists with a voice and a subsequent following. This is an interview with one such figure in the international hifi web. Meet Coury James Hodges, founder of The Audiophile Group on Facebook. I recently had a conversation with Coury about the expanding online community he started.

[Courey James Hodges, founder of the group]

Richard: «What is The Audiophile Group, Coury?»
Coury: «It's a growing Facebook group for anyone who wants to talk about headphones, amplifiers, equipment reviews, and anything about music.»

Richard: «Tell us how it came about.»
Coury: «I started the group because I have a huge interest in audio equipment, and music as well. I wanted to create a group where fellow audio enthusiasts could come and share their knowledge, as well as gain knowledge from others. The group had been a thought in my mind for about 7 years, before I had the confidence to actually put thoughts into actions.»

Richard: «As a member myself, I've seen the group grow rapidly.»
Coury: «When I started the group a little over two years ago, I never thought that it would ever take off the way it did! I was expecting to have maybe 20-50 members.»

Richard: «How have you attracted so many enthusiasts to join the group?»
Coury: «I'd never advertised in my life. I came up with maybe six different catchy advertisements, shared my group link in the advertising, and next thing I knew, I was receiving maybe 40-50 join requests a day!»

Richard: «That must have created a lot of work for you.»
Coury: «It was hard. I've never managed anything in my life, and I had no experience at all with how to be successful at this. Especially a Facebook group. As the group grew, I had to learn along the way, to manage, and to make the group likable. I was the only admin for the group, until membership reached about 4,600 members. I was dedicated to my group, to be available most of the time to handle things within the group.»

Richard: «What's the group's ethos?»
Coury: «Members show much respect within the group, as I always keep the group atmosphere happy and laid back. I wouldn't allow foul language, and I wouldn't allow fellow members to be degraded, offended, or anything along those lines. I've always been, and still am, very selective of who gets and keeps membership.»

Richard: «And now you have a very prominent and active international group.»
Coury: «Yes. Many members refer to The Audiophile Group as the best group out there. The group has gained mega success over the last two years. Currently, membership is more than 8,500 enthusiasts.»

Richard: «Has all the work been worthwhile for you, Coury?»
Coury: «The fact that I've put so much time and dedication into it has paid off hugely for me. My interests in audio began with a CD Walkman, and a $50 Behringer headphone amp, and a pair of Sennheiser HD595s. Because of such a passion for music and audio I've become known in the audiophile world. I was just a member of the Facebook group with a very simple audio system setup. Nothing fancy. I've always had a mega interest in headphones and wanted to educate myself on anything and everything about headphones that I possibly could.»

Richard: «So how are things going?»
Coury: «I am going to be doing video reviews for AVshowrooms in the next couple of months. I was selected 2015 Audiophile of the Year by AVshowrooms as well. Because of a huge interest in audio, I was given such a prestigious award.»

[Courey's HiFi system]

Richard: «You must be proud of what has been accomplished.»
Coury: «What I've learned in life is that you get back what you give. Hard work and dedication does pay off in the long run.»

Richard: «I am currently seeing you in some prestigious magazines. Tell us about that.»
Coury: «Having been featured in advertisements for Kimber Kable's Axios headphone cable is a mega accomplishment. Being featured in Stereophile, The Absolute Sound, as well as being quoted in advertisements in The Audiophile Voice was also huge for me! Just aim high in life. It pays off in the long run.»

Richard: «As the group expands, have you noticed any changes in member interests?»
Coury: «I think members are enjoying the group even more these days. I run a respectable group, where members show respect for others, as well as allowing the members to ask questions, share advice to others, and not feel intimidated.»

Richard: «What motivates people to participate in the group?»
Coury: «Members have shown greater interest in the last six months or so, and the group is praised by many as the best group on Facebook. The majority of audiophiles have interest in joining. But I'm very selective of who gets into the group.»

Richard: «What do you see for the group in the future?»
Coury: «Well, I'm hoping to hit the 10k members mark in the next 6-8 months, and I'm also going to be doing video reviews for AVshowrooms, and I hope I'm able to share my own knowledge to my fellow members. My main goal right now is to promote the group through word of mouth to potential members.»

Richard: «What particularly memorable or unusual stories can you tell?»
Coury: «The funny part is, when I started the group, it was first named "The Audiophile Forum". After maybe three days, I said to myself, this is a group, not a forum. So I decided on the name "The Audiophile Group". When I think about it, I founded the group with just three members, and myself. To think about how with just four of us, and superbly effective advertising, I was able to draw potential members to the group. I always kept the group interesting, and unique. I never thought the group would ever become what it is today. I assumed the group would hit maybe 30 members? But then we eventually reached 100+! As I kept advertising, the group only continued to grow and expand. Every time I look at the group, and what's being posted, as well as having high profile members, it just reminds me of how anyone can accomplish what they want. You just have to work for it.»

Richard: «Before you go, tell us about your audio system.»
Coury: «My headphone listening gear is high end. It took me maybe seven years to acquire what I now have. To give a rundown of my audio gear, I own the Beyerdynamic Tesla T1 headphones, the Sennheiser HD650 phones with a Kimber Kable Axios headphone cable, the Marantz CD5004 CD transport, as well as the Schiit Bifrost ÜBER. I also use Luminous Audio Monarch 2 RCA interconnects, as well as a 280 fibreglass Toslink that's connected from the Marantz to the Bifrost. I'm also using the Core Power Technologies EQUI=CORE 300 balanced power cable system. I also own the Beyerdynamic DT990 headphones, and a Furman M8-x2 power conditioner which I was previously using before the EQUI=CORE. I also have two Sieveking Sound Omega headphone stands for the Tesla T1 and the Sennheiser HD650.»

I'd like to thank Coury for talking with me about the Audiophile Group, and to wish him well with future endeavours in the world of audio and hifi.

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