Q ‘n A Saturday: Oliver Marino

Oliver Marino

HFN: What’s your opinion about ever increasing prices for flagship monitors?
OM: Designing an IEM for a company can be quite expensive. R&D, materials, production costs etc. Probably in the market there are few IEMs that really aren’t worth that money, because they do not offer anything special other than marketing.

HFN: If the consumers are willing to pay, there’s a market, do you agree?
OM: I believe that consumers need to be treated correctly and honestly, without any marketing game with science fiction words that describe who knows what “super technology”. It’s what I call ethics. What makes me really laugh is when I read such “exotic” words to describe quite simple acoustics processes. But, at the end, if someone is happy to spend a lot of money it’s his own choice.

HFN: How has this market changed since you started?
OM: When I started there were really few manufacturers, so little choices at high prices. In a few years, the market has exploded and now there are hundreds of manufacturers, with solutions for everyone and at every price. But there is also a lot of shady and pretentious stuff.

Oliver Marino

Oliver Marino

HFN: What is your personal favourite DAP? Headphone? Earphone? Please explain why.
OM: I do not have any special preference, I try to be quite neutral. When I listen to a new design I like to use different sources like the Macbook Pro, the Objective O2 ampli that I use for testing, my Honor phone, the Onkyo DP-X1, the Cowon J3, the iBasso D10. Every source tells me something about the design. When I work on stage, sometimes I use an old Sony MDR- 7506 that is far from being neutral, but I am used to it and it is quite comfortable. I am that kind of person that does not like to be some kind of “sectarian” for something, I like to change.

HFN: Which of your own designs is your most loved one? Do you have a favourite?
OM: You know, they are all my “sons”, I could not prefer one to another in an absolute way. They all have a particular sound signature, so I use them according to how I’m feeling or what I am doing.

HFN: What is you favourite album?
OM: I do listen really different genres of music, I like the music in a real broad way, so I can listen to music from Africa (that is very good for string instruments), I love Funk (that is good for the groove, the drum, the percussions and the bass guitar) or Rock (electric guitar, voices) or Pop or even Classical music, that is good for acoustic instruments and sound stage. I do have some well recorded albums for testing as well as a personal compilation of songs of different genres.

Thank you so much for this look behind the scenes Oliver!
Oliver has provided a list of test-songs he uses for his own products, scroll down a little to find it 😉

Oliver Marino

Oliver Marino

This is a not exhaustive list of some tracks I use for testing:

Personal compilation:

Back in Black-AC/DC
Calling Elvis-Dire straits
Change the Formality-Infected Mushroom
Endless River-Mickey Hart/Planet Drum
Everybody here wants you-Jeff Buckley
Fine & Mellow-Deborah Cox
Hash Pipe-Weezer
Here I am-Lyle Lovett
Hotel California-Eagles
I Can See Clearly Now-Holly Cole
I Won’t Leave You Lonely-Shania Twain
Is This All-Jonatha Brooke
Joy Williams – Ordinary World (2010)
No Sanctuary Here-Chris Jones
Over the Rainbow-Israel Kamakawiwò ole
Precious Plans-Field Music
She’s My Pusher-The Crystal Method
Straighten Up and Fly Right-Linda Ronstadt
Sweet Mercy-Erik Truffaz
The Hunter-Jennifer Warnes
The Last Mall-Steely Dan
The Only One-Limp Bizkit
Warme Dagen
Wicked Game-Chris Isaak
Yesterday-Boyz II Men

From “Audiofile from FOcal-JmLab”

Chris Jones – Set ’em Up, Joe
Chris Jones – No Sanctuary Here
Mike Silver – MAngel In Deep Shadow
Steve Strauss – Mr. Bones
Allan Taylor – Wheel of Fortune
Steve Strauss – Mr.Bones
Chris Jones – Long After You’er Gone
Friend n Fellow – In The Summertime
Sara K. – Stars
Dennis Kolen – Seaside Rendezvous
Beo Brockhausen – Wolkenmeer
Eugene Ruffolo – Beyond Love
Blue Chamber Quarter – Children’s Song 12&16
Allan Taylor – Midnight Call
Mckinley Black – All I Need
Ralf Illenberger – Light Wave
Blue Chamber Quartet – Children’s Song 6

Another personal compilation:

Stand still-Shirley Caesar
Cousin Dupree-Steely Dan
Diggin’ on James brown-Tower of power
Rippin’n runnin’-Gordon goodwin’s big phat band
Take the power back-Rage against the machine
Money’s too tight to mention-Simply red
(for God sake) Give more power to people-Joss stone
Smooth operator-Sade
Take the power back – Remastered- Rage against the machine
Young lust-Elliot Easton
Rythm is a dancer-CDM project
Back at the children shack-Blues project live
Backrow politics-Gordon goodwin’s big phat band

4.8/5 - (85 votes)

A daytime code monkey with a passion for audio and his kids, Linus tends to look at gear with a technical approach, trying to understand why certain things sound the way they do. When there is no music around, Linus goes the extra mile and annoys the hell out of his colleagues with low level beatboxing.


  • Reply March 17, 2018


    When Oliver answered the question about his participation in the well-known products, a hint of UERR were quite transparent)

  • Reply March 18, 2018

    Oliver Marino

    Just to clarify,
    I am not involved in any way in the UERR,i said that I like it, that’s all ????

    • Reply March 18, 2018


      Thanks for the clarification Oliver!

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