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Title: “INNER”
Publisher: Inner Media Group

Publication type: ONLINE MAGAZINE
Year of establishment: 2007

Contact: Inner Media Group
Helsinki | FINLAND
Phone: +358 40 707 7721


THE EDITORS is a series of interviews with audio magazine editors from all over the world – both printed and online magazines, and portals. It started on January 1st 2012 and 25 interviews have been published so far – the one below is our No. 26. Our aim is to make our readers more familiar with the people who usually hide behind the products that we review. It is the “WHO IS WHO?” of specialized audio press.

hen you look at the list of authors that I have talked to, from the first interview with Srajan Ebaen representing the “” magazine, published on January 1st 2012, to a conversation with John E. Johnson, the Editor-in-Chief of “Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity”, published in August this year, you will find out that most of my interlocutors come from the USA, the UK, Germany and Switzerland, and interviews with Yosuke Asada, “Net Audio” | “Analog” (Japan), Edgar Kramer, “Audio Esoterica” (Australia) or Sridhar Vootla, (India) have not changed this overriding trend.

Countries of the Iberian Peninsula, Italy and Eastern Europe are still not found on our map. The greater my joy was when I was granted permission to conduct an interview with Kari Nevalainen, the Editor-in-Chief of the Finnish “Inner” magazine. A written record of the conversation is given below.

WOJCIECH PACUŁA: Tell us about yourself, please.
KARI NEVALAINEN: Let me answer this way: there’s the old debate on whether it’s a book or a work of art... Is the outcome all that matters and should it speak for itself, or perhaps some background information on the author or the artist needs to be released for people to better understand the “meaning” of a work, a text, etc. The fact that I would undoubtedly, subjectively and intuitively choose to be in favour of the former camp tells you a lot about me as a person. On the other hand, I am first to admit that the question is deeper and far more complex than that, and, in the end, it probably remains open and unanswered, which tells you a lot about my training and professional background.

How did you start flirting with audio?
I wish I was able to tell you some impressive story, but I’m afraid my first encounter with audio was rather conventional. It all started when I got my first guitar – at seven, I think – and then it gradually grew into listening to recorded music, mainly pop and rock of the time.

At the time when I started collecting records, the playback system I had was some out-of-date all-in-one fm-tuner/amp system. Then, some time later, through the contacts of my father, I managed to acquire my first true stereo system with a Kenwood amp, Dual turntable, NAD cassette deck and B&W loudspeakers. Nothing fancy, but enough for a teenager 

More or less at the same time, I became a regular subscriber to hi-fi magazines, did some elementary DIY speaker building – and that was it, I was lost in audio and hi-fi. Just the normal course of events for a young Western man, isn’t it?

In retrospect, I don’t think it was just better sound quality that I was after. In fact, I think I went through my most volcanic record-based musical experiences with the lousiest playback equipment, even though some of my friends owned excellent B&O systems. I was not particularly obsessed with how amps, speakers, circuits or components worked, either. But I do remember being fascinated with the sheer technicality of the devices. There was something very sexy and cool about getting new gear, unpacking it, the look of it, the knobs, the handmade square shape and, of course, about the fact that it actually produced sound!

Then, during my studies, I was not that actively interested in hi-fi, until I picked the hobby up again after moving abroad and finding some excellent audio shops nearby. Then, over the next five years or so, I devoured everything I could learn about audio from magazines and books, and through my contacts from all continents. Most of what I know today about audio comes from that period.

When were you bitten by the editor bug?
In the mid 90s, I started writing reports from all international hi-fi exhibitions in Paris, London, Hong Kong, Stockholm, etc. for the only Finnish hi-fi magazine published at that time. Then, I gradually began assisting various audio magazines with my reviews, interviews, reports, etc. Around 2005, somewhat bored with conventional audio journalism, I took the first steps towards launching my own magazine, the first issue of which was published in 2007 as a 0.5kg heavy paper magazine called “INNER”. Three years later, it went through a transformation into an online magazine and has recently been redesigned in order to reflect its objectives better.

Can you tell us what kind of a publication “INNER” is?
That’s a very good question. I’m not sure if I fully understand myself, though. Traditional audio journalism is rooted in consumer education dating back to the mid 20th century or so. The idea was that clever and competent audio journalists, on behalf of less knowledgeable passive consumers, picked up technically sound products out of a bunch of less respectable examples, giving the former five stars and mocking the other ones.

In such journalism, the basic assumption seems to be that the main task of an audio journalist is to intervene and reveal the hoax and humbug. That may be fine for the mass-market mode of operation, but when we talk about audiophilia, the hobby, I’m inclined to think that such an attitude is not appropriate. There’s always place for criticism, but at “INNER” we believe that audiophiles are smart and well-informed people who do not need to be educated in this way.

That’s one thing. Another thing is that most hi-fi magazines seem to assume that the hobby should just be about chasing some sound quality using a series of technical means. The narrative in which audiophiles use technology only because of its obvious instrumental role is so narrow and shallow that I cannot imagine that anyone who’s been into the hobby for more than five years would believe it – at least in the sense that it would provide a full picture.

As far as “INNER” is concerned, we think there’s much more to the hobby than that simple scenario suggests. We believe that there are several meaningful ways, not just one, to relate oneself to technology, and we try to emphasise this aspects of the hobby, too. To be honest, I find it hard to believe that what truly motivates people interested in audio technology is some abstract idea of sound quality, or even music. This sounds to me more like rationalization and the true reasons lie deeper.

Just think how nicely some features of the hobby are explained by some people representing the audio field, e.g. by techno-romanticism or by a belief in science as an outlook on life. Anyway, audiophilia is a very special male subculture and, as such, it provides a splendid opportunity for us to explore these issues, which is exactly what “INNER” attempts to do and which is why art in all forms is part of the magazine’s concept.

What is the story of the magazine’s title?
Well, Srajan Ebaen of 6moons used to send his contributors compilation CDs containing samples of so-called world music. It was nice music, often served with exemplary sound quality, but not the kind of material that I like exactly. It then occurred to me that there likewise must be some less worldly music for the development of inner life, too.

Then I wrote a piece on Adolf Wölfli, one of the greatest outsider artists of all times, who, without being afraid of being a dilettante, went from making drawings and paintings to writing books, then composing and even developing his own mathematics. The article was published on under the title Inner-World Music. That gave the name for my first magazine called “Inner-World Audio” which later became “Inner-Magazines” and then was shortened to “INNER”. The founding words for the magazine covering both technology and art were, however, written long before, in 1992, when I still lived in Geneva, Switzerland.

The cover image of Issue No. 2 (designed by Michael Lavorga who, in addition to his contribution to audio, is a highly talented artist) represents Edward Munch’s famous symbolist painting Shout, with the exception that this time the man on the bridge is shouting with his head inside the vacuum of the Western Electric 300B! (Michael Lavorga is the Editor-in-Chief of the online magazine “AudioStream”; an interview with Mr Lavorga was published in “High Fidelity” on 1st January 2016 | No. 141, read – Editor’s note). “INNER” is not against outer appearance as symbolists were, but I think that the image nicely depicts the fact that the inner side also plays a role in the hobby.

What is your publication and reviewing policy?
Nothing special really, just standard practices. Each reviewer, including me, uses his own system and devices to obtain comparative information, if required. However, since systems and equipment can never be fully standardized due to different acoustics and a million of other variables, I believe it’s far more important and informative for the reader that reviewers should have enough experience.

Then, irrespectively of the gear they happen to own or have at hand, they know how to place the reviewed product in a proper context, both from the perspective of sound and technology, not forgetting that the product is always a projection of its maker’s passion and ambition. Over the years, I must have auditioned literally hundreds of loudspeakers and dozens of amplifiers, CD players, etc., mainly thanks to all the group tests I’ve taken part in, on top of all the reviews and experiments with individual products.

What is your favourite kind of sound, music and equipment?
When it comes to sound – mono. When it comes to music – anything older than 250 years or younger than 130 years, or, selectively, something in between. However, independently of the age, something that is classified as art music rather than entertainment. When it comes to equipment – vintage or vintage-spirited, tubes, horns, classic widebanders, you know. That would be the quick and easy answer.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of online and printed magazines?
As far as I’m concerned, paper magazines, purely as user interfaces, outdo web-magazines in almost every respect. Paper gives text and images an appearance impossible to obtain by means of dematerialized digital media. It has the mass, the smell, the physicality. The French have a charming habit of buying a half a dozen magazines from a newsstand on Saturday and then lying on the bed, browsing through them relaxingly on a Sunday afternoon. That’s so cool. None of the charm would be left if the only companion on the bed would be an iPad, a laptop or a similar device. But, of course, online magazines are a way more cost-effective to make, whereas publishing a specialized paper magazine is a really tough business.

Tell us something about the Scandinavian audio market – what is it like?
I don’t think the audio market in Scandinavia differs much from the rest of the world, Central Europe especially. There are some great world-class manufacturers of audio products, loudspeakers in particular, in all the four countries: Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark, and there is a limited but relatively stable percentage of male population who remains interested in the hobby.

Of course, the audio market in each of the countries is not that big due to low population numbers, but, taken as a whole, Scandinavia forms a rather uniform and well-structured market area of sufficiently well-off people that should be of interest to manufacturers from outside the Nordic countries as well. There are some interesting differences between the countries, though. The Finns and the Norwegians appear to be the most engineering-minded, whereas the Swedes are those who know how to get thrilled and excited, the Danes dwelling somewhere in between.

Tell us what 10 music albums our readers should listen to and why.
That’s a bit hard because even though I do listen to records, LPs and CDs, and the piles are growing, I don’t approach music via records anymore. The older I get, the less I feel the need to listen to music just for the immediate pleasure of hearing it, and the more I listen to music in order to get access to new experimental music, and to learn new things about music.

For this reason, my principal source of music today is quite likely the FM radio, precisely because the best radio programmes and the best music journalists and critics are an inexhaustible source of new information. Additionally, sound can be truly marvellous and authentic if broadcast live from the best concert halls.

In fact, one of my most impressive sonic experiences of recent times was when I heard, again on the radio, a field recording of a pack of wolves singing multi-voice in different descending scales, rhythmically, cleverly sequenced... It was haunting and very, very musical. It reminded me of the young Norwegian Saami yoiker Marja Mortensson and her extraordinary voice, e.g. on the “Mojhtestasse” album (2018), as well as the Mongolian Huun-Huur-Tu’s throat singing on various recordings.

But since you asked, there is one recent album that I can warmly recommend, especially to all cello music lovers. It is a recording produced by Audio Note UK, on which Vincent Bélanger plays less often performed solo cello pieces. The content itself – the Grutzmacher etudes above all – is valuable, but the way the cello has been recorded and what it sounds like has some very appealing features!

Thank you for the interview!
My pleasure! Greetings to all “High Fidelity” readers! ■


  • JOHN E. JOHNSON, Jr., Ph.D. | ”Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity”, USA, chief editor
  • YOSUKE ASADA | “Net Audio”, “Analog” HERE, JAPAN, chief editor
  • DANIEL BREZINA | HIFI-VOICE.COM, CZECH, editor-in-chief (Šéfredaktor), see HERE
  • EDGAR KRAMER | „Audio Esoterica”, AUSTRALIA, editor-in-chief, see HERE
  • MICHAEL LAVORGNA, „AudioStream”, USA, editor-in-chief, see HERE
  • MICHAEL LANG, “Stereo”, GERMANY, managing editor (Geschäftsführender Redakteur), see HERE
  • SRIDHAR VOOTLA, “”, INDIA, journalist, see HERE
  • SCOT HULL, “Part-Time Audiophile”, USA, editor-in-chief, see HERE
  • ART DUDLEY, “Stereophile”, USA, editor-at-large, see HERE
  • HELMUT HACK, “Image Hi-Fi”, GERMANY, managing editor, see HERE
  • DIRK SOMMER, „”, GERMANY, chief editor, see HERE
  • MARJA & HENK, „”, SWITZERLAND, journalists, see HERE
  • CHRIS CONNAKER, “Computer Audiophile”, USA, founder/chief editor, see HERE
  • MATEJ ISAK, "Mono & Stereo”, chief editor/owner, SLOVENIA/AUSTRIA; see HERE
  • Dr. DAVID W. ROBINSON, "Positive Feedback Online", USA, chief editor/co-owner; see HERE
  • JEFF DORGAY, “TONEAudio”, USA, publisher; see HERE
  • CAI BROCKMANN, “FIDELITY”, GERMANY, chief editor; see HERE
  • STEVEN R. ROCHLIN, “Enjoy the”, USA, chief editor; see HERE
  • STEPHEN MEJIAS, “Stereophile”, USA, assistant editor; see HERE
  • MARTIN COLLOMS, “HIFICRITIC”, GREAT BRITAIN, publisher and editor; see HERE
  • KEN KESSLER, “Hi-Fi News & Record Review”, GREAT BRITAIN, senior contributing editor; see HERE
  • MICHAEL FREMER, “Stereophile”, USA, senior contributing editor; see HERE
  • SRAJAN EBAEN, “”, SWITZERLAND, chief editor; see HERE