When I bought my iPod a couple of years back, I didn’t even open the packet with the Apple headphones, but continued to use the Sony inner ear headphones I’d previously been using with my Discman. I thought they were pretty good.
Then I invested a fair amount of money in some better headphones, Shure E3Cs. They were a real pain at first – the wires are supposed to be snaked round the back of the head and over the ears, but the lead is too heavy for this and kept tugging the phones out of my ears. Fit is everything with this type of headphone. I eventually found that hanging the lead over my shoulder and inserting them in the more traditional way did the job. I was pretty much insulated from external sounds. A week or so ago, I noticed the volume on the left headphone was something between 25 and 50% of the other one. I did some web research and they’re still in their two year warranty. I’ve just sent them off for replacement. I have my fingers crossed that there’s no problem and that I’ll receive a brand new pair within a week or so. In the meantime, I went back to my old pair of Sony Fontopia, but found the sound awfully thin and lightweight. Which prompted me to finally break out the iPod ‘phones. I wore them today while travelling to and from Internet World, a webby trade fair at Earls Court 2. UGH!! the headphones I mean – the fair was fairly interesting… I won’t bang on about the sound quality as such complaints are pretty much a given – suffice to say ‘wet sponge/towel wrapped round head’, etc.
It’s made me really, really appreciate the E3Cs – there may be better on the market now in their price range, but I wouldn’t hesitate to say that spending the money on a decent pair of headphones is a worthwhile investment, particularly if you value things like sense of space (how the music is heard in what’s apparently called a/the? soundstage), bass, clarity, drama and so on. I’m no audiophile – I’m currently listening to Bullwackie’s All Stars’ Nature’s Dub through my Powerbook speakers (a sin I know, I know) – but I’m spoilt and will be pacing up and down, grimacing and gritting my teeth impatiently until I (hopefully) receive my replacement ‘bins’.
Until I can find the time to fix the **()&)!@!@ commenting, please email any responses to this or future posts to me: enquiries + the a with a circle round it + eleventhvolume + full stop + com. Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks.
[Originally published on A Personal Miscellany]