I’m listening to music right now out of my laptop speakers — and I do it a lot. I think that’s like finding out your lit critic friend only listens to books on tape. Sometimes I don’t put headphones on because they’re uncomfortable, or they’re “way over there”, or I just don’t care enough about the music that comes out of them to really want to use the headphones in the first place. The saturation of bands coupled with mp3 compression has left me apathetic when it comes to fidelity. I’m resolved to compensate.
Being at CES, and really going around and looking at all the countless headphone companies made me wonder why I don’t put more effort into buying a decent pair of headphones. So I took it upon myself to meditate on the sound and designe of a bunch of ear-cans. After trying out a whole bunch, here were my own predilections:
As much as I dig Rza, 50 Cent, and Dr. Dre as producers/rappers– it’s almost guaranteed that they’re not designing headphones with swaths of genres in mind. Each of their designs are generally focused on the low-end, but the highs feel out of focus.
Another thing I don’t really care about is having a radical design or logo on my headphones. The whole reason for headphones is to make music a personal/private thing. Letting people know that “HEY LOOK AT MY HEADPHONES IM LISTENING TO MUSIC ON THESE HEADPHONES” just doesn’t appeal to me. Monster’s new fashion-forward designs look comically ostentatious, and a bunch of other companies are trying to push aesthetic first. That was really unappealing
Last — I can’t stand ear buds. That’s probably on me and my too big ears — but with those it’s just one sacrifice after another, and nothing sounds as good as on/over-ear headphones
In the end, there were 3 headphones that I took seriously.
First is obviously the Sennheiser – the golden standard for many years. This is the kind of headphone you keep in your home, plug into your pre-amp or receiver and put on a great classic rock record and pretty much crawl inside music. It’s fully immersing and makes every not sound 10x bigger than you’ve ever heard it before One day, I’ll drop the coin for the HD 700 ($1,000) and stitch them to my skull.
Then Skullcandy’s new Mix Master Mike line ($250-$350). Again, I’m not totally about the “extreeeeeeeme” aesthetic, but they sound so even and punchy. Skullcandy’s exclusivity to headphones for almost a decade now shows in it’s focus. Also, they’re meant for DJs, so it’s got a mute button on the headset, and a neat feature that when one of the cans is turned out to listen with one year, it switches to mono so you can hear the full song while you’re trying to match it with another beat.
And then it’s the Philips headphones. The CitiScape ($50-$150) sound fantastic for the lay listener, and the L1 ($300) is no joke one of the best headphones I’ve put over my head. Like the Skullcandy, the all-over EQ is so nice to listen to. Each of the lines has deep, round, and kinetic sound. Plus they look sharp, have subtle style, and are made for portability as well as lounging in my place.
Fight compression – do every band a huge favor and listen to music out of good headphones. You don’t know what you’re missing. -Jeremy D. Larson
“Blue Ivy Carter, the bundle of joy brought into the world by megastar Beyoncé (with a little help from fellow famous dad Jay-Z) Saturday (Jan. 7), becomes the youngest person ever credited with gracing a Billboard chart, as Jay-Z’s newly-recorded studio cut “Glory” — officially billed as “featuring B.I.C.,” an abbreviation of Blue Ivy Carter — begins on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at No. 74.”—via Billboard.
“During Wednesday night’s epic three-hour Twitter rant, Kanye West told the world, “I was just discussing becoming the creative director for the Jetson movie,” a claim we just had to investigate. So here are the facts: Kanye West is not now and is not ever going to be “the creative director” of The Jetsons movie, because, for starters, “There is no such thing on a movie,” explains The Jetsons producer Denise DiNovi, “There’s an art director and a production designer.” And for another, there is no The Jetsons movie — at least, not yet. But Yeezy did have a conversation with the producers this week about working on the film, in some capacity, when it does come together.”—Read the complete story on Vulture.
Phoebe Esmon, the head bartender at The Farmers’ Cabinet, has created a cocktail list inspired by “Small Change,” the 1976 album by boozy, gravel-throated, Beatnik-inspired and Grammy-winning American singer-songwriter Tom Waits. Named after song lyrics — like “Battered Old Suitcase” and “The Barstools Are On Fire” — the list includes eight inventive cocktails.
This is just a good, sludgy song called "Lana Deth Ray"
As the Chicago Reader points out, it was only a matter of time before a band gave Lana Del Rey what-for. Chicago suldge-acolytes Rodeo turn up the reverb and have their way with the highly bloggable starlet. Check it out at Rodeo’s Bandcamp page.
“I’m about halfway through," he explained. "I’m experimenting. What’s big right now are beats that are in the clubs, like dubstep. So I want to mess with that stuff, but also stay me.”— Justin Bieber discusses his new album with USA Today (via).