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Yesterday I was on a plane home from Berlin. I generally loathe plane flights, as much due to the rank boredom induced as much as the fleeting moments of terror when you realise that 30,000 feet really is a long gap between your bottom and the floor.
Anyway, after the initial tedium/panic dichotomy began to subside, I slipped on my headphones and scrolled through my iPod.
After I got over the ego-pricking realisation that I have become one of those people who mainly owns music from the decade of their teenage years, it dawned on me that listening to music through headphones is pretty much my main manner of consuming music these days.
It didn’t used to be so: I was, for a long time, the kind of turn-up-the-amp-to-11 neighbour from hell, but I suppose age mellows us all, and now my conscience, as well as convenience, points the music directly into my ears.
One of my bugbears is audio snobbery: that music should only be played on the most expensive hi-fi, through the most heavy-duty speakers, and not through headphones or via small laptop speakers.
This is pure nonsense: generations of teenagers thrilled to the sounds of the Beatles, Motown, the Pistols, The Smiths, et cetera ad infinitum played via AM radio, which has the same sound quality as a baked bean tin and a piece of string – and yet the quality of the songs shone through regardless.
That said, if you’re going to wear headphones, wear good ones. And these new MDR-1 Sony headphones are pretty much the business: some serious thought has been put into how to make sound that appears a centimetre from your ears sound like it’s filling the room.
So the designers asked a few people who know about making a noise, including Magnetic Man, and so these are headphones that not only sound good if you’re listening to both tinny pop music and bowel-worrying bass music; but also (incredibly excitingly) come in a wireless version that works over Bluetooth, finally proving that we’re in the future, and that flying cars are only a step away.
On top of this, there’s all kinds of clever algorithmic jiggery-pokery that means that the headphones actively cancel out 99.7% of background noise energy. It’ll possibly be some audio snob complaining that you’re not listening via speakers, so you would have a perfect opportunity to both prove him wrong, and blank him out.
Even if you don’t want the Dj range you can invest in a pair of the Prestige In-Ear range in order to escape from the rest of the world and the noises around you whilst on the go. Or if you like to break a sweat at the gym without having to listen to social natterings in the background, their close-fitting sports range allows you to maintain motivation by blocking out your surroundings with a comfortable fitting.