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The Secret Lives of Headphones: An Audiophile's Investigation

by Bernadette Braganza April 01, 2020 3 min read

The Secret Lives of Headphones: An Audiophile's Investigation

“Live life to the fullest.”

We’ve heard ‘whispers’ that most of our headphones seem to take this statement to heart. Naturally, this spiked our Gurus’ curiosity; after all, who else would like to know headphones better than them? So, we called upon an audiophile who’s also ahem’ a part-time detective to spend the day finding out what our headphones are up to during their free time. Read on to find out:

Morning, 6:30 am

The surroundings still seem a little hazy with smog around. Thankfully that teal is easily visible against the bleak background.

20 minutes later

Huff… puff… puff… did you see where it went? It was too fast for me to keep up. Well, at least we know that the JBL Endurance JUMP lives up to its name.

Diary Note: ‘New Year 2021 Resolution: Start working out with the JBL Endurance JUMP.’

Morning, 9:30 am

After that tiring workout and a shower, let’s take a trip to the Headphone Zone office. We can sit and listen-in to some gear there (and um, maybe take a break while we’re at it).

Awww… look over there. The Shanling Q1 is so cute, sitting quietly and working. “That’s just beginner josh,” whispers one of the Gurus. “Wait till it has burned-in some headphones, it’s gonna end up being louder.”

Afternoon, 1:12 pm

It’s been almost 45 minutes since we arrived. Maybe we should have taken an appointment sometime else.

Finally, we’re ushered in. Sitting atop a fancy wooden table, the HiFiMAN Shangri-La looks like absolute royalty. Rumours say that it once wanted to buy out a resort with the same name but then changed its mind; after all, water and electrostatics simply can’t mingle together. We sat for about 5 minutes asking about Jr., plans for further expansion and new HiFiMAN launches (he’s too bright to give me any secret or exclusive info).

Afternoon 1:20 pm

Whew! That was one hell of an interview. I need a (cold) drink.

15 minutes later

The SoundBar is bustling as usual. Regulars are sitting with laptops typing furiously as they are sipping their afternoon coffee. Others are eating the SoundBar Special.

“What will you have?” asked DAVE, notepad in hand, ready to write.

“Hi, the usual, please.”

“Sure!”

Someone from the back table called out. “Hey, DAVE? I’d like to order some more.” Another person too shouted out for his order. While there are multiple servers here, everyone loves Chord DAVE. It’s been here since 2015. I tried striking a conversation with it, but it was too busy. Nevermind, probably next time.

Evening, 6:30 pm

A short walk and the nearby studio is here. It almost seems empty.

“Hello, anyone there?” I see a headphone or two in one of the booths.

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x (wow that’s a mouthful) is turning knobs and sliders at quite a speed. “Go away, I’m working,” it says, earpads creasing in what appears to be a frown. The ATH-M50xBT takes a look at it and says, “apologies for my brother’s behaviour. He’s always like that. The ultimate workaholic.”

BT and I speak for some more time about the perils of overworking before it gives me an invitation for next week’s Pop, Rock & EDM concert. “There are gonna be some real popular guys. From the JBL Tune 110BT to the Sony WH-CH510 to the V-MODA Crossfade LP2.”

I’m definitely going to that concert.

Calendar Note: ‘Thursday, 6:30 pm, NCPA: POP, ROCK & EDM CONCERT!!!!!!’

Night, 8:30 pm

It’s been a tiring day. Let’s go home. Actually, wait, what’s that? **Quietly creeps up to a couple sitting on a bench**

Campfire Audio Comet says, “you know, my dad always used to tell me. Aim for the moon. Even if you don’t reach it, you’ll fall on a Comet. Billie Jean laughed and replied, “you know what I’m aiming for? Ice cream! Let’s go get some.”

I should have listened in on that conversation earlier. What were they planning? Domination of IEMs over headphones? Benefits of balanced armatures? Is Billie Jean the Comet’s lover? So many questions. I think I’m going to have to keep an eye on these two.

Till then, I’ll go home and write out today’s report.

 

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Bernadette Braganza
Bernadette Braganza



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