Ever the avid connoisseur of sound, Daniel sighed once more and rubbed the bridge of his nose wearily, disappointed once again at the quality of tone that was being vomited into his ears. Vomited was too good a word to describe the vivisection of his music test collection by this appalling pair of headphones, and he considered making his opinion very clear to the shop assistant.
Before asking to see yet another new pair, he concentrated once more on the sound he was hearing, closing his eyes to focus more clearly on the nuances of the piece and, more importantly, the subtleties that were being left out. He knew the song well, the intricate lines crossing back and forward between one another, the interplay of bass and mid range – Waters was a genius at the mix, and his third album was no exception.The opening track, the ballad, was perfect; not just for mood but also the testing, and it sounded fine enough but there was no warmth inside the mid-range.
“Sorry mate, too sterile. Not enough give inside the ears for my liking. What’s the response range on these? Nudging 25k?” He removed the phones, placing them back into the assistant’s hands, “I’m looking for something that will get right inside my head, you know? Really make me feel the music.”
The assistant nodded and carefully coiled the cable away, slowly removing any kinks or twists that might have developed through careless handling. Removing a further pair from the back shelf, he passed them across to his very specific customer and explained, “This pair will take you down to about an 18 and up to 27k, but I’m not sure they’ll cut it for you. Seems to me that you are after a very wide frequency range and that, as you can imagine, starts to head into bigger numbers. These should work well though, make you feel the music.”
His voice trailed off just enough to drop the hint that there was another pair of headphones available, but it was going to cost a lot more than the £200 Daniel had budgeted for,
Daniel took the proffered pair, and plugged then into the CD unit, checking that the volume was turned down before pressing play.
The headphones sat comfortably on his ears, not pressing into the cartilage too heavily and felt a good weight on his head. The opening of ‘Killer Queen’ began, and he again focused his mind inward to see the music unfold in him. The vocals were warm and clear, contrasting nicely against the bass line and solid mid-punch of May’s guitars. In fact, these seemed to be out-performing the last pair quite nicely. Daniel skipped the disc forward, deliberately choosing a lighter acoustic number to push the high end of the cans. He was not disappointed and found himself smiling as the harmonic overtones began to edge over the higher notes of the guitar. The third track in saw him convinced that this was the pair to go for.
The assistant noticed the change in his customer and nodded as well, motioning to Daniel to remove his headphones, “I’m glad you’ve found these acceptable….”
“Acceptable? That pair are wonderful! The spread between my ears is perfectly balanced and I’m hearing the subtleties of note that I would normally only get on my SBL’s. Not sure there’s going to be much more that can touch this if I’m honest with you.” He reached into a back pocket and pulled out his wallet, pleasantly thick with cash. The assistant nodded once more, and Daniel felt his curiosity being tickled. What if there was a better pair, more nuanced than these?
Hitting the sack now! I guess you might be able to see where this is going…Be seeing you!