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Friday, August 11, 2006

New Sennheiser Headphones

I was put on to buying decent headphones a few years ago by a pal of mine. DJ Kid you know the type, big headphones, loud music, ill fitting clothes and carries a record bag around with his books and stuff in.

He would buy new bits of wire and foam for his head gear, rather than just buying a new pair of headphones. He was the kind of guy that would lecture you on the evils of mp3 compression below 164 bits.

Well I am far more ignorant of such things, I like good quality sound, I know that to test speakers of headphones for quality you play classical pieces not popular music. I know that open back headphones allow more natural air movement, that closed back sets can get better low frequency experience into the ear. That is where the understanding ends.

So far if some audiophile tells me x is better than y when looking at headphones, I'll believe him. That is how I came to the opinion that Sennheiser headphones are "Very nice indeed".

I bought my first pair last December, and you know the dude was right. They sound great.

I got a pair of Sennheiser PMX100. These "Streetwear" headphones have a round the head band, not an over the top band. Each headphone sits on the ear and it secured by a light ruberised clip that sits on the ear. Perfectly comfortable.

They are open backed, meaning you get good air movement and this doesn't stifle the sound. However because they are open they do suffer from leakage, whereby the sound is audible by surrounding people, on the bus in the office etc.

I found that the headband, whilst not as intrusive as a normal over the head model is actually very uncomfortable when you want to put your head back on a seat rest if flying, or if sitting against a wall, trying to blog in the middle of JFK whilst overt security procedures are causing massive delays... (that is assuming you've still got your portable electronics, not checked in yet)

Sound is excellent, perfectly capable at higher volumes. They have a good range, the Lark Ascending sounds lovely through them.

However I began wearing them for sport and I found the round the back head band has a tendency to bounce if you are running. Nothing major but certainly disconcerting. Further the foam pads would be caked in moisture when I'm finished my exertions. They dry quickly but I decided that the sweat and moisture where not the best combination for keeping these beauties in tip top shape.

Enter the new Sennheiser PMX70. Designed for sport, they are fully ruberised meaning they cope with whatever your sweating head and ears can drown them in.

I first spotted them about a month and a half before they came out and being the impatient type had some on back order with my usual supplier.

This model has a different band, it is a neck band so it dips behind the ears. Providing both a comfortable fit and more secure placements on the ears and sound emitter itself is secured in the ear but not pushed into the ear canal like, the ear bud style design.

Despite the rather "lurid" colour, that in fact several people have commented on, these are excellently designed. When they arrived what struck me most was the weight. Just from picking them up you could tell they were amazingly light.

They fitted comfortably, although like the older PMX100 the band isn't snug against my head, or neck in this case. I think it would be even more secure this way. Would it be more comfortable, could argue that it wouldn't since having them constantly touching might be more of an irritant.

After wearing them for a few hours on the first evening with them, I still was impressed at how little they seemed to weigh. I decided to check and measure both my PMX100 and the new PMX70 models.

The pictures below demonstrate how stark the difference was, at over 35g less the new port model is more than 50% lighter.

Both feature a single side wire, this is a nice touch. I much prefer it. I find with two wires as you run and your trunk twists two wires from either side soon irritate and quickly twist.

You might have to consider what you're going to use the headphones for. If not for sport in a dry environ you might want the extra weight, you could find it reassuring.

Overall I can highly recommend both of these Sennheiser models. I don't know if people discover a type of headphone they like and stick to it at the ignorance of all others. (A theory proposed to me over dinner recently in the context of Wine Bottle openers, stand by for my wine opener review...)

Lots of people tell me that you get a much better transfer of sound energy from the devices diaphragms with the in ear buds that you almost push into the ear canal. I don't think these would be appropriate for sport, how they might be effected the temperature I don't know even if they would. They seem like they are more effort fitting the and refitting them after interruptions at work or in the gym. Certainly for listening in the office or the gym I will be sticking with these two sets for now.

Both decent photos shameless aquired from here


Pepperpot said...

908 words on your headphones. Amazing. They are sexy though!

9:40 PM  

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