The Brave New World Of Personal Audio Listening Devices For The Aural Retentive

You would think that a guy who is so into music would have top of the line headphones with which to:

a. drown out the world and b. blast the music into his ear holes. Well.

You would be wrong.

In fact my trusty everyday headphones are a ~$20 pair from Walgreens. The sound is good and the comfort is good and the price is good. I even wrote about them before.

https://auralretentive.wordpress.com/2013/09/25/headphones-cheap-and-good/

These headphones have been perfect for a long time and have traveled with me many times as well as been a sturdy companion at home. No complaints and they get the job done. Comfortable and good sound.

However, the other morning we woke up and Cindy asked me what the black flakes were around my ear. Huh? Turns out it was part of the ear pads from my headphones which I had fallen asleep with the night before.

They were dying. Flaking apart and ripping to boot. Sigh…

I decided it was time to step up to not only a new pair of headphones, but I was willing to spend a little more this time. A little.

We have purchased headphones for nephews in the past and my son has purchased several pair of Bose earbuds, so I know how much they cost these days, but damn… I used to pay that much for a stereo component.

I am going to qualify this whole conversation by saying even the “expensive” headphones I will talk about are probably laughed at by a certain slice of the world who buy even still MORE expensive headphones, but for me I am just dipping my toe in this.

The obvious choice for what I am after is Bose. They have them at Costco. Noise cancelling… when did this become an indispensable feature? In my day noise cancelling meant turning up the volume. For me, the sound is probably comparable in most, but comfort is a big thing for me. These over the ear super padded jobs are a harkening back to my earlier years. BUT, the thought of paying almost $280 for them is just mind blowing to me. I’m not sure I have paid that amount for all the headphones I have owned in my life combined. I am not cheap, but I just can’t see it for what I use them for.

Years ago Cindy got me as a gift, probably the same thing. I made her take them back. Too extravagant. She still brings it up.

I will announce that I have taken a step forward and invested some extra money to replace my $20 Sony’s (R.I.P.) and spent $100, thus increasing my headphone budget an incredible 400%.

I purchased some Skull Candy “Hesh 3” headphones. An incredible step in my personal sound experience world.

The lie flat. Cool.

and fold up… bonus.

and the sound is of course… great. Do they blow away the $20 Sony’s. Grudgingly I must confess, yes, yes they do. Can I still plug them into my old Sony I-Pod… yes. PLUS…

they make me look 400% MORE hip.

Well… maybe 25% more hip.

As a glasses wearer, comfort is important. In the old days, by the time you were done listening to a record side the headphones pad had usually pressed the bow of your glasses into you head so hard they left a mark. These are very light on the ears.

Bluetooth, but they have an optional cord. Not being tethered to my device is an odd concept, but I am ripe to experience it. No more too short cord, or, the super long curly headphone cord of the past that was always tangled. At one point I had a super long corded pair of headphones then additionally plugged into a headphone cord extender so I could traverse my entire room. I was living large.

Now I can move around like an astronaut spacewalking.

Over the years I have had a lot of smaller headphones. I had a pair of sport behind the head in-ear, not really earbuds, that lasted like 6 years. They were my mainstay and I wept openly when they finally broke.

In recent years a pair of earbuds that came with a work phone were, and still are, my earbud option with the absolute best sound hands down.

There was a time that I barely used headphones. It was when my kids were little and I was constantly thinking that I heard them upstairs calling me after bedtime, or every thump of them playing was someone falling or worse, and I ended up constantly pulling them off one ear like I was a club DJ and only enjoying the music though one ear until I was satisfied no one was injured or I hadn’t heard anything. It was maddening. I just got used to only using headphones out of the house, like walking to work. It took years to get over that period, even after they were older. So headphones are a revered and spiritual personal experience for me.

So we’ll see where my Skull Candy Hesh 3 headphones end up in my history.

Good luck my new friends.

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