about the talking fish

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Writer. Wheelman. Occasional DIY mechanic. Walking collection of hang-ups. Hopeless romantic. Old-school. Analog soul in a digital world. I am all of these things and more.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Aural sanctuary

Spelunking around malls on my frequent window-shopping weekends, I've come across many a gadget store and checked out the wares being sold. Usually the ones I fancy run the gamut of digital audio players, cellphones and computer parts like hard disks and flash drives.

One gadget that can't be ignored as of late: headphones and earphones. Headphones I already know well, but my curiosity got piqued when I found tech stores selling fancy earphones for a whopping PhP21,000. What could be so good about a couple of funny-looking earbuds that, on initial impression, just look like they fit better than normal ones? That most earbuds don't fit my finicky ears doesn't help either.

Lucky for me, not all these so-called canalphones or in-ear monitors (IEMs) sell at such exorbitant prices. I chanced upon Creative's EP-635s, costing a much more reasonable (though still pricey) PhP1,500, and I decided to try these IEMs with their fit-adjusting exchangable tips for myself.

Initially I dreaded I may have wasted my money. Bass was a bit lacking, and high notes seemed a little scratchy. It wasn't until I figured out the proper fit of these 'phones---fitting the biggest silicone rubber tips, then twisting them all the way into my ears for an airtight seal---that I realized what the fuss was about.

Instantly I was 80% isolated from the normal noise of my workplace, with nothing but the music and the sounds of my own breathing and swallowing. The satisfying bass thump on my trance CDs began to fill my head, vocals sounded clearer at just 15% total volume, and I could hear instruments on my rock CDs I never noticed before. This was aural sanctuary, and I loved it!

This doesn't mean I condone spending almost twenty times that amount for a Shure E500PTH, but now I'm a convert and I can see why some people spend serious cash on these tiny things.

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