In my attempt to be able to listen to my music collection anytime anywhere, got myself an iPod Nano (1st generation) long time back. But, just after a couple of days this got relegated to a dark corner of a cabinet. Did occasionally take it out, but then again and again kept sending it straight back in to that dark dingy corner. The problem were the uncomfortable headphones. My ears actually pain with these things. Toleration time was about max 30 minutes. Tried some other brand ear-buds too. But, gave up thinking my ears may not be the standard size or something !!. Got myself a Sennheiser px250. These I could tolerate for about an hour or 2. But, then the whole idea of having your music pocket-able gets thrown out of the window. These headphones are definitely not pocket-able. So, back went the iPod.
Organizing my music recently. Decided to give this one more shot. I had pretty much given up the idea of ear buds. So, balked at the thought of "in ear" buds. Having something so close to your tympanic membrane, gives me the shivers. Let alone the thought of some cheap headphone manufacturer, even giving a damn about your "ear health".
So, how do the really rich music guys who have all the money in the world, listen to their music? The answer surprisingly is NOT unaffordable really really expensive well calibrated music systems and special rooms, but custom in ear ear-buds!! Yes! Ah now the custom ear fit makes these comfortable. But, what makes the sound quality so great. Another surprise, their headphones don't use the standard micro speaker technology. These headphones are based on Balanced Armature technology. Usually dual or triple balanced armatures to be able to faithfully reproduce the full range of frequencies. This technology is currently only available in the US and the UK. Okay some quick translation is in order now. The micro speakers are more like ordinary speakers but small (micro) in size. Armature technology, on the other hand, directly produces sound frequencies more akin to a tuning fork (Am I right?). And, these are expensive really expensive.
After reading much about these, narrowed down my search to Klipsch x10 and SleekAudio sa6 and finally ended up with the Klipsch. Both have single balanced wide/ultra-wide band micro armatures. Some how the thought of dual/triple armatures did not appeal to me, maybe, because of how much more complicated (and more expensive)it is to design a good crossover. Well, if you are still in the dark ages of 5$ cheap Chinese headphones. I am sure you won't be disappointed moving to one of these. I have used these for over 3 months now and they are worth every penny. But, I suggest looking up various choices yourself before settling on one, as these can make quite a dent in your wallet. Actually, suggest trying before buying. Also, suggest pairing these with comply foams.
Klipsch Image x10 Retails for 350$ (got mine off ebay for 220$)
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