Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Getting a kick out of music : Sennheiser IE80's

I've listened to decent quality music equipment ever since I was a poor hard up student with my pre / power Audiolab Amp's in my dingy student accommodation. Firing my Mission 780SE's out at full power in our student house certainly kept many a party going (despite blowing the odd tweeter on route!).

Since then and mainly in the iPhone era, I've dabbled with headphones but never really been turned on by anything I've listened to. Well, that's changed tonight. I've had my earbud style Sennheiser IE80's for around 6 months now and I've always loved them. They gave me a clarity over my previous Etymotics that I'd not heard before in headphones. Hooked up to my iPhone 4S at not a particularly high bitrate (128 up to 256kbps) they've always sounded amazing - really making you want to listen to tracks that you'd normally skip - just to try and see if you can get an insight into what the band were playing when it was recorded. I've read in many places that these particular Sennheisers take a while to 'run in'. I'd agree with that as tonight they really sound like the final layer has been lifted from them and tonight - they've finished they're run in. 

I actually heard / felt an actual bass guitar on a track. It floated and bobbed effortlessly underpinning the whole track with the rest of the music - including a whole layer of synths, percussion and keyboards / vocals - sitting on top, layer upon layer. Electronic tracks simply attack your ears with throbbing basslines and crystal clear treble. Disclosure being the classic example with Settle sounding amazing. Switching to vocals and Elbow and Kings of Convenience really stand out in terms of clarity and simplicity of how clearly the soundstage is laid out.

I've got a good random mix on my phone at the moment ; Kings of Convenience, Avicii, Amy Winehouse, DJ Shadow, Disclosure, The Beatles, The Cribs, Arcade Fire, Elbow, Alt-J, Agnes Obel, Nick Drake, Arctic Monkeys, Underworld, Daft Punk to barely scratch the surface. It ranges from electronic, to real music (including real instruments!) to vocal. The best thing about truly great headphones and music sources is of course that you can't wait to play the next track to hear just what delights you're gonna find in them that you've never heard before. I'm working through my phone and I'm halfway through the "A..." songs.

Better getting ripping all my tracks to 256kbps+ then. It's gonna be a late night.

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