I have listened to portable audio for decades. From cassette to portable CD to iPod to my phone which is my now choice for music. In those many years I have always used earphones. I looked at headphones as large bulky items.
Being a nerd and father of four who are also tech fans, I have boxes of cables, spares and all things geeky and in said box has been a pair of Sony headphones for a while. They must have been cast offs from one of my children.
I don’t know why, but a few days ago I dug them out and decided to give them a try. They are a pair of Sony headphones, which cleverly fold in to themselves for easier travelling I suppose. I think they are model MDRZX310. Looking around they aren’t the most expensive pair, nor particularly large compared to other 'over the head' headphones.
So I plugged them in to my Motorola Moto Z Play and fired up my music player, which is full of acid house, early rave, jungle and tech house. I am a huge fan of late 80s to mid 90s underground house.
What a difference to small in-ear devices. These Sonys fit comfortably over my ears, with soft cushioned pads and have an adjustable band. But the biggest difference is sound quality which is not surprising considering the speakers inside each ear are 30mm drivers, but the bass that booms out of them is insane. It provides a whole new audio experience. Tracks I have listened to for years, now take on a completely different sound.
The 10-24,000 hertz range offers an excellent all round sound, deep bass balanced and rich tones balance perfectly.
The cord is of a decent length and is very thick. The 3.5mm jack plug is very good quality and L shaped which I prefer for extra strength and less strain on the end as well as the socket it plugs in to.
Old Skool legends such as Acen, LFO, Armando, Altern 8, 2 Bad Mice, Origin Unknown and SL2 have never sounded so good. Deep basslines rumbled even more, and that 303 sound squelched amazingly.
Modern tech house from Clarke & East, John Summit, Chris Lake and Block & Crown just purred along.
And jumping in to The Prodigy discography made my ears bounce with joy covering older styles such as ‘The Experience’ album all the way through to modern albums ‘Invaders Must Die and ‘No Tourists’ which took on a whole new life.
I listen to a lot of music, sometimes up to 10 hours a day and these new (to me) style of headphones are going to make a huge difference.
I have always gone with in-ear buds because of true portability. You can just tuck them in to any pocket. Something like these Sony need more space or to worn around the neck when not in use, but at least you are less likely to mislay them.
The downside of the Sony headphones is they do not have a mic, so cannot be used as a handsfree kit on my phone, so I may look at a newer pair that do.
It seems I have been missing out of superior sound quality for the sake of portability and after nearly 30 years of portable music I may have just stepped up my quality.
It may seem an odd thing for someone to finally discover, especially someone so music orientated for so many years, but large headphones have just been something I avoided and it became a habit.
Written by Simon Royal. Follow me at twitter.com/simonroyal