Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Living Wake for Herr Sennheiser

He is dying. My constant companion is dying.
I hate headphones, but I have loved these ones. My lugholes are large and slightly downturned, so that consequently I have spent my life jamming undersized earbuds into my ear holes to make them stay (and no doubt making the problem worse).
These ... these headphones are different. These are soft, beautiful ear-goggles. Sound quality like a hammer made of solid gold glitter wielded by a funky god.
Yes - I have to endure walking the streets with a tyre clamp strapped to my head.
Yes - for some reason the cord is three metres long.
But it was worth it. I now have trouble hearing in ambient environments, but it was still worth it.
Once I was sitting at the bus stop and a bike courier almost flipped over the front handlebars stopping in front of me.
'Are those HD 457s?' he panted.
'How are they? I'm really thinking of getting some.'
I actually took them off and let him listen.
'These are awesome!' exclaimed the quickie-post cowboy. 'Just like all the magazines say!'
I smiled, and readied myself to spring at his shaven legs, just in case he tried to burn off with my babies.
'I'm gonna get some right now!'
And he was away in a cloud of deep heat and urgent letters.

This is quite a regular occurrance. Men stop me in the street, dudes with black greasy hair and square handbags make complicated pointing gestures at our ears when I'm wearing them and I actually have to take them off if I'm ever going into Dick Smith (or any other business where Men Who Know A Thing Or Two About Sound Quality congregate). 'Oh yeah - my dad had Sennheisers ...'

Alas, the once-mighty HD 457s are dying. And perishing the worst kind of death for a headphone: the single earphone loose wire.
You start out noticing a lot of cross-fade in your music choices.
Then it develops into some very creative channel selection, bordering on the abstract, until ... that one day ... you know this song plays out of both ear phones ... you touch the plug ... the ear phone works ... then stops ... then works ... stops ... crackles ... works ... stops ...

And on and on it goes. It still works, but only if you hold the wire in a special way and tilt your head and don't move. It's the worst way to die. I'd rather they were run over by a truck.
Especially after holding my neck stiff for an hour on the bus this morning pretending that everything was just fine.

The Wrestler - A quick review
The finest performance by the back of an actor's head I have ever seen.

GTH - Ashleigh. And Adam gets one point and a further ten if I see the t-shirt. Twenty if wearing the t-shirt at Wimbledon. Kath was going to lose points, but I decided that watching Federer cry because he lost like the perfect sportsman he is was reward enough. Old Man Dom might have received a point if he had had the (peach) stones to comment instead of just emailing.


  1. I'm with you on the arseawful ear bud things but my lugholes are too small and those damnable things hurt like buggery or fall out at inopportune moments like when I'm running on the treadmill at 12km an hour and can't look down to fix them or I'll go for a face plant and find most of my nose is now minced meat on the sandpaper-like moving belt.....

    Sony wrap-arounds ($60) are doin' it for me. Sure, I look like I should be dating Sheldon from 'The Big Bang Theory' but they're comfy, can handle running long distances and the sound is pretty damn good.

    GTH - your eargoggle link sent me to 'Meet your Christian soul mate today' (see my blog today and note the rather amusing irony in that). However, the photo is blurry with a curly head in the right hand frame, so my guess is - Cutting out Christian small talk with Sennheiser Sound?

  2. Kath - I can't tell you the ulcers I've given myself trying to just listen to music while walking around. The money I've spent on various, useless solutions, before I finally realised (read: had explained to me) that earbuds are shit shit shit.

    Re - eargoggles: Uh? Really? According to my check it still goes to the correct spot ... Maybe LC should be doing some cyber-up-checking on your browsing activities ... or not. It's like the old Aramaic saying "It doesn't matter if you pray away, as long as you're home to fast."
    Or something.

  3. Kath was going to lose points. You didn't tell us we could lose points!

  4. THAT'S RIGHT! Losing is part of winning. As soon as Roger Federer comments on this blog, he's losing points!

    Mind you, no one has ever lost points here. Yet. But I'm sure they won't cry when they do.
    Nor will they be congratulated and consoled publicly by representatives of the media and Tennis Australia in front of whoever gets the points for that round.

  5. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I still LOVE Roger Federer. So there there and there again.

  6. "I've said it before and I'll say it again: I still LOVE Roger Federer. So th.........nd there again.""I've said it before and I'll say it again: I still LOVE Roger Federe................re and there again.""I've said it before and I'll say it again: I still LOVE Roger Federer. So there there and there again.""I've said it before and ................gain: I still LOVE Roger Federer. So there there and there again.""I've said it before and I'll say it again: I still LOVE R.......... there there and there again.""I've said it before and I'll say it again: I still LOVE Roger Federer. So there there an..........aid it before and I'll say it again: I still LOVE Roger Federer. So there ...............................

    Such hollow sentiment doth echo loudly 'round Laver arena .......

  7. If I had a dollar for every set of earbuds I've had to throw out because of one broken wire, I could probably afford to buy, oh, maybe one more set of ear buds. I'm careful with them, so they last me quite a while and I've learned not to lend them to my daughter, who seems to be able to break them just by looking at them.

  8. I love Roger Federer too, but I love Nadal more.

  9. GTH:

    A picture of The Tritonian's curly locks: which are unadorned by the head-band of any ear-phones.
    NOT because he uses in-ear earphones, oh-no, BUT because when he wants to listen to music "on-the-go(TM)" he has two gorgeous speaker-wenches who walk along-side him holding the left and right channels of a B&O speaker set.

    He still carries the iPod though...

  10. I have a headphones story. I got some of those special volume restricted ones for my kids and I put it in my MP3 player (which is CreAtive, I must be their only customer)and I thought I'd test it. I kept turning the volume up, expecting the volume to stop, but it kept rising til it was at max volume and my ears were bleeding. They are rubbish

  11. Squib, with the volume restricted ones don't you have to actually set the volume on the ipod or whatever? I had a walkman once that was volume restricted. I preset the volume and couldn't adjust it higher without resetting it.

  12. River, hi no, it actually restricts the volume without you doing anything, whether you plug it in to a portable DVD player in the car or a Nintendo or whatever. The problem is they have a max output of 82 dB(give or take 3 dB). They reckon this is safe but I think it's WAY too loud

  13. GTH: The HD 457's are as good as a live show. Although at times they may be considered better, because when you have someone trying to talk to you at a live gig, the music gets mixed with their voice. The HD 457's get rid of this jumbling, allowing you to nod your head with the satisfaction that you have no idea, nor care what the person in front of you is talking about.

  14. River - I'm not lending my next ones out either.

    Third Cat - I'm sorry, it's one or the other.

    TOoS - Bup-bow. No points. Nice imagery though. I tell you he now has a steady girlfriend who moved down from QLD to live with him for a while?

    Squib - I remember when Creative came out with the first really massive mp3 player - it was 6Gbs and looked like an alien artificial heart.

    River - Volume restricted? But why? What was that?

    Squib - What? WHAT? EH?

    Shippy - It's true - they are utterly loveable.
    And you're a huge nerd for recognising the serial number. Like me.

  15. Franzy - calm down, it's not about my life long love for Federer this time.... In The Age's Green Guide yesterday they had a feature on headphones/ear buds and your Sennheisers were considered to be the best. So there!

    Oh, and whether you want it or not and if only to get you writing more often, I've dobbed you for a letter meme - ten things about you that start with the letter S. S for Sennheiser perhaps?

  16. It was a Sony walkman and you could leave the volume and listen as loud as you liked or you could set it to a certain volume and then lock that by pushing "this" button so that the volume wouldn't go higher and bust eardrums if the little kid listening to mummy's music accidentally played with the volume button. I played tapes on it for years and only stopped using it when I got my ipod a few years ago.

  17. God a walkman? I haven't seen one of those since WWII

  18. River - Eh? You say somethin'?

    Squib - I still call my ipod a walkman. I'll confuse branded products if I feel like it, damn it!

  19. You need to find a friendly electronic nerd to pull them apart and fix the broken wire. With 3 metres of cable you have plenty to spare.

    Either that or try a wicked pair of Jabra noise-cancelling headphones. But they've been discontinued. Bummer.

    Sennheiser have always been the best... the best...

    GTH: perhaps the world has taken on a rosy glow... seeing as you don't get to listen to stuff any more you are looking at what you see - and liking it :)

  20. Hey! The walkman is alive and well. I gave my kids walkmans for Christmas. mp3 walkmans, not cassette ones.

    I am finding it very hard to settle on the best headphones for little heads and young eardrums.

    PS I refuse to choose.

  21. Ashleigh - Believe it or not, I've had the magic 'phones fixed twice by surly, solder-wielding types. They were okay fixing the plug, but the cord was another issue because, for some reason, there is also cotton thread within the cord, not just wires. This problem is more deep-seated: in the headphone itself. I think it's time to let go ...

    ThirdCat - I figure, if they're going to listen to it loud, they're going to crank it regardless. Just don't get them Sennheisers. I am living, semi-deaf proof that they work.

  22. I've got a pair of HD-497s. Love them! But I thought most Sennheisers had replaceable cables. Mine do. I also have a pair at work with a replaceable cord. Maybe it's worth checking out even though you said the guts were stuffed.


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32