Friday, November 14, 2014

Discuss: What's Your Headgear?

Karen: Back when I was a kid, I loved my big honkin' headphones that fit completely over my ears, encapsulating me in my own world of sound. I felt like I got a deeper experience of the music. But as time went on, headphones grew smaller and smaller, til it seemed everyone was wearing ear buds, which 1) always seemed to cause me pain, and 2) never fit well in my ears. But in the last few years, big headphones have come back into style. So I have to ask -what's your headgear, man?


david_b said...

Nice topic..!!

I love the big honkin' ones as well. My older brother's actually got a nice wall collection of them.

I remember 'unwinding' after months of Basic Training 28some years ago, returning to my parents home, turning out the lights in my room at night, big headphones on, and listening to the likes of 'Dark Side' and the 'Head' soundtrack. David was back to normal again..

Nowadays, I still have the 'Classic' iPod model and with my noise-eliminating headphones I bought from the PX, they work pretty awesome.

Keep your buds, I'll take the huge headphones any day.

Anonymous said...

I have two different sets of headphones I use. One is the Philips SHS5200 and the other is the Sony MDR-G45. Both fit over the ear and the plastic part goes around your neck, not over your head. The difference between the two is the Sony has a 90 degree bend at the 1/8 inch jack so when I'm listen to my iPod, I can put it in my pocket. The Philips model I use at the computer or at home. It has an extra stretchey cord so when I stand up, I don't completely pull the cord out of the ear socket.

I hooked the DVR into our old stereo and then ran a headphone extension cord out the front of the stereo, behind the china cabinet and the couch and over to the big chair. Now I can watch TV with the sound turned off, listen through my headphones and get the true stereo experience. And I don't wake up the house!!!

One thing I never got into is the arm sleeve that lets you slip your iPod or iPhone into. I think I sweat too much for those.

The Prowler (This is a right away letter, I've got to mail it today straight to my main inspirer, says 'Urgent from the USA' it's got this heart inside it, the postage is my soul contains a message from millions, says 'Keith don't go').

Humanbelly said...

Oh, it's definitely headphones, Karen-- no question. I've tried the earbuds/earplugs a few times and, like you, I find them physically painful to stick in my ear canal. And I swear, the experience of the sound is quite different, as it's not being shaped "naturally" by the structure of the ear itself. Even small headphones have their sound gathered via most of the central configuration of the outer ear. Along with that, I can practically feel the unfiltered shaft of sound from the buds wreaking havoc upon my already-compromised and unprotected eardrum. . . (!).

It looks like the whole Noise-Cancelling audio tech has led to a huge resurgence of big ol' headphones, which I think is kinda cool. I've also found that several of the ridiculously-cheap 'phones that Five-&-Below offers are surprisingly adequate for casual watching/listening on my laptop. HBSon even swapped me a more expensive set for one of those 'cause he preferred the clarity it gave of distinct musical lines. (Who knew?).

The one big drawback, back in our Bronze Age youth, of course, was trying to go to sleep with 'phones on while listening to a stack of records. . . 'cause you COULD NOT roll onto your side while wearing them! You had to train yourself to sleep Dracula-like-- flat-backed and straight-out. . .


dbutler16 said...

I have headphones that cover the ears, but not nearly as large as the ones pictured. i have no idea how anyone can wear earbuds. Besides not wanting to jam something in my ear (I'm pretty sure your doctor will tell you it's not such a good idea, either) they always feel like they're going to fall out, especially when I'm running.
I used to have the wraparound headphones, but now I've got the kind that goes over the top, and fold up for easier carrying. Both kinds have their pluses and minuses, though.

Karen said...

HB, you made me laugh when you mentioned the days of falling asleep with headphones on while listening to records. I remember doing that BUT having to re-orient myself so I was lying with my feet by the headboard and my head where my feet normally went, so the cord could reach to the receiver! That's one of the virtues of listening from a device like a phone now...

I have several pairs of headphones now, mainly Sony, including the noise-cancelling kind (great for planes). I have some of the smaller, fit just over the ear kind too. But the buds are straight out. They just kill me (I have tinnitus) and they never fit in my ears any way. I've tried wearing the larger headphones at the gym but I just think they are too clunky. I like the mid-size ones for that.

But I do love the way the music sounds coming from the large headphones. There's such detail and fullness to it. Great for certain artists too, like Hendrix, or as David mentioned, Pink Floyd.

david_b said...

Better yet, those old NPR radio series, like the Star Wars adaptation and the original Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy back in the early '80s.

I used to again, turn all the lights off at night, lay on the floor, slap the headphones on and let all the brilliant audio effects just sweep me away.

AAAAND for us tundra-types, I still enjoy shovelling driveway snow with my cap and headphones, listening to the Stones' 'Aftermath' or even the White Album.

Sure keeps the ears warm and makes the whole workout quite enjoyable.

Edo Bosnar said...

Don't like the buds, either. Most of the kind that are made usually fall out of at least of my ears constantly.
When listening to music and podcasts on my phone, I usually use a pair of smaller, cheaper Panasonic (sometimes Sony) headphones with foam pads.

At home, however, I have a pair of Sennheiser HDs. These are truly outstanding - the sound quality is superb, and despite their bulk appearance they're really light and comfortable.

MattComix said...

Love my itunes and ipod but I cannot stand to wear earbuds or huge headphones that feel like they're squishing my head so I generally prefer the smaller head phones with foam pads. I guess they're the style that started in the 80's with Walkmans?

Humanbelly said...

Boy, Matt, you ever come across one of those old Walkman headphones after leaving it in a box for, like, 15 years? Those foam pads become astonishingly degraded!

I do like that style of set for kind of a different reason. They allow you to still be functionally "connected" to the aural world around you even while you're able to privately enjoy your music. Headphones and earbuds both have a tendency to isolate the listener more profoundly.

Karen, I'd picked up a buddy's audio extension cable, which matched the jacks on my headphones and stereo (those big, giant ones!), which enabled me to lay across the room. BUT-- the connection wasn't great, so I also had to try to go to sleep with it gripped in my hands. Good grief.
I think. . . I think my "going to sleep" stack generally included some combination of Styx' GRAND ILLUSION, Heart's DREAMBOAT ANNIE, Carly Simon's Greatest Hits, Beatles' RUBBER SOUL, Beatles '65, and Klaatu's HOPE. Probably also WINGS AT THE SPEED OF SOUND, and one of the Denny Laine-heavy sides from WINGS OVER AMERICA. I have no choice but to embrace how hopelessly un-cool/painfully mainstream my musical tastes were in my formative years!


Karen said...

I don't think I could survive work sometimes without my headphones. Like right now...working on a report, started with Bowie's Hunky Dory, then the Stones' Goat's Head Soup, now Led Zeppelin 1 (the recent remix). Just gotta get to 4 pm...and the weekend!

dbutler16 said...

I have a pair of Sony's, and I'm sticking with this brand, because they're the first pair of headphones I've owned that didn't go bad after a year.

Graham said...

I had the old Walkman headphones for years, until they wore out. I had a great pair of Sony earphones that went into your ear, but weren't painful at all. I used them through two Walkmans, a Discman, an MP3 player, and two iPods. They finally broke after over 20 years. I hate the ear buds because they won't stay in my ears. Last year, my kids got me some more that fit into my ear from Skullcandy, but I still miss those old Sonys.

Humanbelly said...

Would this be an appropriate time/place to mention that I've started listening to Christmas music in my car and at the shop-?


Anonymous said...

I remember in the 80’s when personal stereos came out. The most amazing thing was how they seemed to put the sound not in your ears but actually right in your head.

HB & dbutler – I think you’re right about the damage. I think when you consider the potential damage of physically jamming something into your earhole for hours at a time (and pushing it in harder when it slips out) and playing music probably far too loud, we’re going to be a whole generation of deafos when we’re old.

I loved Walkmans (Walkmen?) but I hated those lumpy (originally Guantanamo orange) headphones. They would never stay in place especially when running. I loved it when the earbuds came in. In recent years, the Nano pod (the little one the size of a postage stamp) really changed the experience of personal music in the gym because finally you could clip it to clothing and do everything. I know Walkmans clipped to your belt, but the clips were rubbish and fell off constantly. And when a Walkman fell onto a solid floor, it was not good. It’s practically impossible to break a Nano that way.

I like the big headphones for home use, but whenever I see people out & about with giant cans on their heads, I wonder if they should be out on their own.


Doug said...

Late to this, as has been the case for me this week. Busy, busy!

I don't mind earbuds, but some of the complaints and criticisms voiced above are certainly valid. I don't care for using them when I do yard work or work out, as they fall out too easily when I bend over or lean to a side. When I am mowing, or even as Karen stated earlier on an airplane, I use my on-ear JVC HA-NC250 noice-canceling headphones. They do a pretty good job of muting the lawn mower; they're better on a plane.

However, I've been having a devil of a time finding replacement ear pads. The vinyl has begun to unwrap itself from the foam padding, and I'd like to get new ones. But I've found JVC's website to be difficult to navigate, and it doesn't seem like anyone else is selling replacement parts. Bummer for me.


Doug said...

Well, please allow me to update.

Right after I posted, I decided to run another search for those replacement ear pads. I actually found a user on Amazon who'd posted a direct link to JVC's site. So, I hurried over there and began to fill out the order! Yay!

Not so fast... The pads were $16 apiece, and of course sold in pairs (well, I could have bought just one I guess, but both of mine or pulling away). So I started to fill out the ordering information, but when I got to the S&H and tax, the bill was going to come to $43!! I think I only paid a bit over $100 when I bought them several years ago! No way...

Transaction canceled.


Redartz said...

Still using a Sony with foam pads. Sounds great, and quite comfortable. I occasionally use the ear buds, but feel better with the foam while playing tunes on the phone. Speaking of which: that is one area in which it feels like I'm living in that Jetsons fantasy future. Had I known in high school that one day I'd be carrying my entire record collection around in my pocket...

Anonymous said...

I had a 65$ set of headphones I bought that sounded amazing, till my $&@*!*%# drunk-ass brother stepped on them one night.
I'm still a little steamed about that. mp

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