Hey, they stole my iPod!

The funny thing is, I have been biding my time for many, many months waiting for enough AMEX points to accumulate to pay for a really, really good set of noise-blocking phones. As you all know, the iPod earbuds are criminally, criminally incompetent, not to mention dangerous to use during air travel, since they invite cranking to counter their inherent crapitude. The Bose noise-cancelling headphones are de riguer for frequent flyers of a certain age. But they are, like all Bose products, not all they’re cracked up to be. While I have to admit, the phase-inversion soundwave cancellation is a neat trick, no one who cares about audio integrity would permit all that mucking around with the signal path. Not to mention another severe problem–noise cancelling headphones are designed to block out engine noise, not the wailing baby three rows back, or the inane conversation across the aisle. Shure has a much better approach; very simply, the earphones have noise-blocking foam surrounding them. They are equal parts ear-plug and ear-phone. Somehow, they manage to cram three drivers into that little package: a high-frequency “tweeter” and two low-frequency “woofers”. How do they sound? That’s easy, they sound like all good speakers sound: accurate. Dare I say, worth the 500 bucks. I enjoyed them for a whole week. Now, someone else is enjoying them, along with the iPod they nicked out of my hotel room in St. Louis yesterday. Gotta love that mid-western hospitality!

9 Replies to “Hey, they stole my iPod!”

  1. Oh, that Sux! I’ve been pondering the Shure plugs for some time now, for all the reasons you’ve listed above. I’ve only hesitated because I’m frightened that they’ll be lost, accidentally destroyed or stolen. For the same reason, I bought a cheapo refurbished iPod instead of a fancy new one. I’m intrigued by the foamy earplug feature all the way. I wonder if I should just settle for the cheaper Shures?

    I used the “normal” iPod phones for 2 minutes on day 1 before dismissing them as BS (not bad as sculpture though.) While waiting for my dream-phones I’ve been using a pair of Yamaha earbuds that came packaged with my silent brass practice system. Not so bad, but not so good either.

    Sorry you were robbed. I only hope you don’t blame the entire Midwest!

  2. Yeah, the 530s are very good. I think they compare nicely to my default cans, the AKGs. They are an order of magnitude more efficient. With the AKGs, I keep my Pod at noon, the Shures are deafening at 9 o’clock. The bass on the Shures is huge. Maybe even a little overdone, but I’m less about the bass than a lot of folks, I’m more into definition & soundstage. As I said, I only had them for a week, but I did a lot of listening with different music and it all sounded good. Jazz ripped at 128 Kbps mp3 doesn’t work well at all, but I didn’t find rock too offensive. I’ve started re-ripping at 320 Kbps.

    Not blaming the entire Midwest; the folks at the hotel have been good about it so far. Most likely, they will re-imburse for everything. But keep in mind, I am status’d to the hilt with them. I do find it amusing that I need to keep my guard up more in a city lie STL than back home in bad old NYC.

    Apparently in STL, they put mayo on everything…

  3. Which AKG’s do you use? I’m just curious for comparison’s sake, as I have a beloved old pair of AKG’s also. Sounds like we have similar taste in headgear.

    I’m also sorry to hear about the mayo…

  4. Yep– we’ve got the same AKG’s. Let’s sing together now:

    “We are the world. We are the children.”

    F*&k the association, the 240’s are good stuff & probably won’t cause deafness!

  5. If you ever get a chance to see Fredi Murer’s ‘Alpine Fire’ (on a large screen), do.

    It’s an original, very beautiful, highly interesting film.

    In wonderful detail, it looks at the life of a family on a high slope of the Alps, where they farm. How the children develop, how the family relates — a wide range of dynamics, galvanized in large part by the highly instinctual nature of the adolescent son, who is deaf and mute.

    The boy learns and grows entirely on the farm. He is full of life, unschooled, and his family are the only people he knows.

    Twice, he steals a radio he cannot hear (his father’s, I think — we don’t see this, it is only mentioned — and then his sister’s) and ruins them — he drops his sister’s in an outdoor water-trough. He steals it as a seeming lark while she is cleaning boots, she chases him all over the hillside for it, then watches in outrage and despair as he lets it go.

    He stole her iPod, he broke her iPod — both.

    The boy is very charming, he isn’t used to his sister’s real anger. She is still very angry at dinnertime (it was a source of music, it was contact with the outer world, it was modern, it was hers)and he knows he has really hurt her, he has done something wrong.

    (Of course, the radio, whatever it was, was something that hurt him — it took people away from him, he was jealous of it.)

    She is sulking on a bench after dinner, and to show he is sorry and work himself back into her affection he goes over and curls up beside her, with his head on her lap.

    She starts to sing — and he puts his fingers up to her throat and rests them there to feel and follow the vibration. (There’s more to this scene, but you have to see the movie.) The father looks at them together and comments that he likes that kind of music better anyway.

    The movie is pastoral and not pastoral — it clearly shows and dramatizes the advantages and limitations of their way of life. The father is defensive about the boy’s lack of schooling — schooling makes you stupid, he says, and in the boy’s liveliness and keenness and applied intelligence you see very vividly that in one way he is right.

    But you also see very clearly that the isolation and lack of outside relationships is a tragic limitation.

    I’m not entirely crazy about one aspect of the ending, but it’s a very, very fine film. Bert should have seen it — I wonder if he did.

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