I’ve been putting in some very long hours at work over the last few weeks – so much to do, so little time to do it in. It’s a heap of fun, but very tiring.
In order to keep myself sane while working late – particularly the boring stuff like building and tesing VMware images for classes and such – I’ve been listening to a lot of music.
I have my entire CD collection (190 CDs at last count) ripped as high quality mp3s, which I have copies of on my wife’s iPod (which she was kind enough to let me take to Darwin a couple of weeks back), but I also have copies on my laptop so that I can take my music with me when I travel but don’t get to take the iPod (which is usually the case).
Because the sound from my laptop speakers is really really bad (they are really fantastic laptops, but simply aren’t designed to be a hifi system), I’ve been using headphones to listen to the music. I had some Sony earbud headphones that come in a little case that allows you to wind up the cord, which was great because I got sick of untangling the cable every time I went to use them. The Sony headphones are okay quality, not quite up to the standard of the iPod headphones, but they both suffer from the problem of becoming quite uncomfortable after extended use.
One of my colleagues at work showed me his headphones, an over-the-head style from Sennheiser, which were very comfortable and had great sound. I went down the road to Len Wallis Audio on the weekend before my trip to Darwin, but they didn’t have the model that my colleague had.
They did have the next model up, the Sennheiser PX 200, which are a closed-can version of the PX 100’s. The great thing about these headphones is that they fold up into a neat little plastic case, about the same size as a sunglasses case. This is ideal for me, since I travel so much and want to be able to throw them in the bottom of my backpack and not worry about the headphones getting broken or tangled up.
As you can see from the photos – they are quite compact and very easy to carry.
Because of the closed can design, they also do a reasonable job of keeping out external noise such as the drone of the engines on a plane – quite good when on long trips.
The thing I like best about the PX200 headphones though, is that they are very very comfortable to wear for extended periods (especially compared to the in-ear style headphones I have been using). I’ve been wearing these things for literally hours at a time without any soreness of the ears that other styles of headphones cause. It does take a bit of practice to get the placement right though – since they are quite small cans, they don’t surround your ears, but rather, sit on top. For the best sound, you need to position them right over the ear canal so that the drivers fire directly into your ear. It’s quite easy now, but took a while to get it consitently right.
The only real thing to note about these headphones is that when you first start using them, the bass takes a while to start really showing – indeed for a while, it seemed the little iPod earbud headphones had better bass (the iPod headphones are very good) – but now after a couple of weeks of use, I’m very happy with the PX 200’s – the bass is a bit deeper and clearer, and I find the sound overall sharper and better separated. The salesperson from Len Wallis did warn me about this – so I wasn’t surprised when the iPod headphones seemed to give better results when I first tested them.
All up, AU$129 was not too much to pay for a pair of headphones with excellent sound, great comfort, and very practical to travel with – I’m very happy with the combination.