What’s Your Headphone History?

Michaelangelo Matos | October 29, 2008 8:53 am

I’m going to guess that this blog’s audience is primarily creative-class desk jockeys who make the days go by faster with their headphones. Let me then ask you about your headphones themselves. What do you require? How big or small? Earbuds or on-ear? Long flexible curly cord or tiny thin strap? And what about your history with them generally? My own goes something like this.

I started listening to the Walkman when I was about 12. The phones were the standard, cheaply made kind that came with the player, with the exposed metal loop up top. It took no time to discover I preferred the kind with the top covered with plastic. I liked them on the large side; more comfortable, better sound (more resonance, probably). In high school my pair of these broke and I popped into Walgreen’s on 66th St. and Nicollet Ave. and emerged with one of those compact-case earbuds with the clear plastic front that rotated the strap back in the case, a stupid, more-trouble-than-it’s-worth enterprise I nevertheless routinely followed until the ‘buds–which, by the way, sounded like shit, if shit were made of tin–finally died from stretching.

For a long time, I felt lucky if a pair of headphones lasted six months. I got my first taste of pro headphones when I worked at First Avenue, where I did video on a couple of dance nights and occasionally DJed the main room before shows. Everyone’s listened to music on cans, but it wasn’t till I went to Seattle in 1999 that I sent all the way and paid something like $70 at the Lower Queen Anne Tower for a pair with the heavy, tight coil that pros and stoners used. I loved those things and continued buying their like for years afterward; I even got a pair sent to me when I wrote about them in a holiday gift guide.

The most recent change came around the beginning of this year. My girlfriend and I went big-box shopping one weekend, and at Best Buy I tried out some things at the Bose display. I fell for them instantly, and paid about $180 for a pair. (I’d just gotten a couple of big checks.) They’ve held up remarkably. They have a phone jack on the left ear and come with a threadbare strap that nevertheless takes wear well, and I picked up a wound cord for pro use (I DJ happy hour Wednesdays at Havana). I’m not sure how long they’ll last, but I’m guessing a long time.

So–what about you? Any odd stories or observations? Let’s hear it.

[Pic via Amazon]