Earphone Solutions: My Story

by GuestPoster on August 23, 2011

When it comes to headphones and earphones, I am obsessed. Ever since high school, when I started running a small recording studio in my house, I knew that I needed some high quality way to reproduce the sound I was capturing. While you can very well go out and buy speakers, they are significantly more expensive. Earphone solutions present a much more affordable, and portable means of getting an accurate read on the music that you record, or just the music that you listen to. So, before we talk about what options are out there, let’s first discuss the different between earphones and headphones. Earphones are miniature speakers that you can actually place into your ears. Generally speaking, within the audio world, when they talk about earphones they will not be talking about the oversized things that your local DJ probably wears

. While headphones are a great solution for getting a balanced read on a recording, we are not talking about those today, instead, we are talking about the available earphone solutions. When I first was in the market for studio quality sound, high-end earphones weren’t really a consumer option. Instead, you had to consider headphone monitors that looked very much like a DJ setup. So, initially, I got a set of AKG monitors that lasted me the better part of a decade. Right about the time that my AKG monitors were wearing out, I started checking out what my new options were. I started thinking that I would get another set of semi-open or closed back monitors. I wasn’t sure what brand I would go to, but I was open to any of the offerings from Sony, AKG, Audio Technica, and Sennheiser. All of these companies produced remarkable quality products, and I would have likely been safe with any of them.

However, the audio world had changed some in the last few years, and it all had to do with the new music product known as the iPod. The iPod rekindled portable music, but more than that, it started a new marketplace for earphones. See, in the business world, the iPod was a phenomenon because the amount of money that people would spend on accessories for it, would often be greater than the cost of the product. This caused a small gold rush among some manufacturers, and earphone makers were a part of that. One audio company that many people may have never heard of before that started to get involved, was Shure. Shure is a high-end company that mostly specializes in microphones and microphone related products. One of those related products that they made for use during performances were small, in-ear, earphone monitors. These were very popular with performers because of their ability to give a clean sound, and for their ability to block out stage noises, which were often very loud.

For a performer, being able to hear their mic while on stage is very important, and consequently Shure put a lot of time into making sure their headphones did the trick. When I started hearing about Shure’s earphone solutions, I began to think that maybe I didn’t need to get closed-back headphones to replace my AKG set, instead, I could maybe get some earphones. This would be a more portable solution, but it would also be something I could get more use out of. So, that was what I did. The Shure headphones served me just as well as their microphones had, and I was more than satisfied. A little bit later, I did buy a set of Audio Technica ATH-M50 monitors, but that was just cause I liked their look.

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