Headphones and Cities of Origin.
I’ve gotten a set of G-Cushes for my Grado SR60s. As I’m listening to them, it came to me how much the Grados are reflective of its city of origin: New York.
Hear me out on this one. My set of Grado’s been with me for about 6 years now. While some of the luster has faded away, for the most part, the Grado has been a tough piece of audio gear. It’s brash (trebles can be harsh), loud (takes to loud volume quite nicely), but occasionally brilliant, especially with a slice of a NY Pizza. Brash, Loud, Tough as Nails, and Occasionally Brilliant. And holds on to classic looks like no other.
Then there’s Chitown. Home of Shure cans and mics. Nice, easy going, gets along with everyone, but can be vanilla from time to time. Nothing wrong with that. Goes especially well with Blues and Jazz.
And expanding to Japan, Sony and its ilk? They are delicate and has propensity for brightness and it’s partner, loud looks. It has depth like no other, but if you’re coming from outside in, it’ll take a long time to discover that depth. A long time. It’s very shy, almost xenophobic. But beneath that there is depth and character that’s waiting to be discovered.
Sennheisers and other European Cans? Deep, bold, can be brooding at times. Never boisterous but don’t let that fool you. European Cans are not for excessive brilliance. It’s backed by years and years of tradition, and likewise, perhaps classical music suits it best. However, it doesn’t mean that the Europeans are not behind the times. It just doesn’t go for that loud brash stuff. Normally.
AS for the Chinese headphones? Mostly copied from here and there. While most are imitation, every once in a while, the cover song becomes the definitive version of the song it covered, like how Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” is the definitive. Case in point: Superlux’s HD661 vs. MDR-V6. There’s much to come from China. But right now, mostly bad cover songs that is teetering on the edge of brilliance.
American cans? It’s a melting pot of Japanese and European. They can be loud, large, brilliant, deep, engrossing, ditzy, flashy, tough, weak, and everything in between. However, I still stick to my claim that, for the American Cans, the city more than the country defines the cans. And I present Los Angeles as the prime example: Flashy but no substance (celebrity cans mostly).
What do you think?