· technology ·

Really, I should have kept my mouth shut. It all started when I got fed up with Mr. Bsag getting paint all over my Sennheiser HD570 headphones. He likes to listen to music while he's painting, and rather than inflicting his taste on the neighbours all day, he listens on headphones. However, the studio environment was starting to take its toll on the condition of my lovely 'phones, so I suggested that he get his own pair.

He started out trying to get hold of a lower-end model of Sennheisers (I got my pair in a sale originally, as they were a fairly pricey model). As the weeks went on, it became apparent that Sennheiser were bringing out a new model, and the model he wanted couldn't be got for love nor money.

He tried another tack, and went on eBay, eventually striking lucky with a pair of Grado SD60 headphones. Now, I knew that Grados were great, as my brother had a pair (I forget now if it was the same model or the next one up). They look like some kind of relic of Soviet Russia from the 1970s, but they sound divine — I had forgotten just how divine. To cut a long story short, he won the auction, and I've just been testing out the 'phones for him (my ears are quite a bit more sensitive than his); they are drop-dead gorgeous. The bass is so rich and fat and resonant that you actually hallucinate feeling the vibrations through the floor. Vocals are perfectly balanced between sweetness and sharp clarity, and there's endless layers of detail in even the most complex pieces. Everything just sounds alive, as if it's sparkling with dew.

I did a proper comparative test — obviously it couldn't be a blind test, but I played the same pieces with both 'phones, at the same subjective volume. Each time, putting the Sennheisers on made the music seem flat and veiled in comparison; imagine seeing a garden in full sunshine after the rain, with the light bursting on the raindrops, then seeing the same garden under a flat, grey sky. The only thing I can find to fault the Grados on is comfort. While they are not uncomfortable, the Sennheisers definitely beat them in that respect.

What do I do now? I nagged my husband to get his own phones and leave mine in peace, and now he's got a pair that I covet deeply, and that make my own seem really tired. I can see that I've got some buttering up to do...