Closing out the world, but letting the music in, with Phiaton headphones
Ordinarily, the products I receive unsolicited in hopes of a review are recordings. Lately, I've been having fun testing a product made for listening to those recordings -- headphones by a company called Phiaton.
Time was when I could work contentedly with any amount of distraction in the newsroom, but I've been finding it harder to do so. I tend to plug into the computer soon after getting to work, listening to CDs or XM/Sirius while I write. Until now, that has meant using whatever headphones came with the computer -- featherweight, adequate-sounding types that just did barely the job.
I was intrigued to try out Phiaton's model MS 400, not only for the chance to gain a sonic advantage (and greater noise reduction), but also for the cool look -- this baby's got a bright red headband and ear cushions to match. Nothing like making a fashion statement while you're gettin' down with Mahler or Strauss.
Of course, I'd never want to have an aural accessory purely for style (although a devotion to "Mad Men" has sure made me susceptible). It's got to sound good, good enough to put up with having something that weighs 6.5 oz. stuck on your head.
To tell the truth, it has been so long since I put on any truly solid headphones that I didn't think I'd like the experience at all. I had gotten used to earbuds or products only a small step up from those junky things that airlines pass around. There's something to be said for barely being able to feel something on your head or in your ears, but there's a lot more to be said
for putting on a device that can deliver life-like, full-spectrum sound. Phiaton does that handsomely. I have found that great clarity, warmth and evenness from bass to treble are the rule, as much in listening to classical as pop (I really do listen to other stuff, you know). External noises are nicely muted, but I can still hear the phone or an angry editor just fine.
The headphones show off best when plugged into a regular stereo system, needless to say (a plug adapter is included), but I'm delighted with the results at the computer, where I end up spending so much time each week. They're also terrific with an iPod.
(By the way, I tried out the cool-looking Phiaton PS 200 earbuds, which I assumed would provide a big improvement over the standard issue you get with an iPod, but I can't say I was blown away by the results.)
PHOTO COURTESY OF PHIATON