x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Tiny gems of sound

For those who live life on play, Bose headsets pack some punch.

Despite their small size, Bose in-ear headphones will enhance your music experience. They can be found at any outlet for Dh400.
Despite their small size, Bose in-ear headphones will enhance your music experience. They can be found at any outlet for Dh400.

As a hard-pressed fanatic of music, I am seldom seen without a pair of headsets firmly nestled and blasting away in my ears. I am one of those people who presses "play" the moment they wake up. This habit goes back as far as I can remember. Naturally, as the years have passed, I have outlived and put to test a good number of headsets to satisfy my need to feed off melodies. From Sony and Philips to JVC, Pioneer, Koss and Skullcandy, I have heard it all.

If I were to consider how much money I have already shelled out on these fine, and sometimes shabby, devices, I fear I would seriously cringe. Doing the maths, I'd have to say approximately Dh13,000 (US$3,540) has gone towards headphones in the past eight years alone. That would mean that on average I spend around Dh1,600 a year on fancy plastic wires. Let's not even figure in the total cost of Walkmans, Discmen, mini-Discmen, and, last but not least, those faithful iPods.

Reflecting over this reality, I would say that my passion for sound is rather expensive, and something that I should keep under control. The only problem is, my most recent pair of headsets, which came with my current iPod, blasted their last note. I will have to invest in another pair, yet again. Doing my homework brought my curiosity to more high-end sound solutions. As our section suggests, sometimes it is better to invest in higher quality, which will last longer and render real results. So that is exactly what I decided to do.

I waltzed myself into the Bose shop in Abu Dhabi's Marina Mall. Just to add to my enjoyment, the clerks had one of the surround speaker systems on for a test run for a potential buyer. The sound was mind-blowing. After hearing my requirements, the sales assistant pulled out something I had not noticed when approaching the stand - a pair of in-ear headphones. Bose is better known for its bulky, noise-blocking headsets. These small gems were not at all what I expected.

As I looked them over carefully, I wondered if their size and structure would be able to deliver the same sound quality I expected from a larger Bose product. I was not disappointed. I plugged them into my iPod. Pressing play left me with a smile. "Amazing," I blurted out loud. With my music pumping in my ears, I soon realised I was speaking louder than I thought. The look on the clerk's face and his thumbs up signal were exactly what I thought to be a physical way to express this experience.

These headphones come with one set of small, medium and large silicone tips for an adjustable, personal fit in your ears. They also have a lanyard and clip for enhanced stability for when you're out and on the move. The lanyard tips wrap around each earpiece and it rests on the back of your neck. Should your headsets pop out, you'll not be fishing for them - they'll be happily resting, conveniently within reach to place them right back where they belong. As per Bose standards, the input angled plug fits directly into most MP3 players, including iPod and iPhone, as well as laptops and portable DVD/CD players. Through decades of research and engineering, Bose has developed a technology called TriPort. That's just a fancy title which simply means these headsets would deliver the same quality sound as the other, more bulky headsets. This fabulous experience didn't lead me to simply forget the impending price tag. If nothing else, it had made it ever so much more evident.

As I cautiously removed the sample headsets from my ears and carefully placed them back on the stand, I nervously smiled and softly uttered the words: "How much?" "Dh400" the clerk readily replied with a smile. I narrowed my eyes in disbelief and asked for the price again. "Dh400," he repeated. In my experience in the purchase of such items, this price tag was definitely among the more expensive buys. I looked them over one more time and brought myself back to my senses. For this quality? I was sold. And I know that the name does guarantee longevity.

Sadly, nothing is perfect. The silicone tips are slippery suckers and easily fall off if even slightly tugged on. Lose one of those and you're left more than frustrated. Do look after them with great care. Bose in-ear headsets can be found in any authorised dealer in the UAE, such as the one in Abu Dhabi's Marina Mall, for Dh400. They are usually out of stock, unsurprisingly, so best of luck finding a pair.

But if you do locate these little treasures, please indulge. psantos@thenational.ae