13 June 2009

Japanese Audio Updates

In ear monitorsImage by CLF via Flickr

I've been here for 2 months+ and I've been noticing the audio scene over here in Japan, generally based on my observations on how common it is for the Japanese hook up their earphones or headphones.

I was quite surprised and baffled by the amount of Japanese put on the earphones and headphones while commuting in the train and walking on the streets.
I think out of 10 persons in the public, at least 2 or 3, had something stuck into their ears, listening (or maybe blocking the noise?).

Riding the bicycle is a common method of transportation for the Japanese, and it's not uncommon to see them cycling while listening. I quickly adopted this habit as I find cycling much more enjoyable while listening to my favourite tunes. :)

Other than those common earphones (let it be earbuds or in-ear monitors), it's quite normal for them to stick with big-sized headphones like those normally used at home.

Back in Malaysia, I've seen only a few people who dared to put on a full-size headphone inside the LRT, but for the Japanese is very common.

apple ipod nanoImage by CLF via Flickr

From what I observed, the Japanese prefers iPod to any other MP3 players, followed by Sony Walkman. Some would just listen from their mobile phones. What songs they are listening, I had no idea.

Noticeable earphone and headphone brands the Japanese prefers are Audio Technica, BOSE, Sony and Panasonic. I personally favours Audio Technica to another other brands listed above.

From my experience using 2 units of Audio Technica headphones, what I can say is the superb build quality and most importantly satisfying listening experience.

Audio Technica headphonesImage by CLF via Flickr

Japan is the motherland of Audio Technica so it's easily available at those
electronic department stores (I wouldn't call it shopping mall because it lacks the kind of comfort and feel of a real shopping paradise like those back in M'sia).

They had almost the full range of the headphone products and able to audition it one by one. Unfortunately, the environment is too noisy to do judgement. Lack of volume and sound input control is something bothering me from making a proper audition of those headphones.

A general guide for audiophiles to decide getting which headphone is to try them out personally to determine whether the headphone suits their "tastebuds" and whether their bank can afford it (not joking, as some high-end headphones can go up to thousand USD!).

This Audio Technica ATH-ES7 is a piece of headphone I would love to own in near future as it's been highly rated among audiophiles. Read quite a lot of Japanese using it due to it's portabality, elegence design and most importantly the superb sound quality it produces.

So far the cheapest ES7 I've found is on Amazon Japan, selling at JPY 11,180 (~MYR 400) compared to the suggested retail price JPY 18,900 (~MYR 673).
I've been tempted to get this headphone, but not so soon.....

Anyway, this is not the end of the audio scene in Japan yet. I've yet to explore some other great discoveries like Denon, another headphone brand native to Japan.

'til then, will be updating when I had made some new discoveries.
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