Monster Cable's Miles Davis Tribute In-Ear Headphones
So, superior accoutrement, design, durability, comfort and warranty aside, how do the Miles Davis Tribute In-Ear Headphones sound? In a word: outstanding. They may be designed with jazz in mind, and with Kind of Blue's particularly clean, crisp and robust sound, you need go no further than to load the included Legacy Edition onto your iPod (at a reasonable compression rate, of course; taking it down to 128Kbps and you may as well fuggedaboutit) and hit "play." It's hard to believe, with a set of in-ear 'phones, that Cobb's cymbals can sound this crisp and clear; that Paul Chambers' bass can resonate so viscerally that you feel it in your stomach; or that Davis' mid-range trumpet can sound so rich and liquid. But they do.
Pull out any well-produced CD and the result is the same: clean and smooth across the entire frequency range, with no undue emphasis on a particular area (unlike Bose's well-known roll-off). The recital hall ambiance of Keith Jarrett's Testament (ECM, 2009) sounds as present and vivid as it does over a good set of speakers in a good-sounding room; with the in-ear 'phones' noise isolation, there's an even greater sense of intimacy. Ralph Towner's 12-string acoustic guitar on Anthem (ECM, 2001) sounds as resonant and big as if he were in the room. And in ensemble records, whether it's small groups like Steve Kuhn's piano trio on Mostly Coltrane (ECM, 2009) or larger ensembles like Vince Mendoza's Blauklang (ACT, 2008), there's an unfailing sense of immediacy and veracity. These 'phones sound so good that they make revisiting older albums a real pleasure.
Monster Cable may be targeting the Headphones for a jazz audience, but like its target demographic, these 'phones are also comfortable outside the jazz purview. The mellotron intro to Genesis' "Watcher of the Skies," from Foxtrot (Charisma, 1973), is as dramatic as ever; Robert Fripp and Adrian Belew's interlocking, Gamelan-informed guitars on the title track to Discipline (DGM Live, 1981) full and hypnoticand their Nuevo metal playing on The Power to Believe (DGM Live, 2003) dense and crunching; John Martyn's heart-wrenching "Hurt in Your Heart, from Grace and Danger ( Island, 1980), is paradoxically atmospheric and powerful; and Lyle Lovett's rootsy title track to Natural Forces (Lost Highway, 2009) is filled with hidden detail and in-the-pocket punch.
The Miles Davis Tribute In-Ear Headphones aren't cheap, but with as good a design as you'll find for comfort, durability and soundand with Monster Cable's outstanding warrantythey could well be the last in-ear 'phones you'll ever need. Like the artist for whom they're named, they're eminently versatile and, while largely aimed at a specific audience, possess plenty of cross-over appeal. Miles may be gone, but if he were alive today and walking the streets of New York with an iPod in his pocket, there's little doubt he'd be wearing a set of Miles Davis Tribute In-Ear Headphones.