peteg's blog - noise - music - 2007 10 19 Headphones DirtyThree

Old Sonys die, replaced by Shure e2c, news at 11.

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Yep, fast times in Hồ Chí Minh City. After the right driver of my (model number lost to history) Sony earbuds died, with more urgency I went looking this afternoon for a pair of headphones that would do some kind of justice to the Dirty Three's Indian Love Song (there's some great dynamics at the start and towards the end) and fit into my pocket. Now, in Hồ Chí Minh City electronics comes in two kinds: authentic expensive stuff and cheap knock-offs. The range at the bottom is huge and uniformly crap, and if one wants something decent one has to fork out and moreover search damn hard.

So, after visiting twenty or more shops selling rubbish, including an abortive and attitude-souring trip out to the "electronics market" in District 10, I headed back to ezone on Tôn Thất Tùng in D1, an apparently unofficial Apple store. They sold me these Shures for $US90, a remarkably modest $US25 markup on Amazon's price. They didn't take Visa, so I had to find an ATM and hand them a brick of cash.

If anyone believes that a fully free market is the solution to the world's ills, then I suggest they come here and try to buy something at a reasonable price in a reasonable time frame. Given the weak state of IP, consumer protection and related laws, the usual signals (brand names, trademarks, price, shop location, etc.) are highly unreliable.

As for the headphones themselves, well, they fit so snugly into my ears that they will surely cause me to have an accident while walking the streets of this town. Conversely eating, drinking or even talking with them on is mildly unpleasant, as one's skull becomes (even more of) an echo chamber.

Oh yes, the most pointless Dirty Three song ever: someone, somewhere, recorded them covering Leonard Cohen's Suzanne for a radio show. I have the evidence in the form of a WAV.