Waiting for FedEx to Open

I spent a part of this morning sitting in the warm lobby of 10 Exchange Place in downtown Jersey City, waiting for FedEx to open. I had some gear to return. While I waited, I decided to listen to music. I undid the two front latches on my black canvas bag. From one pocket, I pulled out the Red Wine Audio iMod, from the other I removed the Shure SE310 earphones.

And that was it.

With in-ear headphones, so much depends on getting a good fit. A bad fit can leave you with external sounds—conversations, sirens, ringtones, whatever—creeping in and marring your music, can leave you with sloppy bass or truncated highs, can leave you sad and confused. It's not nice.

I pinched the earphones' gray soft flex sleeves and inserted them into my ears. As the foam expanded, all outside sounds slowly faded away—I had created a good and tight seal. When you get it right, you just know it. I had gotten it right. The world was nearly gone. People came in and out of view, silently and strangely, as if they weren't even real. Now, on the iMod, I selected "Shuffle." Fifth generation iMods require sending the output signal through the iPod's dock connector pins via an ALO Audio Dock Cable in conjunction with a headphone amp. I didn't have a headphone amp or the ALO cable with me, so I wasn't actually utilizing Vinnie Rossi's modifications, but all of my music files use Apple Lossless encoding and sound excellent. The music came and I was gone, too.

Here's what I heard:

Sufjan Stevens: "Casimir Pulaski Day"
Ray Charles: "Let's Go Get Stoned"
Trans Am: "Bad Cat"
Modest Mouse: "Dark Center of the Universe"
Henry Fiol: "No Hay Mal Que Por Bien No Venga"
Al Green: "Oh Me Oh My"
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan: "Deus Ibi Est"
Bob Dylan: "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again"
Richard Buckner: "Numbered"

The music was beautiful and lifelike and moving. Even with this small, modest system, I was enjoying a quality hi-fi experience. I've been thinking about this thread in the forum, asking myself, "What do I expect from my stereo?"

Whatever the answer may be, I really wouldn't ask for much more than what the Red Wine Audio iMod and Shure earphones offered: I was taken to another place, I forgot myself, the issue of time dissolved into a meaningless nothing, I was happy and calm and free.

Al Marcy's picture

Summer of '64. A friend had lent me his Bob Dylan albums. I brought them to another friend's, whose parents had a big console stereo. My intro to Mr. Z - we giggled and laughed through the whole set of albums. Not being chronically hip, yet, we just thought his singing was hysterical. He was booed off the stage at Bennington ... we have always been hostile to everything. Sigh.

Stan Rickman's picture

Man, you must have been sitting there a while!