That didn’t take long. Sure enough, after only three weeks with the SR125i, I have sold my open-backed cans and am back on the closed-back bandwagon. That’s not to say I regret the purchase of the mighty Grados. Here are a few things I learnt from the experience:
Rock can sound amazing. The airiness and natural sound the SR125i delivered was unlike anything else I’ve ever heard for rock and jazz music. There’s something about how guitar, piano and strings sound on these headphones that brings life to such genres. The best example I heard of this was probably The Summer You Never Meant by The Exponents. From the first strum the song absolutely brimmed with energy while sounding completely effortless.
A natural sound isn’t everything. That lovely acousitc sound is awe-inspiring for a lot of music, rock and jazz especially, and was one of the main reasons I settled on the SR125i in the first place. But I quickly realised that for someone who mostly listens to electronic music, a natural sound actually isn’t desirable a lot of the time, and this mostly has to do with the nature of open-backed bass. The bass was there, sure, but unlike closed cans, this bass serves only to supplement the strum of a bass guitar or to add oomph to the kick of a drum. It is simply not capable of provide a driving force to bass-heavy music - the very driving force electro and hip-hop music requires.
Versatility never hurt anyone. I’m pretty easy when it comes to headphone comfort, and I was never really bothered by the simple, poorly-padded design of the SR125i. What did irk me, though, was the presence of a 6.35mm audio jack and the absence of a removable cable. I mean, really, who would prefer to have a 6.35mm jack over a 3.5mm one? I guess it didn’t help that my two dollar adapter slowly began to give up the ghost shortly after I obtained the SR125i.
Audio-Technica knows a thing or two. I honestly don’t know where to start: style, comfort, sound, versatility; the ATH-M50X really does have it all. I managed to pop back to The Listening Post while the blue version was still available, and what a pair they are. They’re like the good-looking, more spacious, more detailed, older cousin of my old HD-212 Pro. On this note, maybe the SR125i was the old, wise (but often frustrating and irrationally inflexible) grandparent.