What is the soundtrack to your life? This question, posed to me by Jorden Guth on a recent episode of the SoundStage! Audiophile Podcast, stopped me in my tracks. What a fantastic question, and one I’ve never been asked. I hadn’t realized how much I wanted someone to ask it. I would have been happy to follow that tangent for another hour, but wisely, producer Dennis Burger didn’t let us. I’d probably still be talking. I’ll touch on why this is such an interesting topic to me, but really, isn’t this important to most of us?
I guess I should be thankful. In-flight entertainment has improved greatly over the last few years. That’s not to say it’s great, but it’s a lot better than before. Most flights will have enough of a variety of movies and shows to placate the mind for a few hours. It wasn’t that long ago that you’d be lucky to have a choice between three stale and forgettable movies, shown back to back.
Let’s start with the obvious: if you fly a lot, you should get some noise-canceling headphones. I’ll include trains and buses, too, since they can also be loud. NC headphones, the good ones anyway, can reduce that incessant droning that makes travel so tiresome. I never travel without them, but the style I travel with might surprise you. Personally, I prefer in-ear NC earphones. I’ve met countless frequent travelers who think I’m crazy. They also think this earphone preference is wild, as they’d never leave the house without some big, comfy over-ear headphones.
Don’t be alarmed. I am not Brent. Don’t worry. He’s fine, but he has stepped down from SoundStage! Solo. You’ll still see his byline once in a while, though. He, along with founder Doug Schneider and Editor in Chief Jeff Fritz, have decided to hand the reins over to me. A decision steeped in genius. Or folly. Bit of both? We shall see.
I’m sad to say this will be my last column for SoundStage! Solo. I’ve accepted a full-time staff position at the consumer-review site Wirecutter (for whom I’ve worked part-time for several years), and won’t be able to do any audio-related freelance work going forward. If everything goes as scheduled, my last review will post on January 20, and my last measurements sometime in February.