Saturday, August 11, 2007

Epi oinopa ponton

The title is, of course, Homer's famous epithet the wine-dark sea; when applied to the Alster it would need a slight change to "the miso-soup-dark sea" in view of the lake's very dubious greenishly-tinged brown.

The rain stopped about 1pm, so I went out and walked down to the Alster and from there to the Rathaus (town hall), then the length of the pedestrian area to the train station and back, then took a cruise boat up the Alster to Winterhude, thence home with the same bus that I take to & from work. Very pleasant. I would recommend the cruise (an hour each way) to anyone with a day to spare and a relaxed spirit; there is also a two-hour cruise along the canals and riverways that I will try to take before leaving Hamburg.

Now, happily tired, drinking tea and listening to iTunes music, thinking of picking a book from the pile (literally: my absent colleague doesn't believe in shelves) and retiring early to bed.

But first: a public service announcement. Anyone who wears in-ear headphones with their iPod-type personal-music-player device should try these new earphones from Bose. The sound quality is just amazingly good, no other word for it. Changing from Apple's bundled iPod earphones (good as they are) to these is like moving from a car radio to a well-chosen home stereo system. The bass doesn't shake your guts, obviously, but it's vastly louder and more present than in normal earphones. The whole tonal balance is different to the Apple earphones, the simple description would be that it's shifted an octave down the scale: the highs are less shrill and there is more and deeper bass. The sound is very detailed, listening to Glenn Gould playing Liszt's transcriptions of Beethoven's Sixth (thanks again, Antonia!) I can hear the pedalwork and him humming along.

Highly recommended, worth every penny of 99 Euros. Two caveats, though: first, the Apple earphones were very transparent, one could clearly hear environmental noise while wearing them, e.g. the honking horn of that oncoming bus. The Bose earphones are not at all transparent, do be especially careful if/while wearing them on the street. Second, having had these on for an hour or two now, I noticed that I'd tended to set the volume on the Apple earphones by the level of distortion I was hearing rather than the volume of music per se. There is no distortion in the Bose earphones, you may find yourself putting the volume up much higher than you would otherwise, waiting for it to kick in.

My coming to purchase them was proof that advertising works. I'd seen a review of them in a magazine quite some time ago and had been impressed enough that it registered vaguely; when I saw a Bose store (sign of the times) in an arcade here I remembered that they'd recently launched something quite amazing, though I couldn't think what it had been. So I went in and looked around and these caught my eye.

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Blogger zhoen said...

Audiophile- estine.

August 12, 2007 at 12:52:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Rob said...

As one who loathes in-ear headphones to the extent that it could just about count as a phobia: sounds good to me. I don't have an mp3 player, relying still on turning mechanical things like CDs or MDs. My headphones, though, are slightly above default foam rubber jobs.

August 17, 2007 at 6:59:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Lioness said...

"The title is, of course, Homer's famous epithet"

Of course.

You're such a bloody snob, Udge.

I like you.

August 21, 2007 at 12:26:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Blogger Udge said...

The "of course" was just to rattle the bars of your collective cages. I too had to look it up (hooray for Google).

August 22, 2007 at 8:11:00 a.m. GMT+2  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Epi oinopa ponton.

It's on the 2nd page of Ulysses - by James Joyce - as well.

Thought you snobs should know :D!

October 28, 2007 at 3:58:00 a.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Udge said...

When Buck Mulligan stands in the doorway of the Martello shower and looks at the sea while shaving?

October 28, 2007 at 9:58:00 a.m. GMT+1  
Blogger paul-ritsuko said...

Epi oinopa ponton, also in Ginsberg's "Howl"

October 31, 2007 at 7:50:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Blogger Udge said...

Really? Not in the version I read. Do you have a link to where you read it?

November 2, 2007 at 1:24:00 p.m. GMT+1  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and of course, buck mulligan has to descend the 'dark winding stairs' before he can talk to stephen about the wine-dark sea. only joyce could pull off wordplay of that magnitude

August 8, 2010 at 11:18:00 p.m. GMT+2  

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