This will be a cathartic experience on my part since I haven’t written for a while after leaving The Huffington Post.
A little background, I live in NYC but was brought up in Bangladesh (used as a representative third world country among many others). Those who have not heard of the place – open up a world map (do they still have those – or has Google Maps killed it already?) – and look to the right side of India. I sort of proudly say to all that I am Bangladeshi even though “officially” I’m from Wisconsin. But this article (or whatever you want to call it) is about how similar and dissimilar the head-fi or high-end audio scene is from the Western world and a third world country (where the average income – I just looked it up – is 2500 taka/month = $35/month. That math is a misrepresentation because it accounts for garment workers et al. So, for those with the hobby, it would be around $1000/month. I mention money early because, let’s face it, this is a “financially fatal” hobby.
Add to that, we (well I do, I’m in US) don’t have an Amazon/eBay and we don’t have Paypal either. So, once you have it, you’re pretty much stuck with your gear. But things are changing – no thanks to Paypal or eBay but the HP lover community.
The data I will show are from a particular Facebook Group – local to the scene in Bangladesh.
Most popular brands with some reasoning:
- Sennheiser (!!!!!) – yes, the kids with money usually go for the 598’s that they bring on foreign trips or family living abroad. The country does not have any authorized dealer.
- Samson (this is huge there because they actually have dealers)
- AT – yup M50x’s have hit the third world too. What’s ironic is, they are cheaper there.
- Takstar (see a trend here – Chinese companies are totally killing it, it makes sense too given the price tags)
- Beyerdynamic (770 ones) – those who can manage one
- VE Monks ( … wait for it … there’s a story to this)
- V-Moda (for rich kids)
- Logitech earbuds (costs like 800 taka = $10 – I have one – and I love ‘em)
What would an audiophile from a third world country like that ask you If you met him/her?
- Hello, what is a good headphone under 3000 taka ($50)?
- I want a flat sounding earbud but my budget is constrained. Is there anything good?
Why tell you when I can show you?
The demographics would be like 90% male and 10% female between the ages of 12-30. Observe how it is more like a “young folks” thing? I’m sure it will gradually grow to be more of a “12-70 years” hobby.
Struggles faced by a third world country:
- No Paypal
- No Amazon (India has though but no other South Asian countries do)
- No eBay
- No Authorized dealer for the name brands (trust me, there is demand – illustrated evidence coming up - and yes, talking to you - Germany - knock knock!)
- No credible marketplace
- Budget constraints
What we do have:
- Super enthusiasm
- Great discussions
- Meetups at restaurants (ohh the food is heavenly – I never had a chance to join cause I live in the US)
- Carpenters who would make you real Mahogany wood headphone stands for like $10 (wood included) if you just show a sample picture
- Community FTW – see below (in the two pictures following this bullet point) how a subculture without any endorsement or financial backing “officially” have gotten VE Monks to come to a country few have heard of.
Hope you guys liked bits and pieces of the similarities and contrasts. Think of it as a tour.
More soon especially reviews of my own gears.
And lastly, HD600’s are the best headphones existing (I just wanted to write that sentence).
Multiple iem cable impressions
Linum Super Bax Connection: 2pin, 3.5mm TRS Source: AK380Cu+AmpCu Iem: Zeus-XRA (XIV set up) Pros: Small size, flexible, performance/value...
Better Audio Quality for Crossfade M-100
Hear is an audio fix to get cleaner audio for M-100: 55Hz -1 77Hz 1 110Hz 0 156Hz -1 220Hz -2 311Hz 0 440Hz 2 622Hz 3 880Hz 3 1.2kHz 2 1.8kHz 1...
FiiO X3II DAP firmwares with custom themes
The last regular firmware version of the FiiO X3II digital audio player is 2.0 at FiiO's site. An interesting previous version is 1.4, the last...
Flawless Album Suggestions
Well, I think it is safe to say anyone reading this article is an Audiophile, Audiophile wannabe or somewhere between the two. I also think that...
Chord Mojo FAQ
I'm creating this to answer all the repeat questions in the main Mojo threads. Power Q. My Mojo gets noticeably warm while charging and...