#2035 | A Private Bubble, A World

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New York, New York

When I first knew I was moving to New York Roz turned to me and said your earphones will be your best friends.
I don’t actually listen to music that much, I said, and she shook her head.
Trust me, she said, you will.

I place more stock in Roz’s opinions than I do the usual person not only because she is wise and smart and funny but also because it was at twenty seven that she, too, moved across seas to chase her dream. Ten years separate us but when we are together we do not feel it except to benefit from the endless comparing of notes from days past and present. Ten years ago Roz packed up and got on a flight to Taiwan where her career as an actress developed; ten years later I rolled my life into a suitcase and stepped on the plane to New York with big dreams and a pen in every bag. Ever since she and I have obsessively texted and skyped and continued exchanging stories in every medium possible. I press my earphones in and listen to her voice messages on my walk to school. I think to myself: she was right – my earphones did become my best friends – but not in the way she had expected. Everytime I slide my earphones on, the voices of my loved ones back home chatter in my ear. So much of my days here, now, are spent with a foot in each country: america, singapore. Just a week ago I watched a friend walk down the aisle and heard the sniffles in my ear while feeling the chilly autumn breeze raise goosebumps up and down my back. I have a body that exists in two states.

As someone who identifies as technologically curious, I made the transition to wireless headphones years ago, and as headphones evolved in more compact and amazing ways I followed suit and have used exclusively true wireless earbuds for the past couple of years. How incredible they are, automatically waking and pairing once you snap the case open, pausing your track if you take them out, giving you the option to take calls or change tracks with a casual tap on your ear. And buds are so subtle. The fact that I affect a slight Luna Lovegood air when muttering observations about new york to whoever is invisibly on the line can only be a plus.

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With the bud-sized world I now carry around of course my appetite for music has increased. After countless earpieces snapped, frayed, and tangled, I was slowly weaned off a perpetual background track years ago… something that slowly started coming back in the last few years after investing in home speakers and wireless earpieces. But True Wireless Earbuds as a category is honestly unparalleled in terms of convenience. After the first pairing, it’s automatic and quick, the minute you take the earbuds out of their case they link up to your phone and are ready to rumba. And not all earbuds are created equal. It surprises literally nobody that my current babies, Sennheiser’s MOMENTUM True Wireless earbuds, are an audiophile’s dream, delivering excellent sound, as per all of Sennheiser’s offerings. Bluetooth technology has been a major debate for audiophiles for a long time, always seen as a trade up between sound fidelity and the hassle of wires, but Sennheiser has handed the reigns of control back to the user – through the companion app you can tweak the bass, the treble, the highs and the lows to your personal preference. And as someone who is absolutely addicted now to orchestral game music (I wrote a whole piece to the soundtrack of Pokemon Red’s Pallet Town theme), I can assure you, simply walking down the street takes on an epic quality.

Because I have no issues talking out loud to the apparently empty air I get a major kick out of telling the linked Google Assistant to change the track or adjust the volume: this is new york, talking to the sky is the least shocking thing you can see a stranger do. If one so wishes, the buds can even feed in some ambient noise from the outside world (the transparent hearing option toggled in the app) the result being that I never miss MTA announcements while waiting for the train.

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And there is no talking about the MOMENTUMs without at least a brief mention of the case, which is a tactile luxury, solidly built and encased in grey fabric. Perhaps bite sized luxury is the best way to think about the MOMENTUMs, which are small and excellent, compact and comforting, which have followed me across the seas to my new life here where they will stay for the foreseeable future.

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Jem

This post is brought to you in collaboration with SITEX Singapore. All views expressed are my own. Visit SITEX for more details of the Travel Tech Experiential Zone, and click here to read more about the Sennheiser MOMENTUMs – straight from the horse’s mouth, as they say.

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