Appetite comes with eating. This catch phrase can be applied to many situations in life. This is exactly what happened to me when I began my long journey into the world of portable audio. And if many years ago, at the very beginning of the journey, I was satisfied with almost any headphones, since their very presence was already happiness, then over time, with each new pair of headphones that sound better, there was no desire to return to the previous ones. This is not only the case with sound. We want more and better, but in everything we need a sense of proportion, otherwise there is a risk of repeating the fate of the old woman from A.S.'s Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish. Pushkin.
So, when I was a student, that very sense of proportion (and maybe an inborn 'toad') did not allow me to buy headphones for more than half of my salary of those times. Probably, it is for this reason that reinforcing headphones with a radiator in the form of a balanced armature have long remained an unattainable object of desire, since they have always cost significantly more than their dynamic counterparts.
Yes, after some time I was able to afford them, fortunately, some manufacturers realized that scaring the user with a cosmic price tag was not the best marketing option, and I began to earn more. Since then, the 'balanced armature' has become my favorite among the types of emitter. The objective advantage of the armature is the accuracy and purity of the transmitted sound, which means that this type of headphone will suit fans of instrumental music. However, it makes no sense to describe the advantages and disadvantages of fittings, this topic has long been grossed out and worn to holes. There are both fans and opponents of this type of headphones.
And then she came Xiaomi with her own 'hybrids', which combined both the armature and the speaker, and all this literally for a penny.
And, it would seem, here it is, happiness – those who previously could not afford headphones of this type will be able to try this option and discover new colors of sound. And if there are sales and demand, then other manufacturers, who had previously broken the price tag, will revise their pricing policy and want to compete with the Chinese for new 'fitters', which means the emergence of new inexpensive models from famous manufacturers and … Alas, all these thoughts remained only thoughts.
Yes, after the first version of the hybrids Xiaomi, the next generation was rolled out with the Pro HD prefix, where there were already three emitters responsible for high, middle and low frequencies each. And the price tag has remained very democratic, and even the quality has grown.
The Chinese company KZ gained fame and grew as a Chinese company, not unsuccessfully trying to compete with Xiaomi with its valves.
And that's all. Nothing else comes to mind so that it was heard. Fittings have remained the lot of those who understand, and the mass consumer did not even understand what happened (or did not happen). The mass consumer did not care what was inside the headphones – the main thing was that it played.
All these thoughts appeared after today's unsuccessful attempt to find inexpensive and more or less high-quality fittings “for every day” not from Xiaomi or KZ. The most affordable option that caught my eye is the Phiaton MS 100BA, for which they ask for almost 4,500 rubles.
Everything else is either significantly more expensive, or from unnamed Chinese manufacturers, whose products are not at all credible.
It seems that this niche has become so uninteresting to manufacturers that they stopped releasing new models and limited themselves to re-releasing old ones, making them in small quantities (Sony) and putting some completely inhuman price tag.
And in this regard, I had a question – has the quality of portable sound become such an unimportant parameter for people that even manufacturers have stopped straining and creating new interesting models? Is it that hard? After all, if one small Chinese company can do this, it should be a trivial matter for first-tier companies. Or maybe today's musical tastes and genres of popular music are to blame, for which the accuracy and purity of sound are no longer required?
Where did the inexpensive fittings go and will they appear in the future? Maybe you have an answer, dear readers?