Most Hi-Fi+ readers are quite passionate about their enjoyment of recorded music and thus are equally passionate about the pursuit of higher and higher levels of sound quality, where possible. In fact, if quizzed I suspect few of us would have things any other way, which means that many of us have accepted the fact that we will invest significant chunks of our disposable income in our sound systems. The only downside of this, of course, is that we run the risk of alienating those who love music every bit as much as we do, but who have not yet discovered the joys our hobby can bring, nor have they in any way accepted the at times daunting costs our hobby can entail.
My thought on the matter is that surely there are worthy audio products out there that represent a middle ground of sorts – products that, in a sense, represent ‘The Good Stuff, 101’. I am thinking, here, of components that offer sound quality and user experiences that far exceed expectations, yet sell at moderate prices. One such component, which is the subject of this blog, is the Pendulumic Stance S1+ Bluetooth headphone, which sell for a tick under £175 in the UK, or for a bit under $200 in the US (bearing in mind that UK prices include VAT, where US prices do not).
If you are like some high-enders, you probably saw the phrase ‘Bluetooth headphone’ and immediately thought to yourself, “Seriously, how good could these things possibly be?” Perhaps nine times out of ten we might agree with that sentiment, as many of the Bluetooth headphones I have encountered tend to be long on cleverness and convenience, but short (actually, woefully short) on anything even vaguely approaching audiophile grade sound quality. Happily, though, the Pendulumic Stance S1+ proves the exception to the rule.
The Stance S1+ is the brainchild of the gifted designer Quentin Quek Chunbeng, who not only serves as Pendulumic’s ‘Chief Creator’ of products, but also is the Design Director for a design consultancy firm called DesignInsight. Interestingly, DesignInsight numbers among its clients a certain world-famous headphone manufacturer named Sennheiser. Thus, even if you’ve never heard of Pendulumic before, rest assured that its technologists A) know exactly what they are about, and B) have the client-list design pedigree to prove it.