Starting Points: Pendulumic Stance S1+ Bluetooth headphones

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Pendulumic Stance S1+

Quek Chunbeng’s goals for the Stance S1+ are easy to describe, but difficult to achieve. In simple terms, the firm wanted to build an attractive, beautifully finished, cleverly full-featured, easy-to-use, and affordable Bluetooth headphone that, first and foremost, would afford its owners a quite large taste of genuine audiophile-grade sound. This doesn’t, of course, mean that anyone is going rush out and trade his or her world-class Stax electrostatic headphones on a pair of Stance S1+ ‘phones, but it does mean that if you placed a collection of competing $200 Bluetooth headphones on a table and invited knowledgeable audiophiles to sample them all, the Pendulumic would likely distinguish itself as the model to beat from a sound-quality standpoint. And this, quite frankly, is exactly what the Pendulumic Stance S1+ manages to do.

From a convenience, cleverness, and charm standpoint, the Pendulumic is a clear-cut winner straight out of the box. The headphone ear cups are done up in a very tasteful matte metallic bronze colour, with contrasting black and dark charcoal grey frames, headband pads, trim pieces, and ear pads. The net effective is a suave, tasteful, upscale urban chic look that listeners both young and old immediately seem to favour. The ‘phones ship with a fabric clad semi-hardshell carrying case, plus four simple accessories:

  • An airline adapter plug,
  • A 3.5mm-to-6.35mm adapter plug,
  • A USB charger cable, and
  • A 3.5mm-to-3.5mm signal cable with an inline mic/control module.

But the true cleverness of the Stance S1+ design only fully becomes apparent when one closely studies the switches, jacks, and control displays found on the headphone’s left and right ear cups. On the left ear cup, one finds a bottom-facing USB mini-jack charging port, a set of markings denoting open/close positions for a battery hatch, and an upward facing power switch that—significantly—offers two ‘On’ settings, but just one ‘Off’ setting.

Why two different ‘On’ settings? The answer is that, unlike any other Bluetooth headphone I have yet encountered, the Stance S1+ can be powered from its own on-board rechargeable batteries (which offer about 30 hours of playback time) or can be powered by an auxiliary pair of user-replaceable AAA back-up batteries. The concept is that, if the Stance S1+ should run out of battery charge at an inopportune moment (say, in the middle of a trans-Atlantic plane flight), the back-up batteries can be brought into play until such time as it’s possible to re-charge the headphone. This dual battery system seems  a very cool and useful idea, does it not?

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