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CES 2013: The Ears of Spades, The Ears of Spades

by Jason Toon

This is going to hurt the people who earn their crust peddling iPhone covers and wireless mice bedecked in skulls and flames, but it has to be said: the Consumer Electronics Show is about the least rock 'n' roll environment this side of a Methodist church. And even a Methodist church might have a bad-ass cross or a cool-sounding organ or something.

So when a potent force of corrosive rock power strides onto the show floor, you can practically see reality rippling around you. The mighty Lemmy was ostensibly here to introduce Motörheadphönes. But his real message was "Take heart, weary electronics peons! All around you is illusion! Outside these walls, rock 'n' roll still walks, breathes fire, LIVES!"

That's what I heard, anyway. What he - and Motörheadphönes brand manager Anders Nicklasson of Krusell AB - actually said was that today's headphones have evolved to put too much emphasis on bass, optimized for hip-hop and other dance music. It's time to restore the midrange essential to rock music. "I actually like to hear the whole band," Lemmy said. "What a concept."

Krusell has been working with Motörhead for years on other audio gear, Nicklasson said, and approached them about Motörheadphönes through the band's Swedish drummer Mikkey Dee. Lemmy said it made sense for the band because he himself is "the most mid-range bass player on Earth." Did Krusell do it right? "I hope so," Lemmy grumbled, "because if not, I'll have to start killing people." When Nicklasson chuckled, Lemmy deadpanned, "What are you laughing at? You're first on the list."

See these headphones? Anybody who thinks they're man enough, come and take them. I dare you.

I'm no audiophile, but the Motörheadphönes at the booth really did sound fuller and more crisp than I'm used to. The bass was strong, but so was the guitar edge, the gnashy crust that can get muddy when it's too bass-heavy. If any headphones could possibly make everything louder than everything else, it's these.

Lemmy took a few more questions: yes, he does use Motörheadphönes in the studio, and no, you shouldn't listen to hip-hop on them. "Maybe you shouldn't be listening to that kind of music at all," he added, a line that went over well with this rock-friendly crowd but not so much with Silkski of Wu-Tang Clan, who happened to be hanging out at the booth. Before long, Lemmy was ushered into a back room, leaving us wanting more, but giving us enough rock red meat to nourish us through the next few very un-rock-n-roll days.

You know we're born to lose, and gambling's for fools, but that's the way we like it, baby, we don't wanna live forever. And don't forget our CES 2013 coverage.