Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Spiral Ear SE5 Ultimate’ Review: Welcome to the Temple of Heaven

Beginning from the 16th Century, the Emperor of China would undertake a twice-yearly pilgrimage across Beijing to fulfil his sacred role as the son of Heaven. The ceremony was always shrouded in secrecy, and ordinary folk like you and I would not have been allowed to observe, much less partake. But even if we’d been privy, it would all have seemed a bit strange. Religious buildings are typically grand, towering monuments, designed to astound the gods with the sheer richness of our sincerity. Not so the Temple of Heaven. It only needs to spotlight a single man- the emperor- when he prays to the heavens, and seems appropriately sized for the task. Not helping, the temple is situated within a vast courtyard of grass, which serves to further juxtapose just how small that temple really is.

Yet look closely, and a different picture starts to emerge. The key is in the shapes. The grounds of the temple, that unremarkable grass courtyard, is a square, signifying earth. It is big, much bigger than the temple itself, and meant for the more numerous laity. On the other hand the temple is a perfect sphere; circles symbolize heaven, and heaven was open only to the privileged. The Chinese character for ‘heaven’ is tien, also meaning ‘sky’, and everyone could raise their heads and see the firmament, stars and all. But the Chinese were very clear about this- everyone could see the heavens, but only one man could enter.

Enter the Spiral Ears SE5 Ultimate. Now you, too, can gain access to the sky above us. Big. Airy. Heavenly. BTW, did you know that the Temple of Heaven was acoustically treated, to improve the sonic resonance when the emperor made his prayers? In short here we have a building that echoes sounds endlessly towards the celestial sphere. That’s pretty much exactly what the Spiral Ears sounds like. I rest my case.

IEM: Spiral Ear SE5 Ultimate

Form Factor: Silicon Custom In-Ear Monitor

Damage: $1800 USD

Build Quality: Perfectly finished, smooth everywhere. Does not even look remotely handmade.

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