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5 albums to get the most out of your headphones

In partnership with Meters Music

In the mobile age, we take our own little world wherever we go. Calendar, phone, work documents, cloud storage, spreadsheets, book collection, instant shopping, video games and a vast music collection: all are contained and carried within a small portable device – just add headphones. But that means, to extract maximum enjoyment, a really good-quality pair of ‘cans’ is an essential choice.

Enter Meters Music, a new headphones manufacturer with extraordinary credentials. It has spent the last 20 years creating bass and guitar amplifiers (in its guise as Ashdown Engineering) for the world’s finest musicians, such as Paul McCartney, Foo Fighters, U2, System of a Down, Biffy Clyro, Bastille and many more.

And now, Ashdown founder and CEO Mark Gooday and his Meters team has brought every ounce of that knowledge and experience to bear (including the wisdom of the world’s finest musicians, with whom they enjoy very close relationships) in its new range of headphones. Read on, as the Meters team selects for you its top five albums for getting the very best out of your headphones…


1) Biffy Clyro – Puzzle

Standout track: Living is a Problem Because Everything Dies

One of the things you need from your smartphone/headphones combination when you leave the house is a real musical ‘punch’. And, simply put, if your headphones don’t get your blood racing while listening to Biffy Clyro’s Puzzle album, you need to think about switching up to a new pair. The whole album sizzles with dynamic shifts and seismic power-riffs. The only downside is that you might catch yourself on the train nodding your head and grinning like a loon. If you do decide on a new pair of cans, Biffy Clyro bassist James Johnston recommends the Meters OV-1Bs, saying, “They sound huge, and are perfect for life on the road or at home.”


2) U2 – The Joshua Tree

Standout track: Where the Streets Have No Name

U2 bass player Adam Clayton helped Meters Music design its ‘M-Ears’ in-ear headphones, saying, “I’ve been using their bass amps in the studio and on tour with U2 for years now, and the sound I get from them is superb. So, I was very happy to work with them on the development and tuning of their new ‘M-Ears’ headphones.” Having been at the very top of the music game for longer than most of us can remember, U2 are not just a great band; they’re the archetypal purveyors of the kind of vast, sweeping stadium rock that will test your headphones’ dynamic ability to perfection.


3) Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life

Standout track: I Wish

A true god of the music world, few artists have ever claimed to have the breadth of talents at Mr Wonders’ disposal. So, the Meters team were delighted to learn he has joined the long list of legends using its headphones. Wonder said, “I love my Meters headphones. They’re comfortable, dynamic and clear.” This album, his finest collection, has it all, from his exquisite song-writing and exceptional musicianship to that effortlessly smooth and agile voice. Standout song I Wish is the perfect track to test your headphones’ ability to render intricate, scattershot funk rhythms and the kind of bubbling, big-bottomed bass that’ll have you dancing in the aisles. Even if you’re just in the supermarket.


4) System of a Down – Toxicity

Standout track: Aerials

Few major bands can rock out with the bone-shuddering intensity that System of a Down routinely delivers. With guitar parts that are intricate and wild in equal measure, the Toxicity album is the perfect way to get the most out of your headphones’ ability to dig up the precise details of a recording. System’s superb bassist Shavo Odadjian uses Ashdown amps and Meters headphones, saying, “I’ve known them for a long time because they make my guitar amplifiers. The quality is so good that when the headphones came out I had to try them. The sound is great and they look really cool.”


5) The Stranglers – Rattus Norvegicus

Standout track: Peaches

One of the finest bands to emerge from the UK’s 1970s punk rock scene, The Stranglers began their journey with this, their electrifying debut album. Make your headphones sing with their wiry, rhythmic and tightly wound drum-bass-guitar-organ arrangements. The album’s edgy, restless sound is driven by the powerful and melodic bass playing of Jean-Jacques Burnel, another famous fan of Meters/Ashdown. Relying on Ashdown amplifiers to get his trademark sound, he said, “Ashdown bass amps make my kind of noise. They’re as unique as the man that makes them, and as unique as my sound. I love them.”

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