I just treated myself to a pair of Sennheiser HD555 headphones for when I’m at work. I’ve been using a pair of Sony MDR-G72 headphones for a few years, and while they’ve been quite nice, I originally bought them because they collapse down and are easy to carry in a laptop bag and they sound quite good for the size. Now that I’ve been at my current gig for a while, my requirements have changed. I work in cubeland, like most tech workers these days. The place is an open plan around the windows of the floor with 4 foot major partitions around desks with the little 3 foot ones providing some idea of where one desk ends and another begins. Offices and meeting rooms surrounded the central core, and you have to swipe your security badge in and out of the doors when you need to pee. It’s all very uniform and sanitised, just what every beaurocratic organisation needs.
I just finished reading Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams by Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister. It was loaned to me by a colleague, and I’m about to go order myself a copy for my very own. If you work in IT, on projects or in cubeland, it’s worth a read. One of the points the book makes is that your work environment is important for your productivity, happiness, etc. That’s one of the reasons I bought the headphones in the first place: so I could drown out the noise of chattering coworkers, ringing phones and general office noise and get on with my work in relative peace. It’s not quite as good as being able to have peace and quiet to work through a particularly complex task, but it’s a lot better than the constant distractions I usually have to contend with.
These headphones are awesome. They’re full size, over-the-head numbers, but what they lack in compact portability, they more than make up for in sound quality and noise abatement. I can have the tunes on at a reasonable listening level so that I don’t deafen myself and I still can’t hear people chatting around me. Ah, such bliss.