Dynamite dynamic drivers can be difficult to find.

Last week I wroteabout the first of two popular types of headphone design these days: dynamic and planar magnetic.

Very excellent examples of dynamic drivers are available, but there is a serious drop-off in quality of that type of driver as it gets cheaper from the manufacturer's perspective.

Fantastic dynamic headphones, like the Sennheiser HD650 and 800, the Oppo PM-1, the Beyerdynamic DT770 or my personal 'phones and favorite newcomer Master & Dynamic MH40 — just to name a few — exist. But their high prices tend to keep them out of yours or my hands, which is a shame.


Another newcomer to the elite dynamic scene, the Audioquest Nighthawk, had its driver specially engineered with a proprietary biocellulose material, and they molded "liquid wood" into a shape that mimics the ear for the cups. They sound amazing, and the point is companies are trying to build the perfect dynamic driver, which is great.

The only thing is, dynamic drivers are the world's most plentiful, and as such, there's a staggering plethora of high-compromise lesser-dollar drivers to choose from as a manufacturer. So your average rapper-sponsored headphone — built and marketed to make money — very likely has a driver that's made some sacrifices along its design path. That could be an emphasis on skull-shaking bass that ends up killing the treble side of things, or it could be a lack of both altogether.


The good news is there are budget-conscious options that contain decent dynamic drivers. The Grado Alessandro MS1 is a favorite of mine, as well as the Onkyo ES-HF300, both priced at $100. One is open-back, and one is closed-back, the distinction of which I'll get into in the coming weeks.

Next week though — I promise — we'll dive into planar magnetic headphones, which are so hot right now.

Get gassy

Last Friday night I went up Sunshine Canyon to meet some friends at the Gold Hill Inn and see a local band known as the Gasoline Lollipops.

We've recorded Gasoline Lollipops in the newsroom's live music studio, Second Story Garage, before, so fire up that YouTubes and watch them in full glory for reference.

Back to the Gold Hill Inn and the GasPops, try to picture Johnny Cash all cranked on meth and you start to get a little picture of the live show.

Sorry, that's a crass representation because lead singer Clay Rose is most certainly not on meth... but his intensity and ferocious delivery are astonishing and elite. His lyrics are some of the most thoughtful you'll find in that general genre.

The place sold out quickly and I truly felt sorry for the crowd of folks left in the cold outside, because the floor was bouncing. And my God, the crowd was one of the most rabid I've witnessed in all my time in Boulder.

The Gasoline Lollipops will return to the GHI eventually, so do yourself two favors: Get there early and don't miss it!

Read more Taylor: coloradodaily.com/columnists.