Chord & Major Overview

November 05, 2015 | 0 comments

Short Version: there is absolutely no aspect of Chord & Major’s tonal earphone line, starting with the sound quality of all three sets, that doesn’t reflect the company’s mission to redefine how really good an under-$200 earphone can be.

Long Version: You still here? OK, here we go. C&M sets the expectation for quality at first glance, with packaging that reflects both the thought and the care – and even a bit of the eastern philosophy – behind the entire Major ’13 line.

Each pair of the new in-ear monitors (IEMs) is tucked into a soft inset in one compartment of a wooden box stained to match the shell veneer of the line you chose: oak for the jazz 7s, onyx (what else?) for the rock 8s, and rosewood for the classical 9s. So far there’s not a bit of plastic in sight…including the phones themselves. Stainless steel and wood blend seamlessly, imparting a finish and a heft that feels more like jewelry than mobile electronics. As both an artist and an inveterate techno-fetishist, I can tell you this: the C&Ms are just plain sexy.

The accessory kit includes large and small tips (mediums are already on the earphones) and a soft cleaning brush. The tips, smooth and soft, are quite comfortable, even over extended listening periods. They will never come off accidentally. A flange that extends outward from the barrel of the earphone at a slight angle makes them easier than other IEMs to insert. Pointing the flange downward (in same space as my old 90 degree buds) felt pretty natural to me, but you can experiment with aiming it elsewhere – the top of the back of your ear, maybe – for that just-right feeling.

With C&M, attention to detail is just part of the fun. So, for example, every box also includes a soft embroidered carrying sack and a winder to keep your cables tangle-free. An adjustable bead above the Y juncture helps you adjust for cord microphonics (the noise you feel as much as hear when your earphone cord rubs on clothing), if that’s ever a problem for you.

Which set to buy? As I’ve already said, each pair does a very nice job with its designated genre. So, if you’re listening regimen runs overwhelmingly toward jazz, rock, or classical, the decision has already been made quite convincingly for you. A long discussion of how I picked my favorite will follow, and that might provide some guidance as you shop for that very lucky music lover on your gift list (which certainly could be yourself!). For now, though, here’s a very quick preview:
  • The jazz 7s are the most narrowly defined, with a prominent midrange that – oddly enough – also puts a real nice shine on new country.
  • The 8s are a safe, easy, and rewarding choice for anyone who lives on a steady diet of rock (starting with – but by no means limited to – most normal males under 29 years old).
  • The classical 9s might be the most versatile of the lot, with detailed bass and a lively, vivid upper midrange that brings much of my varied collection to life.
Bottom line? Anyone who understands that listening to music is an active pursuit will very likely treasure any of the Major ’13 line.

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