Before the pandemic hit Anne Frankenstein would be DJ-ing in bars or clubs most Friday and Saturday nights.
She laughs when asked if she misses it: “Not really, I kind of prefer the quiet life. I think I was playing a few too many gigs before lockdown. It’s been nice to just enjoy music at my own pace.”
Fortunately for Anne she has a day job – her mid-morning show on Jazz FM.
As well as making life hectic, those gigs took a toll on her kit, in particular headphones. She has “completely destroyed” headphones in the past through overuse and crushing them by accident.
Having learnt those expensive lessons, she doesn’t spend much on headphones for work.
“I just get a nice cheap, robust pair of headphones, that isolate the sound well enough so I can hear adequately to DJ.”
One of the reasons headphones can be delicate is that they have several moving parts inside. In fact the principle behind those moving parts has not changed much since speakers first emerged in the early 20th Century.
A diaphragm, coiled wire and magnets are at the heart of most headphones and speakers
By passing an electrical current through a coil of wire placed near to a magnet, you can make the coil move. Attach a thin sheet of material (diaphragm) to that coil and the vibrations will make sound.
The so-called moving coil system has become much more sophisticated over the years. Better materials and clever electronics have improved the sound quality, and speakers have shrunk to a size that can fit into the ear.
However, there are still multiple moving parts in modern headphones, which can be broken.