PX Sound Series: Texture

PX Sound

PX are the best-sounding wireless headphones we’ve ever made, and we’re exploring their sonic properties through a variety of great songs. Now we show how PX brings to life the texture in your music, with the help of artists such as PJ Harvey, Radiohead, Boards of Canada and many more…

Aside from great songwriting, some tracks are defined by how they were recorded in the studio. In the most extreme cases, you can remove all elements of structure and let the resulting textures and nuances do the talking.

Popular music is traditionally built on verses and choruses, but we believe that the way it was recorded has the potential to elevate good songs into iconic ones.

PX’s drivers are derived from our flagship P9 Signature headphones, which, combined with the headphones’ transparent signal path, results in the best audio quality possible – bringing out the absolute best in texture. So without further ado, let’s get into the music.

1. PJ Harvey – Down By The Water

One word: bass. However, you will be surprised to know that the meaty frequencies you hear in the beginning are not played on a bass guitar. In fact, what the listener hears is an electronic organ with a healthy dose of added distortion, marking PJ Harvey’s move away from her more traditional punk and blues instrumentation. It’s a powerful sound, and PX delivers it with plenty of detail and sonic bite.

2. Justin Timberlake – Filthy

What we admire about this track is its innovative production with extensive processing techniques. After the theatrical opening, the soundstage throbs with a saw-like synthesiser sound before transforming into a stripped-back funk party from the future. PX deals with the bass-heavy passages just as cool and composed as Timberlake’s vocals in this showstopper of a song.

3. Agnes Obel – Familiar

Delve into the depths of Scandinavia with this stunning track by Agnes Obel, with its plentiful amount of textural nuances. From cello to violin, the strings sound sparklingly detailed, with each instrument intensely organic in timbre. For the choruses, Obel’s voice has been pitch- shifted down, adding to the mysterious melancholic atmosphere with a delightful effect.

4. Imogen Heap – Hide and Seek

This is a perfect example of innovative production elevating a song to new heights. Without the use of a vocoder keyboard, this track would sit firmly in the ‘good’ a capella songs category. Loud and quiet passages are engaging throughout; Heap’s lower register is crunchy while her highest notes sound like they’re being held together by the thinnest mechanical fibre. It’s a track where PX demonstrates its adeptness at commanding all frequencies.

5. Bon Iver – 29 #Strafford APTX

On hearing the opening fingerpicked guitar notes, you would think this would be a straightforward number by folk stalwarts Bon Iver. But if you listen closely, the guitar has granular properties which appear more pronounced later on. The vocals are densely layered, sounding rich and warm –especially during the choruses. And while all of this is going on, ambient field noises circle around the soundstage, which, combined with the accompanying strings, make for a dreamy, yet rewarding listen on PX.

6. Boards of Canada – Roygbiv

This track by Scottish electronic duo Boards of Canada is a masterclass in texture. The pair looked to old analogue synthesisers and hip-hop beats to craft their distinctive electronic sound. ‘Roygbiv’ opens with a tonally flavoursome synth hook that forms the solid base of the song. The proceeding beat is heavy but well judged, and doesn’t encroach on the lighter piano chords and synthesiser flutters heard later. By the end, it sounds like an entirely different song: psychedelic in tone, urban in spirit.

7. The Kinks – You Really Got Me

There are many settings on a guitar amplifier that are dedicated to achieving the perfect tone. Clearly, these weren’t enough for guitarist Ray Davies, who sent a straight razor through his amp to dirty up the sound. And that’s where the guitar tone of ‘You Really Got Me’ comes from. Despite being mixed in mono, PX brings out the detail of the mix thanks to its transparent audio signal.

8. SOHN – The Wheel

Songwriting meets innovative production in this track by SOHN. His neatly chopped up a capella vocals underpin the structure nearly all the way through. PX delivers the bass with plenty of muscle, while the percussion rhythms sound balanced and crisp in each ear cup. As the harmonies evolve, more synthesisers join the mix, giving it plenty of dimension and dynamics.

9. Radiohead – Daydreaming

From the off, this is Radiohead being Radiohead, with the wavering pitch of percussion setting the mood. Melodic piano patterns drive the song forward, allowing the band to get creative in the soundstage in the form of warped vocal textures, ethereal strings and ambient noises.

10. Led Zeppelin – When The Levee Breaks

Drums are a hard instrument to record. But once you’ve mastered the basics, you can begin to experiment. And that’s what we hear in this Zeppelin track. Microphones were positioned high above Bonham’s drum kit to give a sense of the sound soaring into space. We think it works to a stunning effect.

11. Sevdaliza – Human

The double-tracked vocals shimmer in this atmospheric composition by Sevdaliza. In its more experimental moments, the voice is split into micro samples, creating a pleasant-sounding glitch-filled soundstage. This demonstrates that when you cleverly process sounds, they are capable of creating all-new soundworlds to explore.

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