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OnSight: an afternoon with PHONON

  • Muting the Noise — the distribution arm of Innervisions, a Berlin record label run by Dixon (Steffen Berkhahn) and Âme (Kristian Rädle, Frank Wiedemann). Their office sits in the loft space of an anonymous Kreuzberg Alt-Bau and doubles as a DJ performance space with a rotary mixer designed by Floating Points and – audiophiles take note – loudspeakers from Klipsch. Yes, Klipschhorns.

    Out in the street, there is no Muting the Noise signage and no passing foot traffic and yet each Thursday, between 4 pm and 8 pm, Muting the Noise opens as a record store. Lining the shelves are Innervisions releases (direct from the pressing plant) plus a selection from similarly-minded labels like Cologne’s Kompakt and Lorsch’s Running Back. Also on offer are headphones from lesser-known Japanese brand PHONON: the SMB-02 (€356) and the 4400 with MTN-branded earcup plate (€299). Both models are intended as studio headphones with portability the focus of the foldable 4400. The SMB-02 can be purchased with a 6.4mm termination plug or balanced XLR.

    Introducing us to PHONON a block away from the Muting the Noise is one Alex Prat — French born, Japanese raised and co-founder of electronic music outfit Tokyo Black Star, themselves Innervisions alumni. In the video interview below, Prat talks us through his two headphone models but also – and perhaps more interestingly – the electronic music industry connections enjoyed by his brand. He formed PHONON with Tokyo Black Star co-founder and mastering engineer Isao Kumano and audio technician Yusuke Uchiyama; and the brand is now collaborating with Brooklyn record label Ghostly International on a limited-edition 4400. PHONON headphones also featured prominently at this year’s Superbooth, Berlin’s modular synthesizer trade show:

    Camera: John Darko | Editor: John Darko | Music: Tokyo Black Star

    Further information: PHONON | PHONON Store

    Written by John

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

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