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Aerosmith: Deuces are Wild featuring 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones

04-20-2019 | By Adam Goldfine | Issue 102

Photo by Katarina Benzova

A few weeks ago I received an unassuming enough looking email from Cameron Black of the PR firm Noyd Communications, asking me if I would like to experience a unique VIP on-stage experience for the Aerosmith: Deuces Are Wild concert at the MGM Park hotel's Park Theater in Las Vegas. Wait what? Aerosmith? On-stage seats? I fuckin' love Aerosmith!

In fact my love affair with Aerosmith goes back to my mid teens when I practically wore a hole in Live! Bootleg, their first live album. I couldn't get enough. One Saturday night the 8-track of Toys in the Attic must have gone around three or four times while I made out with my then girlfriend on her living room sofa and her parents slept upstairs. Ah, the beauty of 8-track, and being 17. And it was at the 1988 concert at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ where Aerosmith headlined a bill that included Guns N' Roses and Deep Purple, that my buddies and I spotted our friend Stephanie from across the stadium, shirt off, bouncing wildly to the music. Sex, drugs, and Rock n' Roll. Aerosmith was an important part of the soundtrack of my youth.

The event was to include a VIP backstage tour of the Park Theater and Aerosmith Vault, as well as interviews with the show's producer, headphone manufacturer 1More, THX, and several other companies involved in the production. The evening was to culminate with VIP, on-stage seating during the show with a live feed from the Aerosmith mixing board to 1More's THX certified in-ear headphones. Uhm, yes please.

We began the afternoon discussing the planning and technology that had gone into the show with producer and rock veteran Steve Dixon (Guns N' Roses, Justin Timberlake). The idea behind the concert went something like this: The number one complaint at concerts is sound quality. Filling an arena, or even a large theater with sound is plagued with problems, especially localization, spatially tying the sound to the performers. This reality came to a head when Andrew Lloyd Webber scaled what was originally conceived as a rock opera to festival size when mounting the Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour. The sound challenges were numerous.

Photo by Zack Whitford

Enter L-Acoustics, inventor of the modern line source array currently in use at 50% of the top 20 music festivals. While concert sound has steadily improved for the last 25 years, according to Laurent Vaissié, L-Acoustics, Inc. CEO, we are still faced with the original sin of it being in mono. The instruments and vocals are clear and intelligible, but you end up with sound that is completely disconnected from the performance on stage.

In a partnership with THX, L-Acoustics sought to solve this problem with their speakers and L-ISA audio processor. The system utilizes overlapping drivers processed in a way that creates a three dimensional soundstage. Each seat is covered by multiple sources and receives a spatially specific experience, or Immersive Hyperreal Sound as it's known at L-Acoustics. The processor's Soundvision software can create 96 sound objects that can be placed in any of 64 positions in space, independent of the placement of the speakers. A typical concert uses 40 to 50 speakers, but creating this kind of experience required 230 speakers powered by 300,000 watts of amplification. As explained by Vaissié the point of all that power is not volume, it is a matter of having enough headroom to produce the cleanest sound possible.

If you have ever experienced high quality Dolby Atmos in a movie theater, you get the idea. The L-ISA system is THX certified and can track musicians in real time, moving the sound of their instruments in space as they cross the stage. To demonstrate, we were treated to a spatially animated version of the THX Deep Note one hears before movies, remixed especially for this show, that was absolutely thrilling.

Creatively and logistically, Dixon made it clear from the outset that cohesion among all involved was a very high priority. Concert services are commonly provided by a number of vendors working independently with little creative cross-communication. One of the first things Dixon did was to create a shared vision for what the show was to be, one that included Aerosmith's amazing nearly 50 year history as a band and cultural phenomenon. The vision became a focal point, against which every creative, technical, and logistical choice was assessed. It kept the entire team true to a common goal and ensured that the creative vision would be reflected in every aspect of the show.

Photo by Zack Whitford

One of the most powerful tools used to communicate that vision was provided by visual effects company Pixomondo, best known for their Oscar win for the movie Hugo, and creator of the dragons for the hugely popular HBO series, Game of Thrones. In order for everyone to fully visualize the show, Pixomondo began their work by recreating the entire theater in three dimensional virtual reality. Working with the band for the better part of a year, it was possible to view any part of the show from any seat in the theater, as well as from on stage, giving them an unprecedented preview of the full production. According to Dixon this element was critical in gaining alignment; he could literally show the band what was being envisioned before it was created.

Dixon went on to explain that having a show "in residence" has a huge impact on its quality. Typically, rock bands are on tour, traveling from city to city, with a significant portion of the show's budget allocated to setting up, breaking down, and transportation. When you have multiple performances in one location, that money can be redirected to the concert experience, or "on what you see and hear, not on the schlep," as Dixon put it. The promise was to see and hear Aerosmith like never before.

Among the most exciting aspects of the show is a recent concert innovation, the on-stage VIP experience, first pioneered during Justin Timberlake's 2018 "Man of the Woods" tour. My VIP pass afforded me a stage right seat, just a few feet from where Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Joey Kramer, Brad Whitford, and Tom Hamilton were rocking the house. Sound was provided by a live feed from the band's mixing board directly to a pair of headphones. The VIP area also included a bar, bathroom access, and Aerosmith pin ball machines.

Photo by Katarina Benzova

The show itself opened with a 25 minute retrospective of Aerosmith's historic journey through time, beginning with Woodstock, and moving forward to the present. The immersive sound mix was created by Giles Martin, of The Beatles Love fame, at London's Abbey Road Studios, and was accompanied by abstract visuals created by Pixomondo. It contained previously unreleased audio material, stills, video clips, the iconic Aerosmith van, even the band's animated appearance on The Simpsons. The pre-concert program was projected on 12 screens and made full use of L-Acoustics' L-ISA processing to create a mesmerizing audio experience. Pixomondo also created the visuals for the concert itself.

So how was it? Deuces Are Wild was without a doubt the second best concert I've ever seen. (The best was Led Zeppelin in 1977 at Madison Square Garden. My seats were up two levels, the sound was terrible, and my ears rang the entire next day. But it was Led Zeppelin. How can you argue? And it was $7.50 including fees.) Aerosmith rocked the house, hard, and it was simply a great concert regardless of any technical and creative wizardry. Add to that, sitting 10 feet from the performance, the careful planning and production by Dixon, the show's director, Amy Tinkham (Paul McCartney, James Taylor), and everyone else involved, and not least of all, the sound.

VIP sound was via 1More's Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones, connected to an iPod running the MIXHalo app. The headphones are THX certified, and feature two balanced armatures and an aerospace-grade composite metal dynamic driver. Sound input is via a standard 3.5mm jack. The headphones include an inline microphone and controls to select songs, change volume, and take phone calls in case the babysitter calls with an emergency in the middle of the concert. (Just kidding, iPods don't take calls, but you can use the headphones for phone calls with your phone.) They come with six sizes of silicone tips and three sizes of foam tips. From the app I could control the volume as well as choose between Steven Tyler's in-ear mix and the band's mix. The feed was largely free of background noise and the 1More headphones provided crystal clear sound direct from Aerosmith's mixing board.

Photo by Katarina Benzova

The concert itself was exhilarating to say the least. Having a stage-side seat was only part of the thrill. Though the show was in Vegas, it wasn't a Vegas show. It was Aerosmith, rocking the house to 5,200 fans. They came out swinging with "Train Kept a Rollin'" and played classic after classic, "Mama Kin," "Back in the Saddle," "Sweet Emotion," all the greats. The lyrics to "Dream On," "all these lines in my face getting clearer," were far more poignant sung by a 71 year old Steven Tyler than a 25 year old. Tears alternated with goose bumps, it was by turns moving and intoxicating. I was on my feet from the band's entrance to the final encore of "Walk This Way." I could hear and understand every word, hear every guitar lick, and distinguish between different cymbals. In terms of sound quality it was hands down the best concert ever. It didn't hurt that Aerosmith was at their best nearly 50 years in.

While the headphones performed well in a concert setting, this is after all a high end audio magazine; how good can a $79.99 pair of headphones sound in high end terms? Pretty good as it turns out. Once home I plugged the 1Mores into my Schiit Modi 3 / Magni 3 DAC / Headphone Amp combo being fed via USB by my MacBook Pro. I was surprised to find the sound pretty tubby in the bass. Then I remembered that I had switched the silicone ear tips to the foam tips at the show for better background noise isolation. Assuming they were designed for use with the silicone tips, that's how they came, I switched them them back. In addition to providing better isolation, foam tips create a tight seal with the ear canal and boost the bass considerably. Some in-ear headphones are designed to be used this way, some are not. These are not. Still, I recommend the foam tips for concerts, but not for everyday use. I guess that's why they give you six silicone tips and only three foam.

Once I had them set up properly, the 1Mores were very musical and easy to listen through. The bass on Shelby Lynn's "Just A Little Lovin'" from her wonderful Just A Little Lovin' (CD, Lost Highway 0602517448254), was well defined with nice growl. Not quite at the level of my nearly $2000 Mr. Speaker ETHER Flow headphones, but still deep and satisfying. Ambience retrieval provided a convincing sense of the recorded space. The big bass drum hits on "Jazz Variants" from The O-Zone Percussion Group's La Bamba (CD, Klavier K 77017) were well controlled with plenty of slam.

The whole package comes nicely boxed in a premium package suitable for storing the extra tips, and includes what appears to be a genuine leather, felt lined, carrying case for the headphones with magnetic clasp and red contrast stitching. It also includes a shirt clip and a two prong adapter for use in those airplane armrest jacks we all love so much.

Like most audiophiles I enjoy state of the art, or near state of the art sound. Unfortunately, the industry's pursuit of that elusive "best" has made us somewhat of an oddity in the market at large. What's the point of turning a friend on to something really fantastic sounding only to have them stare at you like you've lost your mind after they ask the price. From a social perspective I would much rather offer alternatives that outperform the mass market dreck that occupies so much big box shelf space, and open a larger community to the possibilities of high end audio. The 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones are a welcome addition to that list.

Whether you have never seen Aerosmith before, or are a lifelong fan, this is a show you don't want to miss. Tickets for performances of AEROSMITH: DEUCES ARE WILD through December 2019 are on sale now. Tickets starting at $75, as well as VIP packages including meet & greets, can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, or online at Ticketmaster. All shows are scheduled to begin at 8:00PM.

A very limited number of tickets and VIP packages are available for the following performances:

April 2019: 21, 23, 26

June 2019: 19, 22, 24, 27, 29

July 2019: 2, 4, 7, 9

September 2019: 21, 23, 26, 28

October 2019: 1, 3, 6, 8

November 2019: 14, 16, 19, 21, 24, 26, 29

December 2019: 1, 4

1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphone Specifications

Retail: $79.99


  • Drivers: One aerospace-grade composite metal dynamic driver
  • Frequency Response: 20 - 40 kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 99 dB
  • Plug: 3.5 mm
  • Weight: 18 g