Headphone Intros Make Summer Splash
By Lisa Johnston and John Laposky On Aug 22 2011 - 4:01am
NEW YORK —
Updates and upgrades were the name
of the game for headphones in August, with a number of
manufacturers introducing new products to market.
TWICE has rounded up some of these latest additions.
introduced the Bijoue jewel-cut
headphones, models ATH-CKF303 ($29.95) and ATHFW33
The in-ear ATH-CKF303 are
offered in a range of colors, including
Black Diamond, Chocolate
Mint, Milky Pink, Pop
Pink, Shiny Purple and White
Crystal. They’re billed as being
“ultra-small” and come with
8.8mm drivers and three ear
The on-ear ATH-FW33 feature
glossy jewel-cut ear pieces,
thin headbands, cushioned
ear pads, a foldable design and
30mm drivers. Their available
shades include black, brown,
pink, light pink and white.
added to its line of
Crossfade headphones with
the introduction of its M-80 on-ear model ($230 suggested
retail). The company said it combined unique
materials with noise isolation and ergonomics for the
“metal masterpiece,” said to be 53 percent smaller than
its over-ear sister, the Crossfade LP.
The M-80, which has 40mm dual-diaphragm drivers,
boasts a steel frame with a Steelflex headband, brushedmetal
shields, and microfiber suede and memory-foam
ear cushions. The ear cushions, like the shields, are
replaceable. Two Kevlar-reinforced microphone cables
and an exoskeleton carrying case are included.
According to V-Moda, it has put the headphones under
its own testing to ensure its ruggedness. The M-80 can
reportedly withstand more than 70 6-foot drops on concrete,
have its headband bent 10 times flat without breaking,
and have its plugs bent more than 1 million times.
A two-year warranty is included, as is the company’s
Immortal Life Replacement Program, which promises a
50 percent-off lifetime discount to replace consumerdamaged
They’re currently available.
unveiled a new line of headphones,
the iEP322 City Lights
Collection. These in-ear headphones
come in seven colors: silver,
black, blue, green, orange, red
and pink. Each pair includes three
silicone tips, said to prevent ambient
Pia Chon, marketing director at
iLuv, said in a statement: “These
high-performance earphones are
masterfully crafted to deliver sparkling
highs and bold midrange
tones while bringing out all the
power of lower bass, resulting in
sound quality never before found in
earphones at this price point.”
They’re currently available for $24.99.
added a line of headphones, known as iFrogz
Audio, and updated its EarPollution line.
The Vertex foldable over-the-ear headphones ($60)
feature 40mm drivers, in-line mic and single-button remote.
They are designed to be lightweight and foldable
and come with the company’s AeroFoam ear cushions.
Two colors are offered: black with red, and Iron.
The Frequency headphones ($79.99) also fold
flat for use and have 40mm drivers, but have an on-the-ear form factor. They come in three colors:
black, green and white. The Transport ear buds
($39.99) have a “turbine-engine design” with an antitangle
flat cord and come in three colors, while the
TimbrePro ear buds ($49.99) have wooden sound
chambers, an in-line mic and just one color option.
The TimbrePro also has the anti-tangle flat cord.
To the EarPollution line, iFrogz added the Evolution
ear buds ($19.99) and Legion ear buds ($22). The
former come with noise-isolating ear tips and
10mm drivers, while the latter feature 9mm
neodymium compression drivers and interchangeable
The products are currently available.
The company also debuted its first line of
power products, known as iFrogz Power.
, a supplier of
hearing-enhancement and hearing-protection
products, rolled out to retail earlier
this month its first CE product, a do-ityourself
The company’s Sculpted Eers kit
features the proprietary SonoFit fitting
system that produces custom-molded
earphones in four minutes.
The SonoFit system fits over the head like
traditional headphones. The user simply inserts
a rubber casing in each ear canal and
pulls down a lever on each side of the fitting
system which releases medical-grade silicone
into the casings, which then expand to mold to
the ear canals, forming what the company calls
an “acoustic seal.” After allowing four minutes
for the silicone to set, the casings are removed
from the ears, snapped off the fitting system
and attached to the speaker faceplates and cord.
“The human ear canal is even more unique than a
fingerprint,” Sonomax president and CEO Nick Laperle
told TWICE. “Custom-molded earphones have
traditionally been very expensive, you had to be professionally
fitted, and it took three to four weeks
to receive the fitted product. With Sculpted Eers
you’re good to go in four minutes.”
The acoustic seal acts as a passive noisecanceling
device and allows a user to listen to
music at volume levels 30 percent lower than
traditional ear buds with the same fidelity, Laperle
said. “Having spent 12 years in the hearing
aid business, I know how much of an effect
listening to music through ear buds has had
on hearing loss. It’s becoming a worldwide
epidemic, especially among young people.”
According to a Journal of American Medical
Association study published in August 2010,
one in five teens has some hearing loss.
The Sculpted Eers kit made its debut at
Airport Wireless stores across the country,
as well as in J&R Music World and Datavision.
Sonomax is targeting business travelers
with its initial rollout and chose to debut in CE
specialty stores with trained sales staffs.
RadioShack said it will initially roll Sculpted
Eers out to the 550 of its 6,250 stores with expanded
headphone and earphone displays that are successfully
selling high-end products.
Stand-alone POP displays that demonstrate the fitting
process will be available to retailers.
The entry-level kit, the PCS-100, a single-driver
model, retails for $199. A dual-driver model, the
PCS-200, is $299.
PCS stands for “performance, comfort, safety,” Laperle
The company announced a licensing agreement
with SkullCandy for the Sonofit technology, and is
actively exploring OEM and ODM deals.
Private labeling for certain markets is also part of
the company’s commercialization strategy.
A range of future consumer products are planned
for the custom earpiece technology including a higher
end set of earphones, Bluetooth headset models,
and a personal sound amplification product (PSAP)
– all of which can be used with the same custom earpiece.
Laperle said he hopes to demo some of those
products at International CES in January.