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Headphones Get Heard During International CES

1/24/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

LAS VEGAS — It’s no big surprise that
International CES was a hotbed of new
headphones introductions, including
offerings from Sleek Audio, Coby and
Sony, among others.

Sleek Audio joined the growing
ranks of celebrity-partnered models by
announcing that rapper 50 Cent had
joined the company as part-owner.

The Sleek by 50 Cent line are said
to be the first to offer Wireless Hybrid
technology using military-grade metals

Mark Krywko, Sleek CEO, said, “The
key to creating this relationship was
bringing 50 into the Sleek family. He’s
not just slapping his name on the side of
a product — he’s part owner of the company
and an integral part of what we’re
doing. By combining our knowledge of
acoustics and hearing aid science with
50’s experience as a recording artist
we’ve created something that music lovers
of all genres are really going to love.”

Only preliminary details about the
headphones were available at press
time, but features will include 50mm
dynamic drivers, Kleer wireless technology,
detachable mic cable, and militarygrade
carbon fiber and metal accents.

Pricing and availability were not given.

Coby used the CES to show off additions
to its Jammerz line. While previous
over-ear Jammerz models included
a pair of ear buds in the packaging, the
Jammerz Xtreme packages a mini MP3
speaker with an over-ear model.

The headphones come in five colors
— black, blue, red, silver and pink — and
have a foldable design with swiveling
ear cups.

The portable MP3 speaker is said to
have twin micro drivers and a 3.5mm
stereo plug; it operates off a single AA
battery.

Skullcandy introduced a pair of inear
headphones, known as the Fix. The
company said it based the design of the
product on research that showed the
best shape and ergonomic fit for the human
ear, which was determined to be a
hook shape.

According to the company, the hook
shape is made possible by routing the
speaker cable directly from the top of
the speaker and immediately out the
housing spine, allowing the speaker
housing to anchor firmly to the tragus
and antitragus.

“The depth of the hook enables the
bud to rest as deep as possible in the
ear without discomfort,” Skullcandy
said. The other benefits to the hook
shape include the ability to angle the
output port so that it puts the bulk of the
ear bud in a position where there is more
room in the ear, allowing Skullcandy to
use a larger driver with a lower profile by
manipulating ear bud body placement
without affecting the stability

The Fix earphones will come in black,
white and blue and will feature 10mm
drivers. Frequency response is listed at
20Hz to 20kHz, with impedance at 32
ohms. The cable is said to be “frictionfree,”
and they will come with silicon gel
tips in two sizes and a carrying case.

They will be available in April for
$69.95.

Sony added four new models to its
Studio Monitor series.

The flagship MDR-Z1000 headphones
and MDR-EX1000 ear buds are
engineered with magnesium housings and a liquid crystal polymer (LCP) film
diaphragm. According to Sony, LCP film
is an extremely rigid material that allows
sound to pass through without any distortion.

Both headphones also feature a
noise-isolation design. The MDRZ1000
($500) has pressure-relieving,
urethane-cushioned ear pads while the
MDR-EX1000 ($500) has hybrid silicone
rubber ear buds.

The step-down models are the overear
MDR-ZX700 ($120), which have
50mm drivers, and the MDR-EX600
($200) ear buds. Both are also said to
have noise-isolation technology.

All will be available in the spring.

Able Planet used the show to introduce
its Signature series headphones,
which are designed by the company’s
sponsored athletes: NBA Denver Nuggets’
Chris “Birdman” Andersen, pro
MotoCross racer Ashley Fiolek and pro
surfer Jesse Heilman.

They will also come in the NC200
foldable style and the NC300 Soft
Touch Style. Pricing will start at $99.

Sennheiser added to its Adidaspartnered
line with the introduction of
two new models

The HD 220 headphones are designed
for everyday use and feature
neodymium magnets, closed on-the-ear
design, individually adjustable ear cups
and a carrying pouch. Suggested retail
is $99.99.

The CX 310 has similar features as the
HD220, except they are in-ear models
and come with various-sized ear adapters
allow to allow for a personalized fit
and reduction of ambient noise. Both
versions retail for a suggested $99.99.

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