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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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