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Headphones Head To International CES

1/10/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

LAS VEGAS — It certainly is getting crowded out there,
which is a fitting theme for this time of year in Las Vegas.

Dozens of headphones and earphones manufacturers
will come to the 2012 International CES to show off their
latest introductions and try to stand out in this competitive
market.

Active noise cancellation and balanced armature designs
are a common theme in new products at the show,
as evidenced by the new in-ear headphones from Polk
and Sony, among others. TWICE has rounded
up the latest additions to the category, most of
which are being demonstrated during International
CES, held here this week.

Coby is using the show to launch a number
of models meant to appeal to different young
audiences. The CV400 Streets come in four
colors: blue, red, green, black. They have 40mm
neodymium drivers, folding designs and adjustable
headbands.

The CVE55 Jammerz Streets earphones also come
in the same four colors. These have 10mm drivers and an
in-ear isolation design meant to block background noise.

The sweat-resistant Jammerz Sports X come in three
colors: green, orange, black. They also have 10mm drivers
and an in-ear isolation design.

The Jammerz Moods come in six colors — silver, blue,
pink, orange, green and purple — and have 10mm drivers.
The Jammerz Gamers, meanwhile, come in just black.
They have 40mm drivers, a boom mic, an adjustable headband
and a USB connector.

Golla, a manufacturer of cases and bags, is moving into
the headphones market with a line of Golla Gear ear buds.
Few details were available at press time other than that
they will come in four colors and will feature an in-line mic.

Harman International is coming to CES with at least
three headphones, including two pairs of active noisecanceling
on-ear models. The AKG K 490 NC and K 495
NC each operate via USB charge rather than batteries.
They will also operate in passive mode.

The 490 ($299) are meant to be lightweight and used
for long listening periods, while the 495 ($399) feature
brushed-metal parts and leather headband and ear cups.

Harman is also showing its AKG 550 over-ear headphones
with 50mm drivers, which the company said
are the largest drivers it has used in headphones. The
closed-back design is meant to deliver an impactful,
open sound with “a remarkable bass response
that appears as if it were coming from a concert
hall,” the company said.

They’re geared toward audiophiles and
feature a matte-black finish and a $299 suggested
retail.

House of Marley will be at the show with a
selection of new headphones, including new models
in its Jammin’ and Freedom collections.

The Riff in-ear headphones will feature a onesize-
fits-all foam tip that will be earth-friendly, the
company said, made out from either recycled materials
or a sustainable source. A variety
of colors will be offered.

The Marley Lively Up will be a pair of
sport in-ear headphones constructed
with a recycled plastic body.

The Little Bird on-ear headphones
have a stainless-steel design meant to be thin and lightweight,
while the on-ear Rhythm headphones have a retractable
design with a ratcheting system and flexible ear
cups. Both are said to be covered in Earth-friendly fabrics.

iFrogz will be adding to its EarPollution and iFrogz Audio
headphones lines, including the Spectra
ear buds and the Coda on-ear headphones.
Very few details were available at press time,
other than that the Spectra models will have a
gold-plated audio jack and lithium-alloy casing,
and the Coda headphones will have a removable,
tangle-resistant woven cord and a softtouch
finish.

iHome is expanding its New Balance line of
athletic earphones, as well as introducing a pair
of active noise-canceling over-ears and a line of
a fashion-themed models.
The NB500B behind-the-neck Bluetooth
wireless sport earphones feature an embedded
microphone, flexible over-the-ear hooks, A2DP
and AVRCP profiles, and a rechargeable battery with up to eight hours of talk time and 140
hours of standby time. Users can change
tracks, play/pause music, adjust volume
and answer/end calls with onboard controls.

The noise-canceling headphones from
iHome (model iB50) feature an in-line
volume control, adjustable headband, rotating
ear cups and a cloth-covered cord.
The Fashion line, meanwhile, comes in
six different patterns. Pricing and availability
weren’t given.

iLuv will be unveiling at least three earphones
at the show, including the iEP516
Stentor earphones with in-line SpeakEZ
remote with mic and one-touch call answer.
They are designed to be used with
most smartphones and feature noise-isolating
ear tips in three sizes, 8.6mm neodymium
drivers, a frequency response of
16Hz to 22khz and an impedance of 16 ohms. Sensitivity
is listed at 105dB.

The FitActive iEP415 earphones, which have the
SpeakEZ remote and the same tech specs as the Stentor
model, are meant for use with Apple devices. They are
designed with an in-ear brace design meant to avoid interference
with helmets and goggles.

The third model, the iEP320 Sweet Cotton Mini, come
with three sizes of noise-isolating silicone ear tips. Pricing
and shipping information weren’t available at press time.

Memorex is showing several different earphones, including
models with a piggyback feature that lets users
share music players.

The IE3000 Easy Listening in-ear headphones feature
9mm drivers, a retractable cord and a sharing plug. Users
can have a friend plug into the headphones so they can
listen to the same music player at the same time. They
come in green, orange, pink and blue for $19.99.

The IE600 earphones have built-in volume and mute
controls as well as the extra sharing jack. They come in
teal, gray and Dusty Rose. Pricing wasn’t available. The
IE700 adds playback controls, including play/pause/track
selection, as well as answer/drop and volume/microphone
control. They come in black for $49.99.

Monster will be unveiling headphones at the show, including
the Inspiration, a noise-canceling over-ear model.
The company is also announcing a partnership with
Livestrong for their iSport headphones.

Philips is expanding its line of Fidelio headphones with
the addition of a model with 40mm neodymium drivers and
leather and aluminum ear housings. They have a semi-openback
design with acoustically resistant
fabric built into the steel grille, said to deliver
rich bass. The pre-tilt speaker plate
matches the natural angle of the ear to reduce
multi-sound reflection, Philips added.

They come with a 3.mm cable, a
6.3mm audio jack, an in-line remote and
mic for use with an iPhone, and a carrying
pouch. Pricing and availability weren’t
given at press time.

Sennheiser will show its IE 60 and IE
80 earphones at the show, both of which
are designed with dynamic transducers
that reportedly cover the entire frequency
range with a single system and keep distortion
to a minimum.

The IE 80 model achieves a noise attenuation
of up to 26dB, while the IE 60
achieves 20dB. Both models can be
used for monitoring, Sennheiser said.

The IE 80 features a miniature rotating control that acts
as a sound-tuning function. It’s designed with brushedaluminum
textures. Frequency response is listed at 10Hz
to 20kHz. The IE 60 has a frequency response of 10Hz to
18kHz. Design features include a matte-black finish with
brass accents.

Pricing and availability weren’t given.

Wicked Audio will be highlighting its Solus over-ear
headphones, which the company introduced in the last
few days of 2011. The headphones have 40mm drivers
with a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz and impedance
of 32 ohms. It comes with a 4-foot braided cord, builtin
volume controls, and a DJ switch that lets users witch
from stereo sound to a DJ mode. They will be available this
month for $100.

Zipbuds is launching its LAB headphones line during
the show. The LAB headphones will come in three models:
Select, Choice and Prime. The Select includes zipperintegrated
cabling, while the midrange Choice and highend
Prime have removable zipper cabling and non-zipper
microphone and remote.

Zipbuds will also be showing the Juiced line of ear
buds. These feature 8mm drivers and plastic housings.
Suggested retail is $19.99, and a version with a mic and
remote is $24.99.

The Fresh ear bud line ($39.99) also has 8mm drivers,
but these ear buds have aluminum housings. A version
with an Apple-certified, three-button microphone remote
has a $49.99 retail.

These new models will be available in the spring.

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