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Headphones Headline International CES

1/30/2012 12:01:00 AM Eastern

LAS VEGAS — It was headphones in the news
and on the minds of many at the 2012 International
CES, with dozens of manufacturers
introducing new models and updating
their lines.

TWICE has rounded up just some of
the companies that were there. More
can be seen online at www.twice.com
and in the Jan. 10 print issue.

AfterShokz launched its “ear-free”
headphones during the show, which
are designed to rest outside of the
wearer’s ears to prevent hearing damage.

Three models are available: After-
Shokz Sport, AfterShokz Mobile and
AfterShokz Game.

“Unlike conventional headphones and
ear buds that use the eardrums to transmit
sound, Aftershokz headphones rest comfortably
in front of the ear and utilize bone
conduction technology to transmit sound
through the listener’s cheekbones to the
inner ear, bypassing the eardrum completely,” the company
said.

The AfterShokz Sport headphones are designed for
active users. Since AfterShokz headphones rest outside
the ear, users are able to also hear ambient noises, such
as oncoming traffic.

The AfterShokz Mobile headphones add an inline
microphone, so incoming calls automatically
interrupt music and simultaneously activate the
microphone.

The AfterShokz Game headphones are engineered
for gamers or those who use VoIP.
All three models are sweat and water resistant,
and have in-line controls and a lifetime
warranty. Both the Sport and Mobile headphones
have a standard 3.5mm connector,
and the AfterShokz Game has a USB connector
and an extended 9-foot cord.

They are currently available for the following
prices: AfterShokz Sport, $59.95;
AfterShokz Game, $69.95; and AfterShokz
Mobile, $69.95.

Bell’O announced just prior to CES that it
was entering the headphones market with a line
of in-ear models under its new Bell’O Digital brand.

Six models will be available: BDH220,
BDH440, BDH640, BDH643, BDH650
and BDH653. The ear buds will feature
tangle-free cords, three sizes of ear cushions,
and in-line volume control and microphone. They’ll
be available this spring at prices ranging from $9.99 to
$39.99.

Fanny Wang used CES to show off its updated colors for its headphones. The Duo
Color 1000 series of on-ear headphones
come in five colors, while the
2000 over-ear model comes in three
new colors, and the 3000 noise-canceling
over-ear headphones come in
four colors.

Griffin Technology showed a line of
kid-safe headphones that are the result
of their partnership with Crayola. Ear
buds and headphones are available in
the MyPhones line, both with volumelimited
circuitry. The ear buds are offered
in four colors; they come with
three sizes of ear tips and a carrying
case shaped like a crayon. Suggested
retail is $14.99.

The over-ear headphones can be
customized with the included stickers
and markers. Suggested retail is
$24.99 for the pink/purple or blue/
green models. All will be available in
the spring.

Koss took the wraps off several new
headphones, including a pair of interlocking
in-ear models. They feature
9mm drivers and a patented design
that’s meant for easy storage.

The frame of the headphones is constructed
from highly polished aluminum
and surrounded by flexible, soft touch
material, Koss said, meant to double as
a soundproofing coat. Two configurations
will be offered: the IL100 and the
IL200 KTC, the latter of which includes
the Koss Touch Control remote and
mic for use with Apple devices. Suggested
retails are $49.99 and $79.99,
respectively.

Koss also launched its new Rukus
series with four models. The RUK50
($59.99) is a full-size headphone that’s
offered in several colors and designs.
The RUK40 ($39.99) features memory-
foam cushions, while the RUK30
($29.99) is an in-ear model with a flat,
tangle-free cord. The RUK20 ($19.99)
is an in-ear model.

All of these will ship in the spring.

Sennheiser unveiled a new highend
model of headphones, the HD 700,
which retail for $999. This model features
ear cups that are designed so that
sound waves are directed to
the ears at a slight angle, resulting
in a natural listening
experience, the company
said. The ear cups also have
an open design that prevents
vibrations from distorting
the listening experience,
Jeff Touzeau told TWICE
during the show. Thanks to
this design and a ventilated
magnet system, Sennheiser
said the total harmonic distortion
is less than 0.03 percent
(at 1 kHz and 105 dB
sound pressure level).

The HD 700 has 40mm
neodymium drivers, a frequency range
of 10Hz to 42kHz, and an impedance of
150 ohms. It will be available in March.

SMS Audio, the audio brand of rapper
50 Cent, launched the latest models
in its Street by 50 headphones line. The
DJ Wired version features 40mm drivers,
rotating ear cups, memory-foam
cushions and a customizable magnetic
bezel. Two colors are offered: Ghost
White and Shadow Black. Pricing and
availability weren’t set.

The company also unveiled the Street
Buds in-ear headphones.

SOL Republic, which launched into
the market last year, told TWICE it has
entered the licensing arena for its modular
headphones, including models for
select college athletics.

Soul Electronics, which manufactures
the Soul by Ludacris line,
has updated its line with new designs
and color combinations. The
SL300CG chrome gold noise-canceling
headphone and SL150CS onear
chrome silver are limited-edition
models, and there is also the on-ear
SL100GW model with a white finish
and gold accents.

The SL49 in-ear model will now be offered
in new color combinations, including
the green and black SL49NB, red
and black SL49RB, and pink and white
SL49PW.

The SL99 in-ear model has a white
and platinum version now as well (model
SL99W).

V-Moda was showing off its latest
Crossfade headphones at a suite in the
Venetian during CES. The Crossfade
M-100 will be available in March and
features 50mm dual-diaphragm, dualcoil
drivers, a combination design that
company founder/CEO Val Kolton told
TWICE he has patented.

They have a steel construction with
folding hinge arms and a Steelflex headband,
and come with three Kevlar-reinforced
cables. One of these cables is a
remote and mic that’s compatible with
Apple devices.

V-Moda also said they are now able to
engrave interchangeable shields for use
with its Crossfade LP, LP2 and M-80
models. Custom designs and licensed
logos can be etched onto the metal
shields, and same-day shipping will be
available in a few weeks to the U.S.,
Asia and Europe, Kolton said.

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