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Headphones Hit CES With Variety, Style

LAS VEGAS — Headphones manufacturers are flocking to International CES, held here this week, to try to capture yet another strong year of sales. TWICE has rounded up some of the newest entrants to the market that are debuting at the show or were recently introduced at the tail end of 2012.

House of Marley is updating its eco-friendly headphones with a new fabric known as Rewind. It also recently added new styles and colors to its Jammin’ line with the launch of the Rise Up, Riddim and Harambe models.

Philips is adding to its Fidelio line of headphones with the $299 X1 model. The open-back model features 50mm drivers, dual-layered ear shells meant to reduce vibration, and pre-tilted speaker drivers for minimal vibration.

Design materials include memoryfoam ear pads with velvet coverings, breathable mesh, Kevlarreinforced woven cable, and 6.3mm indoor metal jack. They are scheduled to be available this month.

The Fidelio L1 and M1 designs will also be updated with leather color schemes. Philips will also show in-ear models with the Fidelio S1 and S2 models for $129 and $179, respectively. These have 13.5mm balanced armature drivers and two-tone cables. The S1 features aluminum details while the S2 have copper. Philips is also expanding its O’Neill partnership with the launch of the ultra-durable Crash headphones. These have 50mm drivers and will feature the Crash Test Dummy official logo on them. (Philips also plans to update the existing line with the logo.)

The Crash headphones are billed as being “virtually indestructible” and have a headband that requires 1.9 tons of force before it will break, a spokesman told TWICE. They will be available early this year for a $399 suggested retail.

The company will also show its ActionFit line, including a new on-ear model with 40mm drivers and a $79.99 price tag. The athleticgeared headphones are water-resistant and can be rinsed beneath the tap. They have a split-headband design with a silicone grip that is meant to stay atop the wearer’s head while exercising. Availability is scheduled for March.

SOL Republic, which manufactures headphones with interchangeable and modular designs, is debuting its first over-ear model this month. The Master Tracks will have the company’s X3 sound engines and will be interchangeable with SOL’s other headbands and cables.

Three complete solutions will launch at first for $199 in Gunmetal, white and blue. Purple, green and red will launch as part of its Remix solutions, which allows consumers to pick and choose which parts they want. At press time, pricing for the Remix solution had not been set, but Scott Hix, president and COO, said it will likely fall in line with the other Remix pieces. Shipping is scheduled for first quarter. SOL also plans to expand its Collegiate line of headphones and has begun collaborating with the Greek systems at many colleges “We’re really finding that our customs division is becoming a company of itself,” Hix noted.

Voxx Accessories will introduce a new brand at International CES, known as 808. Few details were available at press time other than that three colors will be offered: gloss black, matte black or white. They will have a foldable design and two detachable cables. Suggested retail is $129. They will be available this month.

The TDK Life on Record brand, which is part of Imation will show its new STi710 headphones at CES. The on-ear model features 40mm drivers, inline mic and controls, folding design and soft-touch ear cushions. Pricing wasn’t available at press time.

Velodyne will launch its vFree wireless headphones at the show. They use Bluetooth technology and Apt-X coding. Three colors with interchangeable skins are offered for a $299 suggested retail.

Onkyo said it was entering the headphones market but had no details at press time. It will have information at the Gibson tent during CES.