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Maxell Readies High-End Headphones For CES

WOODLAND PARK, N.J. — Maxell, long known for its entry-level price points in the CE accessories market, is planning a push into the higher-end segment of the category.

The manufacturer intends to introduce several new headphones at International CES in January, including the introduction of its first Bluetooth model. It’s also gearing up to launch its Maxell Mobile line of universal batteries and a Bluetooth keyboard.

Maxell will go heavy on the headphones at the show, beginning with its Studio line that will consist of three SKUs: a Bluetooth version, a DJ version and a Heavy Bass model. The line is geared toward consumers “who want a higher-end headphone and an affordable solution,” said Jennifer Roberts, product manager.

Features for the Bluetooth model ($169 suggested retail) will include 40mm drivers, controls on the ear cups, five hours of battery life, brushed-aluminum design with leather ear cups, and a wired option. It will use the Bluetooth 2.1 profile. Charging is done via a builtin MicroUSB port.

The DJ model will have 50mm drivers, oversized ear cups that are meant to enhance noise isolation, and two different sizes of cables (braided and coiled). The headphones will be silver and black and have a $139 suggested retail.

The Heavy Bass model ($124) will have a rubberized finish, blue accent colors, inline mic and 4-foot flat cable.

Maxell will also launch at CES its Balanced Armature+ line of earphones. Roberts said the line “doesn’t just incorporate balanced armature [technology], it also incorporates a speaker driver.” Features include aluminum casings, inline mic and controls, antibacterial silicon ear pieces, and a $119 suggested retail.

Also new for earphones will be the Radiator model, which feature both passive and active drivers using an exclusive Maxell technology, Roberts said. “Sound that you would normally lose is captured in your ear,” she added. They will be red with black accents, have an in-line mic, and carry a $79.99 suggested retail.

The company will discontinue its NC-IV headphones to make room for its new NC-V Noise Redux model. The updated noise-canceling model will feature a new amplifier, 40mm drivers, a stainless-steel headband and a $129 price tag. According to the company, its active noise-canceling technology reduces up to 85 percent of ambient noise while its amplifying system improves bass and audio output.

Frequency response is listed at 20Hz to 20kHz, with a sensitivity of 96dB +/- 3dB. The NC-V is powered by two AAA batteries.

The company is also planning a line of LED emergency bulbs. Three models of Advanced LEDs will be available. A $34.99 version will operate for four hours in a power failure. It is rechargeable, has two levels of brightness, and can unscrew from the socket to double as a flashlight.

A $39.99 version features a remote and has a 25-year lifespan. It is also dimmable. Another $34.99 version has a motion sensor that only activates when human motion is detected in dark conditions. All three are listed as having 30,000 hours of use.

The Maxell Mobile line will feature the Powerbank universal batteries line, with pricing ranging from $29.99 to $119; a Bluetooth receiver that can turn any 3.5mm headphone into a Bluetoothcapable headset; a lighted sync 30-pin sync cable with a MicroUSB adapter ($24.99); several car and wall chargers; and a Bluetooth keyboard that also operates as a smart cover.

The keyboard, which will use the Bluetooth 2.1 profile, will have a $99.99 suggested retail, built-in MicroUSB charging port and one-touch keys. Two colors will be available.

The Bluetooth receiver will feature the Bluetooth 3.0 profile, an LCD display for caller ID and song info, USB cable, volume and track controls, and a $49.99 price tag. Talk time is listed at five hours with 220 hours of standby time.