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Headphones Look To Cut The Cord

LAS VEGAS — Headphones are always hot at International CES, and this year will be no different. Showgoers and show-watchers can expect to see a particular emphasis on wireless models, as well as those keeping fitness-focused consumers in mind.

Polk is launching its first wireless headphones, an on-ear Bluetooth model with AptX. The Hinge Wireless feature 40mm drivers made of PET material and housed in vented enclosures. Polk said it has employed a new tuning method for the drivers, which it called Polk Optimized Electroacoustic Tuning, or POET. Other details include NFC pairing, the company’s SoundClear technology for improved speech recognition when using the in-line mic, and a collapsible construction. Pricing wasn’t available at press time.

Cleer is showing its DJ-series headphones with 50mm neodymium drivers. The headphones use magnesium alloy on the ear cups for a lightweight construction, as well a patent-pending locking adjustable hinge that reduces typical clamping force to better fit a user’s head. Pricing wasn’t available at press time.

Audio-Technica is introducing four SonicSport in-ear headphone models created for fitness-oriented wearers. The ATH-Sport1, ATH-Sport1iS, ATH-Sport2 and ATH-Sport3 are all designed to stay in place even during active exercising and are sweat-proof and washable, with an IPX5- lab-certified rating. Pricing starts at $34.95.

Monster is adding two wireless in-ear versions to its iSport fitness line, including a Super Slim model that’s designed to be worn flush in the ear, allowing for use under a helmet or goggles. Suggested retail for the iSport Wireless (shown left) is $129; the Super Slim is $149.

Marshall’s Major II features include updated sound, looks and durability over its predecessor, as well as improved ergonomics. The detachable double-ended coil cord with mic and remote is equipped with an L-plug end. Pricing wasn’t set at press time.

Definitive Technology is entering the headphones space with the over-ear Symphony 1 Bluetooth headphones with active noise canceling and a built-in digital-to-analog converter. Other features include AptX and AAC, 50mm drivers, 10-hour battery life and on-ear controls. Pricing wasn’t available at press time.

Skullcandy’s Grind headphones have a TapTech on-ear control feature that’s designed for easier music and call control. They will be available in a variety of colors for a $49.99 suggested retail. Shipping is scheduled for March.

JLab’s Epic Bluetooth ear buds feature 8mm drivers, AptX, 10 hours of battery life, the company’s Memory Wire over-ear hook and cable design, six gel tip sizes, and $99.99 suggested retail. They are 100 percent splash-proof, according to the company, with an IPX4 rating.

808 Audio, a Voxx International brand, is launching its Hex Buds at International CES. These ear buds feature angled ear tips, 3.5mm right-angle jack, universal in-line mic and remote, and a tangle-resistant cloth cable. A version without a mic is also available. Small, medium and large sizes of silicone ear tips are included with both. They will be available in March for a suggested retail range of $9.99 to $14.99.

iHome’s iB87 Bluetooth rechargeable headphones feature a 30-foot wireless range, padded headband and ear cushions, eight to 10 hours of continuous use, a built-in mic for phone calls, and on-ear controls. It also has voice prompts for Bluetooth pairing and interface confirmations, said iHome. A MicroUSB-to- USB cable is included, as is a travel pouch. Price and availability weren’t provided at press time.