LAS VEGAS — Signeo marked its entry into headphones in a big way earlier this month, using International CES as a backdrop for its announced partnership with rap star Ludacris.
TWICE sat down with Len Davi, Signeo executive director, and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges to discuss and preview the five-model Soul lineup.
Acknowledging the stiff competition in the marketplace — not only does Monster have its popular Dr. Dre-branded Beats headphones, but Sleek Audio also announced a headphones partnership with rapper 50 Cent at this year’s CES — both men felt there was still room in the market for another line.
Davi said that while some manufacturers have focused on style and others have focused on engineering, the two details shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.
“We don’t feel that anyone has really married the two thoroughly,” Davi added. “Style is important — people want things to look good — but it shouldn’t be at the expense of performance.”
Bridges said, “I personally deal with music on a day-to-day basis, and I hadn’t found a pair of headphones that I felt were to my standard of what I feel sound from headphones should be. I was dissatisfied with the headphones market, and I wanted to not only make better headphones for myself but for everyone.”
Davi said the headphones are targeted toward “serious audiophiles” and expects them to compete with such highend brands as Sennheiser, Ultrasone and AKG. “The word Soul really is perfect because it talks about the passion for music and the passion for sound and how the emotional experience that good music creates, and Chris is all about that. We partnered with him because he really gets it, and he was very involved in tuning it and getting the sound quality where we wanted it. So it’s really the perfect marriage because he’s all about sound and music, but he’s also cuttingedge style-wise.”
Bridges, who said he’s been both an in-ear and over-ear headphones user throughout the years, said, “The entire brand is very fashionable and aspirational. Sound comes first, though … Most of the competition, I don’t think sound is their No. 1 priority.”
He also noted that it was also important the line be considered “attainable” in terms of pricing.
Multiple parallels were made between the headphones and automobiles during the interview, both in terms of design style and pricing.
“Not aspirational as in a Bentley,” Davi started. “But not as affordable as a Hyundai,” Bridges finished.
The five models include three over-ear models (SL300, SL150 and SL100) and two in-ear (SL99 and SL49) at a price range of $99 to $299. The, SL300, the line’s flagship model, features noisecanceling technology and a swiveling ear cup meant to appeal to DJ-ing enthusiasts. The SL150 doesn’t have noisecanceling, and the SL100 is billed as a lightweight model.
Both of the in-ear models feature wide, flat cables meant to be tangle-free.
Other audio products are expected to be launched under the Soul brand, although no further details were available at this time.
The headphones are being distributed by Ingram Micro and will be available in the spring.