Beats by Dre finds competition at Consumer Electronics Show
Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 16:01
One quick analysis of the world of headphones leads to one simple conclusion: Beats by Dr. Dre are the most popular headphones on the market.
At least it has been that way since the rap mogul decided to halt his music career and venture into the technology business back in 2008.
However, if this year's Consumer Electronics Show is any indicator, there may finally be some mega competition for Dre's popular headphones.
The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the foremost, major technology showcase and trade show in the world.
It is held every January in the Las Vegas Convention Center in Nevada.
The show usually garners mass attention due to its exclusivity because it is not open to the public.
Sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association, the show typically hosts previews of products and new product announcements, wheting the appetite of techie-addicts everywhere.
The first CES was held in June of 1967 and in the past decade the items showcased have been among some of the most popular items in technology history.
From the original Xbox back in 2001 to the introduction of 3D television a mere three years ago; the show has always been on the cutting edge of the tech genre. This year's edition was held from Jan. 10 to Jan. 13, and the scene was heavily focused on the wide variety of headphones.
Since its inception, Beats by Dr. Dre has cornered the headphone market in quite an impressive fashion.
While serious and more professional users may still opt for more traditional headphone companies, most notably Sony, Bose or Sennheiser, more regular headphone enthusiasts have been enamored with the loud bass, stylish options that Beats provide, and the competition has taken notice.
As seen on the show floor, there is currently a wealth of competitors hoping to snatch the throne from the bass-heavy beats and push themselves into the pantheon of headphone royalty.
Soul is in every way, shape and form modeled after Beats. It is a new company and follows in the same pattern as its competitor by partnering with a prominent artist to help push their product. In Soul's case, they have partnered with rapper/actor Chris ‘Ludacris' Bridges.
At the 2012 show their focus seemed to be all about style. Their SL300 noise-canceling headphones come in chrome gold, and the SL150 hi-def headphones are chrome silver.
The SL100 model now has a white finish with gold accents. Soul's line of in-ear headphones includes the SL49 and SL99, which also have new color options including a green and black combo, red and black, pink and white, and platinum.
Currently, they offer eight different headsets ranging in pricing from $69 to $299. Users appeared marveled at the sound quality, which seems richer than most of its competitors.
The Marley brand of headphones was among the most unique products on showcase. In fact, the company doesn't just limit themselves to the headphone genre.
According to Marley's Public Relations representative, the headphone's mission is to have "superior quality" and be "earth-friendly, and cause minded."
While superior quality audio is important to audio buffs, the other parts of the mission are quite commendable without taking away from the product.
Marley uses natural, earth-friendly and renewable materials when making not only their products but also their packaging. They use Forest Stewardship Council-certified woods, organic cotton and even recyclable aluminum. This not only makes the headphones environmentally friendly, but quite frankly some of the coolest looking products you will ever see.
Each pair is unique with wood finishes and Rasta-like coloring. There are so many lines to choose from, some quite expensive while many are very affordable.
Rapper 50 Cent also made an appearance on the show, and made an effort to show off his new brand of headphones in his 50 Headphones line.
The $400 Sync model by 50, which the rapper/entrepreneur was wearing around his neck during most of his interviews as "a fashion statement," promises to give users "crystal-clear wireless sound" up to 50 feet away.
The headphones also offer the ability to sync as many as four pairs of headphones to a single audio source.
The headphones are professionally tuned and feature 40-mm drivers, 16-bit lossless digital sound and on-board controls with bass boost, volume control and mute.
Another model by 50 Headphones were called "The Street" and showed wired offerings that were priced at $300 and feature professional studio sound, enhanced bass, soft memory foam cushions, passive noise cancellation and a detachable cord.
All in all, the offerings at CES 2012 are more than enough to satisfy the needs of the headphone crazy public.
From style to substance and even environmentally friendly versions, the bar has been raised in the headphone industry as competitors take aim at the Beats title.