Monday, September 17, 2012

theHEADPHONE GAME CRAZE

World's Most Expensive Headphones: Lil Wayne's $1 Million "Custom" Beats by Dr. Dre
Designed by Graff Diamonds | Based in London

The Headphone Craze

In 2008, Dr. Dre — an iconic Rap artist/Hip-Hop producer and Jimmy Iovine — legendary music mogul, decided to joined forces on a new business venture. According to audio folklore, Interscope — a record label owned by Iovine, wanted Dre to endorse sneakers but as legend has it — he replied, "F*ck sneakers, let's make speakers!"

As music myth has it, Interscope's partners-in-crime initially ventured into surround sound speakers and were at a loss in consumer electronics landscape. It wasn't until they met Noel & Kevin Lee; a father & son duo at Monster, Inc. — a boutique audio company specializing in premium HDMI cables, that their revolutionary gadget came to fruition.

However unlikely of a collaboration between music industry powerhouses and makers of enhanced audio cables came to be — it was this teamation who introduced Beats by Dre headphones.

 onto unsuspecting world of consumer electronics 



ONCE UPON A TIME...

...I remember walking around the campus center at the State University at Albany (SUNY Albany) w/ my then "affordable" black SONY "over-the-ear" headphones.

College girls use to tease me and call me 'Mickey Mouse' — while the guys joked that I should work at an airport runway! (One of the Loudest & Hazardous Places on Earth are on airport tarmacs ramps and workers are required to wear protective noise-blocking earmuffs to help protect them from hearing damage/loss.

Although I do consider myself a "gadget-geek" of sorts, I am no longer adamant about the "high-end / top-of-the-line" electronics because modern technology is now so advance — it's no use trying to keep-up-the-pace.

In fact, they are still advancing (as we speak) at a record pace (with absolutely no end in sight) and so, I'm not obsessed like Apple fan boys, "Mac-this, Mac-that" but I can't lie, I still do appreciate "high-tech" & "innovative" gadgets -who doesn't?



Exhibit A & B: Cutie Patootie w/ Camouflage Child Protective Noise-Blocking Earmuffs

Anyways, here is a rundown of my most recent headphones purchases:



Bose® TriPort Around-Ear [Retail Price: $149]


Beats™ by Dr. Dre™ Studio Headphones [Retail price: $299]


Beats™ by Dr. Dre™ / David Guetta sponsored Mixr [Retail Price: $249]


Beats™ by Dr. Dre™ Pro Headphones [Retail Price: $399]


Beats™ by Dr. Dre™ Solo Headphones [Retail Price: $199]



INTRODUCTION...

...to my Bose® TriPort Around-Ear headphones (discontinued model) got caught in a yellow cab's door and the thinly-constructed cord ripped-in-half! For those whose warranty expired after one-year (although mine still looks & feels brand new), Bose offers a "mail-in" exchange of your broken headphones for a "brand new" one for $60.00 — not the greatest of deals but better than nothing I guess.

Please note, I was planning to partake in their offer but didn't want to wait 2-4 weeks for the shipping and began researching other options. One day, I saw an intern at my job who was rockin' the latest national craze — Monster's Beats™ by Dr. Dre™ Headphones!


Established in 2006, Beats™ by Dr. Dre™ is a collaboration of "world-renown" rapper from NWA & legendary music producer Dr. Dre, Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records Jimmy Iovine and Monster's Cable, Inc. Monster was granted exclusive rights after signing a five-year contract to manufacture & develop Beats-branded headphones and the following is the back-story on how it all began:


"Six years ago Dr. Dre was walking along the beach with Interscope Records chief Jimmy Iovine, pondering whether or not he should launch his own shoe line. “[Forget] sneakers,” said Iovine. “Let’s sell speakers!” 


"It might have been the best piece of advice the rapper-producer ever received. In 2008 he teamed with Iovine and a handful of other partners to launch Beats By Dr. Dre, which now sells more than half of the country’s premium headphones ($100 and up). That’s music to the ears of Dr. Dre, who collected $100 million pretax when handset maker HTC paid $300 million for a 51% stake in the company last year." — Cash Kings 2012: Hip-Hop's Top Earners — September 24, 2012 issue of Forbes



With Monster handling production of the headphones, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre were the face of the product; handling the advertising & marketing aspects — promoting the new line to the younger generation.



Dre's original line of "studio-quality" headphones had the following price-range: Solo - $199, Studio - $299 & Pro - $399.



Although the sound quality is better than most $100 headphones, majority of audiophiles (a person with a strong interest in high-quality sound/production) who reviewed them states, 'They aren't better compared to other high-end brands w/ the same price range — such as Bose & Sennheiser.'


Beats™ by Dr. Dre™ Solo Headphones [Retail Price: $199]


Mutual consensus amongst the audiophile community is that Beats™ by Dr. Dre™ are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. They are perhaps the most fashionable & trendy in the market today — but many believe they are over-priced especially when it comes to sound quality.

Regardless, their combination of fashionably design + quality sound revolutionized the headphone industry. And by targeting the young, urban and hip, the popularity & success of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine's product brainchild spawned a Headphones Boom — becoming a billion dollar industry in 2011.

What's even more interesting is that "high-end" headphones have been around for awhile — but they were specifically geared towards music artists and professionals in the recording field. Marketing geniuses — Dre & Jimmy, made it a "must-have" product for the masses.

Today, there's countless people 'out-in-public' (on the buses, subways, sidewalks & streets of New York City) that can now be seen wearing $200-$400 headphones — accompanying their iPods, iPhones, iPads, laptops, smartphones & other MP3 players.


"It might have been the best piece of advice the rapper-producer ever received. In 2008 he teamed with Iovine and a handful of other partners to launch Beats By Dr. Dre, which now sells more than half of the country’s premium headphones ($100 and up). That’s music to the ears of Dr. Dre, who collected $100 million pretax when handset maker HTC paid $300 million for a 51% stake in the company last year." — Cash Kings 2012: Hip-Hop's Top Earners — September 24, 2012 issue of Forbes



With Monster handling production of the headphones, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre were the face of the product; handling the advertising & marketing aspects — promoting the new line to the younger generation.



Dre's original line of "studio-quality" headphones had the following price-range: Solo - $199, Studio - $299 & Pro - $399.



Although the sound quality is better than most $100 headphones, majority of audiophiles (a person with a strong interest in high-quality sound/production) who reviewed them states, 'They aren't better compared to other high-end brands w/ the same price range — such as Bose & Sennheiser.'



Mutual consensus amongst the audiophile community is that Beats™ by Dr. Dre™ are aesthetically pleasing to the eye. They are perhaps the most fashionable & trendy in the market today — but many believe they are over-priced especially when it comes to sound quality.

Regardless, their combination of fashionably design + quality sound revolutionized the headphone industry. And by targeting the young, urban and hip, the popularity & success of Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine's product brainchild spawned a Headphones Boom — becoming a billion dollar industry in 2011.

What's even more interesting is that "high-end" headphones have been around for awhile — but they were specifically geared towards music artists and professionals in the recording field. Marketing geniuses — Dre & Jimmy, made it a "must-have" product for the masses.

Today, there's countless people 'out-in-public' (on the buses, subways, sidewalks & streets of New York City) that can now be seen wearing $200-$400 headphones — accompanying their iPods, iPhones, iPads, laptops, smartphones & other MP3 players.



Additionally, street-style influence on the modern headphones are evident. Similar to the another article I wrote entitled theSNEAKER GAME CRAZE, headphone-makers are collaborating w/ other artists & celebrities to create their own line of custom-series/signature-lines.



E.D.M. / Electronic Dance Music maestro — David Guetta challenged Beats™ by Dr. Dre™ to create the perfect set of world-class ear-cups specifically designed for DJs. Approximately, a year and thousands of prototypes later, Beats™ were proud to present one of the lightest, loudest and most flexible headphones ever — aptly named the Mixr.




Here's a growing list of other Headphone + Artist/Athlete/Celebrity collabos:

RZA - WeSC x RZA created premium headphones called Chambers (Retail Price: $249]
Ludaris - SOUL Electronics has a signature line for the Southern Hospitality rapper (Retail Price: $299.95)
Usain Bolt - SOUL Electronics recently put-out a custom-line for the World's Fastest Man from Jamaica (Retail Price: $349.95)
Tim Tebow - SOUL Electronics will soon release a line for the New York Jets quarterback [Retail Price: T.B.A.]
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi - iHip's "custom-made" headphones for the reality star will soon hit the market [Retail Price: T.B.A.]
Jay-Z's Roc Nation - Skullcandy paired-up w/ Hova to create an exclusive line [Retail price: $149.95]
Nick Cannon - NCredible NErgy by Monster® teamed-up w/ the America's Got Talent host for the more affordable consumers [Retail Price: $49.95]
Miles Davis - Monster®'s Miles Davis Trumpet ear-buds [Retail Price: $349.95]
Please be advised, if these costs are out of your price range, I also own and recommend the following headphones: Sony Extra Bass Headphones (Models XB-300, XB-500 & XB-700). They are -by far, the largest and softest headphone cushions in the market — and perhaps the most comfortable.



[Note: I pull these bad boys out during the winter (esp. when it snows) for they work as a great substitute for actual ear muffs!]





Sony MDR-XB500 [Retail Price: $79.99] & Sony MDR-XB700 [Retail Price: $129.99]



When asked what inspired the unique styling of the XB headphones, Sony designer Jun Komiyama said, "When I saw a puffy, luxurious, huge sofa I thought, 'Now that’s what I want.'" His main objective was to create a shape that would appeal to lovers of bass-heavy club music and hip-hop.

Sony XB series are notorious for its earth-shaking & heart-pounding bass, "Ooomps! Oooomps!! Oooooomps!!!" and have become a highly-coveted item -as of late, amongst headphone enthusiasts from around the world.




7997322 Front Large
Bose® TriPort In-Ear Headphones [Retail Price: $99]


In case "over-the-ear" headphones are too big & bulky for your style, then "in-ear" headphones -otherwise known as "ear-buds" may suite your preference. I personally can't comment too much on them for I only own one pair — Bose® TriPort In-Ear headphones that I purchased from my childhood boy who works for the The New York City Department of Sanitation. He sold me those ear-buds because -as a garbage man, he is only allowed to use bluetooth sets -for safety measures, while on the job.



SYNC by 50 Over-Ear Wireless Headphones [Retail Price: $399]
 To conclude, the new wave of headphones will undoubtedly be "bluetooth" a.k.a. "wireless headphones" — SMS Audio's SYNC by 50 Cent is one of the first to release their version of a wireless set during the current Headphone Boom/Craze. Other designs & collaborations are soon-to-be-released as the Next Generation of the Headphones Era continues to evolve...


...to be continued.






Chambers by WeSC x RZA [Retail Price: $249]





Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...