K. T. Bradford
September 29, 2010 02:53 pm
Today Monster Cable and Interscope’s Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre announced new audio products in the Beats by Dr. Dre line. As you’d expect from this team, there were some stylish new headphones to covet. But they’ve now expanded the brand to include a speaker dock as well.
Dre and Iovine have continued the tradition of working with a variety of artists to develop their range of headsets. Now that Lady GaGa and P. Diddy have had their fun, the two set their sites on finding a musician who could help them create something that would appeal to younger listeners who are getting the feel for what music they love. So, of course, they turned to Justin Bieber.
The result of this …interesting… collaboration is the iBeats. Monster CEO Noel Lee promised that these smaller, lighter in-ear buds have the same audio profile and quality as the other models in the beats line, despite the technical hurdles involved in making big sound come out of something so small. Whether youngsters will be able to get their parents to fork over the $99 for these after springing for an iPod is questionable. But they’re among the least expensive in the Beats line.
Along with the normal red, black and white colors, fans with Bieber fever can get a pair of the iBeats or the Beat Solo over ear ‘phones in Justin’s favorite color: purple. These models will carry the moniker JustBeats and sell for $119 and $199.
Stepping away from the music world, Dre turned to his workout buddy LeBron James to help him create a set of earphones they could both use while working out. From this union we get the PowerBeats. The design highlights here are around the ear hooks for a steady hold and ear cushions that don’t completely seal while still offering quality audio. This way you don’t get that weird crackling sound as you start to sweat, which messes with the seal of the rubber. PowerBeats also feature resistance to sweat, naturally, and Control Talk so that users can adjust volume, skip tracks, and even answer their iPhone without having to break their stride. These will run $149.
The Beats Pro headset is a step up from the previously released Studio headset. Monster and Interscope are betting that DJs and homebrew music makers will love the audio quality/depth and versatility of this rugged set of phones. But don’t be surprised to find these in professional studios as well. For $399 a pop, you have to be serious about your music to go for one of these.
The product I was most excited to see wasn’t the headphones, but the first Beats speaker dock, the Beatbox. Someone asked Dre why, in a world cluttered with docks, did he feel the world needed another one? His answer was simple “None of them sound right.” Iovine claims that this modern take on the boombox is far and above every speaker dock on the market today, including their closest competitor, who makes a product $200 above the Beatbox’s $399 price point. (We’re guessing Bose.) The sound is pretty powerful, and even without a sub-woofer it’s supposed to give listeners the full audio range no matter what type of music they’re listening to. Also priced at $399, the Beatbox is looking to replace your whole sound system while offering the same audio quality people have come to expect from the headphones.
All of the new Beats products will be available in major retailers during the holiday season. Best Buy should have them starting next month.