Why are there so many headphones at CES 2012?

Audiophiles will be pleased to know headphones continue to evolve with several big name manufacturers and celebrities making noise during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).


Why the sudden surge? A variety of reasons. The biggest contributor is the rise of smartphones. Consumers are not satisfied with low-quality out-of-the-box earbuds that come with mobile devices; we want studio-like sound quality when listening to songs, watching media or making phone calls. We want noise-cancellation characteristics too. On top of all this, headphones have become desired by all ages with each demographic wanting their own style, type – in-ear or over-ear – and identity.


Let’s take a look at some highlights on the show’s floor today.

As expected, Monster, makers of the uber-popular Beats by Dr. Dre line, unveiled exciting, new headphones, including over-ear models. Fashion label Diesel, for example, partnered with Monster to establish the “Diesel Noise Division” line.  The first pair of headphones to unveil under this collaboration is “VEKTR,” sharp-looking black headphones combining Diesel’s eye for design and Monster’s high-performance qualities.


A recent entrant into the headphone space, House of Marley, from the Bob Marley family enterprise led by one of his sons, Rohan Marley, continues to impress with their innovations, offering new styles and designs in a variety of price points. House of Marley headphones have been a huge hit since launching last year at Future Shop, and their lines are expanding to things like portable speakerbags and Bluetooth ‘docking’ stations – more on that to come later.


Christopher Bridges, aka "Ludacris" shares with CES goers why his Soul by Ludacris headphones will be a hit

Celebrities from the music industry are getting in the headphones game too. Rapper and actor, Ludacris graced CES attendees with his presence at his “Soul by Ludacris” booth where the focus was on his premium-priced line.


Rapper 50 Cent is also invested in headphone technology. He graced the CES floor a few occasions already, spending time at the SMS Audio booth, his company focused on wireless and wired headphones. Last year, Sleek Audio announced a partnership with the mega-rapper, and he shared during his autograph session with me that relationship is over in favour of is own line. Smart move.


A bonus during today’s 50 Cent appearance was boxing champion Floyd Mayweather co-signing 8’x10’ photographs. (These will look great in the mancave.)

Headphones have become fashion statements in their own right. It’s becoming common for Canadians to have more than one pair of headphones. For example, I have a few pairs of Monster headphones for exercise and lifestyle needs. I rely on my iSport in-ear headphones when at the gym or exercising outdoors – they provide excellent sound quality and are water and sweat-proof. I use over-the-ear Beats by Dr. Dre headphones for those noise-cancelling moments when traveling. When traveling by plane, I use House of Marley in-ear headphones so I can wear them for just about the entire duration of the flight.

Licensing of popular pop culture like comic book superheroes, sports teams and even candies are becoming mainstream among headphones. iHip, for example, has released new pro sports team lines, including the NFL, MLB, NCAA, Marvel, Detective Comics and even candy-themed headphones like Bubblicious. Smart play in my opinion; these lines will attract all ages and interests.


As we move deeper into the connected world, the number of accessories to improve our mobile devices will continue its growth. It’s no surprise headphones are turning heads in every corner of CES.

Elliott Chun
Elliott Chun
Public Relations and marketing-communications professional living and working in beautiful British Columbia. Communications Manager and blogger for Future Shop, Canada's largest retailer and etailer of consumer electronics. Director of Communications for Canada's largest TEDx event, TEDxVancouver.

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