LAS VEGAS, CES 2012 – Or maybe it’s that they’re pretending even less. The amount of bling at the Monster “booth” — it was actually more of a compound, complete with a super-secret inner sanctum — would make Snooki (who was at the show) blush. Their three newly released headphones seemed far more focused on fashion than sound; even Monster founder Nole Lee’s Segway (was it a Segway?) rolled around on gold-rimmed wheels. Then there were the booth fashion shows…
The most ostentatious of the ‘phones was the faceted Diamond Tears – Edge, which looked like a pair of giant, plastic, faux-diamond earrings (in white or black) with shimmery highlights on a headband. Gaudy, yes — but it’ll have huge appeal.The second was oddly similar, but far more masculine: a facteted-looking set called the VEKTR, designed in partnership with DKNY.
But the set they seemed most proud of (I assume, since they were pushing it at every opportunity) was the Inspiration, which was fairly plain compared with the other two pairs save for one thing: The headband fabric could be removed and replaced with another color or fabric type. Oh, almost forgot: They’re also noise-canceling.
That’s the thing — nobody cared how these ‘phones sounded; I certainly didn’t. In fact, for the entire first day the headphones were out, Monster had the Diamond Tears and the VEKTR locked up in a display box, and wouldn’t take them out for anyone because it was their only “prototype”, despite having them out on the floor to play with the next day.
There was one new Monster gadget with impressive audio performance; their new ClarityHD Micro Bluetooth speaker was as loud as their iClarity HD but sounded much better, and can also be controlled through voice commands. Cool. No, Monster didn’t leave the fashion out of these guys either — its grill is swapable and attaches through a patented method using magnets. The new speaker is probably a response to the popularity of the Jawbone Jambox, which Jawbone told me saw a massive surge in popularity over the last six months.
The Inspirations are $230 and ship in June; the VEKTR and Diamond Tears are $250 and $280 respectively, and arrive in a few months; the ClarityHD Micro is $220 and available this March.