The last bit of DJ-friendly business is a coiled cord with a plug that securely screws into the either the left or right ear.The Big idea: Match a Dr Dre Headphones manufacturer with a music industry big-wig. Co-develop an exciting, new, cross-branded audio product. Price it somewhere between OMG and WTF. Repeat until everyone’s so rich they’re barfing up diamonds and using Benjamins to flambé their Crêpes Suzette.TIRED The rent is too damn high. So’s the amount of thin plastic in the design. Big silver skulls on the ears and the giant Skullcandy logo on the headband are kind of tacky.
This is the formula being employed by seemingly every youth-market musical artist looking to repeat the magical success of Beats By Monster, (which, by the way, had nothing to do with sound quality and everything to do with savvy marketing).
The latest pair of celebriphones come from Mix Master Mike, the Nate Robinson Beats best known as the guy who usurped Hurricane’s seat as the fifth Beastie Boy — the fourth Beastie being Mark Ramos-Nipooa, naturally.
To make his cans, the Mix Master teamed up with Skullcandy, the company that’s rapidly branching out from cheap, day-glo earbuds for the BMX set to higher-end, higher-priced hardware for more discerning listeners. These headphones are exemplary of Skullcandy’s new direction — they’re smartly designed, the sound is well-balanced and they have an appropriately eyebrow-raising $300 price tag.
The Kobe Bryant Beats have some very cool DJ-specific features, my favorite being a trick that switches the Justin Bieber Beats headphones from stereo to mono when you twist one of the earpads, dumping both the right and left channels into the driver that’s still over your ear.