Head Monster Noel Lee Rolls Out New Lines, Discusses IndustryOctober 11, 2012 By Jeff O'Heir
We recently caught up with Head Monster Noel Lee in New York City where he was showing off Monster’s fall line of headphones and speakers. He also talked about the need for better merchandising at retail, the state of the industry, and why 4K is not quite ready for prime time.
One of Monster’s most important new products is the Katana Clarity HD (still in pre-production mode), a single stereo speaker with AAC and apt-X Bluetooth codecs for higher definition wireless sound, Active Bass Enhancement for more immersive bass at lower volumes, and multi-room streaming capabilities with the optional StreamCast HD transmitter and receiver kit, which can deliver uncompressed high-def music to up to 12 different zones up to 100 feet.
“Our goal is to push the envelope in this category,” said Mitch Witten, Monster product manager, who plays a major role in designing the company’s speaker lines.
The design of the new unit – sleek black finish and curved edges - is based on a katana, the long, single-edged sword used by Japanese samurai. The three-way tri-amp design features two 6-inch woofers, two 3-inch mids and two dome tweeters. It’s expected to hit shelves during the first quarter and will sell for between $600 and $700, Witten said. A portable, battery-operated model is due later next year.
New headphone lines include the Tumi x ($395) Inspiration series, with noise cancellation and changeable headbands; Diamond Tears Edge (SRP: $279.95); DNA (SRP $229.95), which come in seven versions, including on-ear models in black, white, cobalt blue and teal, aswell as black and white in-ear versions (SRP:$119.95); the NCredible line, which includes the N-Tune on-ear, the N-Ergy in-ear, and the N-Pulse over-ear DJ set; and VEKTR (SRP:$279.95).
Here are excerpts from the Q&A with Lee:
Dealerscope: Do the new lines have a theme that ties them together?
Lee: Yes, fashion and performance.
We are really exploding the fashion element. In order to attract more consumers, you can’t have one style fits all, because one style doesn’t fit all. You need different selections. We’re offering more choices. You can attract women with Diamond Tears. DNA was specifically designed for young kids, for girls and boys. How something looks on someone is as important as how it performs. It’s like a high-performance car; if it looks bad, you can’t sell it. But if it looks great and doesn’t perform, people won’t be happy with it.