You see football players wearing them, athletes getting into the zone wear them, hip musicians are never seen without them, and anyone who wants to be trendy and in the groove wears them.
The growth in the premium headphone sector has been quite astounding. Spurred on by the MP3 revolution, high quality headphones have not only become a fashion accessory but also a status symbol. The growth was driven by Dr Dre’s Beats headphones. They were launched in 2008, appealing to a younger audience who wanted to blend fashion together with technology and high end audio. The rest is history…
According to the latest retail data released by the NDP group in the US, headphone sales were up 23% in 2017 compared to the previous year and bluetooth headphones now make up 67% of all headphone sales. Driven by international trends, the headphone market in South Africa has also shown similar growth.
We look at some of the hot headphones available:
The House of Marley founded by the late legendary reggae singer Bob Marley’s son Rohan Marley, is carving an interesting niche in the accessory market. “Inspired by Nature in Beauty” is their payoff line for their premium over the ear headphones. This brand appeals to the eco-friendly revolution as it is made of recycled aluminium and stainless steel. Even the packaging comes from recycled material. The sound quality is impressive and the noise cancelling technology really does a good job in isolating external noise. When you hold them up initially they look a bit bulky but once you put them on, the soft leather covered headsets fit snugly over your ears. It has a fabric covered cord that helps reduce tangles and is engineered to cut down on static. I found the sound quality to be a bit bassy, but I suppose it all depends on the music genre you listen to.
Score 7/10 Cost R3000
Monster was the company that manufactured Beats By Dr. Dre until last year. Noel Lee started the company in a garage in 1979. Since then it has grown to a multimillion dollar company selling expensive cables for making high end headphones. They come with a range of different colour bands that are interchangeable in order to personalise your headphones. I tested the noise cancelling edition and found them to block out noise really well, especially on a flight. The sound quality is not bad at all, deep bass and they handled the higher frequencies nicely although it can sound a bit tinny at times. It has great accessories and cables included as well as a microphone feature so they can be connected to a phone wirelessly.
The German company Sennheiser has been making high quality audio equipment since 1945 and their products are exceptional. The headphones they introduced to the market are designed to appeal to audiophiles and the younger segment of the market that is looking to be hip and trendy. The design is classy; the headphones feel light and the soft leather ear cups fit really comfortably when worn. The sound is what really blew me away. It is almost perfectly balanced; I describe them like a fine, smooth, well balanced 18 year old single malt whiskey. The sound is absolutely gorgeous, warm with not too much bass. It also comes with an additional cable that has an integrated smart remote and microphone for easy management of tracks and calls.
With wireless everything in demand today – from fast wireless internet to premium bluetooth capabilities – headphone companies will continue to combine fashion with technology to offer high end audio options to consumers.