What The Pros Hear

As a hip-hop legend and producer, Dr. Dre needs no introduction. However, when he’s walking among thousands of geeks and worn-out media types at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, even the master of hip-hop beats can be invisible.

So it was something of a surprise when he walked into a Monster Cable Products Inc. (www.monstercable.com) press conference to announce Beats by Dr. Dre, a new, high-performance headphone he designed with Monster Cable engineers. According to Dr. Dre, the $399.95 black headphones do something most can’t: preserve deep bass so that the listener hears the same rich music the producer hears in the recording studio. Specially designed drivers help reproduce bass audio without distortion and rattling, according to Monster Cable.

“With music going portable, I just felt like it was not capturing the sound that I set out for the audience to listen to,” says Dr. Dre, who for the last two years has been working on the headphones with Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, and Noel Lee, Monster Cable’s CEO. “I spend a lot of time working hard on my music in the studio, and I think the music should be heard the way it’s intended to. And I think Beats accomplishes that.”

Included is a carrying case and Monster Cable’s iSoniTalk, a headphone adapter with a microphone that lets you connect the Beats unit to an Apple iPhone and make or take calls without removing the headphone.

In a market segment already crowded with high-end headphones (think: AKG, Sennheiser, Grado, Ultrasone, and Stax), it remains to be seen if Dr. Dre can carve out his own niche. However, the association with Monster Cable, best known for its high-end audio cables, does provide somewhat of a jumpstart. The unit will be available this summer at select retail and online stores that carry Monster Cable products.