What to Expect Courtesy of CES 2017
By, Ryan Davison
Its January, and that means its time for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2017). This annual event is the largest tech based event in the world. Held in Las Vegas, this is where manufacturers come to debut their latest technology for the year. So, basically everything you need to know about technology trends will be released the first week of the year and elaborated on throughout the latter months.
Some of the biggest news from CES comes in response to Apple. After Tech giant, Apple, decided to inconvenience the world by removing its 3.5mm jack, everyone went crazy. To combat this major mistake, several audio companies decided to focus on improving their Bluetooth models this year.
One company that had a very active year for research and development was Audio-technica. This year, Audio-technica not only cut the chords off of several models, they managed to improve Bluetooth signals with a new patented technology and elaborated on other successful lines of their products. In total Audio-technica released 26 headphones, and several accessories.
Audio-technica released a line of in-ear monitors to bring concert arena sound quality to you in the form of in-ear models. The LS series of monitors include ATH-LS400iS, ATH-LS300iS, ATH- LS200iS, ATH-LS70iS and ATH-LS50iS(in Yellow, Black, Red, and Navy) which utilize high-performance audio quality. “Our new Live Sound headphones are created to bring the impact and excitement of the live concert experience to everyday listening,” said Crystal Griffith, Audio-Technica U.S. Marketing Manager.
In addition to the LS line, another new Audio-technica line was presented at CES 2017. The Sound Reality line, features 7 NEW headphones. 4 wired in-in ear models (ATH-CKR70iSCG, ATH-CKR70iSBK, ATH-CKR90iS, ATH-CKR100iS), one on-ear wired headphone (ATH-SR9), and 2 over-ear wireless models that contain a brand new technology.
Audio-technica’s new technology, the Pure Digital Drive System may just change the way you think about wireless headphones. This technology can be found in two of their new releases the ATH-DSR9BT & ATH-DSR7BT (headphones with a strikingly similar look to the company’s ATH-MSR7).
Bluetooth headphones convert the signal from a digital signal to an analog frequency. This process can cause distortion, which is why the wired version of a pair of headphones normally sounds better than the wireless counterpart. Audio-technica’s patented technology will now broadcast a digital signal between devices without converting it. This means there will finally be a pair of Bluetooth headphones that will sound just as good wireless as they do wired!
Audio-technica didn’t stop there. The Sonic Fuel line saw the editions of ATH-AR3BT (White / Black), ATH-SR3iS (White / Black) ATH-CKR50iS (Blue / Black / Champagne Gold) ATH-CKR30iS(Silver-White / Black) and solid bass model CKS550BT (Black-Gold / White)
Although Audio-technica was quite busy, there were several other manufacturers who made a stamp on the world this year at CES 2017.
Sennheiser released their AMBEO® Smart Surround headphones this year at CES 2017. These are not your average Earphones, Sennheiser used an inner ear model to not only provide high-quality playback of audio, but to also record it in a seamless bi-aural fashion that can be played from your smartphone. The possibilities are endless with this one, but I foresee it being used in Virtual reality applications to provide accurate audio. there were other additions from the German company. Standing behind the success of their PXC550 & PXC480 that were released in 2016, Sennheiser decided to make more affordable wireless versions of their 4 series headphones. The 4.50BTNC and HD 4.40BT are the line’s first Bluetooth models and the 4.50BTNC will utilize similar noise-cancellation to the PXC550.
Sennheiser has revamped their acclaimed series, the Momentum, which is now being re-packaded as the HD 1 series. Like the Mometum there will be Over-Ear wired models for Android and Apple, Wireless Over-Ear, On-Ear wired models for Android and Apple, On-Ear wireless models, and In-Ear models. While the models still have the same momentum look they boost a new name.
You can also expect to see an in-ear neckband from sennheiser, to be an addition to the HD 1 series. All of these models are slated for a February release.
|HD 1 Wired Over-Ear||Android||Black / Ivory|
|Apple||Black / Brown / Ivory|
|HD 1 Wireless Over-Ear||Black / Ivory|
|HD 1 Wired On-Ear||Android||Black / Ivory|
|Apple||Black / Brown / Ivory|
|HD 1 Wireless On-Ear||Black / Ivory|
|HD 1 In-Ear||Android||Black / Red|
|Apple||Black / Red|
|HD 1 Wireless In-Ear Neckband||Black|
To accommodate their customers who have made the switch to iPhone7, Shure has released a New lightning cable for their SE series of in-ear monitors. Remote + Mic Lightning Accessory Cable (RMCE-LTG) will now make their headphones iPhone compatible. This cable should be expected to also work with the Westone W Series of headphones, Westone released a Bluetooth cable last summer that made both lines of audiophile quality monitors wireless. Shure didn’t leave their customers with 3.5mm headphones out either. There will be a version of this cable for them too.
Headphones have met bio-metrics, with the UK based company Bodytrak. These in-ear devices can monitor and report your vital signs in real time using your aural canal. statistics like Heart rate, distance traveled and, core temperature can all be communicated while allowing your tunes to play.
Audeze released the iSine VR. Expanding on their iSine earphones, Audeze has made their signature earphones compatible with all major Virtual reality devises. these earphones are also truly wireless …aside from the tether to your device that is.
Luxury Audiophile company Focal released a joint venture version of their Utopia with french Jewelers Tournaire in September. This version, has the same sound and design as their $4000 Utopia, except it is covered in 18k gold plating and and has 6.5ct of diamonds set into the yolk. This version will also cost a bit more totaling $120,000, but at least you wont need to wear jewelry with them to look like a boss. Obviously Focal remembered to bring their Gold an diamond encrusted headphones to CES to show off to the world.
I foresee headphone swag will be elaborated on by other companies this year.
Beyerdynamic also brought their recent luxury in-ear model, Xelento to show off at CES 2017 as well as a new gaming
headset. The Beyerdynamic Custom Game, a Headphone utilizing the Design of the Custom series headphone yet targeting gamers with the addition of a mic. Like the rest of the Custom series from the German company this, model will be “customizable” with interchangeable face-plates and headbands covers that are sold on the company’s site. There will also be 4 different listening profiles.
Other additions were more truly wireless models. This trend was expected to have a boom, due to the release of Air pods. Monster released their first 2 pairs of truly wireless buds at CES 2017. These in-ear headphones capture the flash that is Monster. The polished rose gold and geometric patterns have been seen before in previous headphones from the company. Like Focal, theses truly wireless buds will be a good substitute for jewelry. Who needs earring when you have headphone Bling? These models will hit stores by the spring.
Klipsch, a company known for their in-ear monitors stepped outside of the box completely, with a with a line over ear wooden headphones. So this has been done before, but not by Klipsch. This line is expected to also have Bluetooth versions as well as ones with Active Noise cancellation.
Audio46 is slated to have most of these products available by the spring, so be prepared to be awed by CES 2017!