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Hypothetical - you are given $100m to start your own headphone company

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

This is a bit outside the box, but I am curious your thoughts.  I hear people absolutely bash Beats and Bose, but the truth is 90+% of the market is <$500.


So in an alternate universe, you have a huge amount of money and retail shelf space waiting for you.  


What 5 products would you create to do what Beats and Bose isn't doing well enough?  It is the hardware or just their altered soundstage?  The goal must be a successful product line.


My initial thoughts:

1. You have to have a velocity "color play" for the masses (probably <$200)

2. A noise-cancelling is a must - especially for the business travelers

3. You have to have a "flagship" model (which likely has to be <$1000

4. It's now in style to use full-sized headphones everywhere - the gym, the bus, work, etc.

5. People listen to pop and electronic music, not classical.  With music becoming so artificial - does the change the lineup you would make?


I think my lineup would be:

1. $99 "opening price point" on-the-ear, closed ear design.  To save money to invest in sound quality - materials would need to be minimal.  The design would not be collapsible.  To go after the fitness + outside the home market, I would focus on how light the headphones are.


2. $199 "velocity" headphones.  These go head-to-head with the Beats Solo, so a design play is needed.  I might go with laser etching or more fashionable designs (versus the candy colors).  For the sound quality - I think you have to go over the ear, closed ear design.  I am not sure why the Solos sound so bad, but at ~$200 I would expect a more accurate soundstage.  


3. $299 noise-cancelling headphones.  I think you have to have this.  So many people demand it.  I don't know how to do great noise-cancelling and great sound quality however.  It seems in reviews that Bose wins with sound-cancelling, but is easily beaten by competing brands in sound quality.  


4. $399 "DJ inspired" headphones.  I think the mass market relates more to the emotional appeal of DJs, rappers, and artists.  Ironically none of these artists actually use them in the studio.  I think at this price you have to choose - studio inspired (open eared, large, comfortable) or DJ inspired (something that makes a statement when in public).  


5.$999 flagship headphones with included amp.  I see people on this forum ready to jump from $300 headphones to a $1000 pair just to be told "well you have to really spend $2000 or else dont do it."  I would think headphones that ship with an amp optimized for a particular set of headphones might do well.  I think there is a "bang for for buck prosumer" opportunity that isn't being addressed.

post #2 of 8

Nice try Beats Audio marketing team. ;]


But to condense everything, id try to develop a headphone that is as close to studio monitors as possible, while still being pleasant. So as flat frequency response as possible, low THD, medium high resistance to increase amplifier damping w/ built in rechargeable amplifier (to further increase damping and avoid any aftermarket products from reducing the SQ). Ofcourse this would be presented in a full on headphone for the flagship model (its free advertising), with earbuds in the lower cost tier. 


Edit: also, crosstalk. I dont know why more headphones dont purposefully induce crosstalk. Extremely Isolated L/R channels give me listeners fatigue and headaches

Edited by Xaborus - 11/20/12 at 3:02pm
post #3 of 8

I would try to buy Grado Labs and maybe try to develop a closed back model and aggressively market the existing line - best headphones out there IMHO. Hmmm, a noise-cancelling Grado?



post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

I don't work for Beats or Monster or Bose...etc. :)


I am however a business major, in addition to being a music (equipment) lover.  I just read through the forums and see such a niche element of the total listening audience.  This forum represents about 1% of the headphone market, if even that.


I struggle with how to make great headphones more accessible to the masses.  Maybe the answer is that most people listen to low quality music sources, can't appreciate the different between good and better and best and premium (just between basic and good).

post #5 of 8

somehow i think the new generation of beatsbuyer will level up to the audiophile world sooner or later...

having acquired the habit of having a headphone around always. 

So the market is bright for the $500 market segment to come up with a koool-looking, easy to power, audiophile "superbeats".

some smart marketing blitz will drive them in...since u have 100millionnnnnnnn to fantasize with.



denon seems to be attempting that...but the feedbacks so far on the audio/visual quality has been kinda disappointing. 


Edited by Lorspeaker - 11/20/12 at 9:32pm
post #6 of 8

From someone who is still in highschool, kids my age just want something easily obtainable (superstores), good looking, decent sounding (think ksc75), decent price (think ksc75), and be able to hear bass (the only thing they have to compare to is their bass-less apple earbuds, so this isnt a big problem).


Its not that these earbuds don't exist, its that they are marketed wrong with stupid over the top logos and names and plastic. Honestly for this demographic a minimalist modern look would be the most sucessfull imo. Black box w/ blue lettering for men, Black box with pink lettering for women. DON'T make it kidsy- kids strive to be teens/adults, teens strive to be different.


Really the biggest thing is just the marketing and staying under $30. If you took the ckm50 and made a cool logo and box, you would be rich.


Ofcourse this is all my opinion. (i study marketing too btw :])

post #7 of 8

I would make all the claims beats audio does but actually accomplish it. My entire line would be wooden headphones. Waterproof/toughen the wood section so all the headphones would be sexy as hell and BOOM done. MO MONIES!

post #8 of 8

What is velocity "color pay"?

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