Consumer Electronics Show: Soul by Ludacris and Sleek by 50 Cent, the latest headphones brought to you by a musician
The Consumer Electronics Show this year in Las Vegas had more of everything shown in years past -- more Internet Apps on TVs, more 3-D TVs, more 3-D cameras, more tablets and more smart phones.
And also more headphones, endorsed by more musicians.
And 50 Cent unveiled his own headphones, called Sleek by 50 Cent, which will be made by H&H Imports, a company that last year signed Hulk Hogan on as the sponsor of a line of home cleaning products called PumMax.
The moves into personal audio products for Luda and 50 follow the successful Beats by Dr. Dre line of headphones from Monster.
Beats by Dr. Dre, which launched in 2009, have expanded to include the HeartBeats by Lady Gaga, DiddyBeats (endorsed by P. Diddy), JustBeats (Justin Bieber's headphones) and PowerBeats (LeBron James).
Ludacris told The Times he's getting into the growing headphones market because, despite all the choices out there, he hadn't yet found any products he was entirely happy with.
"These headphones are aspirational, they're about fashion, about culture," Ludacris said. "You see kids nowadays just wearing headphones around their necks, not even listening to music sometimes. It's become a fashion statement. And music, it's my life, I'm listening to music everyday, all day. So I wanted to put something out there that was up to my standard -- I'm a perfectionist."
50 Cent cited similar motivations, saying in a statement, "I know music, and I've tried everything on the market as far as headphones go, but I wanted something different, something better, that really pushed the envelope."
Both lines promise to be more than simply loud headphones, but offer a detailed, balanced sound good for not just hip-hop but all types of music.
A common theme in both Ludacris' and 50 Cent's headphones -- which seems to be a coincidence -- are influences in design from the automotive industry.
Soul by Ludacris feature a quilted leather headband lining, which Ludacris said was inspired by the interior of a Bentley. Sleek by 50 Cent's headbands and ear cups have carbon-fiber detailing -- a strong and lightweight material commonly used in high-end sports cars.
Ludacris' Soul line, which will include both in-ear and over-the-ear models and be fully compatible with Apple's iPod and iPhone products, is set to arrive in stores this spring and should range in price from about $100 to $300.
Sleek by 50 Cent has yet to offer a release date or price range.
The Dallas Mavericks are also backing a $499 headphone set from Sennheiser which made its debut at CES this year.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: Ludacris holding a pair of Soul by Ludacris noise-cancelling headphones. Credit: Nathan Olivarez-Giles/Los Angeles Times