updated 07:50 am EDT, Mon September 7, 2009
Monster Beats Solo and Heartbeats
Monster unusually chose Labor Day to add two sets of earphones to its mix, including its first not primarily backed by Dr. Dre. The Heartbeats were co-designed by Lady Gaga and are meant to produce audio quality much like the Beats Tour in-ears but with the pop star's visual input, such as a jewel-like cap on the earpiece and a metal body. They still have Monster's unique ribbon-like cables that cut down on tangling and should also reduce the likelihood of a cable break.
They also get an in-line mic and remote that provide full control of Apple's iPhones and iPods up to and including the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod shuffle. Newer BlackBerries also support the input.
A second introduction brings a more modest version of the original Beats. Known as the Beats Solo, they represent a smaller, lighter and cheaper counterpart to the flagship set but are still reportedly tuned to Dr. Dre's specs. They get the same in-line mic/remote combination as the Lady Gaga set.
The Heartbeats will come in multiple colors and should ship in October for prices between $100 and $150 depending on the feature set and color scheme. The Beats Solo will have just two colors and one hardware design, but its price should vary between the $220 suggested price and a more likely $180 street price. It ships in November.