Headphones are big business these days. A pessimist might point to our ever-increasing desire to shut out the outside world as a reason for the trend. All negativity aside, though, music lovers really just want to listen to their favorite tracks with the best possible sound quality. That means people are picky about their headphones. And, thanks to an influx of new companies entering the market and the sheer diversity of product offerings—from Bluetooth wireless sets, to in-ear monitors, to designer earbuds and more—consumers have a wealth of options to choose from.
With so much happening in the headphone market as of late, some major names in MI are looking to get in on the action. One such brand is Floyd Rose, whose Founder and namesake is known throughout the music products industry as the creator of the locking tremolo. The company recently launched its Floyd Rose Audio brand with two initial headphone offerings: the FR-18 and the FR-36. It hopes to make the Floyd Rose name as synonymous with high-quality, affordable headphones as it is with guitars and guitar accessories.
According to Alan Cabasso, CEO of SECA Group LLC, which coordinates marketing and product development for Floyd Rose Audio, “A couple of things came to mind when we designed the product line. First was price consciousness, because we know the working musician can’t afford to spend $300 to $500 on a pair of headphones.” He added, “We also took comfort into consideration. DJs, sound mixers and other people in the industry tend to wear their headphones longer than the average consumer does. So, our product is very lightweight and comfortable to wear. Also, DJs and musicians are fashionistas. They want something that not only sounds great, but also looks great.”
Floyd Rose Audio went to considerable lengths to ensure that its headphones would live up to the high standard set by the heavy hitters in the headphone market, as well as the high level of quality established by the Floyd Rose name. In fact, Floyd Rose himself was heavily involved in the design process. “The Floyd Rose Audio Collection has been designed in collaboration with Floyd Rose, who is a big audiophile,” remarked Joe Setton, who headed up the design and development of the new headphone line. “And the line was created to offer the consumer a value-priced product that also has great aesthetics and very high-quality sound, which Floyd is known for as far as his other products are concerned.” When it comes to the technical aspects of the headphones, “Floyd was very involved,” Cabasso explained. “We worked with the factories based on the specifications he gave us, and he was a big influence in fine-tuning the products’ specs.”
Floyd Rose Audio’s FR-18 headphones feature stylish, handcrafted wood cans with 50-millimeter drivers. They offer a frequency range of 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz for warm, articulate re-creation of sound. Each individual FR-18 headset has its own unique wood grain, which makes for a one-of-a-kind, artisanal look. And, in a nod to the Floyd Rose brand’s fame in the guitar world, “The shape of the headphones looks like a guitar pick,” Cabasso explained. “It’s a pretty cool design. And, wood is always a great conductor of sound. The FR-18 comes in a wood box, too, so it’s a very classy look.” The headphones also feature an anti-tangle, detachable fabric cable with built-in microphone and volume control, as well as cushioned ear cups that increase comfort and block out outside noise.
The FR-36 headphones feature Bluetooth functionality for wireless use, as well as offering users the option of a wired connection to their audio source or mixing console of choice. The FR-36 can be used wirelessly for up to 14 hours on a full charge. The product features CSR and Qualcomm’s aptX technology, which enables wireless audio playback that’s comparable to the sound quality of a wired connection, and NFC (Near Field Communication) connectivity to simplify the wireless connection process. The FR-36 packs 40-millimeter drivers and a frequency response of 20 hertz to 20 kilohertz. Its cushioned ear cups offer excellent noise cancellation and increased comfort during long-term use. And, the FR-36 comes with a protective carrying case.
Both the FR-18 and the FR-36 are available now for a retail MAP of $169.95. FR-18 color options include mahogany, black and light oak with a white headband. The FR-36 is currently available in black; a white option will be available in the second quarter.Floyd Rose Audio also plans to announce customization options for its headphones in the near future.