Don’t be surprised if Simon Cowell starts wearing headphones on the new season of “X Factor” premiering Wednesday at 8 p.m. on Fox. Today, Sony Electronics unveiled a very posh and pricey ($299) personal music maker dubbed “X Headphones” created “in collaboration” with Cowell and his Syco Entertainment company - a partnership between the producer/TV judge/record exec and Sony Music Entertainment.
Following in the wake of celebrity headphone endorsers Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Ludacris, Lady Gaga, Quincy Jones and the estates of Bob Marley and Miles Davis, Cowell says he’s jumped into the game with Sony ”because I simply wanted something better than what is in the market today. I’ve tried them all, literally every single one. Sony and I set out to create the best headphone in the world. We are absolutely blown away by these. With the X Headphones, it’s like being in the recording studio when the records are made. The sound is that clear.”
Popping out visually with distinctive aluminum headbands, swivel mechanisms and end caps, the large though folding X Headphones also promise a full soundstage with lots of bass, thanks to huge 50 mm drivers and pressure-relieving memory foam ear pads that conform to each user’s ears to seal in the sound.
As DN TV critic Ellen Gray points out, Cowell has commented on occasion that he’d “misjudged” some contestants, at least back in the “American Idol” days, because he hadn’t properly heard their performance during the show due to a bad theater mix. When he later reviewed the show at home on a big TV and good sound system, he heard things differently.
So it would be altogether appropriate (and profitable) for Cowell to now don his headphones with lots of fuss and explanation at the outset of “X Factor,” so he can get a “proper mix” in his head and always make the right call. Couldn’t see a problem with L.A. Reid doing likewise, but the show’s new distaff judges Demi Lovato and Britney Spears might be averse to messing up their hair.
X Headphones are now available at Sony Stores online at http://store.sony.com , in Sony Stores starting September 15 and from other authorized retailers by the end of the month.