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Monster brings new headphones and plenty of spectacle to CES 2014

When it comes to CES exhibitors, there are those who display their products in a half-hearted “yes, we’re here … ” approach, and those who bring it. In its signature fashion, Monster definitely decided to bring it this year – like $5 million one-of-a-kind Lamborghini Veneno bring it. The dazzling sculpture of Italian flash and gravitas, powered by a booming Monster sound system, is the centerpiece to the company’s spectacular show booth, most of which is concealed behind a velvet curtain.

As we passed through, our eyes were assaulted by a litany of products, including some brand new pieces like the robustly built Octagon headphones, the official cans of the UFC, as well as a limited edition of its Diamondz headphones encrusted with rhinestones, which we weren’t allowed to photograph. But two products in particular really caught our attention.

The first were the new DNA Pro wireless headphones, which boast one of the coolest on-board control configurations we’ve come across in the segment. Instead of a panel filled with confusing control buttons, the right earcup sports one main button at the center for play/pause, accompanied by a touch-capacitive surface which allows you to simply swipe your finger for control. The design is extremely intuitive, and really fun to use, allowing you to swipe the surface horizontally to skip songs, and vertically along the side to control volume. The headphones have a 4-8 hour battery life, and they incorporate active noise canceling (ANC). They sounded solid when we gave them a listen, with decent balance and clarity across the spectrum, though we’re not quite sure we’d want to shell out the $450 asking price. The DNA Pro wireless will be available in Q2 of this year.

The second toy we enjoyed was the Monster Go DJ. While the device has been out for a few months, we were given a hands-on demo by a seasoned record spinner, and he outlined a huge selection of options on the little bar, showcasing gobs of effects, looping, and cue points. It’s all easily controlled by a combination of touch screens and hard controls. Features include 2GB of storage, a slot for a 32GB sound card, a mic input for field recording, and all the inputs and outputs you’d need to throw an off-the-cuff DJ party from your pocket. The Go DJ retails for $600 and is on shelves now.

With Shaq on site Monday, a roving goddess-like model on stilted platforms, the Lamborghini, and more, Monster once again proved it definitely knows how to throw a party. But under the glitz, there’s also some cool gear we’re excited to spend more time with. We’ll likely be doing an in-depth review of most of Monster’s new devices soon, so stay tuned.