Skip to main content

MonsterTalk is a voice-activated personal assistant built into your headphones

MonsterTalk Headphones
“The aha moment came when I was at the gym and on the elliptical,” explained Dean Summers, president and founder of Speak Music. “I had my headphones on and I wanted to hear something in particular. I pick up my phone, the phone goes flying,” he said. “I had to stop what I was doing. And I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if you could just say what you wanted to hear without taking off your headphones?”

Anyone who’s ever fumbled with a smartphone at the gym or a few miles into a run knows exactly what he’s talking about. We’ve all been there: A screen that won’t respond to your fumbling, sweaty fingers; frustration growing as you mash at the phone and try not to trip. Voice control is being embedded into everything these days, from cars to lightbulbs (really!), but here’s one area where it actually makes sense.

At the CES gadget show in Las Vegas in January, his company unveiled Melody, an app that acts as a “personal assistant” of sorts that lets you request songs, albums, radio stations, and more with your voice. And later at the show, Monster announced plans to build the software directly into its headphones. Today, Monster has finally unveiled the MonsterTalk family of voice-controlled headphones.

“You’ve got platforms like Alexa or Google that do everything from turn on the lights to whatever. Music’s a side note. But in terms of use case it’s really important,” explained James Peterson, product area manager with Monster, who visited Digital Trends New York office recently to show off the fruits of their collaboration. “What Melody’s done is bring the focus into controlling your music, rather than worrying about the lights or dishwasher or anything else.”

melody app

The app does that through deep integration with a variety of music services, Summers claims, including Spotify, iHeartRadio, NPR, iTunes, Tidal (soon, anyway), and more. It’s the breadth and depth of control that sets his app apart, he says.

“We’re the Switzerland of voice control,” Summers told us.

Similar functionality probably comes included in your smartphone. Siri can control iTunes, but Apple limits its ability to connect with the other services. Likewise, Google is “optimized” for Google’s own Play services.

“We go deep in each of those verticals,” Summers says.

But just having an app doesn’t mean people will download it, nor that it will be tweaked and honed for a particular device. Enter Monster and the top of the line Elements headphones, the ClarityHD lineup, and the fitness focused iSport Freedom V2. Firmware in the headphones ensures that the mic is optimized for an ideal user experience. The headphones feature a capacitive control in the right earphone: Swipe up and down to raise or lower the volume, right and left to shuffle your tunes, and tap it twice to active voice controls.

Melody-enabled headphones will officially make their debut at the Made in America Music Festival September 2-3 in Philadelphia. You can download the app from the iTunes music store and from the Google Play store.

Editors' Recommendations

Jeremy Kaplan
As Editor in Chief, Jeremy Kaplan transformed Digital Trends from a niche publisher into one of the fastest growing…
GoPro’s tiny Remo remote expands your voice control options
gopro remo available dcim102goprog0063357 jpg

GoPro introduced voice control with its latest flagship action camera, the Hero 5 -- but what if you are shooting in conditions that are too noisy to allow the camera to pick up your voice? The GoPro Remo serves as a voice-activated remote that fights scenarios that make it hard to use the camera’s built-in feature.

Introduced with the Hero 5 last month, GoPro officially released the accessory just before the weekend on Black Friday. The remote is a small, single button on a clip, designed to be worn as close as possible to the user’s voice, such as on the collar. The remote’s closer proximity allows the voice control features to be used even when the camera is mounted farther from the user or when conditions, like wind, prevent the voice control from functioning properly.

Read more
Can we talk? Mobile users enjoy voice assistance, but want more accuracy
apple ai data collection ios 10 3 siriunlock2

Can we talk? Most mobile users are generally positive about voice assistance tech on their mobile devices. However, even casual users would like more interaction and better conversational accuracy, according to a new survey conducted by research and analysis firm Creative Strategies for Artificial Solutions, a natural language interaction (NLI) company.

The study asked about the survey participants' voice assistance use, enjoyment, why they did or didn't use voice assistance, and what improvements they would like. Participants were also queried about where and how they would like more voice interaction and what they would like to use it for. Survey respondents included mobile users between the ages of 16-64 in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan, and China.

Read more
Take charge of your hotel room with your voice assistant, Siri
aloft hotel voice activated siri hotels feat

"Hey Siri, turn up the temperature two degrees." "Hey Siri, where's the closest French restaurant?" The Aloft Hotel Group calls it "Project: Jetson." The latest innovation in the Starwood brand's tech test bed is Siri voice-controlled hotel rooms, according to Fast Company.

The voice-activated-room pilot program is taking place at an Aloft hotel in Boston. When guests go to their rooms for the first time instructions on the television explain how to set up voice activation. Each room has an iPad that guests can train to recognize their voices by speaking a few sentences.

Read more