Skullcandy's stand at CES 2012 was festooned with various colour versions of the company's new DJ-focused MixMaster headphones, a set it worked with Mix Master Mike of the Beastie Boys to produce. And boy, does it have a lot of cool features.
The audio quality - based on a technology which the company refers to as Supreme Sound - has been tweaked in an effort to improve bass, vocals and highs. The pair we tried did certainly produce nicely punchy bass.
The cable is detachable, allowing you to replace only this bit if it degrades, and indeed Skullcandy bundles the headphones with two cables: one coiled cable for DJs, and a straight cable with an inline mic and three-button remote that's compatible with iOS. You can, for example, take a photo on your iPhone using the headphones' remote.
There are 'ambidextrous cable inputs' - in other words, you can plug it in on either side of the headphones - and you can daisy-chain a second pair of headphones.
But here's the feature we thought was coolest of all. Imagine a DJ holding a pair of headphones on one ear while mixing with his or her other hand - are you picturing it? One cup of the headphones faces the ear, but the rest of the headphones are twisted away from the head.
The problem with this is that listening through only one ear doesn't give a complete sound, and you could miss details in the music. So Skullcandy has built a switch into both cups of the headphones so that when it's twisted around, the sound flips into mono.
We're not sure what degree of involvement Mix Master Mike actually had in the design of the headphones. But this sort of lateral thinking certainly sounds like the sort of thing that would happen if you got the people who were going to use a product to help design it.
The Mix Master set will retail for $249, or $349 in a particularly vibrant paint job designed by the artist Andy Howell; Skullcandy says it'll be available in the UK a little bit later, but didn't have pricing details for us.
The more expensive Andy Howell version is on the right