Ex-Beats By Dre Partner Launches Competing Headphone Line

Sometimes competition can come from the strangest places, as is the case with Beats By Dre’s new contender.

According to Billboard, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s successful headphone line will now face competition from former ally, Kevin Lee. Lee—whose father founded Monster, Beats’s parent company— played an essential role in the development and release of the Beats by Dre headphones under the Monster logo. But now, the man has broken from Monster and started his own headphone company called SOL Republic.

And Lee considers his new product a much more affordable option for fans of music.

“I’m very excited about the success of Beats because it’s a proven concept that people will care about sound, especially young kids,” he stated. “With that proof-of-concept in place, I looked at the marketplace and said there is still a huge missing element, which is great sound at a mid price point.”

Noticing that missing element, the Beats developer went to his father with a new idea: “I want to reach everybody. We have got to come out with headphones that sound good but also hits a price point a lot of people can afford.”

With the support of his father and his Monster family, he then created SOL Republic with electronic execs Scott Hix and Seth Combs to gear headphones to more of the public, focusing on prices within the $50-$150 range.

The line’s over-the-ear headphones, SOL Republic Tracks, boast a more rugged model than average headphones, equipped with interchangeable speakers attached to a one-piece adjustable FlexTech polymer headband.

“You literally can’t break [the headband],” Lee declares.

As reported by USA Today, Tracks start at $100 and HD models with premium sound are priced at $130. SOL, which stands for “Soundtrack of Life” in-ear Amps are $60, with the HD models priced at $100 with various color options.

The SOL Republic creators already have more marketing approaches in mind. “We have some very exciting collaborations … [to announce] over the next three to six months in fashion and in apparel as well as in the sports side of the market,” said co-founder Hix.

As of press time, an official launch date has yet to be announced. —Rachelle Jean-Louis

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