In Search of Beats Replacement, Monster Turns to…Tumi?

Photo of Tumi x Monster HeadphonesThe best briefcase I have ever owned – it has literally been around the world with me – is my Tumi leather soft-side, expandable briefcase. I still own it and whenever I go anywhere for a business meeting…it goes with me. So it caught my attention today scanning the news wire services when I saw a press release that Monster (formerly Monster Cable) was partnering with Tumi to launch a new headphone – called the Tumi x Monster – based on their existing Inspirations model.

Not exactly an intuitive choice…Monster has their reasons for partnering with the luxury travel brand…


There has been a huge, almost monstrous (pardon the pun), buzz surrounding Monster ever since the company revealed that its agreement with Beats by Dr. Dre was dissolving at the end of this year. Knowledgeable sources tell us that Beats headphones has become a major part of the company’s revenue, both directly through sales of the Beats-branded headphones and indirectly by helping increase Monster’s overall headphone market share benefitting all of their headphone models. The looming dissolution of the Beats partnership is expected to have a significant effect on the company.

To help stave off that impact, Monster has announced a series of new headphone models – many of which have involved partnerships with various entities such as Nick Cannon; Lance Armstrong; Diesel; Earth, Wind, & Fire; JYP Entertainment; etc. And as we previously reported, the company also launched a significant effort to create a fashion design-oriented franchise called Inspirations.

Photo of Tumi x Monster Headphones

Tumi x Monster headphones

A bit of a mystery…

Inspirations was always a bit of a mystery to us. According to the company, there are two primary target markets for Inspirations, but to us…they seem incompatible. There is the fashionista who will appreciate the changeable headbands (a different color to match every outfit).

But then there is the traveling professional that will want a high sound-quality headphone with noise-cancelling. I suppose you just insert the black headband and the professional will look at it less and listen to it more. But it seems like – at best – an awkward marketing proposition as these two channels don’t appear to have any intersecting commonality.

Targeting the traveler…

Tumi logoTumi x Monster appears to be targeted at that traveling professional. Saying that the end product combines “Monster’s Pure Monster Sound with Tumi’s unparalleled style and design,” the press release is full of the typical marketing hype we’ve come to expect from the company.

“Tumi x Monster headphones” the release continues, “will deliver the ultimate listening experience for audiophiles and travelers alike.”

Slightly modified…

Monster logoThe Tumi x Monster appears to be a slightly modified cosmetic design of the standard Inspiration headphone. The leather bands – in black and brown – appear to be very consistent with Tumi-style soft leather and carry what looks to be an embossed Tumi logo.

The color of the metallic finish on the ends of the earcups themselves also appears to be modified for Tumi in a lighter finish. Interestingly, the Tumi logo takes precedence over the Monster logo in its larger, bold, red design. The Inspirations product designation also is shown – as in the Monster versions – horizontally printed at the top of the earcups.

You can cancel the cancelling…

The Tumi x Monster will come with the two leather headbands and a third made of black ballistic nylon included. The Tumi version also comes with a carrying case made of the Tumi ballistic nylon material in which the headphones can be folded into for easy carrying.

Interestingly, the press release goes out of the way to note that although the headphones (like all Inspirations headphones) comes with the built-in active noise cancellation circuitry – the user is free to turn off the circuitry. The soft, deep cushion cups will still provide a high degree of isolation from outside noise.

Those interested in purchasing the Tumi x Monster Inspirations headphones will find them for sale in Tumi stores worldwide at on the tumi.com website at an MSRP of $395.

For more information on Monster, see: www.monsterproducts.com.

For more information on Tumi, see: www.tumi.com.

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