Head Monster Story
Over 40 Years Strong
Monster and the Noel Lee Story
Monster Cable Products, Inc. was founded in 1979 by Noel Lee, then a laser-fusion design engineer at Lawrence-Livermore Laboratory. Also an audiophile and professional drummer, Noel left his laboratory work in 1974 to perform with his band, Asian Wood. His passion for music was to become the essence of Noel’s professional life, shaping the destiny of Monster and informing the development of Monster Products today.
40+ Years Ago
WE HOOKED UP OUR SPEAKERS WITH LAMP CORD
We didn’t know any better. Noel Lee did. Noel figured that a music system is only as good as its weakest link and the weakest link was the wire. With that fundamental insight and a hard working team of friends and family, an industry was born.
Once people heard music systems optimized by using Monster Cable there was no turning back. Today, we are the world's leading manufacturer of high-performance consumer electronics accessories. Speakers. Power. Computers. Mobile Devices. Gaming. Pro Music Cable. And now headphones. We don't just keep you hooked up, we deliver sound at peak performance.
Because the music matters.
Noel discovers that different speaker wires produce varying degrees of performance. This crucial realization now seems obvious, but it is big news in 1977. Noel understood that cables had to be given the same attention as any other system component. From this breakthrough, Lee develops a high-performance speaker cable, names it "Monster" for its power, registers the name “Monster Cable” and creates both a company and an industry.
Noel begins producing the cable in his garage in San Francisco. Recognizing that people have to hear the difference between Monster and ordinary cable, Noel goes store-to-store doing live demos. Later that year, he shows his product at the Chicago Consumer Electronics Show. Monster Cable starts to receive buzz.
With Monster Cable gaining popularity, Noel sees the need for a wider range of performance-enhancing hi-fi accessories. That same year, he develops Monster’s first audio interconnect cable, Interlink®, and moves the company from his garage to 101 Townsend Street in San Francisco. He hires his first employees, Tai Min and Shang Yu Chang, who are still with the company today.
Monster receives its first U.S patent several years earlier, for the clever (and cleverly named) Xterminator electrical connector. The Monster product line is expanding. Noel then launches the world’s first computer speaker, The MacSpeaker, foreshadowing the most powerful transition in audio’s evolution – decades before streaming, downloading and cloud storage achieves its dominance. Monster Music is launched in 1986.
Noel's foresight establishes a pattern that enables Monster to become a wellspring of innovation, witness Monster Power. As home theater becomes more popular, the need for clean, filtered, surge protected power becomes more evident than ever. Monster introduces a sophisticated line of power conditioning products and includes a connected equipment warranty. Monster continues to innovate in the power category today.
Building the Brand
"In addition to going store-to-store, I rented half a table in a 10-by-10 booth at the 1977 Consumer Electronics Show. I drove to Chicago with a load of wires. I made my first packaging by hand, using rub-on letters and photocopied labels for the packaging and signs. But the labels came out too light, so I bought black felt markers and darkened each by hand. Still, people at the show said they liked the packaging, the idea and our name. At this point we were still working out of the garage in my family's house. The first production table was a four-by-eight piece of plywood and two sawhorses. I bought a pneumatic pump to wind up the cable, cut it, terminate it and put it in boxes. And that was the Monster Cable factory."
- NOEL LEE
Noel’s son, Kevin Lee meets Steve Berman of Interscope Records while exploring new opportunities for Monster Music. Shortly after, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre express interest in the speaker business and are introduced to Monster. In conversations that are of huge significance in the audio industry today, Noel and Kevin explain that speakers are no longer the hottest item in audio, and that headphones are the new speakers.
Jimmy and Dre go to SLS to create headphones. The deal falls apart and they come back to Monster with a very rough prototype that was too big, too boxy, with terrible audio. Under Noel's direction, Monster engineering develops new technologies for headphones and Apple alumni Robert Brunner is contracted by Monster to do the Industrial Design. More than 30 handcrafted and personally tuned prototypes are prepared before the final prototype is chosen.
Monster, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre announce a partnership and debut Beats™ Studio at CES. This collaboration leads to a complete line of over-ear, in-ear and on-ear headphones, all living under the Beats® Brand. Beats Studio hits retail in 2008 and is wildly popular. Neither retailers nor consumers were used to paying $300 for a pair of headphones, but this turned out to be a marketing breakthrough: People would pay for superb audio quality. The Beats legacy begins with Monster as the key design, manufacturing and distribution partner.
The Beats® line expands. Beats Solo is introduced, and Monster successfully engages major music performers to endorse products. Lady Gaga introduces HeartBeats headphones and Justin Bieber jumps on board with The Beats™ Solo Justin Bieber Edition. The strategy is successful, and the Beats name becomes a household word.
Beats ramps up with Beats PRO, Beats Solo HD and Diddy Beats at CES 2010. Monster introduces a successful tie-in with Yao Ming for Beats Solo HD in Asia. Later that year, Monster and Beats introduce ‘The Next Generation Of Sound’ at the Best Buy Theater in New York. Products include Beatbox, PowerBeats with LeBron James, Beats PRO, iBeats, and Just Beats with Justin Bieber. HeartBeats V.2 are introduced.
HTC acquires Beats and HTC iBeats go to retail.
Monster and Beats announce a split.
Monster launches EA MVP Carbon and 24k Headphones.
Join the Revolution
Today Monster is the largest manufacturer of headphones in the world. The company has taken its extraordinary knowledge of the nuances of music reproduction and applied it to the design and manufacture of headphones. And the headphone business will never be the same. With a passion for better performance and a brilliant consumer experience, Monster firmly established the market for headphones valued at $100 plus. The world-famous Beats line of headphones was designed right here at Monster. And the innovations continue.
2020 and Beyond
Monster innovation continues today with SuperStar, the world’s smallest portable wireless speaker and numerous headphone brands, each targeted to a different kind of user. Monster dominates the mobile category with the introduction of PowerCard, a line of small but powerful batteries for charging mobile devices. Monster has also just revolutionized whole-house wireless audio with SoundStage, a remarkable wireless speaker system that uses both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to give listeners greater freedom and flexibility than ever before.
The Monster Legacy
In 2012, Noel Lee received the Lifetime Achievement Award and nine innovative technologies awards at the prestigious Plus X Awards®, in recognition of a company dedicated to creating products that enhance the sound quality of music.
In addition to Noel's achievements, his motto "Always Lead. Never Follow." is infused into the very fabric of Monster's company culture. But at the heart of all things Monster is its commitment to Pure Monster Sound, the reference standard for audio quality that builds upon the company's rich history of continuously endeavoring to give you the very best sound possible.