Over the last few years the iconic Beats by Dr Dre headphones have turned headphones into a fashion accessory. It seems like every other pair of headphones on the streets has the iconic ‘b’ on the side. They were launched as Dr Dre’s bold mission to transform the way people listen to music:
““People aren’t hearing all the music.
Artists and producers work hard in the studio perfecting their sound. But people can’t really hear it with normal headphones. Most headphones can’t handle the bass, the detail, the dynamics. Bottom line: the music doesn’t move you.
With beats, people are going to hear what the artists hear and listen to the music the way they should: the way I do.”
Beats Studio Wireless Over-Ear Headphones – Metallic Sky Blue are the flagship headphones of the range. Featuring advanced driver technology, they are designed for bass heads and audiophiles alike. So do they succeed in helping Dr Dre accomplish his mission to deliver the best headphones on the market? Or they are just an elaborate fashion accessory with a marketing juggernaut behind them?
The Beats by Dr Dre Studio headphones are designed to be noticed. These are not for people looking for a low profile on the commute to work. When you buy these the packaging lets you know you’ve bought the ‘real deal’ when it comes to looks and presentation. An onslaught of celebrity endorsements have made them ‘cool’, while the finely curved continuous lines create a beautiful pair of cans.
The ear cups are plush and well padded and fit snugly without being too tight, enabling you to listen to your beats for hours on end in comfort. The audio cable is also fitted with an iSonitalk answer button and mic so you can take calls on your iPhone or music phone.
So that’s appearance getting a big tick, but what about the sound quality? If you’re not a seasoned audiophile or work in a studio and these are your first expensive pair of headphones, then you will probably be blown away by the sound quality of the Beats by Dr Dre Studio headphones. You will be able to listen to music like you’ve never heard it before, and feel engulfed by the deep throbbing bass that feels like you’ve been swallowed inside a loudspeaker.
However, if you’re looking for the best headphones for sound quality in this price range you might want to look elsewhere. The marketing makes it clear that these headphones are all about bass, which is great if you’re planning on listening to hip-hop 24/7. But unfortunately the Beats by Dr Dre range of headphones have been criticised for having such powerful bass that it submerges the mids and high notes. Classical, or any music with a complicated mid range, wont sound at its best on these.
What’s more, the sound cancellation technology has also been blamed for causing a hissing sound, even at high volumes. So essentially you’re swapping ambient background noise for a hiss, which you have no choice about as the noise cancellation technology can’t be turned off.
Many people have been delighted with their Beats by Dr Dre Studio headphones. For many of these people, these may be their first experience of higher end headphones, so the sound quality can no doubt sound exceptional. The distinctive looks of these headphones are also higher on many people’s priorities than comparing the sound to other headphones in the upper price bracket.
But for people with experience using studio headphones and those in the upper range, a lot of people have been disappointed. Many complain of the bass drowning out the rest of the sound, and another common complaint is the noise leakage. Wear Beats by Dr Dre Studio headphones on the train or bus and you might as well play your tunes through a small loud speaker.
So definitely try these before you buy, and compare them with other headphones in the price range which might lack the distinctive ‘b’ but could well deliver a more rounded audio experience. But if you’re desperate for the fashion statement these headphones make, take a look at the Beats by Dr Dre Pro headphones, which offer a step up in the sound for putting down a little extra cash.
Music you want to turn up
Hip-hop, rock, dubstep, drum& bass and anything where you want the bass to rattle your eyeballs.
Music where you want to take them off
Any music you don’t want overloaded with bass, such as classical and tracks with rich acoustic instruments or vocals.