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4.1 out of 5 stars354
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on 31 December 2012
Having been a musician and a strong headphone enthusiast, owning dozens pairs of high end headphones with matching professional audio interfaces/converters, I wanted to have a extensive test on these Beats Solo HD headphones, and see what the hype is all about.

I first listened to them at various street retailers, but wanted to listen them through a better source, converter and amp so I purchased myself a genuine pair from Amazon to give these headphones a better potential, for a more thorough review.

Packaging, presentation - top notch. It's clear that Beats want to make this headphone very appealing, something once you have in your hand look pretty and you want to feel proud of. The headphone box itself is well made, nice printed outer packaging. The headphone is packed with accessories - a well made soft carrying case, the iconic red cable with inline control for iDevices, cleaning cloth, and some very well printed booklets.

Look and build quality - These I do admit are very stylish looking headphones. Combined with their brilliant marketing and endorsements, these headphone have become a great fashion trend. The design of these are very clever, with the ability to fold them for portability, put it round the neck when not listening to music (so it becomes a £100+ necklace). Build quality initially look decent but upon close look, it's rather poor. The folding mechanism is based on plastic, so after some fair usage, the plastic will wear off, making the headphone loose at the hinge. I have seen countless number of these headphone that won't keep it's rigidity, just flapping about.

Isolation of these headphone is actually pretty good. For a passive isolating on-the-ear headphone (without any active NC circuitry), these block out a considerable amount of noise. Comfort is good too.

Then to the sound. The Most important factor, being a "headphone" - Boy I'm I DISAPPOINTED with these!

The treble of these is seriously rolled off. Making these greatly lack in fidelity and clarity. The reason for this I would imagine to allow people to crank these up louder for more bass, without the high end to become shrill. However, for a headphone with 'HD' in the name, this is absolutely absurd. Soundstage is poor, so a track that should sound broad and spacious (think a concert hall) will sound very dry and close together (think of a tiny bedroom). Listening to anything with acoustic instrument is disastrous on these, it has very poor ability to reproduce acoustic instruments efficiently. Instrument separation is as bad as its soundstage. Strings sound fake, woodwinds sound plastic, vocals sound dull and recessed. People often say these have great bass - the truth is that they don't. They have a exaggerated bass that is both muddy and bloated - Because of the rolled off top, the bass will sound relatively louder. The mid bass is unnaturally boasted, so kicks will have a good thump, however the bass response doesn't actually go very deep at all. So you won't really hear a good quality sub bass of these. A kick drums will sound punchy but not deep and rich.

People who thinks that these headphone are the "best headphone they have heard", is likely not to be lying... However it's a given that they have only had 2 pairs in their like, the other pair they have heard being the iPod earbud. People will think these are great until they have heard proper headphones. At over £120, you could get some seriously high quality top performing headphones that is used by professionals in the studio. (Yes including Dr Dre himself)

The Noontec Zoro, which is styled similar to these headphones is a significantly better headphone, with better clarity, balance, soundstage. Build quality is superior too. What's more, the Zoro cost less than £50, making these "SOLO HD" a ridiculously over-priced and under-performing. At half of its price, you could get the Denon D1100, an audiophile grade phone which is leagues better in every aspect, except the amount of plastic used and shininess. At the same price, you are looking at some of the most used studio headphones in the world such as the Beyerdynamic DT770, Audio Technica M50, Shure SRH840, AKG K550 etc etc.

There is a reason that Beats headphone are very poorly regarded in the professional and audiophile world - they fail that what they should deliver - sound quality. If you want a shiny plastic headband or necklace, doesn't mind being ripped off, and have never heard a true high quality headphone, then go and buy these... However, if you at all care about the sound quality, run away from Beats as far and fast as you can!

Their clever marketing, endorsements with the combination of misinformed consumers have made these a success that is not deserved.
1818 comments367 of 404 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 23 October 2012
I purchased my pair direct from the dr dre website. At first was happy with purchase. They are not a purists headphone but they seemed well built and had a pleasant sound which seemed optimised to deliver a weighty performance with the compressed audio that most people used. The headphones developed a fault and one speaker intermittently cut out. Since I am an engineer I dismantled the headset to fix the problem myself. I was horrified to discover that internally the headset had no resemblance of the quality it seemed to present externally. In fact the internals were of cheapest child's toy quality. The audio drivers were very cheap. The sound is only reasonable because they are equalised electrically by the most horrible looking circuit board. It is the amplification required that accounts for the headphones very poor battery life and is wholly responsible for making otherwise cheap account ice sound reasonable. The wiring was so poor and thin that I just realised I had wasted my money. I put them in the bin and purchased a quality pair of phones to replace them from den on. I feel ripped off since these phones are obviously made in china to the lowest standards possible internally. I would never buy any monster branded product again.
1212 comments158 of 201 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 June 2014
We bought these Headphones after much pleading by our 12 yr old daughter and she certainly was pleased up to now. She has had them for less than 3 months normal use and just this week, one earpiece has stopped working and the other has detached (wire still intact) from the headset. Really disappointed in view of spin and spend on this product. Bless her she was afraid to tell us as she knew they cost so much. We can't return to Amazon (unfortunately) as we're outside returns date so we now have to go bat with Dr Beats - fingers crossed they do the right thing.
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on 10 November 2013
My Chinese Girlfriend (bless her gentle heart) saved up and bought these 18 months ago. When I heard them demo-ed in the shop, I thought they sounded 'dull'. Maybe not quite run in. I did a direct comparison with a pair of £90 Grado SR80's the other day which are 9 years old. The Grado's were described to me as a "nice stocking filler" by the snooty audiophile salesman. An entry level set of cans I suppose he meant.

They sounded beautiful in a side by side comparison with the 'Dr.Dre' headphones. The 'Dr.dre' really did sound like a pair of £10 phones from a market. I wish I could have explained to my girlfriend how utterly crap her headphones sound, throw them in the nearest skip and then go out and get her a pair of AKG's or something. But I can't. It would break her little heart and mine. It is a secret I will have to take to the grave.

I tried moving them around on my head and checked to see if I had them round the wrong way, etc. I was simply horrified that such an expensive product sounded so utterly awful!!!

How can her expensive set of phones sound so completely devoid of midrange and have such flabby lazy bass? Because she paid for "dr.Dre's" endorsement.

I do not know what kind of Doctor the guy is but he certainly didn't get a PHD in sound quality.

DR. DRE(eadful)!

Do yourselves a favour and avoid these truly awful things. Google "best headphones under 200 quid" and make an informed choice.

Buying celebrity endorsed products is definitely pot luck. You pay extra for the persons moniker. I once had a video recorder endorsed by Phillipe starck. It was beautiful to behold. But in this case dr. whatever's name is on a truly low end product.

I pray daily that my girlfriend's set break so I can bin them and get her something else. Our loved ones should not be subjected to horror's like this.
0Comment13 of 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 May 2014
These were purchased as a present for my daughter, she was after good headphones and as I already have them in black I already knew they have a great sound and are comfy to wear. I wouldn't by headphones by anyone else now!
11 comment4 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 January 2014
great gift for teenagers and above.
Not cheap but great quality (starts with the box) and tactile.
We love this product.
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on 28 December 2013
So glad I save up the money to buy these they are worth every Pennie , come with a great case to keep them safe , the beat on the music is amazing so much better then regular headphone at least I know theses are going to last for a long while , great to know on the wire that there's a button to answer phone calls and to control the volume and to pause and forward a song or to go back to a song . The black colour looks great
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on 11 September 2015
Christmas present for the teen of the house. He raves about them but I think my Sony's and Sennheiser's have just as good sound at far less cost.

So they look nice, various colours, have good sound, fold - which is great, and you can buy a longer audio cable for them if you want (although this might affect sound quality).

But the packaging is barmy, Definately no 'Save a tree' consideration given.
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on 24 June 2014
Son rarely has them off - got them for an amazing price too - only trouble is he now doesn't always hear me!
0Comment1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 May 2014
Absolutely amazing love them use them for everything. Jogging, gym or just in general one of my best buys x
0Comment1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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