Top critical review
10 people found this helpful
"Teen hipsters with expensive Cans"
on 13 December 2013
Curious about all the fuss made about Beats headphones, I borrowed a pair of these for a few days from a relative, they're big into beats having owned a few models, so I made them part with them for a few days "testing"
I can say, that the title of the review pretty much sums it up for me. I wouldn't call myself a high level Audiophile, but I do take my audio listening quality a bit more seriously, but not the extreme levels some do.
I put the Beats through my Asus Xonar sound card, which is capable of very good quality audio definition, as well as tonal seperation..this takes no prisoners are far as accoustics are concerned, you do notice a big difference from the cheaper nasty offerings to genuine higher quality headphones/speakers. I would add I've used a few of the more expensive Sennheiser's and a few other makers with higher end offerings.
I'll sum things up quickly
+ Build is ok, better but certainly not £250's worth in my view. They feel sturdy enough but the plastics don't feel high end (bit cheap) and the ear cups don't have the same level of quality I would expect at this price (not sure how they would hold up)
+ I found them pretty comfy overall not too heavy well balance and felt decent on the "ears"
+ Noise cancelling works well, not the absolute best I've used but respectable, built in battery to charge which is probably more convenient for some
- Over aggressive bass response, even dropping the EQ down the bass is overly emphasised
- Harsh upper mid and high end
- Mediocre tonal response/seperation not suited to general music listening
I listen to quite a large variety of music from pop, heavy metal, rock, 80's, soul, classical, funk you name it. I can say hands down the Beats are not premium sounding phones, but whilst the target buyer might enjoy bone shattering bass thumping headphones for some types of music, it's over the top and too much even for me (I like a strong bass but not always)
I spent some time trying to expand the seperation using the Xonar control panel, it proved quite difficult.
As I own a pair of Yamaha HPH-200's a comparison was on the cards. The phones have no noise cancelling, and are quite well priced.
Hands down the Yamaha's spanked the Beats in just about every accoustic area, surprising considering the big price difference. The HPH-200's have a warm rich, but balanced sound capable of delivering punchy bass when required, but subtle tones too. I can up mix to Dolby Headphones, pro logic IIx for that "live" sound. Bottom line is this combination is capable of delivering "in the studio sound" you might as well be standing in the recording studio.
The beats just don't deliver here, it's all bone crunching bass with uncomfortable unrefined upper treble that is just too raw for my ears even with boom the bass type sounds and music, there is no balance at all. Might work for DJ's but not for most music listeners
My advice is:
If you want a pair of "funky looking" cans, buy Skullcandy and their vibrant looking but affordable head phones
If you want a pair of really good sounding headphones buy a pair Sennheiser HD 558's
If you want a pair of good portable phones with noise cancellation get the Sennheiser PXC310
If you want a pair of phones that are compact enough to travel with and sound great whilst not costing a fortune get the Yamaha HPH-200's
Bottom line is unfortunately the price does not reflect the performance or audio quality. For £250 I expect to be blown away, not for a pair of £70 odd headphones to slap down a top line product like this.
I appreciate the "fashion aspect" for some, as above there are cheaper ways of looking "hip" if you require that. These cans don't sound bad sure they beat £20 phones, but then so do £50 phones. Certainly I wasn't overly impressed and I really wouldn't swap these for my Yamaha's. Ignore the hype and go with a product that sounds good, rather than looks cool.