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5.0 out of 5 stars Beats Solo2 Portable On-Ear Stereo Headphone review by Dale
Sources: iPhone5 with Portaphile Micro/PA2V2/Decware Zen Head amps using the LOD, various computers using Microstreamer/Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza DAC/amps.

Review notes: My first impressions of the sound of the Solo2 are based on direct comparisons to other headphones - the Marley Liberate XL, the Soundmagic HP150, the v-moda M100 and XS, the AKG K812 and K712,...
Published 24 days ago by Dale Thorn

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Please take note
If you have an android phone / Tablet and you want to use the Remote Talk Cable to change songs, adjust the volume, etc. I would like to confirm that it is NOT COMPATIBLE and does not work! YOU HAVE TO USE YOUR DEVICE! So if you don't have an apple the cable is useless. Music: the sound quality is good!

Quote: (Compatible with iOS...
Published 10 days ago by sophie banks

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5.0 out of 5 stars Beats Solo2 Portable On-Ear Stereo Headphone review by Dale, 7 Sep 2014
Dale Thorn (Seal Beach CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beats by Dr. Dre Solo2 On-Ear Headphones - Black (Electronics)
Sources: iPhone5 with Portaphile Micro/PA2V2/Decware Zen Head amps using the LOD, various computers using Microstreamer/Beyer A200p/v-moda Verza DAC/amps.

Review notes: My first impressions of the sound of the Solo2 are based on direct comparisons to other headphones - the Marley Liberate XL, the Soundmagic HP150, the v-moda M100 and XS, the AKG K812 and K712, and notes that I've accumulated from many prior reviews. I describe how I relate to the Solo2 (i.e. my personal tastes and how I use the headphone) only after covering all of the objective issues.

Summary of sound: The Solo2 has a small upper-bass emphasis that most users will appreciate for the extra warmth, but it can also make the lower bass seem less strong by comparison, so if a user were going to boost the bass, I'd recommend a progressive control that can increase the lower bass without adding to the upper bass. Nothing to say here about the Solo2 midrange - clean, detailed, and free of colorations. The treble from ~2.2 khz and up is nearly as smooth and 'flat' as water on a plate, and only the 6-8 db emphasis around 1.5 khz adds a sense of forwardness or emphasis to voices and certain instrument fundamentals. The Beats Solo (original version) and to a lesser extent other lower-priced Beats models had an unenviable reputation in audiophile circles, as they apparently weren't designed for those markets, being more of a portable headphone than a primary listening device for home-based audio systems. Given that the Solo2 costs only $200 USD and sounds this good, audiophiles may want to take note.

Soundstage is tricky to describe since it's dependent to a large extent on the amount and quality of treble that the headphone presents, not to mention the recording itself. I'll just say that the Solo2 can sound amazingly good in that respect, depending on where you find your ideal treble balance. One very demanding track I use in evaluating a headphone is David Chesky and Wonjung Kim's "Girl From Guatemala", and the strong treble percussion starting at 3 minutes in is delineated very well by the Solo2. Another track that's a stress test for treble is 'Time' from Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, and the Solo2 plays that very cleanly too. My other comments about treble, bass, and midrange detail can be found in the sample music tracks listed below.

The Solo2 is on-ear and closed-back, but unlike a lot of on-ear headphones in the $100's to $200's range, the comfort is superb - I can literally wear it for hours of listening with no issues. Isolation is above average for closed-back headphones - at least the on-ear types. Some leakage is evident, so if using the Solo2 in a quiet office or public library etc., the volume would have to be kept to a moderate level. I wear the Solo2 at two click-stops from minimum on my average-size head, which allows a 1/4-inch smaller adjustment on each side for smaller heads. The headband adjustment goes one inch larger on each side from where I wear it, so that should accomodate most larger head sizes. The earpads are really deluxe - soft and very squishy, which should conform well to most ears. The headband has some padding, but not like the earcups. I'd suggest for anyone who doesn't like to feel headband pressure on top of their head, to pull the earcups down slightly more and let them carry more of the weight.

The Solo2's exterior parts are mainly plastic, and being rather polished and shiny, it may show fingerprints etc. depending on the headphone color. Mine is black, and I see prints only when I look close-up. The headband internals are metal of course and there may be metal in the earcups too, but I can't tell, so that's a good indication when the quality is such that I don't know if certain parts are metal or plastic. The single-sided (left side) detachable cable has the extra conductor (Apple-type) on both ends, and I tried to substitute some generic cables with standard miniplugs, but most of them don't fit into the earcup since the sleeves behind the metal plugs are too thick. I did find one generic cable with standard miniplugs that worked - a flat cable that came with a small portable speaker I think - so a substitute cable is possible in an emergency. The Solo2 is efficient enough to be used with any music player or system that I know of, but a good headphone amp is also recommended.

The comments in the music tracks listed below can be compared to other headphone reviews I've done, to get an idea of how the Solo2 plays the different music tracks listed here compared to other headphones. My suggestion is instead of reading each comment below as an absolute unto itself, you could compare these notes to other reviews as they get posted, and see how the Solo2 compares with each individual track.

Animotion - Obsession (1980's New Wave/Techno): The upper bass synth has excellent detail and tone, and both male and female vocals sound natural without favoring either. The Solo2 plays this extremely well.

Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi's Dead (~1980): Strong midrange sound effects - this is a good worst-case test for resonant-type sounds in the most sensitive midrange area. Handled very well by the Solo2.

Beethoven Symphony 9, Solti/CSO (1972): Excellent overall sound. Of special note here are the bass impacts beginning around 10:30 of the fourth movement. Those impacts are soft and well in the background, but you can feel some of the weight they carry with the Solo2.

Black Sabbath - Iron Man (Classic Rock): Very good instrumental detail and the vocal sounds very natural. As with most classic rock tracks, there is very little or no deep bass. The Solo2 plays this music smoothly, and the lack of deep bass doesn't unbalance the treble.

Boz Scaggs - Lowdown (1976): Good sound quality - this is a great test for any nasality in the midrange. Handled extremely well by the Solo2.

Cantus - Danny Boy (Traditional/Male Choral/Acapella): The Solo2 plays the voices with enough low end warmth and weight to sound very natural, yet there is no added emphasis of the lower register of the male voices on this track.

Cath Carroll - Moves Like You (1980's New Wave/Techno): This track's percussion and voice are crisp and well-balanced, and there's a good sense of space or soundstage around the voices and instruments. The Solo2 reproduces the space and detail beautifully.

Catherine Wheel - Black Metallic (~1991): Goth with industrial overtones - I like this since it's a great music composition and the sound effects are smoothly integrated into the mix. This may sound distorted or mushy with some headphones, but the Solo2 renders the deliberate instrumental distortions clearly.

Chris Isaak - Wicked Game (Pop/Rock): The Solo2 plays this high treble energy recording very smoothly - the voice and instruments are very detailed but not edgy - very musical in fact.

Chromatics - I'm On Fire (Synth-Pop, female lead): This track has a good amount of space around the voice and instruments, making for a very pleasant stereo image. The voice is excellent and the tambourine sound is realistic.

David Hazeltine - Fur Elise (Jazz): A very high-quality recording from HDTracks. The Solo2 reproduces the instruments smoothly with a spacious ambiance. The wire-brush-on-cymbal harmonics are extended and detailed, but the frequencies above 11-12 khz may not have the full upper-harmonic effect you'd get with the larger more expensive audiophile headphones.

Grieg (Beecham-Royal Philharmonic) - Peer Gynt-Solveig's Lullaby (Classical): This very old (late 1950's) stereo recording must have been made on the most expensive gear in the world, since the overall sound quality and especially Ilse Hollweg's amazing voice are as close to "being there" as I've heard with some of the better classical recordings made since the year 2000. The Solo2 plays this music perfectly.

Hans Zimmer - Dark Knight-Aggressive Expansion (Soundtrack): The percussion in this track hits really hard, and the bass tones beginning around 0:45 have the ultra-deep "shuddery" kind of sound and feel that indicates a good deep-bass response. Overall, the Solo2 plays this music very well.

Heaven 17 - Let Me Go (1980's New Wave/Techno): The bass instrument (guitar?) has excellent detail, and the voices and ambiance have a "you are there" quality that's uncommon in early 1980's pop music. The Solo2 plays this track perfectly.

Hugo Audiophile - 15-16 (Electronic): I'm not sure what the 15-16 stands for - perhaps track numbers from a CD album. The deep-bass tones that start around 33-34 seconds into the track reproduce very well with the Solo2. This is a great recording for evaluating whether a headphone's bass will be sufficient for most environments, since for many headphones that have a weaker bass, the deep bass gets absorbed and mostly lost when the environment contains a lot of low-frequency energy.

Jimmy Smith - Basin Street Blues (early 60's): This track has several loud crescendos of brass and other instruments that don't sound clean and musical with some headphones. The Solo2 provides excellent detail. Listen particularly to the second crescendo at 15 seconds in for maximum detail effect. I'd like to emphasize that these crescendos are probably the worst-case test I have for instrument separation and detail, and the Solo2 does those extremely well.

Kellogg Auditorium, Battle Creek Michigan, Aeolian-Skinner Organ (1933) - Pedal, 32', Resultant, Arpeggio: This 16 hz organ pedal tone differs from other music tones in that you won't "hear" the tone - you'll only feel it. Although most music tones have harmonics (including this one), the harmonics from this tone will be too weak to provide any "feel", so whatever you actually hear would not be part of the fundamental 16 hz tone. There are ~30 hz sounds in the outdoor environment in big cities, generated by large trucks, buses, and subway trains, and they have a quality of "rumble" that's similar to some deep-bass tones found in music. This 16 hz organ tone is easily distinguished from those sounds when compared on a headphone that has good undistorted response at 16 hz. The Solo2 plays this quite well - you can almost hear/feel the individual 16 cycle per second "beats" of the fundamental tone.

Mantovani - Sunrise Sunset (Easy Listening, ca. 1972): A master musician and conductor who specialized in light classics and orchestral pop music, Mantovani's accomplishments were overshadowed by music critics who couldn't tolerate the notion of "light classics" or "semi-classical" music, even when those recordings were no threat to the classical music genres. In any case the later Mantovani recordings from the mid-1960's through mid-1970's had the advantage of being mixed for much better hi-fi systems than those which the music critics possessed at the start of the Long Playing (LP) record cycle. Here in 2014, at least some of those digital remasters have improved the sound further, although it's not always the case. This track as played on the Solo2 is a perfect example of the sheer musicality lurking in those later recordings, and is highly recommended for soundstage, instrumental tone, and musical balance.

Michael Tilson Thomas - Rhapsody In Blue (20th Century Classic): Great sound and soundstage, and terrific piano playing and tone. There are some very deep bass impacts starting around 38 seconds into the 17:24 length track, and the weight of those impacts is subtle but impressive with the Solo2.

Pinback - Non Photo Blue (Pop-Rock): Crispy sound with "crunchy guitars and bashing drums" - the Solo2 renders this music as perfectly as I've heard an energetic pop-rock recording played with any headphone.

Porcupine Tree - Trains (Pop-Rock): This track opens with some nicely-detailed string sounds and a forward-sounding male voice with a higher-than-average register. There are a series of "clip-clop" effects starting at 3:19 that should sound like they were made with wooden blocks of some kind. The Solo2 reproduces part of that sound effect, but the 'clop' portion is subdued.

Richard Strauss (Mester-Pasadena) - Also Sprach Zarathustra (opening) (Classical): The granddaddy of bass is in the opening 1:50 of this recording, and I've heard it only once on a large and expensive loudspeaker system in Cleveland. For most people, that experience would be indistinguishable from being in a fairly strong earthquake. The Solo2 conveys as much of that experience as is possible on a typical full-size headphone. The tympani also have good impact here.

Scarlatti-Kipnis - Sonata in E Major K381 (Classical, Harpsichord): The harpsichord here is fairly bright and highly detailed, and the Solo2 renders the tones and transients perfectly.

Tiger Okoshi - Bootsman's Little House (Jazz): The trumpet here is recorded fairly close up and is somewhat bright with a significant "bite". The Solo2's reproduction is near-perfect, and the close-miked piano is also a treat. For comparison, I have several Maynard Ferguson tracks that feature a similarly strong trumpet with lots of brassy bite.

Trombone Shorty - Backatown (Jazz-Funk): The deep bass impacts here are very strong and work extremely well with the horns and other instruments. The Solo2 delivers the impacts with great weight and detail, and the horns have the kind of bite that gives them a wonderfully realistic sound.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much improved...., 23 Jun 2014
After owning a pair of original Solo's and having my girlfriend steal them on a regular basis, I decided it was time to buy another pair. I saw the Solo 2's and thought it's worth spending the extra to give them a try.

First impressions, very good! Well boxed and comes with all the accessories you'll need (case, Control Talk cable, carabiner). As for the headphones themselves, they feel immediately much sturdier than the older model. Upon closer inspection, the hinges where the headphones fold on the older model were made from plastic and slowly wear away over time. The hinges on the Solo 2's are made from metal and therefore do not wear away (as quickly at least). This is great news because the hinges on the old Solo's are basically worn out after 1 year of use. The cable included also feels stronger. Only time will tell if it is! The Solo 2's are also slightly more comfortable I find.

Now for the important part: Sound Quality. The original Solo's were very good and it's difficult to improve the sound on something that already sounds good. Is the sound quality better you ask? Yes, it is. I find there is a much more natural response from the headphones. The bass is not so over exaggerated as the older model. Mids and highs are very clear without sounding sharp. You can tell there have been many small tweaks made from the old model, but they make quite a big difference. Overall, it is a much more refined listening experience. I have listened to just about every genre of music you can think of on these headphones, from classical to thrash metal and all of them sound fantastic.

In conclusion, I'm very happy with my purchase and would definitely recommend spending the extra to buy these over the originals. The biggest challenge I have now is to keep my girlfriend away from them!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For your listening pleasure, get this!, 10 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Beats by Dr. Dre Solo2 On-Ear Headphones - Black (Electronics)
First class item, a tad expensive, but I guess you get what you pay for and this item is really very good. Great quality with adjustable size head-band, the sound quality is excellent and very comfortable to wear, not too light.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to Beat(s), 19 Jun 2014
If it's neon, I'll buy it. If it's neon and pink? I've already bought it.

I first saw the Solo2 Headphones in an Amazon email and was instantly drawn to them. I debated buying them as they are obviously a more premium headphone brand but after tiring of my SMS Over-Ear Headphones giving me headaches from the weight of them, I thought I'd take a risk.

On arrival, the headphones look as premium as you would hope. High quality packaging safely encloses the headphones, matching wire, carry pouch and carabineer.

First impressions of the headphones were very positive: smooth, sexy, sleek... And of course, bright pink! They are a gorgeous colour with a silver "b" on each earcup that even looks a little bit sparkly (cute - as Dre would have most definitely hoped for). The matching wire looks great, too. With an in-line mic, these worked perfectly with my iPhone, so no complaints there. A high shine finish and loud colour choice makes these headphones far from subtle but they are streamlined and sit neatly over-ear, unlike other OE headphones that can engulf a smaller head.

The headphones feel very comfortable, with the padded headband and ear cushions and they don't push into my head like my SMS Headphones, which is a definite plus. Over-ear headphones can naturally make your ears hot, but even with extended playtimes, I haven't found the Solo2s to cause discomfort. Due to the plastic construction instead of metal, they are light but do not feel cheap; unlike the old Solo HDs that felt "clackety" (for want of a better word!).

With regards to sound quality, the headphones also speak volumes. Using my headphones primarily with my iPhone 5, when the volume is only half way, they sound good and pick up on parts of songs that I haven't heard before. However, I could hear other people around me with the volume at "half mast", so I would say that noise cancellation would improve these headphones. As for sound leakage, I had no complaints from people around me. I even tested them and asked a colleague if they could hear my music and only when the volume was at 90% did they say it was "annoyingly" audible.

Overall, I am very happy with my new Solo2 Headphones. The colour is eye-catching; the build quality is high and (in my eyes / ears) they definitely go beyond the normal "fashion accessory" demonization which Beats is often labelled with.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good, 8 Aug 2014
I spent a long time looking at various pairs of headphones and finally setted on these - despite the Beats bashers saying they're only for people who care about style over substance. Well, now I own a pair, I can safely say those people are wrong.

Yes - they are a good looking pair of headphones. I got comments on them in the office on the first day I bought them. And I've continued to get comments and questions about them after that. The shiny headband will attract fingerprints of course, but they're only really noticeable if you look closely anyway. The build quality is fantastic. The hinges lock solidly, the band adjusts well and doesn't pinch. I can wear these for long periods with no issue. The foam earcups are very comforable and the leatherette finish is lovely. The cable is thick, the L shaped connector is a nice touch and is well built, and I find the remote works well, and because it's a bit bigger, it's easier to change volume/play/pause than with some headphones.

When it comes to the audio, let me start with things that some people might not enjoy about the Beats. They do leak a little bit of sound, when they're at full pelt. Nothing major, but it might annoy a fellow train passenger if you're at full volume. Isolation is very good though - you won't hear that much of the outside world.

The soundstage is not flat. The headphones do bring out the bass without question, but it is NOT overwhelming, and the sound as a whole is pretty well balanced. You can hear highs and mids without trouble -- I've certainly heard parts of songs I didn't know existed before! It's a vast improvement on my pair of in-ear earphones, which I'd previously thought were pretty good.

If like me, you've been debating about getting a pair of these for a while, just take the plunge. The only thing you'll regret is you didn't get them before now!
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars much improved beats from the last ones, 15 Jun 2014
This review is from: Beats by Dr. Dre Solo2 On-Ear Headphones - Black (Electronics)
very good headphones excellent sound i cant believe some people are saying there rubbish (as good as a cheap pair £10 headphones) what are they listening too!! okay a bit pricey but they look good and as i said excellent sound. dont get put off by negative reviews on these solo beats 2 some people really dont have a clue.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, 24 Jun 2014
I got these Beats Solo 2's as a present after contemplating buying a pair for myself for years. I usually only use in ear headphones but I thought I would go for something different, especially for use at home and whilst travelling/on holiday.

I finally decided to go for the blue Solo's as they are not too plain, yet not to bright. They come in a great box that is ideal to keep, with a perfect carry case to protect your headphones on the move, my only comment is it would be great if it was a hard case as then i could put these in my suitcase for holidays. The earcups fold down on the headphones to make them more compact, and unlike other headphones ive used before it feels sturdy and as if the hinge will last.

I use these headphones mainly with my iPhone 5 and iPod Touch, at work and to watch TV on demand. The ear cushions are well padded so even after wearing the headphones for hours on end after a journey to Essex they still felt comfortable.

I listen to mostly House Music and this gave the Solo 2's a chance to show off the quality of bass. The quality was very good even at a high volume, so these headphones both look amazing, and sound amazing. I usually have the volume around 70%, and there is not distortion, and I cant hear people when in the same room (a bonus with the family) so i would rate the noise cancelling highly.

The finish on the headphones is great, whilst still having a slight gloss finish they still feel and look premium. The silver 'b' logo on the outside of the earcup just tops the headphone off.

Your detachable headphone cable is included in the box, and this is even colour matched which is a bonus. The cable includes an in-line mic so you can take phone calls and change songs without having to take your device from your pocket.

Should you buy the Beats Solo 2?
Definitely. They may seem pricey at first glance but once you receive them you wont be disappointed. I have worn these at the gym (when i occasionally go) and they are more comfortable than any in or over ears that i have tried previously. They are a guaranteed head turner, feature great noise isolation, and have a premium and expensive finish.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 4 Aug 2014
Didn't purchase on here, I got them from argos and I must say I'm glad I bought them I think they are brilliant. Really good sound quality as well as strong comfortable all round feel. 5 stars would recommend to people who are interested.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 1 Oct 2014
This review is from: Beats by Dr. Dre Solo2 On-Ear Headphones - Black (Electronics)
yes they were very good but i think there abit over priced to be honest
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never gonna stop music, it's like air to me., 23 Jun 2014
Construction and Packaging
The packaging builds your expectation of getting to the contents within the box, thick cellophane wrapper, robust slide out box in half revealing an embossed message "Change the way you hear sound" delve deeper to reveal the neoprene bag containing the goodies....

The hinged enclosed earpieces break the headphones down to a collapsible state for transit in the bag (special instructions are included at the bottom of the box beautifully presented in a gated sleeve). Unfurled and unhinged the headphones feel sturdy; the headband is formed from a thick plastic encasing a steel sprung strip, the hinged ear pieces extend on a rigid steel runner with ample extension potential, this also encases the cable through to the right headphone cup. The full ear phone cup is supported on the ear with medium but comfortable padding separating the provision of an air space between the ear and the headphone driver which in turn is covered and protected by a taught cloth cover.

The headphone triple-way jack and cable along with the care documentation require deeper diving into the packaging and are retrieved from the bottom of the box; fear not, they are not missing! The headphone cable is certainly tougher and thicker than most at around 4mm thickness, tangling and knotting will not be an issue. The triple jacks are embedded into thick rubber casing reducing the risk of stress on the copper connectivity carrying the crucial bit, sound, to the ear pieces from the device...

N.B. Nice feature having a replaceable cable between device and ear phone

The Playback Experience
The comfy headphones suitably positioned, EQ set to off on the iPod select "Tomorrow Belongs to Nobody" and in the words of the song "let's go".... First thing you notice is the guitar positioning, the stereo field sounds fresh and although you have played the tune before it does sound fuller than you would expect compressed sound to be. The detail is crisp; high hat taps are discernable from crunchy guitar high distorted tones... The punchy bass drums sound awesome with that crispy click discernable on the intricate treble kicks. The bass guitars break into and through the mix with root note undertones to give a full and rewarding spectrum of expressive but clear crisp and concise tones. After the first few tracks you hardly notice that you have headphones on as you are emerged in the music experience, the outside is no longer audibly discernable; the silence between tracks is eerie whilst eagerly waiting to hear the next awesome sound delivery...

Then onto something slightly gentler, "Level 42", there is plinkity plonk in there I never noticed before, crisp synth stabs that punch in you almost look left and right taken by surprise, guitar riffs that really fell into the mix overwhelmed by the slap and pop bass line shine through to give a fresh and rewarding listening experience, moving onto another track, the familiar tracks are taking on a completely new and complex arrangement of detailed complimentary sounds and tones, I am really impressed....

I have had good quality headphones before and use Sennheiser cans in studios, I must admit I was sceptical when seeing "Change the way you hear sound" on the box, but for me, this headset provides listening pleasure that is highly detailed, refreshing and invigorating. As Dr. Dre said "I'm never gunna stop music, it's like air to me." Well in this case these Solo2's are an absolute juggernaut.
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