“B” is for Beats. This seems to be the mindset in the headphone world these days as the iconic headphones from Monster and Dr. Dre continue to gain popularity. Born in 2008, the Beats by Dr. Dre Studio Headphones come from the first celebrity to successfully market a pair of headphones. Known for their killer bass and sweet style, they have become quite well regarded amongst the younger generation of listeners and athletes. Join me after the break for my full review of these now well known favorites.
Now accompanied by the Solo and Beats Pro Headphones, the Studios currently sit as the midrange Beats headset. At $300, the Studios hold their place in the world of higher end consumer headphones. Included with the headphones comes 2 audio chords, one with Monster “ControlTalk” capabilities, the other without, an traveller’s case, a full size ¼” Adapter, an airline adapter, and a Monster Cleaning Cloth. The pair which I am reviewing is a limited edition color pair, originally released late last year. A little overwhelming at first with all the features, it’s time to break it down piece by piece.
The Studios are some of the most comfortable headphones I have ever put on my head. With a lightweight plastic frame and plush over ear cushions, it was hard to remember I was even wearing them. Even with the noise canceling turned on, I felt zero pressure. The cans are certainly comfortable enough for wearing during longer listening periods and everyday street use as well. Wearing the Studios while moving seems to be no problem either as the earcups do twist to allow some movement. Overall, comfort is extremely solid.
Unfortunately in order to benefit comfort and style, durability and build quality were seemingly cut. Some of the most comfortable headphones I have ever worn are unfortunately also some of the weakest built. With an all plastic build, the Studios are extremely light though fragile. I’ve already seen countless pairs which have had better days. That aside, the sturdy carrying case will certainly help. If you respect your gear, I doubt you will have any major issues. Another point to make about the build of the Studios is the amount of sound leakage. Even at about 30% volume on my device, I was able to hear the music clearly as another user was listening. Whether or not this matters to you is your call, just keep it in mind the next time you’re rocking out to Justin Bieber.
Now the all important sound. With well marketed and stylish headphones like these, it may be difficult to remember what should be the most influential factor in your headphone purchase. After my testing, it is clear that these headphones are quite different from the previously reviewed QC 15’s. Where the Bose produced a clean and refined sound, the Beats create a strong and powerful effect. This is neither good or bad, simply a matter of choice. With the Beats by Dr. Dre option, you should realize you’re getting some pretty bass heavy headphones. Throughout my detailed sampling, I found this feature to be the most intriguing when listening to the hip-hop/rap, alt-rock, and modern pop genres. When listening to other genres such as classical, the bass may be a bit too heavy for some and a nuisance more than anything. Other than the strong bass, the mids and highs performed relatively well. Only briefly did I notice muddying between layers, as to be expected from headphones with this powerful of a sound. As advertised, the Studios do have a noise canceling feature, not too noticeably affecting the sound and canceling out a fair amount of background disturbances. To be pointed out though, is that the Studios may have been more appropriately named noise isolating as they do a fair job doing just that.
Value for Price
At $300, the Studios aren’t your everyday headphone-purchase. For many, these will be the best headphones they ever own and rightfully so. If you are ready to make the jump to a higher quality headset, the Studios are definitely feature packed enough to be worth the extra glance. Even though a price decrease would make these headphones downright killer, where they stand now keeps them recommendable nonetheless.
If you appreciate the style of your headphones and some solid bass, I’d say these are some of the best headphones for you. If you would like a bit more quality for your buck, like the Beats brand, and have the extra cash resources necessary, stay tuned for my review of the Beats Pro.