Well, here it is. Better late than never. My detailed review on the various Beats by Dr. Dre products and a few other bits and bobs. No point dilly-dallying, let’s get to it.
Monster already have a lot of in-ear buds. Dr. Dre has basically brought in his homies and re-released them but with a celebrity’s name on the end. A bit like when a song flops so it’s re-released with ‘feat. Pitbull’ on the end of it.
Saying that, the sound quality of the in-ears is so fantastic, it can get away with having so many variations. In the box, you get a more-than-decent array of different bud sizes so you can get the perfect fit for minimal awkward accidental droppings. Which, having very small ears, was the bane of my life with previous models. My only snag is that they could do with maybe one of two MORE buds as I didn’t get the exact perfect fit and, when wearing them for dance, they would occasionally pop out.
Putting them into your ears is literally like plugging in an auditorium. You can really imagine the band you’re listening to playing live in the centre of your head and that sound is spreading all over. To get that effect from in-ear buds is really quite impressive.
Now for the negatives.
I have been through quite a few pairs of Beats in-ears. Tours, Heartbeats, Diddybeats.. and I wouldn’t personally get another pair. Why? I take care of headphones. Headphones to me are like a detachable limb. They’re a part of me. So when my first pair broke after having them for just 3 months for no apparent reason, I was surprised. The sound became very tinny in one ear and would lose connection if I moved my head. Thinking I’d become unlucky, I begrudgingly bought a new pair (Heartbeats with Control Talk). I found it interesting that when going to pay, the saleswoman said ‘are you sure you want these? A lot of people are returning them’. Again, after just a few months, the same thing happened. So I moved on to Tours. They were very uncomfortable and I’m not entirely sure why. I think that was just a personal opinion. I didn’t have the same problem with these as I did with the Heartbeats but the buds themselves chipped quite easily. Eventually, I got some Diddybeats. But when I got them home, I thought ‘you know what, I’m going to save myself some time and move on straight away’. So, I took them back and bought some Solo HDs.
I can’t fault the sound quality of the in-ear buds. But I think a bit more time and care into making them hardwearing would be beneficial. Imagine how long they’d last with someone who didn’t take care of them like I do? To be fair, I haven’t owned a pair for about a year and a half and from what I’ve tried of them, the Urbeats seem brilliant. But from my experience… 3.5/5
What a difference! Plug these into an iPhone or iPod with high quality purchased music or Spotify and you are AWAY! The bass is enough to wake up every membrane in your body (especially if you’re listening to Daft Punk) and the vocals are so clear that you can practically hear the singer’s spit hitting the microphone in the recording studio.
Also, the control talk feature on the detachable wire for these bad boys is fantastic. Very responsive, easy to use and very clear.
Personally, these headphones were a massive improvement because I am a dancer and therefore I train in a shared studio with headphones on. With these beauties, I could dance around and there would be no accidental popping-out.
Okay so my main reason for not having them anymore is because, after only about 8 months, they snapped in half. They are very plasticky and definitely do not feel durable. After one month, one of the flexible earbuds half came out and trapped a wire. It took me 2 months to get it back in and since it got stuck, the sound quality suffered greatly in the left ear. There was always a faint buzzing sound, which was extremely frustrating. Not long after that, the comfort pad on the inside top of the headphones came off. So there was only a piece of foam between my head and the cold plastic. And then when they snapped, all I was doing was taking them off my head. Nothing extravagant. Not impressed at all.
Although they’re still £169.99, they’re significantly cheaper than the Studios at £279.99. And they don’t take batteries, which is a big plus. Also, they have pretty good natural sound cancellation, which isn’t bad as they don’t claim to in the first place.
It was at this point that I started worrying about Beats and how they needed to think about more than just the orgasmically good sound quality… 3/5.
So for my latest investment, the Studio Over-ear Headphones. In pink. Of course.
They are beautiful. Just when I didn’t think it could get any better, the sound quality absolutely outdoes itself. I’ve had them for a good few months now and I actually look forward to bus journeys, walks home, time alone JUST so that I can wear them. It’s like being at the front of a live gig every time.
The comfort of these bad girls (they are pink.) is like no other - the fact that they are over-ear means you don’t get that awkward aching after wearing on-ears for a while. Not just that but the sound is completely trapped with no way of escaping so every beat goes straight into your head.
Now for the negatives.. although I hate to admit that there are any.
Leakage. I knew that the sound leaked when I got them but they truly do leak excessively. I play music loud - but not as loud as I know some others do. Yet if I’m in a relative distance to another person, they won’t just hear a little bit of noise but every word clearly. It’s difficult trying not to be a hypocrite as I am someone who complains if someone else has music too loud. But even a moderate volume sounds like you’re blasting your ears off to a passer-by. For me, it’s not a reason strong enough to not purchase, but this may put off some people.
Another problem that I find extremely annoying is that as they are battery powered, if you are listening through an iPhone or Blackberry, etc., you will get interference. A very irritating dial-up-style series of clunking noises buzz through the left earpiece until you either move the device, the message has come through or you may just even be going through an area with interference. Very frustrating.
My final niggle is the control talk system that comes with the new Studios. I’m sorry; what were they thinking when they designed it?! Maybe I got unlucky with mine but it simply does not work. I swapped mine for my old one from the Solo HDs (which was fantastic) but the sound quality suffered so I switched it for the straight cable. There are no buttons on the black brick controller, no wheels for volume control, no nothing. I pressed it to answer a call and it was very temperamental - the other person could barely hear me. Occasionally when double-clicking to change the track it would shoot the volume to max and deafen me. It was just a load of b*llocks to be completely honest. Don’t fix what isn’t broken and bring back the old control talk!
Something I do have to say is the battery life is fantastic. I suppose it depends on the brand of batteries as well but generally, I change mine just under once a month. And I listen to music on them about 4-5 hours a day.
They’re easily my favourite option for Beats. I’ve tried Pros but I’m not going to write about them because basically, there’s hardly any noticeable difference in the quality between them and the Studios (unless you actually are a producer or a DJ) and they don’t have a hands-free wire. They also feel quite a bit heavier to wear.
So there you have it. If you’re going to invest in some new headphones, certainly give Beats a consideration. Yes, they have a price tag but if you are on a budget, you can get decent Monsters from £39.99 in HMV (Gwen Stefani’s ‘Harajuko Lovers’ Monster in-ears) and the first generation Lady Gaga Heartbeats are available from £49.99. Yes, you can get cheaper on/over-ears from other companies but don’t compromise on sound quality. Once you’ve had Beats, there’s no going back.
Plus, they look bloody sexy.