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Beats Headphones - What’s The Deal Yo?

Beats Headphones - Whats The Deal Yo?

Beats Logo Black Background

Okay yo'all, listen up! Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years now you might have perhaps noticed a 'slight' difference in the aesthetics of portable consumer headphones and earphones. Typically, the social music scene and its eccentricities have always played a major part in the influence and transgression of fashion trends, therefore it was a slightly peculiar instance when an apparent role reversal was performed by Dr Dre's marketing team. Welcome Beats to the floor! Their bold signature 'b' holds an attention of its own when coupled with that prominent lovely red colour that is similar to displayed throughout our 'designed by Edd Harris' website.

In a time where MP3's are consumed in the masses, the quality of music is limited by its initial compression and the digital to analogue conversion performed by the portable media player and not necessarily by its acoustic replication within the 'inherent design' of the aforementioned headphones. When buying headphones the consumer should take responsibility in knowing that the method in which they are playing music should be at the best quality possible; without relying on the marketed 'performance' of headphones with the words: 'People aren't hearing all the music. With Beats people are going to hear what the artist hear and listen to the music they way they should: the way I do.' Since the target demographic for the products released is for use by those who are not used to the 'premium' suffix descriptive and typically are relying on the social credibility of wearing a designer product, perhaps these headphones should come with a user guide to indicate the way in which they can get the best performance out of their investment. Marketing a product to consumers who are, at first, apparently already ill informed by the sonic quality they are hearing through their output device, then to be told in an advert that using beats will make you hear music 'the way the artist intended' is possibly a step to far. How will these consumers know the difference? We all know how powerful the placebo effect is and it really is ironic that numerous producers and mastering engineers have actually knowingly performed mix-downs through the Apple earphones. The reason for why they do this is simple; because the majority of popular music consumers own Apple earphones and they want their music to sound the same - Apple only have two types of Earphones available, not racks upon racks of different models.

What is more confusing is that the target consumers of Beats probably won't actually know the sheer number of attributes, including housing material and acoustic design, type of cabling and frequency response etc. that makes an output device quality and value for money. Unless you are using exactly the same playback device and listening to the same file that was used in the mix-down  you won't be listening to music the way the artist intended. From this respect buying the Beats range might be a confusing affair for those whom are used to listening to the (lesser marketed) sonically premium brands.

From the above we move on to the next point of interest; are Beats really good value for money? This can be subjective depending on the users specific requirements and if their cochleas have a reduced capacity to hear bass or treble frequencies and if they are particularly prone to tinnitus. With that statement aside I can only give my personal, and my teams, agreement on the overall consensus for the value for money of the Beats range. In our independent tests, through a set up which is considered as royalty in the audiophile world, I am yet to witness a pair of Beats that perform to my expectations for the RRP. Our reasons are simple. We have found the low end to low-mid-range and upper treble frequencies to be unnaturally hyped. In the production world this is a process that holds the nickname of 'happy eq'ing'. The reason for this is easy to explain; it is a quick and easy way to make a track appear to, on first appearances, sound better. Typically, in an extended session of listening to music the consumer may notice that this means that they may become uncomfortable with the sound in their ears - a process known as listening fatigue.

In addition to the above we have found that other, lesser branded ear/headphones, have seemed to outperform the beats on every test and are available at a much more affordable price. They may not have the same branding, which is obviously what you pay for, but you may find that they promote a (subjectively) nicer performance for a much lower price. In one test a pair of £400 Beats were beaten by a £130 pair of Beyerdynamic DT250's.

Here at The Pro Audio Web Blog we are totally neutral/unbiased to the product prior to testing. We base our opinion on what we believe sounds best to us. Recently we have tested a number of earphones by much smaller manufacturers and they cannot be beaten at all for their price in comparison. We have found that smaller manufactures, who do not have the budget for large marketing campaigns, make up for this shortfall by ploughing money to the research and development of their products. They then sell these products for an extremely good price. Our advice is that when considering spending any substantial sum of money on ear/headphones is to look around, do some research and maybe you might get a product for less than what you might get with other brands.

Edd Harris

Okay yo all, listen up. Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years now you might have perhaps noticed a slight difference in the aesthetics of portable consumer headphones and earphones. Typically, the social music scene and...

Edd Harris  - 25th Febuary 2013

Article Ref: #WhatsTheDealBeats