There are many headphones better than Beats. In the following post, we will dive into a little bit of the history of Beats Electronics, we will discuss some of the good, the bad, and the ugly of Beats headphones, and we will offer several superior options from other manufacturers!
Beats Electronics, which was founded in 2003 by Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, has ballooned into a headphone empire, with a 2012 NPD Group study claiming that Beats’ US market share was 64% for headphones priced higher than $100. Knowing that there are so many headphones better Beats, we found this statistic shocking.
With a rapidly growing fan base, generated by the largest marketing campaign ever offered by a headphone, including celebrity endorsements at the highest levels (LeBron James, Russell Wilson, Lil Wayne, Colin Kaepernick, etc), Beats almost singlehandedly turned headphones into a necessary fashion accessory, and not just a luxury. Because of this increased demand, Apple decided to get in the game, and purchased Beats by Dre. from Monster in 2014 for $3 Billion, the largest acquisition in Apple’s history!
Unfortunately, Beats headphones, in terms of overall quality & value, are a bit of a mixed bag. We'll discuss some of the pros & cons and provide headphones better than Beats.
Typically, there are several major complaints from audiophiles when discussing Beats headphones, including their sound signature, which features artificially inflated bass, leading to muddied mids & highs; their subpar build construction, which are often prone to breaks; and their exorbitant price points, often more expensive than rival, superior headphone manufacturers.
Beats are well-known as being bass-heavy headphones, made specifically for DJ'ing or listening to music which features bass; however, they have failed to produce a product that manages to capture the power of bass while still allowing the other parts of the music to play their roles. The InnerFidelity graph below shows a comparison 300 Hz square wave response for Beats and several competitors:
As you can glean from the graph, the other brands of headphones appear to offer a very similar signature, representing accurate, neutral sound recreation, whereas the pair of Beats headphones appear to be all over the spectrum, representing tons of bass, muffled mids, and very flat treble. Just not what most people are going to be looking for in a headphone.
There are a lot of headphones better than Beats, but that doesn't mean that it is necessarily all bad for Dr. Dre's headphone creations! Believe it or not, they do a fair amount properly, including their stylish design, innovative packaging, and strong bass response, for anyone who claims to be a "basshead."
It cannot be denied that every model of Beats headphones make a definite style statement about the owner! They regularly come in vibrant colors like red and white, and their slick design definitely has that "wow" factor. Couple that with the fact that anytime you turn on the TV, you see a pair of them sitting on LeBron James's head, you can't say that they aren't cool.
It is also undeniable that Beats headphones are all packaged attractively:
Lastly, Beats headphones do bass like few other headphone manufacturers on the market (other Headphone brands that DO offer strong bass (and are much better overall than Beats) would be HIFIMAN and V-MODA, and it would be safe to say that if rap/hip-hop, certain styles of pop, dubstep, or anything similar is your favorite genre of music, you could do a lot worse than Beats, because they really do pump up the bass!
So, what do you think? Are Beats headphones overpriced? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
Headphone Charts Score (?) : 84.6
Beats Solo2 wireless introduces wireless functionality. The build quality & hinges are sturdier than previous Solo models.
Headphone Charts Score (?) : 77.4
Beats Solo2 are an upgrade from the original Solos virtually across the board; however, they still over-inflate bass and muddy their mids and highs, to the point that they would immediately turn off any experienced audiophile.
Headphone Charts Score (?) : 71.2
Beats Wireless Sports Earbuds offer a stylish wireless In-Ear option, though, they tend to lack durability, and there are most definitely superior sounding bluetooth earbuds on the market for similar prices.
Headphone Charts Score (?) : 78.6
Beats Studio 2.0 Wired Over-Ear Headphones are the flagship headphones from Beats by Dre, featuring a closed-back design and bass-heavy sound signature, which might be appropriate for certain genres, such as hip-hop, but definitely not a great all-around headphone for most genres.