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Beats solo2 - the most important headphone in a generation?

A Review On: Beats Solo 2.0 On-Ear Headphones (Red)

Beats Solo 2.0 On-Ear Headphones (Red)

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Pros: sound quality, comfort, build quality, form factor, portability, subtle styling

Cons: No quarter inch adapter jack provided or microfiber cleaning cloth

Beats, the biggest headphone brand in the world, selling more headphones than any other by a large margin and with a huge 60% market share in it's domestic market in the USA, has largely been the default whipping boy by the audiophile community.....until now.

Why now and what's the deal?

Well, the beats sound signature has been steadily evolving for some time now, you could say beginning from their split from Monster cables whom Beats contracted to manufacture their early models of headphones. Since their split Beats have been continuously improving each successive release and redesign of headphone, notably the new Studio 2.0 or as sometimes referred to Studio 2013, the DJ centric beats mixr, the beats solo HD monochromatic and to their latest and some are calling their greatest sounding headphone to date, the solo2.

The solo2 had already been released for a couple of months with likes of myself and @HiFiGuy528 giving them deserved praise, largely met by the Head-Fi community with the usual scepticism and the dreaded loud but seemingly proud - beats haters!.

All this changed overnight though when a true legend of audio reviews and measurements released his review of the solo2, namely @Tyll Hertsens and BOOM! what an explosive review it is, titled "Time to Rethink Beats, the Solo2 is Excellent" http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/time-rethink-beats-solo2-excellent which Tyll followed up with his YouTube review, found here on Head-Fi with full transcript.

What you get for your monies

Pretty straight forward really, the headphones (of course), a, as Tyll called it "handy dandy" carry zipper carry pouch, audio cable, warranty documents, usual beats logo sticker and thats it.

Opening a pair of beats headphones, I've gotta say is second to none - the presentation is superb and the box it comes in is definitely a keeper that can be used for storing your solo2's in for more added protection, though not for carrying around with you on the move.

Build & Form

The solo2 is pretty much all plastic with metal re-enforcing on the headband and folding arm brackets, and though plastic, it's high grade stuff used, finished off with a very nice high gloss finish which on darker colours like black and navy blue, can be a fingerprint magnet, the lighter colours not so much. The earpads are nice and soft, finished in a very nice synthetic leather and the inner headband has a moderate amount of padding, but very comfortable and lightweight on wearing. Clamping force on the solo2 is noticeably stronger than it's previous model the solo HD monochromatic (drenched in colour), which IMO gives the prior model a slightly more comfortable fit, but at the expense of isolation ie music leaking out, where this gain in clamping force combined with larger earpads on the solo2 improves isolation and is a very well thought out slight compromise on comfort that I think pays off. These headphones are bigger in size than it's predecessor but still small enough and when folded make for superb portable, on the go headphones for sure. The 3.5mm jack terminated cable has a three button remote with speaker for phone calls, designed for Apple IOS devices, I'm unsure of what features work with Android devices. Cable is colour matched to the headphones and is tangle free type, feels very high quality and jack which connects to your source device is of L shape design and features metal logo finishing.

The most notable change of form is it's now virtual exact copy of the Studio 2.0 only smaller, which IMO is a big step up in this headphones robustness, but unlike the Studio 2.0 which requires it's built in rechargeable via USB battery to power it's ANC feature, the solo2 does not have such - to it's benefit, as your solo2 will run for as long as your source device has juice, and though the Studio 2.0's ANC is ok - IMO it's a feature that would have benefited from being left off than added...

Here's a copy of a post I made regarding all the different colours of beats solo2
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Hmmm....well colour choice is about as personal as it gets - there's really no right or wrong choices I guess.

But here's my takedown of the colour crown

solo2 colour review (glossy)

Black - sophisticated and suave , elegant and subtle - though the maverick of the (current) solo2 pack as it's the only one with red "b" logo compared to the others silver reflective silver "b" on each outer earcup.

Red - no surprises here for my opinion on this colour - flamboyant , fun, vibrant and attracts attention. People will see you coming with these on from miles away.
"Hey, check out my new Dre" is WTF red solo2's gotta say cool.gif

White - the polar opposite of black but equal in sophistication and subtlety - won't show up fingerprints like the black glossy finish fingerprint magnet.

Grey - beats for the hipsters who no longer can resist the lure of the mighty beats. Probs claim they are sporting their grey beats as an anti-beats reverse psychology statement when in reality - they lovin em, in an avant garde way but hey, like 2pac would say "that's just the way it is" and "things will never be the same" and " ahh yeah".

Pink - brings all the laaddiieeess boys to the yard, this candy pink can is not just for the female solo2 fan but also any cool cat metrosexual that is fashion cool intellectual and confident enough to beats solo2 without lookin ruff.

Navy Blue - for the Brofist few who dig same shade of blue of Cap.America and his Avengers crew, similar to Superman too.

solo2 colour review (matt)

Matt white - currently only available as an Apple exclusive, the matt white solo2 is so bright like beats future - you gotta wear shades.

Think of Medusa's head only rather of turning you stone dead it will glare you out instead.

The matt finish on this can is the same as it's predecessor - the solo HD monochromatic, only it's pushed things further from what I see in that even the "b" logo on outer each earcup is bright white too and is like an unofficial Studio 2.0 snarkitecture special edition, which has that can all brilliant white complete with a marble pillow storage/headphone stand.

solo2 matt bright white makes the glossy white equivalent look light grey.


Beats solo2 Invasion - lol biggrin.gif

Here's another track I'm recommending for the solo2
beerchug.gifGo Euphoric with your solo2's! beerchug.gif

smily_headphones1.gifTHRO YO HANDS UP SOLO2 PARTY CREW!smily_headphones1.gif

My first impressions on the day of solo2's official UK Release (solo2 in grey colour was first colour of this can I picked up, followed by red, navy blue & black wink.gif)

Sound Quality


This is by far the most "neutral" sounding beats headphone to date, but is still by no means a genuinely neutral sound signature.

The bass on the solo2 is tight, punchy and controlled yet maintains its presence without alienating beats core fans, you could say this is a true blue audiophile beats headphone for sure and I've already recommended it to folks who are interested in the ULTRASONE Signature DJ which is a remarkably refined audiophile basshead headphone that's possibly peerless in its class. For those with an eye on the Signature DJ but who's budget doesn't quite stretch that far, the beats solo2 is a very credible and worthy cheaper alternative at approx a third less of the Sig DJ.

The mids and a highs are forward in my view but crisp and detailed with decent soundstage for a portable closed back headphone, highs are smooth and not harsh at all.

Which genres of music is good for the solo2 - with maybe the exception of classical - this headcan is good to go on everything - truly a headphone for all the people.

The solo2 also responds very well to EQ and upscales with amplification, yet nonetheless sounds amazing just plugged in directly to your source, be it iPod, iPad, smartphone etc.

This is a fun but refined sound I've heard very little from elsewhere and puts the solo2 in a very distinguished category IMO, regardless of brand, these are truly a revelation and something I think many will very much appreciate.

So what's the big deal?

Well, the big deal is pretty much as Mr.Hertsens remarked in his solo2 review - the solo2 headphone is likely to be the worlds most sold and therefore used headphone bar none - especially when you consider that Apple now own the beats brand and sell in every nook and cranny on the globe - they have an amazing market coverage, so this is the headphone that is going to deliver very high, if not audiophile quality sound to the masses - just think about the significance of that for a second.....

If there is such a thing as a gateway drug, then beats is then headphone equivalent - it was for me anyway - beats are what got me into this hobby and opened my eyes and ears to so much and it's beats that led me to head-fi and I can only but imagine the solo2 is going to do the same - only a million fold - so please greet the new breed of head-fiers that are on their way by the droves. Beats hating should now truly be over and welcomed as a credible audio brand like the rest we love and enjoy here on head-fi.

Is solo2 a one trick pony?

Not IMO - the solo2 may well be the straw that broke the camels back but there have been many more than credible headphones from beats to the lead up to the solo2, namely the Studio 2.0, Studio 2.0 wireless, mixr and solo HD monochromatic.

The beats sound has been evolving unnoticed by but a few on Head-Fi for quite some time now, outside of the legend that is @HiFiGuy528, another first in this turnaround of perceptions was part time audiophile aka @Scot Hull with his take on the Studio 2.0 here in his YT review.

If you imagine beats and haters in a bar brawl fight, there would be the beats appreciators in the minority against a majority of the most vicious in some cases, pack of beats hater wolves, the fight almost a war of attrition, when all of a sudden out of nowhere a mighty sucker punch comes out of the blue and sucker punches the wolves with one clean uppercut that is so profound, it's majestic in its delivery - SMACK! right on the haters chin......as the dust clears the owner of the sucker punch is revealed....Mr.Tyll Hertsens armed with his solo2 review that has the power to make people sit up and take note...
(LoL biggrin.gif)

Legendary reviewers that aren't afraid to tell it as it is no matter how unpopular it may seem
@Tyll Hertsens--http://innerfidelity.com
@Scot Hull---http://parttimeaudiophile.com

All 3 of above reviewers are also members here at Head-Fi wink.gif

I recommend the solo2 to any and everybody that care about sound - so that's pretty much the entire Head-Fi community, with the caveat that this is not a neutral headphone but can be credibly considered as a basshead audiophile headphone of distinction as it is highly refined in sonics.

The solo2 is also a great portable on the move headphone that folds into a much smaller for for storage and is available in a range of colours to suit individual tastes.

Beats, if you will, has finally arrived....

Also very worth mentioning regarding the red colour solo2's

Beats by Dr. Dre contributes a portion from the purchase price of every Beats by Dre (PRODUCT)RED Solo2 Headphones to the Global Fund to fight AIDS.


I'm sure other headphone brands do similar contributions to worthwhile causes, but it's worth noting that beats have been doing this for sometime now, something that many of the beats haters seemed to miss wink.gif

Recommended tracks for the solo2

Dr Dre feat. Eminem - "Forgot about Dre"

Prophetic Lyrics 4 sure
("Ya'll know me still the same OG
But I been low key
Hated on by most these
you'd better bow down on both knees")

For bass impact - mids and vocals
The White Stripes - "Seven Nation Army"

LL Cool J - "Mamma said knock you out"
"Don't call it a come back, I've been here for years"

Skrillex "Punch" - "First of the Year"

WARNING! The immensity of track + video listened with solo2 cans may reduce some to tears as they behold a new definition of Epic wink.gif video made from film "Sucker Punch" which is equally - Epic smily_headphones1.gif "CALL 911 NOW!" eek.gif
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
For bass impact and male vocals

v For female vocals smily_headphones1.gif v


v And last but not least - rec'd for...everything - open up your solo2's fully & drop the Ragga Bomb v

From NWA to Beats by Dr Dre - The American dream done the right way.

Ask yourself - the beats solo2 - TURN DOWN FOR WHAT?

Side Note: Are you into BASS?

Then check out the biggest & best bass thread on Head-Fi & the world -
The Extreme Bass Club



It's time to believe the hype..... wink.gif


Nice to something getting it's due here on Head-fi.
damn it man, stop scaring me. Tyle scared me enough on Innerfidelity. You guys are making me wanna try this thing. :(
Thanks for your kind comments - I think the solo2's just missed the new Head-Fi Summers buyers guide, but maybe Jude will have them featured in the Winters Buyers Guide? We'll see I guess. Thanks again
Isn't Beats still second, behind Sony? 
I LOVE your review, cb3723!  If I didn't already have 33 headphones/IEMs (including 4 Beats!) I would have already bought these.  I appreciate the sample songs that you find them to be particularly effective in playing.
I am also pleased to learn the psychological nature of each of the color choices!!
How would you compare them to the Studio 2013s (i.e., the new better Studios) ?  Since the solo2 doesn't have active noise cancellation, I would imagine it would be more transparent, doing a better job of giving you a "you are there" feel to acoustic music.  How would you compare its bass to the Studio 2013?
Thanks again!
For whatever it's worth, that video isn't Mercer. It's some other jacka***. 
But I should note that the Solo2 is a far better headphone than the Studio I took a look at. Tyll's review is pretty comprehensive, but I'll be adding my own thoughts at some point. But for a sub-$200 headphone, this Solo2 sounds good, looks good, and I wouldn't be embarrassed to see my nephew wearing it. 
After hearing them, I would give them a 3.5/5... Better than expected, but nothing special.  And no, they aren't as "game-changing" as you assume.  Sony has done far more.
@vantt1 Not sure what you mean there dude
@kayandjohn Hey dude, big thanks, I'm stoked you liked my review of the solo2 - I know you down this headphone already had your Apple store had them stocked when you visited, but since then I've also noticed you've been getting some heavy duty kick ass booty call gear (colorware HD800 rig and AKG's finest in-ears = very WOW!!) In answer to your question of solo2 Vs Studio 2013's, yes I think omitting the ANC from the solo2 definitely is a more natural less artificial sound that the Studio's ANC detract from and maybe make it a can that has less suitability for as many genres of music that the solo2 is capable of. Bass on the solo2 is less but more in as much it's more controlled and tighter than the Studio 2013's - I think you'd dig the solo2's, but like you said - you've already got a schiit load of awesome to take your pick from already. I'd recommend the solo2 to you if you were looking for something ultra small and portable to take with you if you were on a trip somewhere and wants to pack as light as possible and have a headphone with you that didn't require any charging nonsense, but delivered crips and clear mids and highs with a controlled back end, junk in the trunk, that gave you that all important fun element to sonics. I'd definitely recommend you give the solo2's a little audition next time you pass an Apple store though - thanks again for your kind comment - I appreciate it and good to catch up with you a little.
@Scot Hull Thanks for your comment - are you talking of the original Studio or the new 2013 model? Check my comment to @kayandjohn for my very brief comparison between the solo2 and Studio 2013 - thanks dude.
@thestoebz thanks for your comment - opinions will always vary but I'm gonna have to call you out on your comment that you mention the solo2 isn't "game-changing" - they actually are very much in the sense that beats solo2 is likely to be the worlds most sold and therefore most used headphone that will be delivering quality sound to the masses - not SONY - Tyll Hertsens understands this too and it is for this reason that the solo2 is a genuine bona fide game changer. IMO beats have arrived and the world at large is going to be a better place for the solo2's arrival - this is something to be celebrated.
@Scot Hull Scott! So sorry dude - I got you mixed up with another guy - my apologies - I'll go edit my review now - my apologies - I love your Studio 2.0 review - you deserve big respect and you've got it from me - many thanks!
@kayandjohn"I know you'd own this headphone already...(sorry for typo)
@ch3723... I went to the Apple store the day they were announced and appearing on the Apple store website, but then the actual Apple store only had the old Solos in stock... They promised the new Solos "In a few days" but then I never made it back. I will get them though! Thanks again fort he great review and comparison to the Studio 2013.
Hey cb great review :) How would you rate them against more popular headphones such HD25/Amperior/M80.. etc?
@orel1994 Thanks, I'm happy you like my solo2 review. I've not heard the Amperior or M80, but do own the HD25 Adidas Classic and V-MODA XS which I can compare the solo2 with. The Adidas Classic is basically the basic HD25 1 mkII with Adidas branding which is now discontinued but the basic version is still available and depending on application ie if I was looking for a headphone which I could also use for DJing with, then the HD25 naturally trumps the solo2 in that regard with it's swivelling left arm. Outside of that, I prefer the solo2 in the SQ dept as I find it more detailed and tighter - more refined if you will than the HD25. The solo2 also has removable cable, folds more conveniently into smaller form and pads are slightly bigger than the HD25 and v-moda xs. The V-Moda XS is beautifully built and very compact with its push up hinge mechanism for sure and I'd say the xs has a feel of indestructibility about them which is assuring. I prefer the solo2's SQ over the xs also as again the solo2 just wins in it's refinement and controlled but present bass. Between the solo2 and xs I think you've gotta just go with what your heart tells you is right for you, but out of the HD25, XS & solo2, you can't really go wrong with any of these options as they are all pretty great on their own rights, but for me if I had to make a single choice from the three, I'd personally go for the solo2 as the sound signature just pips it to the post to the others, the convenience of its form factor and I dig the subtle styling also of the solo2.
Kudos to Beats for upping their game in such a profound manner. I have been among the seemingly few here at head-fi advocating that the new Beats deserve a fresh chance to earn our eartime. Hopefully some of the mindless Beat's bashing will diminish as it was getting very old and stale listening to the same rips at Beat (and I'm sure mostly by members who didn't own any, or who barely listened to a set of Beats). I think the more quality players in the market, the better so we should celebrate Beat's coming of age not spit at it!
@Sonic Defender Thank you bro & welcome to the club of the beats enlightened few. Everything you said - I wholeheartedly agree with in the fullest possible way - and hey, you didn't forget about Dre
@cb3723  even though this is a bit late.... but i thoroughly enjoyed reading your review! it takes a lot of courage to say what you did! i feel the same way with the solo2! maybe not exactly! cause i still prefer my amperiors more (cause i prefer more energy in the treble), but nonetheless in terms of sound i think they are very competitive! and i honestly they are the marriage between the average consumer world and the "audiophile world". they look good and sound good. but sadly even reading youtube comments on other solo2 reviews, there are still many people that completely dismiss the solo2 because their on the "beats hater" bandwagon. i do think its getting stale, if they don't like it, thats perfectly fine but they shouldn't generalize their opinion on that one headphone with the entire product line... i'm ranting but whats funny is that despite this beats hate, their still being sold at an overwhelming rate.... sooo maybe "closet haters"?
I just got a pair of these from my work place today... an man they sound as good as they measure! Which is nice because I can FINALLY recommend the Solo 2 ... from experince! 
Have to give my counter point.
I just got Some Solo 2, couldn't resist the Black Friday price at Target (like $96). They do sound pretty good. The bass can be a little much at times but I can live with that, I do like a little extra in the bass department. But I miss the highs and clarity I'm used to. If these where my first headphone I may not notice and really enjoy these, but having several other quality headphones I notice it.
Of my 6 headphones (post office has yet to deliver my Fidelio L2, gerrrr!), there are my least favorite in terms of sound quality. Though they aare much smaller than all but my DT 1350. The Solo 2 is more comfortable for longer periods the the 1350s (have to get the updated earpads for those).
As mentioned these are the beats beats has ever made, but that's relative to Beats. Good but not great, at least many many people will finally be getting something that is decent and have a better idea of what decent audio is. These aren't bad, they do sound pretty good, I just don't find them to not be as great as some reviews make them sound.
Target still at $99 yesterday, today there $129. Glad I got them for less than $99.  Keeping these mainly as a reference for reviews I plan to do in the future.
I am also getting the Solo 2, mainly as a point of reference with which to compare my other phones. I went to Fry's to listen them, but unfortunately the only ones available for listening were the old Solo's, and the SQ was really as bad as I thought they would be. My $38 Lightning Deal Symphonic Wraith headphones are far better than the original Solo's.

However, I am glad to read that the Solo 2's are really far better and so now I must have them to compare against.
trellus, kinda the same reason I get the Solo 2. Mainly to compare and so I can speak from first hand knowledge.
that's mainly the reason I get the Solo 2s, so I can compare and speak from firsthand knowledge.
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