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Monster Beats Pro - A Full Review

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
Monster Beats Pro by Dr Dre
 
 
Introduction
 
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The Beats headphones are definitely one of the most polarizing products ever made. It gets a lot of love but just as much hate. Head-Fi is a prime example of this. On one hand, people will point out that everyone they know plus their grandmother has “the beats” but on the other, every Beats thread ends with trolling without fail. I would not be surprised if many of the “haters” have never heard them before and just jump on the bandwagon because that’s the “cool” thing to do. For those that have actually auditioned them and left helpful impressions, you have my utmost respect for actually contributing to the community
 
Slotting above the Solos and Studios, the Pros are the top of the line Beats. If the name “Pro” is not indicative of this, the $400 price tag surely clears all doubt. I think it’s safe to say everyone knows the Monster Beats line is overpriced, but, are they “bad”?
 
Presentation
 
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Taking a page right out of Apple’s books, everything about the Pro screams style. Included is the headphone (obviously), the detachable cable, a pouch, microfiber cloth, 1/8 in to 1/4 in adapter, and of course, literature. Everything is contained in a nice magnetically sealed box.
 
Saying the Pro is built like a tank is an understatement. Everything, including the headband, earcups, and hinges are made out of strong aluminum. The headband and cups are padded with leather and screams luxury. The included cable is about 4 feet long (perfect for non-studio use) plus a little coiled section that stretches out another foot and a half. Cable is nicely built, thick and tangle free.
 
The earcups can be rotated back 180 degrees which allows you to use a single channel at a time or just for portable storage. Both cups have a 3.5mm jack which allows for dual entry. Whichever port is not used for input becomes output. Although not particularly useful, it is an interesting and unique feature. I use it to burn in other headphones while I listen.
 
The drawback of the Pro’s amazing build is that they are ridiculously heavy. Not only that, but it also has a strong clamping force. The vice grip combined with the on ear design gets uncomfortable and warm real quick. You would also expect them to have good isolation, but alas, it is only subpar. If you have even a remotely big noggin, do not attempt! 
 
Now while style is very subjective, I personally think the Pros (along with the whole Beats line) look great. The two tone silver and black plus a hint of red makes it a beauty to behold. Add in the now iconic “b” logo and you have a headphone that doubles as a fashion statement. As far as presentation is concerned, the Beats nails it.
 
Sound Quality
 
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For sound, I am driving my Beats with an integrated laptop sound card + iPod Nano 4G. Nothing fancy or audiophile grade but I have a feeling most buyers won’t either.
 
As expected, the BP is bass heavy but it’s not as bad as you think. From memory, there is definitely less bass than the Studios. For comparison right now, I have a Sennheiser HD 598 and a Sony MDR-ZX700 on hand. Though their sound signature is completely different to that of the Beats, they do have very nice and clean lows. Listening to them with the Pro side by side I found the Pro’s bass just as clear but with significantly more quantity though slightly looser as well. Lows were very impactful but never boomy nor overdone. I did, however, found some of the deep deep rumbles absent.
 
The midrange is also pretty good. Despite the accentuated bass, the mids are still perfectly intact, maybe very slightly recessed. Vocals and instruments show good clarity and no bleeding was detected. 
 
High frequency notes are a bit weird on the Monster Beats Pros. I threw every female vocal treble heavy song I could find at them and expected them to pierce my ears just as my HD598 and ZX700 would but no dice. Frequency response graphs show the highs to be erratic and rolled off so my money is on that. Despite that, I still found music to sparkle in all the right places and is extremely pleasant on the ears.
 
Soundstage on the MBP is okay at best. Since they are close-backed, I did not expect much, so in that regard, my expectations were met. Orchestral music likely won’t shine on these but for everything else, it’s okay. They aren’t confining by any means, merely adequate.
 
Overall, I found the sound signature to be very close to what I consider ideal. Bumped up bass, smooth and clear mids, along with laid back upper notes makes the Beats Pro very inoffensive and fun to listen to. Besides neutrality seekers, I can see the colored sound appealing to everyone (ESPECIALLY the target market).
 
Comparison with ATH-M50 here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/603726/
 
Conclusion
 
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Let’s a few things out of the way first: YES the Beats have a terrible price-to-performance ratio, YES there are many better options, and YES people buy them without regards to either of those. However, looking at them from a regular consumer’s perspective and not an audiophile, I though they are actually quite good. For audiophiles the sound is just “okay” (possibly “****ty” if you’re a troll) but the target demographic is the masses, and as such, they do not disappoint. The sound signature is very FUN, the build is top notch, and the style simply cannot be beat. When you consider that many of the buyers likely also overpay for brand name clothing, what’s another $400? At least they will last longer and be more satisfying than an A&F T-shirt.
 
So all in all, I walked away from this experience saying to myself, “Hey, these are not bad”, and in fact, considering I only paid $100 for my pair (refurbished), I would even go as far as to say I quite like them!
 
 
*puts flame suit on* wink.gif

Edited by GigaFi - 5/11/12 at 5:15am
post #2 of 38

Thanks for taking on-

 

Err, thanks for the review!

I always thought that the MBP wasn't as bad as people made it out to be. And yes, a lot of people weren't aware of the KILLER deals you can get for the MBP.


I wonder how uncomfortable they really are, though. I find HE-500s very comfortable, which are really heavy (I guess not much clamp though). 

As much as I think that most people would enjoy (though maybe never admit it) the styling of Beats, I personally would never get caught in public wearing one. I'd feel like such a tool..

post #3 of 38

lol 100 dollars is a steal since they aren't that bad sounding. i wouldn't pay over 150 for them though

post #4 of 38

I swear I'm the only person in the world who thinks Beats look terrible.

 

I much prefer the look of phones like the SRH840's and M50's. confused_face.gif

post #5 of 38


That makes us two. I shudder when I see that big fat b!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shogunner View Post

I swear I'm the only person in the world who thinks Beats look terrible.

 

I much prefer the look of phones like the SRH840's and M50's. confused_face.gif



 

post #6 of 38

Personally, I really like the Pro. It is definitely superior to the M50, SRH840, HFI-580, all those "entry level" audiophile headphones. But the fact that you can get a D2000 for cheaper, when the difference in sound quality is so large, is pretty much a dealbreaker considering that they have very similar sound signatures.

 

Then again, $200 for them Pros are definitely within "audiophile price-to-performance ratio". $400? Beats can go suck my (headphone) jack.

post #7 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by crinacle View Post

Personally, I really like the Pro. It is definitely superior to the M50, SRH840, HFI-580, all those "entry level" audiophile headphones. But the fact that you can get a D2000 for cheaper, when the difference in sound quality is so large, is pretty much a dealbreaker considering that they have very similar sound signatures.

 

Then again, $200 for them Pros are definitely within "audiophile price-to-performance ratio". $400? Beats can go suck my (headphone) jack.



+1

post #8 of 38

Good review, a lot of snobs on headfi imo , the beats are too expensive no doubt but they are not that bad.

I had the solo HD and thought they were a fun listen but too pricey, sold them and bought zx700 (ZX700 is bargain imo).

 

Dont think the PRo was better than SRH840 though , thats a stretch.

 

 

 


Edited by astroid - 2/22/12 at 2:18am
post #9 of 38
Can get these for $200, debating between that or the M50s. Upgrading from Beats Studios and kind of want something different, but was happy with the Studios.
post #10 of 38

I dont get the whole "good sounding but overpriced" thing.... if the HD800 sounded like 300 bucks phones would they be "good but overpriced" phones?.  

post #11 of 38

What is there not to get? You are paying extra money that doesn't reflect the performance of the product but the "prestige" associated with the brand or product itself. A similar example of a product with a poor price/performance ratio would be the Macbook Pro IMO.

 

Don't get me wrong though, I'm not bashing the Beats as I haven't heard them. I quite like the look and if they were cheaper I wouldn't mind trying the Pro and Studio. As for the Solo, I have heard that and it is an overpriced, steaming pile of turd.biggrin.gif


Edited by shamrock134 - 2/22/12 at 3:47am
post #12 of 38

just that to me a product that cost X and performs like a X/3 product, is not a "good" product. (that is of course, if we measure the performance of headphones based on the sound, looks and design certainly can have a value). 

post #13 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by JackeShan View Post


That makes us two. I shudder when I see that big fat b!



 


Yea, it just makes you look like a tool :P

 

post #14 of 38

Interesting to see a non-trolling review; honestly when I tried these out I expected them to be a lot like the Bose AE; good sounding but expensive and/or uncomfortable. Unfortunately, they didn't hit that bar for me - I found them compressed/harsh and extremely uncomfortable; they just don't sound "good" (but consider the cans in my profile; I like bright cans with huge headstages). I agree that the bass is nowhere near as bloated and muddy as many of the hate threads argue. Honestly I look at it as a preference thing; the BP aren't "awful" if you like the sound. I dislike the general genre of headphones that the BP occupy, so I'm probably not the best judge of where they fit in with their peers (like the D2000, Sony XB, Pro900, etc (most of my complaints about the BP are similar to my complaints about other headphones like this)). Oh and they don't fit me very well! 

 

Regarding the weight/comfort thing - my Kenwoods are 390g, that's 12g less than the Beats Pro. However the Kenwoods are among the most comfortable headphones ever (I'd put them on par with either of my Sony cans, which combined are maybe 400g). The difference with the BP is that the Kenwoods are bigger, have a bigger headband, have bigger earpads, bigger ear cups, and so on - this contributes a lot. The pads on both are soft and plush, which helps, but the extra girth does help. 

post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by GigaFi View Post

Let’s a few things out of the way first: YES the Beats have a terrible price-to-performance ratio, YES there are many better options, and YES people buy them without regards to either of those. However, looking at them from a regular consumer’s perspective and not an audiophile, I though they are actually quite good. For audiophiles the sound is just “okay” (possibly “****ty” if you’re a troll) but the target demographic is the masses, and as such, they do not disappoint. The sound signature is very FUN, the build is top notch, and the style simply cannot be beat. When you consider that many of the buyers likely also overpay for brand name clothing, what’s another $400? At least they will last longer and be more satisfying than an A&F T-shirt.


 

Good review. Not sure about the "people who don't like them probably never tried them". I live in a country where in the capital there are 3 places to try AKGs. I only know 1 place to try the K702/701, and believe I've looked. Despite all this, I have no problem finding the entire Beats line-up. The bandwagon effect might be true, so maybe it's more accurate to say "most Beats bashers have their objective discernment clouded by the norm here at Head-Fi, which is to bash".

 

The reason why I quoted is because I don't truly agree with this logic. The fact that the 'average consumer' usually can't take 5 minutes to research anything doesn't excuse the Beats terrible price-quality ratio. An over-priced or bad headphone is nothing but that. It doesn't matter in the slightest how marketed or easily accessible it is, because that will never make it any better. Qualities are an objective thing, it either reproduces sound well (or in case of 'fun' signatures, what the majority thinks is well) or it doesn't. And when compared to other models, the price is either fair or it isn't. Saying "these are over-priced, but because consumers are stupid these are good" just isn't right, because marketing can't change a driver.


Edited by LizardKing1 - 2/22/12 at 12:38pm
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