Originally Posted by pioferro
Its amazing how polarizing Beats are. I'm 40, and I have never seen audio gear cause so much side picking: "you like Beats? Well, then you're an idiot! " LOL, of course, the older I get the more I realize the truth to the old saying "different strokes for different folks".
Some of the people I work with LOVE them, some absolutely HATE them. The ATs and Sonys in the building dont get that much attention. And of course, attention is what has made Beats a huge business success.
Personally, I own a pair of Studio's, Mixrs and Executives. Of the 3 the Executives are actually pretty neutral, wish they didnt have that noise cancelling hiss. Are they on the same level as my Beyers and Senns? No, of course not, but I still enjoy them quite a bit.
Here's the thing - two things set off the people who hate the brand. First, that the people who buy them aren't simply misled as to their sound quality or value, but they can be very aggressive too. It just seems like it's the anti-Beats that are aggressive because this is Head-Fi, or any audiophile forum for that matter, but some of this hate is just ranting coming from offline experiences - kind of like going into an all-(insert elite university here) party, where they'll really say things the way they'd never say them in public. A lot of these people in those other threads have some story about some guy SWAG-ging around with Beats calling their cans "ugly," or maybe some are kinder and say they're "boring" in the sense that they are equated to "the man" because of their business-like appearance in dark colors and are thus touted as somewhat lacking in "soul" and "personality" (if they can even get that articulate) and completely miss the point of 1) serious looks and 2) serious sound (where the real soul is). Some gave them a try, but they think it sounds like crap because Lil Wayne or Lil Jon can't blow their eardrums out with an AKG K701.
Also, expanding further into the looks, if you look at it from a social constructivist standpoint the contention then is how people interpret the meaning behind the headphone choice. Where, as stated above, the stereotypical Beats customer tends to think a reference headphone is like "The (soulles) Man," their gravitating to the Beats as trendy status symbols means that si also open to interpretation by others. In this case, even the image of the stereotypical customer whether it factored into the manufacturer's marketing or not plays a part - a teenager screaming "YOLO!" or posting an Instagram image with an idiotic statement like "Who needs condoms when you got SWAG?" and somehow getting associated with Beats (whether they were worn in the photos, or people who dress or think like them that we personally know tend to be the ones who like Beats, etc) sends its own signal to audiophiles. That signal is in simplest terms received as them being all sorts of stupid.
Of course, it doesn't help that it is also associated with rap music in general or at least some parts of it. That is, the people who would think such of Yolo and Swag either don't listen to rap, or they listen to 2Pac or Coolio (particularly the Dangerous Minds movie and soundtrack). That has a very different take on the realities of the origin of hiphop and rap. Where 2Pac or Coolio would decry the realities, maybe calling for change, a good chunk of rap music now either glorifies "bling" over the struggle to get out of the projects, or instead of "struggle" it's about "making it" as a gangsta rapper in the worst way of emulating how 2Pac "made it" in which case success if fully hinged on bling and bravado. Given what happened in Vegas last week, or to 2Pac and Biggie for that matter, gangsta doesn't end with selling enough records to buy Lamborghinis. It all ultimately boils down to a social ideology, even if they're not really aware of it, and the Beats hate only grows with the fear of getting associated with it, which is why they get rabid about not spending money on, or worse, getting caught wearing, Beats. Anyone with younger family members would know that the instinct to make sure the younger ones don't "go astray" or at least don't embarrass you kicks in, so they have good motivation to grind into their age inferiors' heads their own ideas.
So basically, it's not really the headphones but the stereotypical buyer that is the crux of all the negativity.