Did a comparison of Coby's mid-level active noise-canceling headphones that I'd purchased to a pair of Beats Studios I'd borrowed from my friend for research purposes. He swears up and down that they're real. This was actually a very shocking comparison for me. Why? Because the performance between the two is actually COMPARABLE. I was planning to use the Beats Studios as a reference when I reviewed these Coby headphones, but I never imagined that the performance would actually be comparable between the two. Why is this shocking, you ask? Well, let's look at the market prices for these headphones. Coby CV195: $30. Beats Studio: $300.
Lemme break it down into the following categories: durability, isolation and noise canceling, sound, and price-to-value ratio. The scale I'll be using is 1 (awful) to 5 (excellent). A score of 3 is absolutely neutral and average (absolutely no leaning toward good or bad).
Coby CV195: (3) Tough plastic supported by a metal band on the inside makes for a strong headband. Problem: ear cups feel slightly fragile and earpads feel cheap. They can come off through wear and tear, as they are not very well secured onto the earcups. For the price, this build quality is acceptable.
Beats Studio: (2.5) The headband and whole thing in general feels fragile because the plastic feels brittle. There's a metal band inside to support the plastic, but it doesn't give a solid construct feeling at all. The hinges where the headphones fold up are a weak point. I've already seen the metal screws dig into the plastic and crack it slightly. I told my friend about it and he said they've been like that for a while, but he doesn't need to worry about it because he has the warranty. Bottom line: these are not as durable a the Coby CV195s.
Isolation and Noise Canceling
Coby CV195: (3) There's some passive isolation without the active noise canceling that filters out high pitched noises to some degree. When the active noise canceling is turned on, low pitched noises are filtered out. There's still some midrange noise that makes it in, but it's muffled.
Beats Studio: (3) The performance between the two in this category was eerily similar. I'd say the amount of noise blocked and canceled out is about the same between the two.
NOTE: The Coby CV195s take only one battery and can be used without the active noise cancelation. The Beats Studio takes 2 batteries and CANNOT be used without the active noise cancelation.
Coby CV195: (3) Bass is present but not to the point where it drowns out other frequencies. It's not too muddy, but nothing to brag about either. Mids are present but lack a little bit of the clarity you would hear in higher end headphones. Treble sounds rolled off, reducing the amount of detail that comes through. Then again, you really can't ask the world of $30 headphones.
Beats Studio: (3.5) I like big bass and I cannot lie. The bass on these headphones is really big. Definitely bigger than the Coby CV195s. The quality of the bass isn't any better than the CV195s though. There's just a lot more of it. Mids sound about the same as the Coby CV195 with slightly more clarity, although the treble is less rolled off at the top than the Coby CV195s which allows slightly more detail through.
Price to Value Ratio
Coby CV195: (4) You're actually getting a good deal for these if you're on a budget. While they don't excel at anything, they're good for people on a budget. Sure, they're not the best constructed, not the best sounding, and not the best at noise canceling, but they're $30. What you're getting from these is actually very good for what you're paying.
Beats Studio: (1) I'm not bashing these. I assure you all that I am NOT bashing these with this comparison. But you're paying $300, which is supposed to get you a strong pair of headphones that can effectively silence the world around you and play good sound. NOPE! You get a pair of headphones made of brittle plastic, decent-at-best noise canceling, and $30 quality sound. Seriously! What the heck are people thinking when they buy these? I've heard people that call themselves "audiophiles" that rock these headphones like they're the ultimate listening experience! Bottom line: if the Beats logo isn't the prettiest thing in the world to you, don't buy these.