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Beats by Dr. Dre and its success...

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I am well aware that Beats by Dr. Dre is a disliked brand on these forums. I can't help but seem to be amazed at the sheer market share that the Beats headphones possess above $100. Well over 50%. That is insane. Now, I know this is because of the advertising; celebrities, music videos, in every damn store ( soon grocery stores ), etc... However, aesthetics aside as well, It's the tuning of the headphones in regards to the music the majority listens to. As much as we hate to admit it, bass is "generally" the most cared for frequency. I'm a midrange head; however, I can see the reason behind the successful sales of basshead headphones. 

 

We regard the HD800, Beyerdynamic T1, Audeze LCD Series, Stax and others flagship headphones as the epitome of sound quality. I am still stunned by the sound that the HD800 has piped down my ear canals; even the HD650. Sadly, if I were to put those headphones on the average consumer and have them play their favorite song, the first response that I would get is "where's the bass?". With a complete lack of regard on the accuracy of the sound or its quality, they don't experience the pounding and engaging sensation of boosted bass and therefore their "enjoyment" levels hit rock bottom and they proceed to remove the headphone in shock of their price tag. I've had this happen countless times. It's disheartening at first to see them ridicule a pair of flagships because of the lack of bass, but then you begin to understand why they do so.

 

We listen to the music to "enjoy" it. Lot's of us here are victims of listening to our gear as opposed to the music. Face it, the majority of Beats owners and the masses listen to the music; not the gear. Now, I'm not saying the flagship headphones talked about on these forums are not technically adequate for their price offerings. I'm saying, the average consumer couldn't care less about the ability for a headphone to control its resonances or how well it keeps a well shaped 300hz square wave. All they care is if the music sounds enjoyable with the headphones that they use. The way Beats are tuned, It's quite evident that sound signature is preferable for the genres the masses listen to.

 

I am somewhat in the neutral in terms of this. I am amazed by the clarity and sonic qualities of the flagship headphones; however, they don't "move" me emotionally or engage me in the music as well as say a pair of Sennheiser Momentums or V-Moda Crossfade M-100's would for the genres that I listen to. It's all about enjoying our music, but I think we as a whole should come to the understanding that the headphones we praise as audiophiles are not going to offer the sound signature that everyone will enjoy. At the end of the day, enjoying the music is more important than the technicalities of your audio gear.

post #2 of 8

The thing about Jimmy Iovine, no matter how obnoxious I think he is, is that he knew he had to get Beats tuned in a way that complimented pop music, since that's the genre that the people who Beats are targeted towards are most likely to listen to. Most cheaper bassy headphones seem to give the same sensation as Beats, but they're not as popular because of a variety of reasons. One of them, sadly, is that people tend to gravitate to them just because they're expensive. I mean, if they're one of the most expensive headphones in the store, they have to be the best, right? I've come across far too many people (mostly teenagers) dismiss superior, but cheaper, headphones just because they cost less, which they figured meant they obviously were inferior to their Beats. Trying to have them listen to another pair of headphones usually doesn't work due to expectation bias leading them back to their own headphones.

 

I've noticed that people that play instruments are more likely to appreciate nicer gear because they listen for details that make music sound authentic, like timbre. In fact, one of my violinist friends was easily able to tell the difference between my Objective2 and SA-31 without much effort. It's true that most consumers don't look for details, but then there's the counterargument that begs the questions, are they really listening to music, or are they using it as background noise? To me, it's one thing to appreciate a beat, a chord progression, or a verse, but it's another to be able to dissect what's happening. (I'll stop short of the whole, "Music is going downhill because of these people" spiel). Both sets of people are plenty happy, but only one will be able to make good music for the other set to listen to.

 

The thing that led me down this rabbit hole is that I'd always wanted to hear a saxophone be portrayed better than what my stock Blackberry buds did. Thousands of dollars of gear later, I still haven't found a headphone that does the instrument justice, but I'm a heck of a lot closer, and the realism allows me to lose myself in my music. Now, that doesn't mean I can't enjoy a fun, inaccurate sound. I actually have a pair of modded Beats Pro just for that purpose, but with the Beats, they're only restricted to certain genres or else their thick yet bright sound signature gets fatiguing, like for any sort of acoustic music. I think there's a distinct difference between listening to gear and dissecting music because you have gear that can, which I'd like to think most, if not all of us do.

 

But in all honesty, I think the last thing we need on here is another Beats thread. One of these usually crops up every couple of months.

post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by SonusAudio View Post
 

I am well aware that Beats by Dr. Dre is a disliked brand on these forums. I can't help but seem to be amazed at the sheer market share that the Beats headphones possess above $100. Well over 50%. That is insane. Now, I know this is because of the advertising; celebrities, music videos, in every damn store ( soon grocery stores ), etc... However, aesthetics aside as well, It's the tuning of the headphones in regards to the music the majority listens to. As much as we hate to admit it, bass is "generally" the most cared for frequency. I'm a midrange head; however, I can see the reason behind the successful sales of basshead headphones. 

 

We regard the HD800, Beyerdynamic T1, Audeze LCD Series, Stax and others flagship headphones as the epitome of sound quality. I am still stunned by the sound that the HD800 has piped down my ear canals; even the HD650. Sadly, if I were to put those headphones on the average consumer and have them play their favorite song, the first response that I would get is "where's the bass?". With a complete lack of regard on the accuracy of the sound or its quality, they don't experience the pounding and engaging sensation of boosted bass and therefore their "enjoyment" levels hit rock bottom and they proceed to remove the headphone in shock of their price tag. I've had this happen countless times. It's disheartening at first to see them ridicule a pair of flagships because of the lack of bass, but then you begin to understand why they do so.

 

We listen to the music to "enjoy" it. Lot's of us here are victims of listening to our gear as opposed to the music. Face it, the majority of Beats owners and the masses listen to the music; not the gear. Now, I'm not saying the flagship headphones talked about on these forums are not technically adequate for their price offerings. I'm saying, the average consumer couldn't care less about the ability for a headphone to control its resonances or how well it keeps a well shaped 300hz square wave. All they care is if the music sounds enjoyable with the headphones that they use. The way Beats are tuned, It's quite evident that sound signature is preferable for the genres the masses listen to.

 

I am somewhat in the neutral in terms of this. I am amazed by the clarity and sonic qualities of the flagship headphones; however, they don't "move" me emotionally or engage me in the music as well as say a pair of Sennheiser Momentums or V-Moda Crossfade M-100's would for the genres that I listen to. It's all about enjoying our music, but I think we as a whole should come to the understanding that the headphones we praise as audiophiles are not going to offer the sound signature that everyone will enjoy. At the end of the day, enjoying the music is more important than the technicalities of your audio gear.

 

I guess I can't disagree with the general premise of your post...

 

A few things, though:

 

Listening to my gear when I wish to focus on that doesn't make me a "victim', :-)

nor does it make 'victims' of any of us choosing to do so (e.g. comparing amplifiers),

I listen to music very intensely to the exclusion of all else when I'm 'listening to music' -

and believe that my gear helps me enjoy the music more than I otherwise would,

 

Also, is the sound signature of the Beats the primary driver of their popularity?

 

Anyway, I agree with the last couple of statements you made - well said.

post #4 of 8

What headphone is overpriced? Any headphone you bought that you didn't like the sound signature. What headphone is reasonably priced? Any headphone you bought that you enjoyed and kept.

 

In that sense, if people are enjoying their Beats By Dre, what is it to anyone else what they paid or to judge if they overpaid? Accuracy isn't everything in the audio world, people buy thousand dollar tube amps and the purpose isn't accuracy, it's equipment to facilitate enjoying your music. Accuracy isn't even an easy thing to define. If a producer used Beats By Dre to produce the track, and expected the listener to use Beats By Dre to listen, then one could reasonably say that Beats By Dre is the most accurate medium for that recording, since it was the intended delivery equipment of the producer. 

 

By the way, the way people parade their HD800, LCD2, and Stax headphones around here one might think they are also fashion accessories, and they are certainly the definition of fashionable in this community.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zazex View Post
 

 

I guess I can't disagree with the general premise of your post...

 

A few things, though:

 

Listening to my gear when I wish to focus on that doesn't make me a "victim', :-)

nor does it make 'victims' of any of us choosing to do so (e.g. comparing amplifiers),

I listen to music very intensely to the exclusion of all else when I'm 'listening to music' -

and believe that my gear helps me enjoy the music more than I otherwise would,

 

Also, is the sound signature of the Beats the primary driver of their popularity?

 

Anyway, I agree with the last couple of statements you made - well said.

 Very true, higher fidelity gear does bring you closer to the music.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by superlowfi View Post
 

What headphone is overpriced? Any headphone you bought that you didn't like the sound signature. What headphone is reasonably priced? Any headphone you bought that you enjoyed and kept.

 

In that sense, if people are enjoying their Beats By Dre, what is it to anyone else what they paid or to judge if they overpaid? Accuracy isn't everything in the audio world, people buy thousand dollar tube amps and the purpose isn't accuracy, it's equipment to facilitate enjoying your music. Accuracy isn't even an easy thing to define. If a producer used Beats By Dre to produce the track, and expected the listener to use Beats By Dre to listen, then one could reasonably say that Beats By Dre is the most accurate medium for that recording, since it was the intended delivery equipment of the producer. 

 

By the way, the way people parade their HD800, LCD2, and Stax headphones around here one might think they are also fashion accessories, and they are certainly the definition of fashionable in this community.

What you said in bold couldn't be any more true... :jecklinsmile:

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by SonusAudio View Post
 

I am well aware that Beats by Dr. Dre is a disliked brand on these forums. I can't help but seem to be amazed at the sheer market share that the Beats headphones possess above $100. Well over 50%. That is insane. Now, I know this is because of the advertising; celebrities, music videos, in every damn store ( soon grocery stores ), etc... However, aesthetics aside as well, It's the tuning of the headphones in regards to the music the majority listens to. As much as we hate to admit it, bass is "generally" the most cared for frequency. I'm a midrange head; however, I can see the reason behind the successful sales of basshead headphones. 

 

We regard the HD800, Beyerdynamic T1, Audeze LCD Series, Stax and others flagship headphones as the epitome of sound quality. I am still stunned by the sound that the HD800 has piped down my ear canals; even the HD650. Sadly, if I were to put those headphones on the average consumer and have them play their favorite song, the first response that I would get is "where's the bass?". With a complete lack of regard on the accuracy of the sound or its quality, they don't experience the pounding and engaging sensation of boosted bass and therefore their "enjoyment" levels hit rock bottom and they proceed to remove the headphone in shock of their price tag. I've had this happen countless times. It's disheartening at first to see them ridicule a pair of flagships because of the lack of bass, but then you begin to understand why they do so.

 

We listen to the music to "enjoy" it. Lot's of us here are victims of listening to our gear as opposed to the music. Face it, the majority of Beats owners and the masses listen to the music; not the gear. Now, I'm not saying the flagship headphones talked about on these forums are not technically adequate for their price offerings. I'm saying, the average consumer couldn't care less about the ability for a headphone to control its resonances or how well it keeps a well shaped 300hz square wave. All they care is if the music sounds enjoyable with the headphones that they use. The way Beats are tuned, It's quite evident that sound signature is preferable for the genres the masses listen to.

 

I am somewhat in the neutral in terms of this. I am amazed by the clarity and sonic qualities of the flagship headphones; however, they don't "move" me emotionally or engage me in the music as well as say a pair of Sennheiser Momentums or V-Moda Crossfade M-100's would for the genres that I listen to. It's all about enjoying our music, but I think we as a whole should come to the understanding that the headphones we praise as audiophiles are not going to offer the sound signature that everyone will enjoy. At the end of the day, enjoying the music is more important than the technicalities of your audio gear.

 

I can't deny that Beats have made a huge impact on what headphones are today.  But I do disagree with a number of things that you stated, mainly dealing with the preferred sound signature of the consumer base.  

 

You make a statement in your first paragraph that bass is generally the most cared for frequency.  I need to disagree with this as it isn't the most cared for, rather, it's the most advertised.  If you actually look at it, as you go up the Beats line, bass goes down.  This is true of all most of the mainstreams: Skullcandy, Beats, Sol Republic (with exception of the Master Tracks), etc.  So obviously, people aren't looking for a more bassy headphone, they'll agree that the 500 dollar Beats sound better than the 300 dollar ones which sound better than the 200 dollar ones (and so on).  So Bass isn't the most cared for, rather, it's the most advertised.  

 

In the second paragraph, you make a statement, a true one actually, that the neutral sound (dead neutral) isn't the preferred sound to the consumer.  This I will agree with, and a lot of audiophiles would agree with you to (for listening to music with).  Even Tyll has stated that he prefers a headphone that's tamer with the treble.  So yes, consumers do prefer a small bump in the bass.

 

In your third paragraph, you make a bold, and true statement that consumers don't care about measurements...  So true, so overlooked on Head-Fi.  They generally don't care for the measurements, in many cases have no clue they even exist let alone understand what they mean.  It's true that they listen to music, they don't know how to listen to gear; LOL.  A lot of Head-Fiers can care less about measurements as well, same with some engineers that listen first, measure second.  You also make a statement that the way Beats are tuned, that becomes the preferred signature.  There have been more than a few studies done that showed that Beats aren't the preferred sound when blind tested.  So that's generally not true.

 

Now I'll ask a question back, is it the headphone signature that is at fault, or is it the music that is at fault?  Much of the music we listen to nowadays, more current ones anyways, are compressed to hell and back.  This removes large chunks of information from the track.  If you listen to an older track on a neutral pair of headphones, it will move you, it will catch you emotionally and even excite you.  However, if you go and then grab the remastered and compressed version of the song, it doesn't do it as much.  There is a reason why neutral does't sound natural anymore, I'd be willing to bet at one point in time, neutral was natural...  With that said, I feel the most preferred headphones around today (for consumers and audiophile alike) are the ones that "compensate" for this compression the best without getting rid of accuracy or overdoing anything.  And that's a tough job to do.  

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post
 

 

I can't deny that Beats have made a huge impact on what headphones are today.  But I do disagree with a number of things that you stated, mainly dealing with the preferred sound signature of the consumer base.  

 

You make a statement in your first paragraph that bass is generally the most cared for frequency.  I need to disagree with this as it isn't the most cared for, rather, it's the most advertised.  If you actually look at it, as you go up the Beats line, bass goes down.  This is true of all most of the mainstreams: Skullcandy, Beats, Sol Republic (with exception of the Master Tracks), etc.  So obviously, people aren't looking for a more bassy headphone, they'll agree that the 500 dollar Beats sound better than the 300 dollar ones which sound better than the 200 dollar ones (and so on).  So Bass isn't the most cared for, rather, it's the most advertised.  

 

In the second paragraph, you make a statement, a true one actually, that the neutral sound (dead neutral) isn't the preferred sound to the consumer.  This I will agree with, and a lot of audiophiles would agree with you to (for listening to music with).  Even Tyll has stated that he prefers a headphone that's tamer with the treble.  So yes, consumers do prefer a small bump in the bass.

 

In your third paragraph, you make a bold, and true statement that consumers don't care about measurements...  So true, so overlooked on Head-Fi.  They generally don't care for the measurements, in many cases have no clue they even exist let alone understand what they mean.  It's true that they listen to music, they don't know how to listen to gear; LOL.  A lot of Head-Fiers can care less about measurements as well, same with some engineers that listen first, measure second.  You also make a statement that the way Beats are tuned, that becomes the preferred signature.  There have been more than a few studies done that showed that Beats aren't the preferred sound when blind tested.  So that's generally not true.

 

Now I'll ask a question back, is it the headphone signature that is at fault, or is it the music that is at fault?  Much of the music we listen to nowadays, more current ones anyways, are compressed to hell and back.  This removes large chunks of information from the track.  If you listen to an older track on a neutral pair of headphones, it will move you, it will catch you emotionally and even excite you.  However, if you go and then grab the remastered and compressed version of the song, it doesn't do it as much.  There is a reason why neutral does't sound natural anymore, I'd be willing to bet at one point in time, neutral was natural...  With that said, I feel the most preferred headphones around today (for consumers and audiophile alike) are the ones that "compensate" for this compression the best without getting rid of accuracy or overdoing anything.  And that's a tough job to do.  

 

I'm not sure there's anything "wrong" with doing things this way, though.

 

If you're reasonably educated about music, sound reproduction, and audio gear,

you want to buy and own stuff you like the sound of, stuff you enjoy listening to,

 

not necessarily the stuff that measures well.

 

Just one example: we know that tube (valve) amplifiers rarely measure as well

as transistor amplifiers, yet many prefer the sound of the former (and pay

handsomely for that preference)...

post #8 of 8

I think working from the music backwards is a perspective that is under appreciated. Is music produced to be heard on thousand dollar audio equipment? The answer is no, the vast majority of the world and the likely market for music sales does not own or care to own music equipment that costs more than a few hundreds of dollars- and that is what most of today's recordings are optimized for. Headphones like the HD800 are great at making a lot of recordings sound awful, for precisely the reason that they weren't recorded with the intention of being 100% accurately reproduced. 

 

What good is "accuracy", "performance", or even "hi fidelity" when all it does is reveal how crappy the music production is? A piece of music's intended sound reproduction environment by the producer should play a role in considering the performance of a headphone and it's intended market. Combined with the individual sound preferences of the consumer, it's hard to really find fault with the choices of the mainstream public in their audio choices.

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