Beats By Dre wireless review
Sep 14, 2012 at 2:43 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3

quebert

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The Beats collection as a whole get panned pretty badly, and rightfully so as they're stupidly expensive. Imho though they're not as bad sounding as some make them out to be. For the price? sure. But I'm not an audiophile so I guess my standards aren't super high.  I couldn't find many reviews of the wireless version, and the few I did I saw a lot of "Beats suck!" and "Audio Technica ATH-M50's (or [insert other cans] sound better and are half the price too!" comments. I believe it's stupid to compare a set of bluetooth cans to a set of wired. Of course the wired will sound better, and they'll be cheaper? duuuh!  I don't have an uber high end system to listen to music on, and I don't have lab grade hardware to test the SQ. 
 
I previously had some Rocketfish BT headphones, they sounded decent enough and were inexpensive, but they broke. I go to the gym and like no wires so I was left looking at other Bluetooth options, which there just aren't many of. Not quality ones anyways. I tried out the Sennheiser, and to me they sounded just okay, weren't really comfortable enough and didn't fit me right at the gym. Which is as important as SQ, if they're not going to stay on when I'm jamming around all the SQ in the world means nothing. The more I looked around, and read the reviews of various cans the more I realized none would be perfect. Beats are notoriously popular with clueless people, and as I already said frowned upon by people in forms such as these. Honestly outside of "too expensive" I don't feel one way or the other about them. I bought these because of the BLUETOOTH, and will be reviewing them taking that into consideration. I mentioned I'm not an audiophile, but in the past I have owned some mid level cans ($150-$200 range) and have demoed some really nice ones. While I can't break down exact SQ graphs and such I know what sounds good to me and what doesn't. Anywho here's my review
 
I picked them up off Ebay for $240 shipped, expensive? Depends on how you look at it, good Bluetooth headphones are hard to come by. I've tried most of the $100 and under I cound find and all left me wanting more. Not just in the SQ department, but Bluetooth connectivity and comfort. The ones I got are the reversion since Beats & Monster split. Outside of no Monster logo and a different 3.5mm cable I've been unable to find out if there are any significant differences between the 2.  They take about an hour to charge and have 10 hours of battery life, which is pretty respectable.
 
fit - I have a large cranium and these fit nicely, I use them at the gym so I can't comment on how they feel after being on for 4 hours. They do great at staying in place when I'm running on the treadmill or in the bag room on the heavy bag. They're larger than the Solo's but not as big as the Studios. They feel incredibly well built, but only time will tell if this is in fact the case. 
 
SQ - I listen to 80-90's rap and old school soul. All the rap I listened to sounds great, and listening to Shuggie Otis's "Here comes Shuggie" the guitar licks were clean and the song had a nice smoothness to it. Besides that I've listened to some random 70's soul and funk on them. I was pleased with the overall SQ. As with all other Beats cans the bass tends to be heavy, but it's nothing a bit of EQ'ing can't handle. Surprisingly I find the overall SQ to be the richest when I use the Beats emulation on the Android EQ app Volume +.. You'd figure an EQ setting that's suppose to emulate the bass heavy Beats would make the bass even more intense. But, it did just the opposite and in fact it mellowed it out quite a bit in fact, go figure lol.  I'll say nope, these are the best sounding cans I've heard, or even close. But I bought them knowing this, I can say that they are indeed the best sounding Bluetooth cans I've heard. And since that was the main thing I was looking for, I have zero complaints about the SQ.  I'm sure better sounding BT cans exist but I have yet to hear them. These will be mostly used at the gym, which is already pretty loud from the music they play, I will say these do block out  noise fairly well for not being noise canceling.  And I didn't notice any annoying plastic squeaking when I was walking around or running on the treadmill. I tried various EQ settings on my phone and was able to make everything from NWA to Curtis Mayfield
to John Coltrane sound good. I expected more of a muddy thumpy sound, but I didn't really get that. While these aren't Grado's, the Grado's I've heard didn't do as well with the old school rap I listen to. Different cans for different purposes, for my musical tastes these are pretty good imho.
 
A nice bonus feature's the 3.5mm jack with a cable that has audio controls. When connected they become wired cans and no longer use battery. Good if you're out and the batteries dies but you still want to use them. And of course as with all BT headphones they have audio controls built into the right ear cup. If you get a call the music stops and you can answer. I made 1 call and the person on the other end said they could hear me fine, I did hear a bit of echo from myself. But this seems to be pretty typical for a lot of BT devices I've used.
 
The Monster branded version of these were spec'ed as Bluetooth 2.1, while I can't find any info one way or the other if that's changed here. I'm having to assume they are BT 4.0. I have no facts to back this up, but they just don't perform like any 2.1 device I've used. This is where imho these cans truely shine, and absolutely blew me away. With my previous BT headphones I could go 15 maybe 20 feet before they started to sporadically break up and were mostly unlistenable, any further they'd become completely useless. At my gym yesterday I left my phone on the treadmill and went all the way across to talk to the trainer. After a minute I realized where my phone was. The audio was still playing 100% perfectly. I stood there and listened to an entire song without any break. This is compared to previous headphones where sometimes all it took was having my phone on  the other side of my body to cause the Bluetooth connection to start acting up.  WHile I don't know exactly how far away I was (will measure today when I go) I was definitely past 30 feet. And int he locker room I left my phone in the locker and went to the other side in the Suana. And again, the quality played flawlessly for the 10 minutes I was in there. This was threw the locker door and the thick wall of the Suana. To say I was impressed was an understatement. If these aren't 4.0 I'm shocked beyond belief at what Beats have pulled off here.  As I already mentioned all my previous BT devices would hardly work even at 4-5 meters, sometimes something as simple as a door would kill the connection. I even have a 4.0 headset (Motorola) and it doesn't come close to measuring up here distance wise.  For reference I have a Samsung Galaxy Note so YMMV as with all BT devices. But I've owned at least a dozen and this simply blows them all out the water. When I get off work I plan to walk up my street and see how far I can get from my car, I shall report back with my findings later.
 
With the rest of the Beats lineup it's pretty easy to give them a poor rating for value. While these aren't exactly cheap, they're in a totally different class. Some will say the Miikey's sound as good ans are only $100. But I've owed them and the build quality simply doesn't measure up. I will say yes, these should be cheaper. But I won't go as far as to say they're expensive. I think they were worth the price and as long as they hold up to sweat and the Suana I have no regrets about buying them. They're not marketed as a workout headphone so I have my fingers crossed on the sweat part.
 
Sep 16, 2012 at 8:00 PM Post #3 of 3

quebert

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Even though next to nobody's probably reading this thread I thought I'd give a quick update on 1 of my strong points.  The range -
 
I'm not sure exactly what's going on here, the day after I wrote the review when I got home I left my phone in my car and walked up the street to see how far I could go before the audio started to break up.  I crossed the street and went 1/2 a house up and it started to break up every 4 or so seconds. I went a few feet further and it just about totally cut out.  Since I've been back to the gym twice and one of those times I decided to test it. I walked from 1 end to just about the other and the audio was fine, I then walked towards the back (phone was towards the opposite end corner) and it did start to break up slightly, but it was still pretty good. I didn't have any way to measure the distance, but it was at least 100 feet, probably more. I understand the gym's inside so there's less interference. But the range should be 10x better in doors. BT 2.1 specs are 10 meters under the best conditions.  Also in the locker room I was in the sauna again with my phone in the locker and there was zero break up.  I just played music on my computer with them and walked out of my room and shut the door. I made it a few feet before the music started to crack. If anyone can explain to me why they're working so great in the gym but not anywhere I'm all ears.  The range at home and outside is about on par with every other BT device I've used, so what's happening at the gym is just messing with my mind.
 

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