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Beats Solo3 Wireless - Impressions Thread

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  1. Joelc87
    I think I can agree with what everybody has generally said so far.  My main listening rigs are my grace m9xx and AKG k7xx or UE in ear reference monitors. For critical listening work, I'm used to fairly neutral sounding stuff.  I tried out the Solo3s because I wanted a pair of lively sounding wireless headphones for casual listening, especially while doing other tasks, house work, yard work, photography, hiking etc.
    Obviously I bought these knowing they would be bass heavy, and I wanted that for my more personal laid back listening.  Most of the time my music is more of a background sound anyway and ultimate quality, clarity isn't an issue.  The battery life is pretty fantastic and would pretty much be the selling point of these.  The connection does seem more reliable with the W1 chip as well.
    Few downsides, the build quality is a bit plasticy/thin as it is with all beats, I think with gentle use they'll be fine for a few years, which is fine.  Other thing is they are quite tight, which is subjective but they definitely clamp my ears pretty tightly, people with smaller heads may find the fit is better.  Obviously the sound is not neutral but I think any serious buyers will know what they're getting themselves into.
    Overall I think these are a nice convenient easy to use wireless headphone for people who like a heavy bass sound and appreciate the beats style, battery life, and Apple integrated features.  I probably won't be keeping them due to the fit but I can certainly see these as an improvement over the early Beats models.
  2. Tony Frenzel
    Has anyone tried to connect the Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones to a more recent Samsung smart TV (I have the UN60KS8000)? I can't get it to recognize these headphones, but it will recognize and connect to another cheap bluetooth wireless headphones I have. It won't list/find the Beats through the tv interface. Any thoughts or help would be appreciated.
  3. XizorGetspeed
    Maybe you guys can help me out here...
    So I just bought these and the B&W P7 Wireless... I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm honestly torn between which one to keep.
    The sound between the two are actually quite similiar (we'll chalk that up to my inexperienced ears).  The P7s are on ear and are very comfortable but the top band digs into the top of my head.  And they are much heavier.  Solo3 are much lighter, but the on ear experience isn't as pleasant.  I can't decide which bothers me more, the cups pressing on my ears or the band pressing on my head.
    SQ as I mentioned is very similiar, I can pick up all the details with either set, and the difference really has to do with how the P7s are over ear and create this space vs the solos are on ear and push sound directly into your head.  Soundstage is bigger on the P7 but then again, it's close enough to me.
    Battery life of course Solo's win with its 40 hours playback and 1 min charge gives 3 hrs of playback...
    But the thing that is really driving me up the wall is the latency.  Besides music, I also game on my iPhone and the delay really creeps up here.  For movies oddly, I can't notice any delays at all, whether it be youtube, netflix or itunes.  So really it's gaming.
    And the p7's are also $200 more.  While my budget is flexible, I'm not gonna spend $200 if it's not worth it.
    B&W much more respectable than beats.  I'm in my mid 30s and not exactly looking to make a fashion statement here.  Although the P7 are quite a bit bulkier and not exactly sleek either...
    Decisions decisions... What to do?
    BTW, my current cans are the M&D MH40.  Which I love, but I want to go wireless...
    I fully realize the limitations of these, but Overstock.com has these on-sale for $200 for Black Friday. Very tempted to place an order before they sell out. Would consider a pair of Crossfade Wireless over these if they also do a $150 (like the M-100 last year) or $200 sale for Black Friday. I enjoy the exaggerated Beats bass for rap and some dance songs, but rock doesn't sound great on the Solo3, at least the pop punk I tried. These might end up going back if I do buy a pair since I'm also skeptical on comfort but we will see.
    Even at $200 they seem a bit overpriced for the quality, but for 40+ hours of battery life and the portability they're not a bad option. 
  5. cruecu
    Amazon has the studio wireless in titanium for 175 on a warehouse deal. They have a bunch of them. I got a pair delivered yesterday. Basically all are perfect condition returns that can be sent back if you aren't happy. I got an extra 15% off too. Maybe because I'm a prime member. I don't think you'll find that deal anywhere. I would imagine these sound quite a bit better than the solo 3 wireless being over the ear. I compared them to my m50s and i thought they sounded similar in bass with more mids. I wouldn't have considered these but they are the best fitting headphones for my head that I've ever tried on. Glad i bought them because the sound has improved on this brand by leaps and bounds. Just a very fun sounding headphone, especially for the gym.
    First impressions:
    Design - 9/10
    Classy and understated. 9/10 across the board for all colors except the glossy models as the glossy plastic tends to make the design look cheaper (in photos).
    Build quality - 8/10
    The matte black model I'm auditioning doesn't feel cheap or plasticy in the slightest. While the Solo3 is lightweight it also manages to feel substantial, with no flex or build issues to report of.
    Comfort/fit - 7.5/10 
    Clamps onto the head fairly well with no headband discomfort, and the earpads are initially pretty comfy. My ears do get hot/red after about a half hour to an hour of usage, but the pleather earpads provide sufficient enough padding that I doubt there's a more comfortable pair of on-ear headphones.
    Wireless connectivity - 9/10
    So far, no problems. Range is as advertised, and connection has been rock-solid with an iPhone -- though my 2012 Retina MacBook Pro takes a little longer to connect. There was maybe one noise artifact on rMBP, but beyond that no cutting out.
    Note: to achieve the maximum quality on these be sure to use a Bluetooth 4.2 device. The clarity when using these with my iPhone 6s Plus surpasses the Bluetooth 4.0 rMBP. It's actually better than these headphones sound wired.
    Packaging - 9/10
    It's a premium Apple unboxing experience.
    Included accessories - 5/10
    Points mainly knocked off for the soft carrying case that lacks padding and much real protection.
    Portability - 10/10
    These can fold up to get smaller than practically any other headphone on the market, and the fact that you don't need to carry a cable with these, even a charging cable in most scenarios due to the next point, makes these a solid 10 on the portability front.
    Battery life - 10/10
    40+ hours of battery life (I've seen people get closer to 50). 5 minute charge provides 3 hours of playback. No other headphone matches that.
    Sound quality - 7-8/10 (still under evaluation)
    Bass-accentuated, mid-forward presentation that loses some clarity in the treble. The overall sound signature is pleasant, and well-suited for playing loudly due to the tamed, still-present treble. They can get sufficiently loud with no distortion, and I find they're best listened to at about 60-75% (between 10-12 notches up from mute out of the max possible 16) for clarity across all frequencies.
    While this is Beats, the Solo3 is Beats by Apple. That means the bass isn't too boomy, and has a surprising amount of clarity though not perfect while still hitting exceptionally hard for an on-ear headphone. The soundstage, while a bit restrained and smaller than an over-ear pair, is also surprisingly defined.
    This isn't an audiophile headphone fine-tuned for detail, but it should delight anybody who hasn't heard a higher-end pair. I'm still deciding whether a 7 or 8 is appropriate as the sound is above average, and very well may be better than any other pair of wireless on-ear headphones, while not exceptional. I'll be sure to put these through its paces with a variety of genres. 
    I keep comparing them to my higher-end headphones and every time I switch back to the Solo3 I'm surprised how stand up. The sound is far from bad. In fact, these get my full recommendation if you mainly listen to hip-hop or pop. These do also sound quite good with most modern rock music. The low-end accentuation can tend to drown out some instruments and finer details, so it's not a perfect presentation.
    Value - 7.5/10
    As a package deal you're getting a sleek design, reliable wireless connectivity, portability, an exceptional 40+ hours of battery, and if it adds value to you the Beats branding as well. What I wished Apple would have done is to put an audiophile-quality driver in the Solo3 at the $299 price point to make it worth the price or lowered the retail price to $199-$249. These are a much better value than the Solo2 were at its release though, mainly due to the Apple W1 chip that makes the wireless and battery life so class-leading.
    Bottom line, the Solo3 the most attractive wireless headphone on the market for non-audiophiles with the most practical wireless connectivity and battery life as well as a wonderful design. However, audiophiles should search elsewhere as more detailed headphones that also have a fun sound like V-MODA's Crossfade Wireless can be had at a similar price.
    This could make a fine second or third pair for audiophiles that favor portability and battery life over pure detail and don't mind the price tag.
    Wow, the Solo3 sound terrible wired. Much more clarity through a wireless connection. Funny, should be the opposite. Apple is working some DAC magic inside these.
    Hmm, treble reduction EQ seems to resolve more detail in the low/mid frequencies while still having a clean, laid-back treble in some songs. Depending how much you care about treble this produces a very mid-centric sound. These do EQ to sound good for all types of music, either bass or treble reduction for the most part, and still some songs still won't sound right ("Mr. Brightside" by The Killers).
    Even without the treble reducer in a few songs I've played the melody almost sounds pitch-shifted down an octave, like the piano riff in "Clocks" by Coldplay.
    Eh, the lack of definition in the bass in some songs is almost insulting to the sound engineers. The bass is strong if you don't care about detail, but sound quality becomes more mediocre the more I test them. Too bad, because everything else is on point. Around 7 seems about right for sound. With the right song though it is a fun bassy sound, if inaccurate and not the way the audio engineer intended. The Beats sound signature is unique, just know there are limits to what you can play and have sound the way it's intended. 
    I think I've come to this consensus on the sound:
    While the Solo3 is not accurate, there is a nice amount of clarity in the mids; the bass is overblown and the treble is so laid-back it loses most of its detail. However, my parting words on the sound is that it's a unique signature made for jamming out to loud music without fatigue. Beats isn't aiming for accuracy, they're aiming for imparting their own unique sound in the Solo3 and they've succeeded in that. Just keep in mind every song played on a Solo3 is like a "Beats Remix" version that's fun-sounding but in many cases not the way the artist intended. Some songs, mainly hip-hop, dance, and pop can but not in every case benefit from it but other genres are hit-and-miss. A lot of the songs I've tested that are based off of real instruments fall apart and lack clarity, but much modern music sounds surprisingly exciting.
    For that reason along with the excellent battery life and wireless connectivity, Head-Fi members wouldn't go wrong having this in their collection if they enjoy the aforementioned "Beats Remix" sound for those times they want a sound signature EQ can't quite emulate while keeping in mind the only accuracy found is in the mids. The rest is Beat's attempt at a remixed sound of your favorite songs, not an accurate sound.
    Note: This testing was done on a 2012 Retina MacBook Pro. The rest of my testing will be on an iPhone 6s Plus, which I found to provide clearer audio so some of these issues may be addressed.
    I may write up a full review on here, but you know what -- the Beats Solo line under Apple could be excellent if the bass was tightened up a bit so drums retain a bit more detail (the bass accentuation is addicting though, the amount of bass is impressive) and I do like that the treble is rolled-off the way it is as it causes less listening fatigue. The main issue with the Solo3's sound signature is that the treble can reduce detailed cymbal hits to sounding more like a "tick" common in hip-hop songs and I've found no way to EQ it to restore the detail. Not the best for real instruments, but the sound is fun and punchy for pop music.
    They're exceptionally comfortable, good-looking, and last an incredibly long time as the first practical wireless headphone on the market IMO. You know what?! There are issues with the sound that are present, but for the time being I think the Solo3 could make a great wireless headphone if I'm not too analytical with them. The competition should really watch out now that Beats are bringing groundbreaking features to the game. I'm all for a laid-back treble if it means less fatigue. If the Solo4 has new drivers tuned for more detailed treble and low-end detail while still retaining the same bass accentuation then it could be a very attractive headphone. 
    Making more progress into cleaning up the Solo3 sound... This next step really opens up the soundstage and dynamics.
    There's an option in iTunes for a sound enhancer that the Solo3 benefits from:
    The iPhone doesn't have the same option as far as I'm aware, but beyond opening up the soundstage I'm not sure it makes for better sound. I think the bass and treble are elevated, but it seems like it puts a bit of a reverb on the mid-range otherwise it would help bring some clarity back into these headphones.
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