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Beats Solo3 Wireless - Impressions Thread

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  1. SparkOnShore

    Just read this:
    http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/first-apple-w1-wireless-chip-headphone-beats-solo3#YZ1HT1YU82Y79CUO.97

    The guy says it all in a short way also!! This is a very good headphone, period!
     
  2. MICHAELSD

    Yes, I know Tyll finds the Solo2/Solo3 to be "excellent."  [​IMG] Was just checking if any audiophiles were willing to discuss the Solo3 as this thread has been pretty barren compared to threads about gear from other major brands, especially for a headphone of this popularity.
     
  3. SparkOnShore

    You will not be able to find an "audiophile" discussing Solo3 here!!! You are a bright exception!!! There is big hypocrisy in "audiophiles". It is difficult for them to accept that all their details and researches and FRs and money given over the years, all are just sent to h**l by Apple!!! Bluetooth with all its awesomeness and with such great sound, has just been delivered by Apple!! No more care about silver and golden cables??? Oh my God!! That's a lot to get swallowed by any "audiophile"...
     
    MICHAELSD likes this.
  4. MICHAELSD
     
    The treble booster does a much better job adding clarity back into these headphones, I just wish there was an option for a tad less of a boost on the iPhone. I appreciate that they reduced the treble partly due to hearing fatigue, but with the treble booster EQ these headphones over Bluetooth are almost as clear across all frequencies as my wired headphones. Bass reducer just mucks up the entire sound signature IMO.
     
    Still not as well-balanced as the M-100 though.
     
  5. MICHAELSD
    I'm going to have to run a decibel meter (an iPhone app so I hope it's accurate) to see the exact decibel levels, but at 75-80% volume these do rock and sound clear. That's the best way to use these as the sound signature is the best I've heard for jamming out and still have a respectable amount of clarity at a high enough volume level, but that's also probably too loud for normal listening levels despite the laid-back treble.
     
  6. MICHAELSD

    You know what, the detail reproduction for its price range as a wireless headphone is perfectly good. I can still pick out a lot of details from these. They need to fix the bass bleeding into the low-mids and clean up the treble a little, but if these weren't Beats and were released under Apple instead or another brand they'd probably be better-regarded on here.
     
  7. MICHAELSD
    I know Beats discussions mostly fall on deaf ears, but I took some decibel readings using the Decibel 10th iPhone app with the iPhone directly inside the Solo3's left earcup using the chorus of "Starlight" by Muse.

    16/16: Average - 94.1   Max - 97.1 (max volume)
    14/16: Average - 89.4   Max - 92.1
    12/16: Average - 82.8   Max - 86.9

    12/16 is my preferred listening level for enjoyment and clarity, so those readings are a bit encouraging as that volume sounds a few decibels higher to my ears. Frankly at volumes too low there isn't enough of a balance for the headphones to be enjoyable so if the decibel level really maxes out around 87 at 75% volume then that would make it usable all-day without a concern of hearing loss.

    The app I used seems calibrated fine and is supposed to be accurate, but even if it's 5 decibels off these readings would be vastly different.
     
  8. MICHAELSD
    In case anybody is wondering, I did spend some more time putting the Solo3 through its paces against the V-MODA M-100, and the results are surprising.
     
    As stated, the M-100 are definitely more versatile but the Solo3 has even more of a fun, punchy sound. The Solo3's sound is absolutely delectable on any song by the sultry Tove Lo; the drum kit on "Habits" has a powerful kick, its presence is even more felt than on the M-100 especially at the onset of the track when it first kicks in. In fact, the Solo3 is tuned better for any type of modern production music for those that want as fun of a sound as possible. Ariana Grande's music sounds much more bassy on the Beats without lacking detail as does most pop music. One particular highlight for me is just how addictive Pentatonix, an a capella group, sound with the bass tuning on the Solo3. The bass notes are so powerful that they lend an extra layer of feeling to the instrument-less tracks. Their cover of "Hallelujah" is a standout on the Solo3.
     
    Meanwhile, any music with finer instrumentation or detail is seriously missing having a more detailed treble and overall definition. It's clear from the first 6 seconds of the instrumental that opens Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto that the M-100 has far more grace to handle the entire album. It's the same with deeply-layered tracks like "Viva la Vida," which have to be played at louder volumes on the Solo3 to be enjoyed, while the M-100 spares very few details particularly in the live version. Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way" feels like it's missing a layer of detail on the Solo3, feeling more at home on the M-100. That extends to most classic rock. Metal-heads will be happy either way though, as Metallica's "Hardwired" really kicked on the Solo3 but had better dynamics on the M-100. Same with dance music: it can really kick on the Solo3, but had better dynamics and detail on the M-100. The bass tuning on the Solo3 made some tracks like Drake's "One Dance" and Rihanna's "Work" seem a bit too unrestrained, causing them to lose some finesse in the low-end.
     
    The Solo3 has its merits for powerful sound, and at the least sounds adequate for every genre. In fact I think most bass-seeking non-audiophiles will be very pleased.
     
  9. MICHAELSD
    ScreenShot2016-12-11at3.37.51AM.png

    Boom. Almost all of the clarity restored in the treble without negatively affecting the low-end; in fact, it sounds less boomy and tighter. To create my preset, simply select the Treble Booster preset in iTunes and set 8khz to neutral. With the default Treble Booster preset a lot of the low-end is lost, while simply setting 8khz to neutral cleans up the entire presentation. Sounds a good degree better actually, fixing what the Beats sounds engineers should have...

    Then again, I think these are designed to listen to loudly so the Solo3 sound signature kind of works.
     
    brent00ksu likes this.
  10. MICHAELSD
    Part 2 on sound: 

    The Solo3 is tuned for loud listening, and the tuning is perfect for that. I think people accustomed to high-quality audio might be disappointed listening at lower levels, but these do shine with a lot of power and clarity from 75-100% volume (100% volume is not recommended of course). Audio experts recommend getting high-quality headphones that are tuned equally across all frequencies so they don't need to be listened to loudly to be enjoyed to prevent hearing loss, and the Beats 3 are the opposite of that. But what you do get is drums that really kick and bass that will attack your senses.

    After my time listening to the Solo3 I think I can state that the best aspect about the sound is that Beats are no longer just saying marketing nonsense when they say it's tuned for emotion. You will feel the music, but that comes at the price of needing to play the Solo3 loudly for 90%, give or take a few percentage points, of the clarity you'd get from higher-end headphones

    Going from the EarPods to the Solo3, the Solo3 will feel like a whole new world. They are like a high-end pair of headphones, they're just tuned in a way that emphasizes kick/bass over clarity that begs to be listened to loudly. I have found the more I grow accustom to them and give them a fair listening experience, the more I like the sound and the more details I'm able to pick out in the mix.

    TLDR: My new consensus is 90%+- of the details are there, but with the way the Solo3 are "tuned for emotion" they need to be listened to loudly to be fully-enjoyed, which has its own set of implications.
     
  11. MICHAELSD
    Hmm, you get a lot of extra clarity in the treble through a wired connection I'm finding through additional testing but the soundstage is more open through Bluetooth. Bass is tighter too. I really enjoy the wireless sound signature with a more laid-back treble but they do sound quite good if you're craving extra clarity wired, albeit with a smaller soundstage lacking a bit less separation than I'd like.
     
    Yup, finding this to be true through additional testing. 
     
    Wired - much more clarity in the treble, clearer mids, tighter bass. Pretty impressive upon second listening. Would be perfectly fine with a slightly more spacious soundstage. There's practically zero separation... not a problem in wireless mode.
     
    Wireless - much more spacious soundstage, better separation, laid-back treble potentially better for blasting music.
     
    Overall I still do prefer the sound in wireless mode which is why I bought these damn Beats headphone in the first place: for perfect wireless connectivity.
     
    They're like two different headphones in both modes. I can see why the Solo2 didn't get perfect reviews in wired mode (I have no idea what wireless mode sounded like on them), but the DAC in the Solo3 is just miraculous.
     
    Proposal: if the Solo2 got 7-8/10 in sound from most reputable sources in wired mode, and the DAC in Solo3 makes it sound better wirelessly, wouldn't that make these a great pair of headphones, especially taking all the features into account? Personally, I like the Solo3 a lot in wireless mode. Doubt I'd use the wired mode often if at all.
     
  12. MICHAELSD
    I like the soundstage on the Solo3 in wireless mode a lot. Voices and instruments are upfront when they're supposed to be, while all the background details are... in the background. This is in contrast to the soundstage I'm used to where it feels like there's a few "sonic" feet of distance between the music, including vocals, and the ear. I actually feel like this is what a soundstage should sound like. Not saying it couldn't be larger, but I do quite prefer having a soundstage that's open while the music doesn't feel like it's being played from far away in comparison.
     
    It has its flaws, but I can say that the Solo3 in wireless mode (the lack of separation in wired mode makes the sound garbage) are my favorite current headphones for listening enjoyment. Though that could easily change.
     
    ____
     
    I may be purchasing a Momentum 2.0 Wireless to audition at-home due to the price being similar to what I paid for the Solo3 in a clearance deal that's long passed. It's funny to say that I may end up preferring the Solo3's wireless mode over the Momentum's wireless mode, but it honestly wouldn't surprise me.
     
  13. green 18
    It is funny, I was just going to weigh in regarding just how much I enjoy these paired with my Apple TV but after reading the audiophile review in this thread I see it was already touched on. I have my atv in a secondary room so I don't have my full surround sound setup...but had been shopping for options. On a whim I decided to listen through the solo's (which of course paired quickly)...and boom, sound issue solved! Dialogue is clear and comfortable and the exaggerated bass makes for a great simulated sub. No latency or lip sync issues at all. As a side benefit I can walk upstairs to the kitchen and the connection is rock solid...I don't miss a second of the show.

    For some genres I definitely prefer my other headphones but I am shocked how these seem to end up on my head more than others. Emotion is the perfect word. Even if you recognize they may not be deadly accurate, the realization hits you as you try and wipe the grin off your face from the guilty pleasure.
     
    MICHAELSD likes this.
  14. MICHAELSD
    Can't confirm as I'm only one song in using the Solo3 with my iPhone 7 Plus but upon first impression the bass might be tighter and the clarity better than on any other device I've tested it with. Perhaps there's some W1 magic going on within the iPhone 7's Bluetooth chip, or I'm just tired.
     
  15. pete4sound
    Can confirm these sound great and have very punchy satisfying tight bass. The rest of the sound is well balanced. I don't find they have as wider soundstage as some, but somehow the lask of harshness enables more depth of sound and I am hearing sounds that I hadn't picked up on before with others. W1 surpasses every other wireless headphone for range and connection. I've used them daily for over a month and find them great overall. Btw iPhone 7+ too
     
    MICHAELSD likes this.
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