Beats Studio 3.0 (Releasing Fall 2017)

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by MICHAELSD, Jul 6, 2017.

  1. MICHAELSD
    I agree, Beats should have easily been best-in-class under Apple especially compared to Sony or Bose but they really fell short. As Beats’ flagship modern headphone, I expected great-ranging-on-excellent sound out of the Studio3 but it’s really just above average for a consumer headphone. Build and sound quality are comparable to Sony and Bose but not necessarily better, which is a shame as Beats should have been the clear winner especially with an extra year of development time. In retrospect the ANC could really be better considering how good it is on Bose and Sony’s headphones. Beats released one new headphone this year and it was an upgrade that ended up feeling lazy.

    Maybe the lukewarm response to Studio3 will cause them to re-evaluate their strategy. Under the Beats name Apple should have released the market’s best wireless headphone but it’s not even worth the $349 asking price. An excellent wireless headphone with W1 would have been an amazing best-selling product.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2017
  2. MICHAELSD
    If you need the ANC you’re probably better off with a different headphone in that case.
     
  3. cruiser607
    Thanks for your thoughts and pointing me in the right direction.

    I have spent some time at the local electronics store and tested QC35II and the Sony 1000XM2 quite heavily. That was actually my first time listening to the Sony’s and I was blown away. These are great sounding headphones packed with features ... I love the ambient sound functionality.

    Back in the office I put my Beats Studio3 back on and was shocked how poor the sound was compared to the Sony’s. I’m clearly not an audiophile but can tell the difference between crystal clear and mushy sound which the Beats produce.

    Also feature wise, it’s almost an effrontery of Beats/Apple to sell something like this for 350 USD giving the customer 0 chance to customise the headphones just as e.g. Sony does through the app. Not mentioning the lousy sound quality and ANC.

    I have sent the Beats back to Apple and purchased the Sony’s. Happy after all! :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017
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  4. MICHAELSD
    It's a shame because the Studio3 can sound better with EQ so the stock tuning isn't perfect, but at the end of the day Sony's ANC headphone is probably a better option for the features it offers alone. While it is a decent headphone with a good consumer-tuned sound, Studio3 could have been so much better.

    Reasons to buy Studio3:

    1) W1 chip
    2) Design
    3) Brand
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
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  5. MICHAELSD
    *deleted pending further testing*
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
  6. MICHAELSD
    The "Rock" equalizer in iOS/iTunes does a good job at making up for the headphone's main faults, at least in theory. It adds more presence to the lowest frequencies as well as to the upper treble, which goes a long way at making the headphones sound better overall as it eliminates much of the roll-off Beats opted for. Not perfect but it does help the Studio3 become more enjoyable.

    It removes the mid-bass bias and adds an airiness to the treble. Some songs are better-sounding. Mids still aren't totally properly-tuned which takes away from the EQ. Beats could still dive back into the tuning and do a better job since I wouldn't listen with this EQ all the time as it still doesn't sound totally natural...
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
  7. MICHAELSD
    I've looked into it and in the past with Studio 2.0 Apple released firmware updates that improved the ANC and sound, so it's possible they will address early criticism.
     
  8. KeyMs92
    Alright: I couldn't resist and bought the Studio3.

    First impressions: I'm not sure I'm a fan of the earpads. Even after a minute, my ears felt hot and cramped (and it's 10° C outside!). The H6's earpads go much more around your ears; they feel much more spacious and 'ventilated'. Going back to the H6 after using the Studio3 for a while feels like getting a nice cold breeze around your ears.

    As for the sound: they have way less bass than I'd expected. I find that a good thing! However, from the very first second of listening, the sound felt extremely compressed and murky. The best way to describe it is listening to music played through the telephone. Going back to the H6, feels like the veil being lifted and listening straight to the music again.

    Needless to say, I'm impressed by the W1 chip. The range and reliability is absolutely awesome. Oh how much money I would give for an H6 with W1 chip...

    Of course I'll do more listening with them, but there's a good chance I'm going to return them. I might keep them for use cases like movie watching, but I'm not sure yet.
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
  9. hifi80sman
    Thanks for the hands-on feedback. The issue I find with the iPhone EQ is that it lowers the overall volume, so it's almost like it de-AMPs (is that a word?) the signal.

    For me, I'd pull the trigger at $249 with updated firmware and/or an app to adjust ANC and EQ (on board in the internal AMP/DAC chain). Apple could make an app in like, 5 seconds, so someone just needs to make someone do it!
     
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  10. KeyMs92
    Aaaand I already returned them. I just can't live with the sound, and for uses cases besides music I'd rather use my AirPods anyway.

    Not totally surprising, but it was still worth trying them for the confirmation.
     
    MICHAELSD likes this.
  11. MICHAELSD
    Returns seem to be a trend with these headphones...
     
  12. MICHAELSD
    RTings posted their review of the Studio3 (I haven’t been checking daily lol), and it’s nice to see that I can trust my ears since their measurements line up with my impressions. The previous Studio2 model and the Solo3 both measure better than the Studio3. Solo3 particularly measures better with a more open sound, better-extended bass, smoother mids and treble, and significantly better imaging.

    Disappointing performance. It’s like Beats didn’t even try with this one.

    http://www.rtings.com/headphones/reviews/beats/studio-3-studio3-wireless
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
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  13. MICHAELSD
    I spent some quality time with the new Sony WH-1000mk2 and Bose’s QC35II and was surprised by the comparison. The first notable difference was that ANC on the Sony was better than Bose’s implementation in a noisy store.

    Honestly they both hold their own sound-wise but the Bose makes a lot of details sound off. It measures well but in practice the audio quality is what I’d call a consumer neutral. That is, boring and clinical without the detail resolution that would be expected out of such a signature. Sony sounded more vivid and accurate. It’s easy to see why audiophiles pick the Sony. I even found the build quality and comfort better on the Sony. Top that off with the customizable ANC and gesture control and Sony is a clear winner over Bose.

    The one knock I could give against Sony, which Bose also suffers from to a greater degree, is that the sound is cleaner without ANC but feels off. There’s a certain warmth to the sound that’s lacking without ANC. Also, while the treble on the Bose is inaccurate, Sony is missing a full treble presentation. I quite like roll-off at the top-end for a less fatiguing sound, especially in ANC headphones meant for an active life, but audiophiles will notice a lack of top-end detail.

    Compared to the Studio3, Beats held their own but were also bested by Sony. The comfort and build quality on both is similar but Sony also gets the edge in comfort here as the headphones felt more stable while giving my ears more room to breathe. Bass presentation on the Sony is also better, with a full low-end presence down to the impact range that is gravely missing on the Studio3. ANC is also no comparison - Sony blocked out significantly more sound. On the flip side, there’s less of a difference in the audio with ANC enabled on Studio3. On Sony the difference with ANC disabled is night-and-day though I may have preferred the sound with ANC.

    If I had to rank the headphones I’d say:

    Build quality
    1) Sony
    2) Beats
    3) Bose

    Comfort
    1) Sony
    2) Bose
    3) Beats

    ANC strength
    1) Sony
    2) Bose
    3) Beats *the audio quality is the most unaffected on Beats, it’s exceptionally clear with ANC enabled

    Sound quality
    1) Sony
    2) Beats
    3) Bose

    I do still think Beats could have a winner here if they improved the audio signature as they do have the most open sound of the three and hold their own against Sony. If they had a more linear bass from below 20Hz on and got rid of the lower mids bump Beats would probably best the other two in audio quality. As it stands now though the audio performance doesn’t justify Beats’ price point. Besides maybe connection strength and design Beats doesn’t best Sony or Bose in any meaningful ways.

    Speaking of audio tuning, I don’t really get why Beats’ sound engineers do stupid s*** like boost the lower mids more than any other frequency. Maybe they got tired of people saying Beats have no mids and decided to just push the lower mids in people’s faces but this doesn’t lead to a particularly good-sounding midrange.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2017
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  14. MacedonianHero Contributor
    Interesting...here are my thoughts on these three:

    Build quality
    1) Bose
    2) Sony (if the headbands don't snap like they did with the previous model)
    3) Beats (but still quite good overall)

    Comfort
    1) Bose....not even close!
    2) Sony
    3) Beats

    ANC strength
    1) Bose (I think this is demonstrably the case based on my comparisons AND Tyll's measurements on the previous versions which I don't think either headphone has had their NC circuitry updated).
    2) Sony
    3) Beats

    Sound quality
    1) Bose
    2) Sony
    3) Beats

    Just my two cents... :)
     
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  15. MICHAELSD
    It's all subjective of course. Some audiophiles love Bose, some hate even the QC35. The QC35 are very decent, and some people may find their comfort superior enough to give them an edge.


    I really don't get why Beats' audio engineers do dumb s*** like boost the lower mids and give the headphones a huge upper bass bias. The drivers and housing are capable, it's just odd tuning choices that make these headphones so lacking. From experience EQing it Beats could have had a headphone worth its weight with some simple modifications to the signature.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017

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