Provides: High end over the ear sound
Developer: Monster Cable
Minimum Requirements: (high quality) audio source 1/8 or 1/4 inch
When Monster first announced the Beats by Dre line of headphones, most of the world said “What? Why is Monster making headphones?” And it might have been a valid question at the time, as many consumers tend to view Monster as an “overpriced” cable company. But I can assure you, they are much more than a high end cable manufacturer; they clearly know what they are doing with audio and headphones. And with the Beats line, they’ve created an amazing product that is not only an example of how good consumer audio can be, but continues to influence fashion and popular culture.
The Beats Studios technically aren’t DJ style headphones; they’re simply large, over-the-ear headphones. Essentially, the ear cups don’t spin around to allow you to listen to audio from one side, so you shouldn’t call them DJ style. That’s fine, because they weren’t intended to be. But they do everything else you’d expect them to, and some things you definitely wouldn’t. They fold up for portability and storage, and they come with a very nice black case. Though, on top of your head might be a better choice of transportation, as you won’t ever want to take them off, and you’ll likely become more fashionable as a result.
Feature-wise, the Beats Studios are fully loaded. Obviously, great headphones begin with great audio, but let’s talk features first. The Beats Studio come in two colors, black and white. The plastic these are made out of is scratch resistant. So, while you’ll obviously be gentle with these, you are safe from minor scuffs. The foam on the ear cups and on the top for head cushion is very comfortable.
The Studio headphones come with two adapters: one for an airplane, and one to convert from the headphones’ 1/8 inch to a 1/4 inch connector. Continuing inside the box, you’ll find a cleaning cloth and two cables to connect your headphones to your audio sources: one regular red cable and a black one with iSoniTalk (iDevice controls). Both of these are nice, thicker-than-your-average-cord cords. And since this is Monster we’re talking about, these are top of the line cables. The quality here even shows in small details such as the button choice for the iSoniTalk cable. This is by far the most satisfying button I’ve used for controlling iPod playback via headphones. I know that sounds silly, but the button itself is larger than most, has a nice soft plastic texture, and depresses perfectly. If you’ve used Apple’s playback controls on iPhone headphones, you know it’s less than optimal. The button is small, doesn’t always feel like it’s being depressed (especially in cold weather) and degrades towards unusability much faster than it should. If only it had the Volume Up and Down controls on the cord. Of course, since the cord is detachable, they could still make this. Monster…please do.
Update: The upcoming Beats by Dr. Dre Spin headphones will come with ControlTalk, which does feature volume controls. Awesome.
You’ll need two AAA batteries on hand at all times to power the headphones and noise cancellation (one set is included). Sadly, noise cancellation does need to be on whenever the headphones are on, but it’s rarely noticeable. One fresh set of batteries will run your head-mounted Studio for approximately 50 hours (or a little less than 3 days, judging by how often you’ll want to wear them). The power switch to run this show is on the right headphone. It’s just a switch with an LED, nothing too fancy. Directly above this is what I call a kill button. This mutes any audio playing and kills the noise cancellation. This is surprisingly useful, because despite your best efforts to notify the world you’re busy experiencing audio nirvana, someone will inevitably want to interact with you. Just press the kill button for a few seconds, and you can get them off of your back, and back to the music. Speaking of the music…
The Beats Studio headphones are beyond mind blowing. The audio quality delivered by these headphones surpasses that of any headphone set that has yet graced my ears. I’ve never been addicted to a set of headphones before, and frankly, I didn’t even know it was possible until I turned these off for the first time. In ear headphones can deliver superb audio quality, but they deliver audio very differently. The Beats Studio headphones are an entirely different experience. You get the feeling you aren’t just listening to a song or a recording; it’s almost as if you’re in the studio with the artist performing in the next room. And so, I can see why Monster named these the Beats Studio. Actually, after this notion entered my mind, I was sent some extra PR materials from Monster about the Beats Studio headphones. For some reason, this hadn’t occurred to me earlier, but this was the goal all along, to reproduce the feeling and quality of a studio in headphone form. Clearly, they’ve succeeded.
And yet, I still feel as though I haven’t done these headphones justice. It’s quite a feat to produce amazing audio like this that’s also very easy on the eyes. You might be able to try these out for yourself by stopping by a Best Buy; many have Monster displays featuring these headphones. If you can, go listen to them now. If not, just buy them (provided you have $350 to drop on headphones, and admittedly, not many of us do). I think you’ll agree these headphones are seriously something else. The sound reproduction is top notch, and you can even feel the low end like there’s a subwoofer in here somewhere. I am amazed.
What you may not know is that Dr. Dre teamed up with Monster and Jimmy Iovine to make the Beats line of headphones. Their goal was to replicate the sound you’d expect from a professional recording studio. It took them over 3 years to realize their goal, and it truly shows. As such, I feel that the Beats by Dre Studio headphones are, without a doubt, worth every penny. If you have $350 to spend on high end headphones, you won’t feel as though you’ve wasted your money, and you certainly won’t feel like you’ve just payed for a logo, because you haven’t. For some, this is just too much to spend on headphones, and that’s fair. But the Studios will keep you coming back for more time and time again, so I feel like you’re getting more than just headphones with this purchase. I’ve never felt headphones have changed the way I listen to music before these. It’s an odd, but altogether welcomed feeling. It’s certainly a large investment, but one I think anyone who chooses to make will continue to be happy with for years to come.