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Price:$175.99 - $488.00
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on May 20, 2009
I'll start out by saying I collect mid-priced headphones(between $50 - $300). It may be an odd hobby, but it gives me a certain perspective that others may not have. I'm also an engineering major, and I found the general lack of objective, in-depth headphone reviews on Amazon to be disconcerting. So, here I am, taking a shot at reviewing some of the headphones I either own or have spent a lot of time listening to.

I've devised a simple six-song test and rating system, where 0 - 2 is abysmal, 2.1 - 4 is poor, 4.1 - 6 is mediocre, 6.1 - 8 is above average, and 8.1 - 10 is excellent.

The songs are very diverse; I was trying to represent a wide range of genres. They are "The Chain" by Fleetwood Mac(encoded in 256 kbps Ogg Vorbis), "Every Planet We've Reached is Dead" by Gorillaz(256 kbps .ogg), "Concerto Grosso #26 in D major" by Handel(256 kbps .ogg), "I Know You Are, But What Am I?" by Mogwai(500 kbps .ogg), "Afro Blue" by Triplexity(192 kbps .ogg), and "The Patient" by Tool(500 kbps .ogg).

I listened to everything on an iAudio 7 with the equalizer set to flat and all the sound effects turned off.

Sound Quality(6.8/10)

The Chain(6/10) - bass is nice and deep, slightly exaggerated, but still pleasant to listen to. Distortion is present, but very minimal. Mid tones and highs are somewhat underrepresented and bland, but otherwise sound decent. Instrument separation is a bit muddy. The main negative here is the sound stage, which is tiny.

Every Planet(8/10) - lows and highs both sound very smooth and rich in this song. Mid tones, as before, are underrepresented and bland. Instrument separation is good, but the sound stage is very underwhelming.

Concerto(6/10) - the bass in this song is deep and vibrant. Lows are nicely responsive. Mids and highs don't have quite the balanced presence they should have. Instrument separation is fairly muddy. Once again, the sound stage is lacking.

I Know You Are(7/10) - bass, as expected, is nice and vivid. Distortion was too high near the beginning of the song, but gradually leveled off. Highs were nice and crisp, but mid tones were lacking. Instrument separation, as was the case with most other songs, is a bit muddy, and the sound stage, while not as bad in this song, is still mediocre.

Afro Blue(8/10) - the lows in this song were pleasantly punchy, and the highs were fairly crisp and smooth. Mid tones were muddy, however, as was the overall instrument separation(no surprises here). The sound stage is similar to what it was in "I Know You Are, But What Am I?"; it is more present than in most songs, but doesn't have the fullness I would expect of circumaural headphones at this price.

The Patient(6/10) - right off the bat, the bass guitar in this song sounds great. Treble is decent, but underrepresented, as are the mid tones. The primary complaint I had in this song was actually not the sound stage(which isn't emphasized anyway), but the instrument separation, which I felt was greatly lacking in precision.

Overall Sound(6.8/10) - the bass from these cans is overall clean and pleasant. Somewhat exaggerated, but not greatly so. Distortion, while present at times, is also in small amounts. These aren't the subs-attached-to-your-head that some might expect before having listened to them. Treble sounds above average, but slightly underrepresented. The mid tones even more so - to the extent that they come across as bland. Instrument separation is also a bit muddy(although not too terrible). Another reviewer commented that these headphones were designed to sound slightly muddy, but I find this hard to believe, since the advertisement on Amazon claims "precise audio clarity". But as I've mentioned time and again, the biggest drawback to these cans is the sound stage, which just wasn't there. Overall, though, I would give these headphones an above average score in terms of sound quality.

These are a closed-air, cirumaural design, and a very attractive one at that. I like the styling very much. Lines on these phones are aggressive, but clean and elegant at the same time. They are also very comfortable. They're lightweight and have plenty of padding. My only complaint here is the headband, which I felt was too rigid, and didn't conform to my head as much as I'd have liked. I also like how mobile these are - they fold up, and come with a nice case to carry them around in. Great for traveling.

They are also built pretty well. I would rather see more aluminum at this price, but the plastic they're composed of is nice and solid. They seem durable, and I doubt they would fall apart anytime soon.

Noise Isolation(7/10)
Noise isolation in these Monsters is accomplished via the closed circumaural design, which features plenty of thick padding, and active destruction of outside sound waves entering the headphone. I am a fan of the former; the latter, not so much. In my experience, active noise cancellation interferes with sound quality, not only because of the waves that must be emitted to interfere with incoming ambient noise, but also because an external headphone amplifier can't really be used with noise-canceling headphones due to their built-in amplifier, which is typically not of premium quality. It's difficult to judge on a case-by-case basis, because the built-in amp can't be removed, but going by the sound produced by the Monster Beats, I don't think they're an exception to this rule.

All of that aside, the Monsters were definitely designed to be noise-canceling, so I won't dock points for that. What I will take off points for is relative effectiveness, which I didn't feel was where it should be, all things considered. They do block quite a lot of noise, but plenty of noise still bleeds through. I've heard noise-canceling headphones that are considerably more effective. Then again, I've also heard much worse, and these, in my opinion, are above average.

Bottom Line(6/10)
Monster Beats by Dr. Dre are a good, above-average sounding and noise-isolating pair of headphones that feature a comfortable, highly stylish, and mobile design. This doesn't come close to justifying their high price, however. Sound quality should be significantly higher in this price range. But as always, different people perceive sound quality in different ways, and I highly encourage you to listen for yourself to a wide range of headphones before spending money. Those interested in good, deep bass at or under the price of the Monsters should also listen to various Beyerdynamic headphones, and the ATH-D40fs model by Audio Technica.
109109 comments| 2,118 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon November 26, 2008
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have been really satisfied (and still using) with the Sennheiser HD-595 Premier Headphone (which cost about $300 at the time; the most expensive headphone I've ever spent). Sennheiser is known for making leading professional headphones/microphones/etc.

...And then there's MONSTER.

As far as I'm aware, I've only known MONSTER for selling really really expensive overpriced cables for TV/home theater/audio input components. Well, Monster has teamed up with hip hop artist/actor/record producer, Dr. Dre (made Eminem famous) and created this "High-Definition" headphones, which they call BEATS.

I'll be comparing the Monster Beats headphone with the Sennheiser HD-595, since it's the most expensive headset that I own (till this one), and I'd be shocked to find something that sounds better than the HD-595 (that's around the same price range or less).

I think it's obvious most people will expect the bass to be the #1 priority with this headphone, considering it's by MONSTER + Dr. Dre and called Beats. Well, it definitely doesn't disappoint there. The Monster Beats definitely wins in terms of bass. (Of course, Dr. Dre's genre relies heavily on it). If you listen to lots of rock/rap then you'll love the bass on these. If you get headaches with bass or you just can't stand it, then obviously, these aren't really for you.

The Monster Beats headphones require two AAA batteries to listen. You cannot use the headphones if no batteries are inserted, or if you don't have the switch to ON (located on the right side of the headphone). The batteries go inside the left compartment of the headphone. I've been listening with this headphone for the past two days and the batteries are still going. I'll have to use it longer to fully test the battery life, but hopefully it'll last several months because that would be really annoying if I have to keep replacing batteries. Since the headphone is powered by the battery, the sound is obviously amplified more, as well as the bass, than regular headphones. Whether you're using this on your computer, portable device or iPod, you can have the volume at a low setting and it'll still sound a lot louder than if you were to use a different headset at that volume setting.

For taking the headphones on-the-go and for traveling, the Monster Beats win again in terms of portability. The Monster Beats can be collapsed nicely and comes with a nice protective case to store it in; so you won't be damaging that nice shiny glossy sleek look of the headphone. The Beats definitely has a more youthful look and the shiny piano black finish will definitely catch more attention; however, personally, I think the Sennheiser HD-595 has more of a professional look. The Sennheisher HD-595 has more of a soft earmuffs cushion and the cups are larger, whereas the Beats are leather and smaller. The headphone cable for the Beats is also shorter, so the length is suitable for portable devices; whereas the HD-595, the cord is insanely long and not really made for walking around with it (but you can always replace the cord).

Without taking off your Beats headphone, you can press and hold the center button (The beat logo) on the right side of the headphone and it'll mute the sound until you release it again; this is convenient when someone needs to tell you something for a brief moment or you want to hear what's going outside for just awhile. The Beats headphone are closed headphones, so just by putting the headphone, you'll notice outside noise being reduced.

The vocals treble seem to be slightly higher than normal, but then again, it is also counter-balanced because again, the bass is stronger than what most headphones produce. The Monster Beats is great for hip hop/rap/rock music that use bass, of course, but what about others?

For overall music, despite the impressive bass on the Beats, I am still way more impressed with the sound of the HD-595. Compared to the HD-595, I feel the Beats lack more depth in surround sound. Granted, the Beats headphone are closed headphones, whereas the HD-595 are open for a more natural sound than some confined studio recording feel. When I'm listening to the same music with the HD-595, I feel like I'm actually there listening to a concert/theater and can really hear the separation of instruments/vocals/sound effects/etc.; it really feels like true surround sound. On the other hand, the Beats doesn't quite have that feel. With the Beats, despite some surround sound, I still know I'm listening with headphones. Don't get me wrong, the Beats doesn't have poor surround sound, but once you experience other high-end headphones, you will notice the difference in depth/separate channels.

+ Impressive Bass. Best for bass lovers.
+ Amplifies sound for portable mp3 players/iPod
+ Noise cancellation
+ Stylish/glossy finish design (great packaging/presentation)
+ Leather cushion/material feels high quality/comfortable
+ Headphones can collapse when you put it away
+ Nice solid case for storing the headphones
+ Quick mute button on the right side of the headphone (the Beat logo) by holding it.
+ Headphone cord only on the left side. (Also comes with iPhone, Blackberry, etc speaker black cord)

- Could use more depth in surround sound. (compared to Sennheiser, there's more surround sound with the HD-595, as you'll be able to distinguish different instruments/beats as separate channels/different directions)
- Requires two AAA and you must turn on the headphone switch ON. Forgetting to turn the switch off can waste the battery. Headphones will NOT run without batteries.
- Too expensive. (like any other Monster Products)

Overall, if you absolutely love bass and listen to mostly hip-hop/rap/rock; noise-canceling; made for traveling; then these headphones are for you. However, if you want overall balanced sound, greater depth/surround sound concert/theater feel, then I highly recommend the Sennheiser HD-595 (not to mention, it's about half the price cheaper now than what I paid for it).
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on December 21, 2012
Not even worth a full star ...

I have most major brands of headphones (including Bose, SOL Republic, Sennheiser, Denon, AKG, Shure, Sony, Monster and Urban Ears to name a few). I have had 3 pairs of Beats (Solo, Tour and Studios) – each one worse than the last (I know I should have learnt my lesson). They are incredibly fragile, most develop some form of issue within a matter of weeks, and the worst part, sound absolutely dreadful. I respect Dre as a music producer and am a fan of hip-hop (alongside most other genres too), but the mix you get revolves around the mids, can sound muddy and usually distorted even at low volume. These are absolutely horrendous.

If you want something flashy, expensive, and celebrity endorsed on your head, do yourself a favor and buy a hat. If you want headphones, look elsewhere.
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on October 9, 2012
I was so excited to get Beats By Dre. I kind of bought them impulsively after someone told me they were supposed to be amazing and really popular, and I should have looked on the reviews here first....because two words: TOTAL GARBAGE.

Okay, maybe not total, but for $300? Heck yes....worse than garbage. I don't even know the word for it. First of all, for $300 you think you'd get some noise canceling and there wouldn't be too much sound leakage, right? Wrong. My boyfriend was constantly complaining about these headphones and how he could hear every single word, even if it the volume was low. It made me too embarrassed to even wear them in public. And as far as canceling noise? Not can still hear most things around you and won't do anything for you on an airplane.

Also, there was a really loud crackling noise in my right bud when I turned them on right out of the box. Sometimes it would go away, but it was super annoying, and for THREE HUNDRED DOLLAR HEADPHONES you don't expect a crackle at all. My $5 headphone that I found in Target's bargain bin had less issues than these headphones.

The fact that you have to use batteries is just pointless. There's no auto-off feature in case you forget to turn them off (which is easy to do), and then suddenly the headphones will die on a road trip.

The only thing these headphones have going for them is that they look really nice (although they feel a bit cheap and plasticky) and are very comfortable. I also like being able to push down the right bud to mute it. But for $300 this is a total scam and rip-off. I returned and exchanged for Skullcandy Aviator Headphones w/Mic3, $100 cheaper, and wow - so much better. Noise canceling, no sound leakage...the whole deal. Maybe not quite as comfortable, but you don't have to worry about a stupid battery and the fact that everyone around you can hear your music.

These headphones are maybe worth $50 at the most. $300? Please.

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on December 10, 2009
I wish I could give these cans a glowing review but after being burned twice due to poor manufacturing quality I must now warn consumers against making a $300 investment in these.

The first pair I bought was a year ago and I LOVED them from the first note I heard. I had never owned a pair of high end headphones so this was quite an upgrade for me. I was having a blast hearing my music library in a totally different way. This all changed about 2-3 months in as the screws which secure the earphones to the headbands started to get loose. With no way of securing them (you can't screw them back in) they eventually started to fall out. Little by little the headphones began to fall apart until they were no longer usable. I called Monster support up and they agreed to send me a new pair as long as I sent the broken pair to them (at my cost). Awesome! Well not so much...

About 3-4 months later I took off the headphones after using them and noticed the headband had a crack right in the middle of it! Not only were my headphones no longer stylish but they were no longer stable. I tried to work through the problem until one day I went to put them on after having them around my neck only to find that the left ear cushion was missing! More than a handful of times I have had an ear cushion fall off and I'd have to snap them back in but losing them makes the headphones completely useless, both for comfort and sound reasons.

I called Monster back and they told me they could not replace them again for free but I take advantage of their out of warranty program and get a new pair for $150. Gee let me think...I already coughed up $300 on these - should I put another $150 into this product that has already failed me twice? Of course the answer was no. While the cans are nice when they work I just couldn't put more money into something that I knew would break. Additionally, it was a hassle having to replace the batteries every few weeks (or have them run out of juice on you in the middle of the day while outside).

Therefore, I would have to recommend consumers shopping for headphones look elsewhere. In the meantime I will be looking for reliable/well crafted replacement.

PS The cord would always wear away at the ends, too.
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on August 6, 2013
After spending a few weeks researching a lot of headphones i decided to go with the Studios by Dre. I saw a lot of people writing glowing reviews about them and i genuinely liked the sound and appearance of the product. I purchased the headphones through Amazon and started playing the headphones as soon as i received them.

Within an hour i knew i had made a mistake. My number one grievance with the headphones were comfort. I like wearing headphones for hours at a time and this thing weighted a lot. At over 9 oz they weighted double what my previous set of headphones did. It didn't help matters that the cups inside the headphones are a bit on the small side. The right cup did not quite fit correctly and i started to feel discomfort after only a few minutes of use at a time. It came to a point where i just did not want to wear them.

I did not feel like the material quality was bad. You can tell that the body around the headphones is plastic but it doesn't feel like a $15 dollar set of headphones by any means. They feel sturdy and i don't see how you can break them if you treat them carefully. The packaging and the carrying case are of top quality too. No complains on this regard.

As far as sound quality goes i am not going to complain. I liked the sound of the headphones. I do not think myself an audiophile or anything like that. There was a lot of bass though and sometimes that brought mixed results. While i do enjoy bass heavy music i felt that in order to feel the bass at its fullest you had to turn up the volume all the way up. At that volume you start to get a headache after 5 minutes. Like other reviewers have commented in some of the songs the bass tends to drown out some of the lyrics which can be mildly irritating.

Remember how i mentioned you have to turn on the volume of the headphones a pretty good amount in order to enjoy it at its fullest? Well you better hope that you are alone in the room because these things are a boombox on your head. The sound leaks like there is no tomorrow. People surrounding you can hear the lyrics of the song at anything over 50% volume. Forget about wearing these on a quiet library or public place.

Lastly i wanted to comment on the noise cancellation and the battery usage. The headphones came with a pair of duracell batteries. After using the headphones for a couple of weeks the batteries were still holding strong. I must have used the headphones about 12-15 hours in that span. As far as noise cancellation, it is not existent. It literally does NOTHING. It doesn't even block 10%. The only noise reduction you get is what the cups around your ear block when you put on the headphones and that is it. It is truly pathetic considering you need two AAA batteries to power the headphones and it won't play without them.

Having used the headphones for a couple of weeks i decided to return them. I spent too much time looking for headphones that looked and sounded good and i did not pay attention to the comfort and the experience of using the headphones. It was a mistake i will not make again. There were just too many inconveniences and flaws for me to ignore them. I wanted to like the headphones i really did but at the price i am paying this i expected something near flawless and enjoyable. These headphones were not.
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on August 24, 2012
The "Studio" and "Over the Ear" terms implied that they would be good for recording tracks in a studio and isolating sound, but they're definitely not intended for that.
If someone's using them, you can clearly hear what they're listening to because there's a LOT of sound leak. Oddly, pushing them against your head somehow makes the sound leak worse.
And unless you've got the music blasting, you can hear what's going on around you pretty well, so the sound isolation is not so great either.
If you're using them to record vocals, or in any environment where you don't want everyone else to hear what you're hearing, then they're absolutely not what you're looking for at all.
If it wasn't for the beefy price tag, I'd say these would be decent headphones for general use.
If you're looking for a "professional" pair of "studio" headphones, these definitely aren't it.
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on January 18, 2011
The good - Impressive bass!

The bad - everything else!

If you like boom cars, this is the cats meow.

The bass is tight, but very excessive and drowns out the midrange which sounds very flat. The problem is that if you want to hear the midrange, the phones have to be so loud that the bass will cause hearing loss after a short time.

These are not audiophile quality, but I'm sure that bass freaks will fall in love with these cans.

I'm not the final word on what constitutes good sound, to each their own. If you love bass at the expense of everything else, you'll love these.

From my perspective, 90% of most music occurs in the midrange and bass and extended highs are the icing on the cake. In this case, think of a cup cake (midrange) with 2 pounds of frosting (bass).
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on November 15, 2012
First of all, I am no expert when it comes to headphones. However, I do love music and am a fan of hearing it as it was meant to be heard. I also travel quite a bit, so I wanted some noise cancelling, over-the-ear headphones. For me, the choice was between the BOSE QC 15, Klipsch M40, and the Beats. I ultimately settled on the BOSE QC 15, but none of them were perfect. So, here are my thoughts on each:

(1) Klipsch M40 - sound was WONDERFUL, and they look great. The noise cancelling was impressive, but not quite as good as the Bose QC 15. I would have kept these, but they were WAY TOO tight and I could only wear them for about 15 minutes before getting a splittine headache. I have a fairly large head (hat size between 7 3/8 and 7 1/2), but these were over the top tight! Again, if my head were a little smaller, I would have kept these.

(2) Beats - in one word, "awful!" I have never written a bad review for a product until this review, but they are so bad. Let's start with the look...they look cool (I had the orange ones, and they look sweet). They are also fairly comfortable to wear. HOWEVER, they don't sound as good as the Klipsch 40's or the BOSE QC 15's. Further, and most importantly, YOU CANNOT WEAR THESE ON A PLANE! The person next to you can hear them as well as you can hear them. It is embarrassing, and I would never wear them in a public place...and unfortunately, these are PORTABLE headphones. Also, the noise cancelling is just ok.

(3) BOSE QC 15 - all around the best over-the-ear headphone amongst the three I purchased. They are very comfortable to wear. The noise cancelling is CRAZY good. The sound is very pure, but seems to be somewhat muted. Because of this, I actually purchased a portable amp to go with them. I would have preferred not to do this, but it really helps.

Anyway, I hope this helps!
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on July 21, 2010
I am a crazed music fan, so when it comes to headphones, I would love the BEST quality out there for an affordable price. I was lookin for headphones that people found most comfortable and with the best quality. Many of these people referred me to Dr. Dre's Monster Beat. At the time, I've only seen them worn by celebrities and or athletes such as kobe bryant, lebron james, etc. Well I digress, my review here is not to suggest you to not purchase this product but to advise you that these headphones are definitely not worth the price. I have been purchasing skull candy's for awhile now, most headphones I've purchased were decent quality, but weren't top notch. Looking for top notch, I assumed these were on the list. But to my dissapointment, these weren't as top notch as people make them out to be. I admit, they look very stylish with a clean finish. It is very comfortable and portable. The quality were good, but weren't great. The material has nothing special, just something you could find on any headphones. If you are a huge music fan as I am and are willing to put about THREE bills on headphones, then these are decent. But if you are looking for affordable headphones, these obviously aren't the way to go, skull candy's compared to monster beat obviously wouldn't be the same, but skull candy's definitely are a lot more affordable and give exceptional quality.
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