Top positive review
362 people found this helpful
Quality headphones, a better choice than the Beats Studio
on December 14, 2009
Last year, I tried out a pair of Beats Studio noise-cancelling headphones at an Apple Store and, upon listening to the music selection, decided that it was the best sounding headphones I had ever listened to. I was impressed enough that I was tempted to purchase them on the spot...but I had some hesitations which led me to walk out empty-handed. The caveats then were:
-Battery required for operation (due to the noise-cancelling function, which I didn't need)
-The plastic material felt cheap and likely to crack easily
-and of course, the price (about three-hundred fifty USD at the time)
The sound of the Beats Studio had "haunted" me since, as I searched in vain for a cheaper and better quality pair of headphones which matched or beat that sound. I tried pairs from Grado, Ultimate Ears, Sennheiser, Bose, but never felt satisfied with the sound quality as I had with the Beats Studio. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I learned that these headphones, the Beats Solo, were coming out. I saw that the price was below two-hundred USD and ordered them immediately. My hope was that the sound quality would be just as good as the more expensive Beats Studio.
These headphones have met all my expectations. The sound is truly amazing and I can clearly hear so much detail in my music. The headphones do a swell job of projecting the background detail enough, but not too much that it drowns out the rest of the music. Also, the bass is slightly amplified so you hear some slight "thump thump" but is definitely not overpowering like "THUMP! THUMP!"
As for the caveats that I had with the more expensive Beats Studio, they are all addressed to my satisfaction with the Beats Solo:
+These headphones are not noise-cancelling, and as a result do not use a battery. They are simply plug-in headphones without an on/off switch.
+The Beats Solo is more compact than and not as bulky as the Studio phones. They also fold and can be stored in the included neoprene carrying pouch.
+The quality of the plastic in these phones is much superior. These phones feel solid and worth the price.
+The price is still high, but I believe it's more reasonable.
There are some other differences that are noteworthy about the Beats Solo over the Beats Studio:
+The Solo headphones are worn so that they rest on TOP of your ear, and not surrounding them. If you are familiar with Bose's line of headphones, then the Beats Solo would compare to the Bose On-Ear headphones. The Studio phones, however, fit around the ear and would compare to the Bose QC2/Quiet Comfort 15 phones.
+The cheaper Solo headphones have a 3-year warranty vs. 1-year warranty for the more expensive Studio headphones. (Interesting...)
+While both headphones include a cable with a mic that can be used with an iPhone or similar phones, the Solo headphone cord also has a remote control that can control the volume and other functions. However, this feature isn't perfect. The button that controls playback functions is too small that I typically would hit the volume button at the same time. Also, I tried using the phones while making calls with my iPhone 3GS, and the people on the other end complained that they heard a substantial amount of background noise.
In conclusion, I believe the Beats Solo headphones have excellent sound, quality construction and sleek design which make them worthy of their price. They are, in my mind, a better buy than the more expensive Beats Studio headphones. Only if you are a frequent flyer who would benefit from noise-cancelling should you consider buying the Studio headphones. Otherwise, the Solo headphones are the ones to get.
EDIT (February 25, 2010) - Apparently Monster has decided to shorten the warranty on the Beats Solo to 1 year only. I went into the Apple Store today where I had purchased my set and saw that of the stock they have, a few of the units had "Three Year Limited Warranty" written on the box (lower part of the left spine) while the rest had "One Year Limited Warranty" instead. I spoke with one of the Apple Store guys who confirmed that the 1-year warranty units were their newer stock. I wouldn't consider this a reason to take off any stars since I still think these are great headphones; I guess Monster chose to match Bose and Sony in regards to the warranty length, which is indeed a shame.
Thanks to Suzie Mcleod for first discovering this change.
EDIT (December 16, 2010) - Thought I'd add a little update that after owning these headphones for more than 1 year, they're still working great for me! I noticed many of the negative reviews about the head band breaking; mine has not broken fortunately, but I've been very gentle with my headphones and have been careful to not overstretch the band when putting them on. I'd say if you're careful and patient enough to take a few extra seconds when putting on these phones, you shouldn't have to worry about the head band breaking. As for the sound quality, I still think it's terrific. I recently did an accidental comparison of these phones to my pair of Ultimate Ears 700 earbuds (which I've also given a positive review of here on Amazon). Basically I had taken off the Beats and put on the Ultimate Ears buds immediately as I was heading out of the house. I had never done that before. The difference in sound quality was very noticeable, like night and day. The Beats headphones trumped the Ultimate Ears. With the Beats, I felt like I was in a concert hall listening to the music, and the details were noticeable. With the earbuds, I felt like I was listening to the music through a tin can. The sound quality felt cheap and awful, and the detail was not as impressive. Granted, this could be a common comparison between a pair of full-size headphones like the Beats and a pair of in-ear buds. Nevertheless, I thought I'd throw it out here just to give my perspective. I still highly recommend these phones.
EDIT (May 28, 2011) - Well, so my headphones DID break! I was taking them off normally and in a gentle manner when I heard a snap, and knew instantly what happened. While it was frustrating to have the headphones break, exchanging them under warranty was literally painless. I called Monster's warranty line and got someone in the U.S. with barely any wait time. The lady took down my particulars and gave me an RMA number and address to ship the broken pair of headphones. She also emailed it as well, which was really handy. I did have to pay out-of-pocket to ship the broken pair of headphones (under $10), which was fine to me although I know some people will complain about that. She told me that it would take them 3-4 weeks to process my exchange, but literally a week after I shipped off the busted pair I was surprised to get a package from Monster. They sent me a brand-new pair of the same model complete in sealed retail packaging with all accessories. The replacement pair I got was identical to my previous pair in both looks and feel of the material and construction. I couldn't help but notice that on the new package is a sticker saying "Featuring Superior Strength Headband". I did not, and do not intend to, test this claim :D
Overall, I too got the "broken headphone syndrome". However, Monster's customer service and fast warranty service was very good and practically hassle-free, and I got a new pair in less than 2 weeks. I was glad to see Monster stand behind their product like that, and hence I do not see any reason to take any stars off my original 5-star rating. Hopefully my new pair will last longer.