In terms of musical franchises, Dr. Dre seems to have hit payday gold with his Beats by Dre headphones and laptop range. But are these products the epitome of style over substance, or do they really deliver the high-end expectations that the hype wishes us to believe?
The Dre Beat Pro Headphones are top-of-the-range cans that are aimed at the pro DJ/producer market and are said to deliver amazing sound quality, as well as exceptional build and design. This is a bold boast, and many have claimed to do the same.
There are two schools of thought in regards to DJing and studio headphones; for the DJ, the phones have to be detailed and loud, but for true studio producers, the phones should really be neutral depending on their particular use. It’s not advisable to do mix-downs in ’phones, but a good few people do. The problem that can arise is that the sound placement in a pair of ’phones is totally different to a set of monitors, and this can lead to rather clumsy mixes. So, Dre Beats are trying to address this by effectively strapping two monitors to the side of your head.
The Dre Beats Pros are loud and have an amazing bass response. They’re quite detailed in their sound delivery as well — when playing music loud through them, there is no leakage from the closed cup design, and there is no break up of the audio at the extreme end of listening comfort. DJmag deafened itself doing this particular test and we wouldn’t recommend reconstructing it at home.
We listened to various different types of dance music, hip-hop and classical to get a good representation as to what these ’phones are about, and truth be known, they represent well in all these genres. A lot of talk suggests these ’phones are aimed at hip-hop heads, and that’s where the bass response of them really comes into play, but this also rang true for some pretty tasty dubstep basslines.
Listening to electronic music of any genre through the Dre Beats Pros is a pleasing affair, but we do have to pick out a few niggles that left us feeling a bit peeved, especially considering the £360 price tag that is attached. Whilst the headphone cups fit snugly round your ears, over a long period of time of constant listening and use, the phones start to get uncomfortable. This is also due in part to the fact that the Dre Beats Pros are heavy — and I mean heavy — these are the heaviest phones we have put on our heads. And whilst heavy does translate to sturdy, and the all-metal construction is sweet, whatever drivers are used to create such a great and loud sound could have come from a pair of speakers, that’s how heavy these phones are.
This also means that the adjustment clasps actually can’t hold the cups in place, and slip down due to the weight of the drivers and the clasp.
This aside, DJmag will comment that the clasp joint that holds the phones to the leather headband is one of the best we have seen. In the old days, users of Sony’s once-ubiquitous MDR V700 phones would find that they snapped at the ball joint that connected the headband to the drive units, an age-old problem.
Monster, who make the Beats phones, have used a rather clever rotating design on the Dre Beats Pros that allow the cups to be swivelled upwards into the band, and also into position when using them as DJing phones. DJs can literally have one cup over the ear and swivel the other cup into a comfy position on the side of the head. This design works very well, but also adds to the weight of the phone. This is a trade-off between cheaper phones that whilst being lighter, will break easily.
The Dre Beats are made out of brushed aluminium and do look pleasing to the eye with a rubberised cable that can be used in either headphone cup. The trademark ‘b’ logo is adorned all over the phones, so that eagle-eyed spotters know that mister DJ is a purveyor of street fashion at the highest level.
For DJmag, it has to be of the best functional quality for the price. We feel that the extra £100 on the price tag does lie to the fact that they have a superstar endorsement. When placed against the Pioneer HDJ-2000s or V Moda Crossfade LPs that also come in around and over the £200 mark, there is very little difference in the overall quality of the sound, being that all the above-mentioned phones sound amazing, as the Dre Beats do! But what you get with the Dre Beats Pros is a lifestyle statement to boot.
|Ease of Use||8.0|
|Value for Money||7.0|
Good sound quality, the bass is to die for and loud isn’t the word!
Heavy on the head, giving ear fatigue over long sustained periods of use. Increased likelihood that you will get mugged.
|Conclusion||At £360, these are top-shelf headphones. They do sound great, but there are slightly cheaper alternatives that also sound amazing. What comes with the Dre Beats Pros is a slice of Dr. Dre himself, and if that’s how you roll, there will be no complaints.|
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