Beats by Dr. Dre Studio Headphones Review

Few brands of headphones have achieved popularity and consumer adoption as quickly as Monster's Beats by Dre series. We recently purchased our own pair of the Beats' Studio Edition headphones to tell you if these are merely marketing fluff or the "real deal."

continued...

Long Term Comfort and Usage

When we first saw the Beats Studio headphones, we thought that they might be uncomfortable with the narrow, thin headband and its slight padding. They were actually very comfortable for many hours at a time. The Beats only weigh a little over half a pound, so we felt no neck fatigue whatsoever. We tested these with a teenager with a 6 and 1/2" hat size and an adult man with a 7 and 3/4" hat size. The teenager had no problems resizing the Beats to his personal liking. He said he had a snug, yet comfortable fit. On the larger head, these were just as comfortable for long periods of wear. They only began to feel too tight or uncomfortable when a ball cap was worn underneath. We feel that 7 and 3/4" would probably be the largest hat size that these headphones could accommodate comfortably.

The faux leather ear pads made our cheeks and ears only the slightest bit warm even after many hours of music listening or gaming. We liked the pads' material most because it did not irritate beard stubble like fabric pads tend to do. Our only complaint was that we wish the hinges above the ear cups had a more reinforced construction. When we would take the headphones off, we had to do so very slowly and carefully. The Beats are not headphones that you would want to take off by sliding one ear cup off and then the other. Neither the headband nor the hinges will support that kind of repetitive force without some type of damage resulting.

The Beats are self-amplified, and, as a benefit, they require very little volume to maintain a comfortable and clear listening volume of their sound signature at any time.

Noise Cancellation and Isolation

The Beats Studio headphones are not primarily noise cancelling headphones that can also play music. They are advertised as music headphones with noise cancellation as one of its features. The active noise cancellation did a very good job blocking out ambient sounds, such as neighborhood children playing outside or people cooking or watching television in adjoining rooms to ours. The Beats removed just enough noise to give us personal isolation and keep us immersed in what we were doing. If friends approached closely to speak to us, we could still hear them fairly well. To hear best, we found it very quick convenient to be able to push the mute button located on the right ear cup.

The Beats are circumaural headphones. Therefore, the ear pads should fit around the wearer's ears for a comfortable seal to keep the sounds being played inside and to provide some level of isolation from the outside world. This might sound practical in theory, but these headphones leak sound worse than any set we have reviewed in the last year. Friends and family members around us said that they could hear everything we were listening to. It was not just the occasional high note that would bleed through at the height of its intensity. It was the beats, the vocals, and all of the music in general. These are not headphones you would want to wear if you do not want to disturb roommates, friends, or a spouse nearby.

Tech Support

Monster offers tech support for its products by e-mail, phone, and live browser-based chat. We tried all three of these methods.

E-mail Support

We e-mailed Monster two identical requests, one week apart, asking for the Beats Studio headphones' technical specifications. We received an answer to one, but not both, of those requests from Roneil N. at Monster five weeks after we submitted the first one. She apologized for the late reply and then informed us that the specifications we desired were not publicly available. If we were a potential customer that was waiting for a response from the company to confirm or negate our decision to buy these headphones based upon their specifications, we would have already moved on and bought another brand instead.

Live Chat

Monster's live chat support is available on the company's support website under the "Ask an Expert" banner. We checked the availability of live support over the course of one month, during the company's normal business hours. It was unavailable more often than it was available. We live chatted with a representative on three different occasions. We were always connected to "Danielle." According to the Beats Studio manual, it says to replace the ear pads if they are worn or damaged, so we decided to ask Danielle how we could obtain a replacement set. She asked, "Did yours fall off?" We said, "No, we simply wanted a spare set for the road." She told us to call the sales department to purchase an additional set.

A day later, we chatted with Danielle again and asked her the hypothetical question," How do we put an ear pad back on after one of our children had pulled it off?" She responded that the ear pads "don't go back on" and suggested that we send the headphones in for service. She politely offered to arrange this for us. We said, "No, but thank you. We will try to replace it ourselves." We were very confused by the two very opposite recommendations only one day apart.

Phone Support

We called the toll-free tech support number for Monster and requested the technical specifications for the headphones. A woman named Chandra forwarded us to an unnamed male associate in the sales department. He was having an involved conversation with someone next to him and he continued to do so while he spoke to us.

When we asked him for the technical specifications, the sales rep asked in a clipped tone of voice, "What do you want to do with those? We don't give those out so people can just do whatever they want to with them." We informed him that several of Monster's positive product reviews linked on its website list technical specifications for the Beats Studio headphones. He told us that those third party links would or should be taken down immediately. Those links are still there one month later and all of the linked articles remain unchanged.

We went on to say that we simply needed to know if we could use these with any MP3 player, iPhone, PC sound card, etc. He said, "It should work." We called the tech support number back and spoke to C.J. She said, "There are a lot of connectors and things in the box and you should just look and find the right one and you should be fine." We thanked her and hung up.

Our experiences with Monster's sales department and all three divisions of its technical support department for these headphones were disappointing and inconsistent, to say the least.