The Studio Beats by Dr Dre is created to let the listener hear the music the way the artists and producers want it to be heard. And after spending a week with a pair of Studios I have to say that Monster Cable has managed to create what was intended. The sound is really crisp, and can make any listener move to the beats, and grooving to the riffs. The fact that they look like something taken out of the latest videos from MTV with a completely unique look is also a major draw. Actually the Studios can be seen being worn by a number of notable artists, producers and celebrities as Monster Cable has created a product people want to be seen wearing. It is hip, cool and brings superb sound.
It is easy to understand that the Studio Beats by Dr Dre is sold out at several outlets, and in Sweden they are really hard to come by. Not even Monster Cable here in Sweden had any in stock, and thankfully I got to borrow a pair from the Swedish Monster Cable distributor Interconnect Nordic AB.(thanks Tomas)
The box the Studios ship in is awesome, and probably the best presented package I have seen from any product beside Apple’s products. The large orange box is lavish, and probably totally unnecessary but to complement the $300 headphones it is perfect. You get both a Monster Cable headphone cable with very little signal loss, and a Monster iSoniTalk™ iPhone headphone cable. In this review I test the Studio Beats by Dr Dre as a set of handsfree headphones using the iSoniTalk™ cable with the integrated microphone. The microphone is looking like a rectangular box placed in height to your mouth. The microphone button is constructed like a spring from a truck. It is very easy to locate on the go, and the entire microphone feels solid. Sadly though the sound quality is appalling for the person on the other end of a conversation. This means that you can’t buy the Studios expecting to use them as your handsfree headset.
You also get a rigid tour case that lets the Studios fold up nicely within. The Studios fold up in a really cool way stacking itself on top of itself. There is also a small cloth to keep the Studios clean from smudges. 2 AAA batteries are also included, and since you have to have power on to be able to use the headphones it is wise to invest in re rechargeable batteries. The batteries last quite a long time as long as you don’t forget to turn off the Studios when you aren’t going to use them for a while. There is no automatic shutoff or power save mode. To some it might be bothersome to purchase batteries but if you buy $300 headphones you should be able to afford a couple of bucks worth of batteries.
Listening to the Studio Beats by Dr Dre the first time gave me a jolt of energy. The music came alive, and I understood the pricing of the headphones. If you want to really experience your music it is certainly worth it.
The Studio Beats by Dr Dre has a distinct look not to be mistaken for any other brand. The large (b) logo found on the ear cups paired with the sleek glossy finish really attracts attention. I have not seen any headphones that look as hot and cool as the Studio Beats by Dr Dre. And quite frankly that might be the problem for many people, as they can’t match the headphones. I have already had my students laugh at me when wearing these as I lack a bit of cool apparently. The Studio Beats by Dr Dre is aimed at the urban city kid wearing them like it is nobodies’ business. I feel a bit like one of them wearing the Studios but my students brought me down to earth again from dreams of Escalades, bandanas, bling bling and thumping bass. If you are cool enough these headphones will certainly boost your cool further.
The glossy finish gets smudgy from fingerprints when handling them making them look a bit greasy up close. You get a cloth in the package to polish them, and these are the first headphones I have tried that you actually need to polish from time to time. Walking around with $300 headphones that looks like they are worn by a filth pig is no fun, but then again you have to wash your Ferrari as well to keep it shiny, right?
The Studio Beats by Dr Dre is really comfortable to wear despite their size, and the fact that they contain two AAA batteries. They feel light, and once on the head it is easy to forget that you wear large headphones. They remain quite cool against the skin even after hours of wear in comparison to most other headphones I have tried. Of course if you exercise, and run they will get warm and sticky because of your perspiration. This might not be such a problem though because the Studios aren’t suited for running anyway. Sudden movements such as head movement while running, and head banging makes the Studios move on your head. The headband moves back and forth on your skull making for an unpleasant run. They don’t fall off completely though as the headphones gently hug your ears.
Of course you can’t put the studios in your pocket but they sit really nicely around the neck without disturbing the wearer. The cords, both with and without microphone, are hassle free without any tendency to tangle due to thickness and sturdiness.
The case you get for storing the Studios is really sturdy, and the Studios fold up easily. You can easily smack the case around with the Studios inside without risking any damage. The Studios themselves feels durable but this test is limited to a week, and quite frankly I wouldn’t want to torture these sleek objects of art more than necessary.
If you have a really big head the Studios might be too small. I have a moderately large head, and I have to stretch the headbands to almost full extension. For big headed people or those with a seriously massive hairdo I recommend you to try before you buy.
I feel like I am on stage at a concert wearing the Studio Beats by Dr Dre. The sound focus around the user making for a really intense experience. A bit bass heavy but at the right level enhancing the music instead of ruining it. I have listened to all kinds of music wearing the Studios, and the result is always the same but the reaction depends on the surroundings. Listening to In Flames at home turns me into an air guitarist kneeling in front of my hall mirrors playing like crazy. At work listening to some big band it turns into some soft chair dancing not to disturb my colleagues. Worst of course is being out walking listening to Jay Z or Eminem as it turns into my totally own impression of hip hop dance. Needless to say the Studios does what Apple says about their own in-ear headphones, it lets you rediscover your music.
I have to mention the poor microphone as well as it is completely useless, and this drags the sound quality rating down. I have yet to complete a phone call without having to unplug the Studios because the person at the other end has had trouble hearing me. The sound is tinny, and really muted for the recipient making them useless as your handsfree headset. This is a shame as it would be really cool to have both headphones, and decent handsfree in the same product. The microphone lets you control the play/pause, and Voice Control making it really useful anyway. But please don’t buy the Studios expecting to use them as your handsfree headset.
The noise cancellation of the Studios is a mixed bag. On the one hand it works quite well blocking out unwanted sounds such as computers humming, fans whirring and chairs moving. On the other hand it can’t be turned off, the headphones are either powered or completely silent. Voices and high pitched sounds still filter through although somewhat muted which is ok.
When used with my Macbook the Studios hum when I don’t play any audio. This background hum is drowned easily by music, but if you for example listen to classical music with silent parts I can’t recommend the Studios.
You can easily interact with people around you pressing the (b) on the right headphone to mute the music. I can hear both myself, and the person I talk to clearly using this feature. But since the button needs to be held you can just as well take the Studios off as you look silly standing around holding the button. I think this function should have a proper on/off switch to make it useful. Standing at the supermarket handling the wallet with one hand, and holding the (b) with the other is not practical at all.
The Studio Beats by Dr Dre has got some issues with interference from Edge/3G usage. It is not as bad as I have experience with other noise cancellation headphones but it is annoying enough to take note of. Walking near my high speed cable modem at home makes the Studios go haywire with noise. As the noise cancellation can’t be turned off some environments, and heavy Edge/3G gaming becomes less fun but still tolerable. I would like to have the ability to turn off the noise cancellation to play some Eliminate on the go without interference but sadly I can’t.
There is no denying that the Studio Beats by Dr Dre are among the coolest, best looking headphones out there. With great sound quality, good sound cancellation and comfortable fit they are easy to recommend for most users. Do not expect them to meet your expectations when it comes to the microphone that is really poor making them useless as handsfree for your iPhone. The occasional interference from Edge/3G and surrounding radios and modems also drags the final rating down. Still clearly the Studios is a good purchase if you are looking for some of the best headphones out there.