In case you haven’t noticed, rapper Dr. Dre has his own line of headphones. They’re called “Beats By Dre” and until now, they were made in concert with the company Monster. Apparently that has changed now and Beats are their own thing now, and that’s good. I’m not a fan of Monster products, but that’s a story for another day.
I went on a bit of a tirade on Twitter about how Beats were replacing your old overpriced pieces of crap with new overpriced pieces of crap, so the company reached out to me and asked if I’d check them out and review them. I obliged.
The pair that the company sent me are called the “Executive” model, and I think it’s a marketing ploy to get the attention of people who travel a lot who might make a bagload of money every year. That’s so not me, so it’s weird that I’m reviewing them. However, I am obsessed with music, so perhaps my thoughts will shed some light on whether these $299.95 headphones are indeed a piece of crap – or are worth buying.
Before I start, here’s the official marketing description of these things:
Beats Executive™ headphones are designed to take you from boardroom to the tarmac and everywhere in between. These headphones deliver the legendary Beats sound now in a refined premium package that’s easier than ever to take on the road.
Ok, let’s get going.
How they look
Not going to lie, these things are gorgeous. That’s the whole Beats by Dre “thing” though, style over substance for the most part. Are most of the headphones made by the company pieces of crap for real? No, but they’re not much better than a brand like, say, Bose.
The Executive model is grey, has the Beats logo on the side and look pretty comfortable. That’s good, because they are comfortable. They’re honestly the most comfortable over-ear headphones I’ve ever put on. I can’t use the new Apple Ear Pad/Bud/Whatevers because they don’t fit into my ear properly. Oh well. They’re also really light, which I wouldn’t have guessed.
The cord is red, which is also something that is unique to Beats, and I wish it would have shipped with a more understated black or grey color. Having said that, it’s extremely good quality and it shows. Well done.
Anyone can tell you if something is pretty or not, so let’s get to how they perform.
How they perform
Forget about price, let’s just think about pure performance. I had our own Josh Constine put them on during a train ride, and I have to say that the noise cancellation did the job. However, the headphones seem to miss the extreme “highs” and “lows.” If you’re looking for a sound with deep, deep bass, don’t get the Executive model, you’ll be really disappointed.
Having said that, the sound is really crisp and there’s no crackling or interference from the noise cancellation at all. I haven’t used them on an actual plane yet, but I felt that the train test was close enough to share my thoughts.
I’ve used them with my iPhone, Nexus 7 and my laptop, and the sound is consistent over all devices. Clearly, the sounds coming out of my MacBook Pro are superior, but that’s only because I was not listening to heavily compressed or streaming music.
Things that are missing
There’s one thing that drives me nuts about these headphones, and it’s the fact that the on/off switch that powers them doesn’t automatically shut down when they’re folded up and not being used. The Executive headphones take two double-A batteries, and I’ve gone through four of them in the past four days because I have forgotten to turn them off.
For almost three hundred bucks, I expect better. Maybe all headphones are like this and I’m just absent-minded, but man does this make me want to toss these things out of that moving train.
Other than missing the highs and lows, I really wish that the headphones had some sort of microphone on them too. Since I’m an “executive”, I use the phone a lot. It’s a real pain in the ass to be listening to Spotify when a call comes in and forget that there’s no mic on my headphones. Duh.
UPDATE: I’m told that there’s a separate cable included with a mic. Great. But weird.
Good job, good effort
As promised, I shared my review and was completely honest. Would I buy these headphones with my own money? Probably not, because I’m not the target audience. If you really do fly a lot and you want to show off the fact that you’re someone high-up at a company, the Executive headphones by Dre are worth picking up. For the rest of us, $300 is a lot to throw down.
Remember, these headphones only come in silver…so you can’t even choose your style.
If you’re an audiophile, you could probably pick these things apart more than I ever could. Having said that, I’ve been consistently using them and enjoying how comfortable they are on my headpiece, even on top of my hats. Sounds stupid, but these things are important to me.
When I take them off, my ears aren’t sore, which I’ve experienced with expensive headphones from Bose in the past.
Buy or not to buy…that’s up to you. See you on the private jet, Execs.
(Our editor Eric Eldon wanted me to work in “Beats By Drew” somewhere into the story, but it didn’t fit. So there it is.)