When we were offered the chance to review some top of the range headphones, we knew our resident headphone geek, Dave Hilditch, was the only man for the job. Dave gives us the lowdown on one of the most stylish and bass-heavy pairs of headphones on the market.
When you’re on the move – whether that be on foot, on a plane, bus or train – listening to your music, a podcast or an audio book is a great way to help you relax and make the most of your trip.
I’m one of those people who won’t think twice about walking down the street with a ‘proper’ pair of headphones on so I can hear my tunes as they were meant to be heard. Who cares if some people think you look a little daft when the music sounds awesome?
If you’ve never tried a set of ‘cans’ headphones before then you will be in for a treat. Pretty much any set of cans is going to outperform your in-ear style headphones for bass, midrange and highlights and the Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones have a few differences that set them apart from the competition.
Firstly, they’re associated with American rapper and producer, Dr. Dre, so think big and tight bass, clear and crisp high-end sounds and clear vocals – as well as super cool styling.
I have a wide variety of taste in music ranging from Dr. Dre, Eminem, 2 Pac and Infected Mushroom all the way through Radiohead, Oasis, Blur, Pulp and the likes to more mellow sounds like The Shins, Postal Service, BabyShambles, Fleetwood Mac and even Dire Straits.
When playing ‘Under the Influence’ by the Chemical Brothers, a common bass test track for me, these headphones handle it well although they do highlight the poor quality of sound you get from mp3s and YouTube especially with high-hats and other high-end frequency sounds. The bass is truly nothing short of amazing – try listening to Space Cat’s Metalizer and you’ll get to experience the capabilities of this piece of kit.
They also have a microphone built in, so if you’re using them with your iPhone you can answer the phone by pressing a button on the headphone cable; as per other headphone/mic combos, your tunes will pause whilst the phone call continues and then resume when you hang up. They work with both iPhones and Android phones (tested on my HTC Desire).
The Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones do have some curiosities; they are amplified to boost bass and volume levels and have noise reduction built in which is a little weird at first; external sounds are deadened which is great but it almost feels like you are under water.
These features are welcome but they do mean the headphones will not work without batteries; make sure you remember to switch them off when not in use as they don’t do this automatically. An improvement for future versions would be to include a charger. It would also be nice to see the addition of Bluetooth functionality – maybe I’m just spoiled with my Sony Bluetooth headphones which I use with my Android phone every day!
Finally, possibly due to the amplification or the noise-reduction system, there is some external noise coming from these headphones meaning your fellow passengers may be able to hear your tunes which could win you a few disapproving frowns.
Overall, the Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones are a great piece of kit with the emphasis being on tight, heavy bass and great Dr. Dre styling. They come with a nice carrying case and fold up fairly small making them very easy to pack for every trip.
I have used cans on many a flight and can tell you that they eliminate a lot of the stress from travelling; you can say goodbye to all screaming children, annoying announcements and the drone of the aircraft engines and just sit back in the private oasis of your beautiful sounds.
Review by David Hilditch, Head of Search Technology, Skyscanner