How Beats fools you into thinking its headphones are high-end and luxurious

“Even before Apple acquired Beats, there existed a loud contingent of audiophiles who were quick to dismiss Beats by Dre Headphones as overpriced pieces of junk with mediocre sound, at best,” Yoni Heisler reports for BGR. “The popularity of Beats, they often argued, was nothing more than clever marketing ably masking a run of the mill product.”

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in May 2014: Beats. A triumph of marketing over sound quality.

“In a recent post on Medium, Bolt prototype engineer Avery Louie tore down a pair of Beats by Dre Solo headphones and found that the luxury often associated with Beats (to the dismay of serious audio buffs) may ultimately be nothing more than a shrewd smokescreen,” Heisler reports. “Louie writes that Beats adds superfluous parts to its headphones in order to give their products more heft.”

A little bit of weight makes the product feel solid, durable, and valuable. One way to do this cheaply is to make some components out of metal in order to add weight. In these headphones, 30% of the weight comes from four tiny metal parts that are there for the sole purpose of adding weight. — Avery Louie

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The purchase of Beats Electronics adds grist for those poor, lost souls who claim that Apple’s products are a triumph of marketing over quality; that Apple offers the same mediocrity as everybody else just with higher price tags and better ads. These people obviously have never used Apple products, but Apple did itself no favors in dispelling this misinformed trope. Apple only reinforced it with the purchase of Beats Electronics.

Jony Ive must have to work very hard to suppress his gag reflex whenever he’s confronted by a pair of Beats headphones or speakers.

Also, we have to wonder where (or if) Yoni’s and Avery’s articles would be placed in Apple’s forthcoming human-curated “News” app?

BTW: For our Apple Watches’ Bluetooth headphones, we went with the JayBird BlueBuds X Sport Bluetooth Headphones in Midnight Black ($125). So far, they work perfectly, the battery life is excellent, and they sound just fine during runs and while working out (better than many wired headphones we’ve tested).

31 Comments

  1. Bose speakers are excellent quality and highly expensive, even the price, those sells like hotcakes.
    So other companies started to rise the price of their products in order to trick people into thinking that if they product cost as much as Bose, then it has to be equally good. Polk audio is a good example of that.

    1. I’ve got the Bose SoundLink around the ear headphones. In January I bought them after much research and trying out many other headphones. I tried everything: Scullcandy, Beats… etc. Again, the around the ear cone style headphones.

      My conclusion is this: Bose is on another level of sound compared to everything else on the market. They’re really that good. Compared to Beats they’re much better. I thought the Beats were overpriced, heavy, ugly, clumsy pieces of crap.

      Now this article is interesting. When I took my Bose out of the box they felt cheap. So light. I thought they were cheaply made. But now I realize they’re made to be light and that is what you need. You don’t feel them on your head amd they are very comfortable and durable.

      I found the Beats to be so heavy it was absurd. What a waste. I’ve said this again and again. I have no idea why Apple bought Beats other than to pad its balance sheet. That’s a Wallstreet move not an Apple move. It’s brand confusion and unnecessary.

      Apple is selling cheap overpriced crap. Tim Cook has made too many mistakes for me to support him. Obviously everyone likes Apple’s balance sheet but its totally driven by the iPhone (50%+ of revenues). Steve Jobs created that phone not Tim Cook. Cook is still riding Jobs’ coattails. I hate to say it but a monkey could have inherited Apple and been in the position they’re today.

      All of the new products like the Retina MacBook Pro, 12″ MacBook Pro, and Retina iMac afe not new designs and have likely been sitting and being developed at Apple for years.

      From the Beats purchase to botched product launches I’m out when it comes to Tim Cook support.

  2. Beats are total junk. Hopefully Apple can take the shell that already exists and engineer them into an actual high quality product, rebooting a sad plastic piece of junk into the headphones that Apple customers deserve when they drop $300 on them.

    1. What all of you and “audiophiles” completely miss is that Beats serves a very loyal, specific audience who think they sound great with the type of music they listen to. Beats customers wouldn’t be caught dead with Bose, H&S, or any of the other brands that pompous audiophiles bray over because they’re seen as pretentious, snobbish, and utterly lacking in style.

      And Beats far outsells just about anyone else in the premium headphones market.

      1. I don’t know if Beats headphones are junk or not. I do not have headphones in that price range.

        I suppose there exist some “pompous” audiophiles but I think most just want to enjoy the music – that is the music all of it clearly, not just bop to a throbbing baseline. Of course that is indeed all that many are interested in doing – so best to them.

        “Pretentious, snobbish” that is what many people say about Mac and iPhone owners.

        The question is, if one cares only about whatever the sound profile of Beats is, can he buy an equivalent sounding headset for a lower price? If so, then the Beats are overpriced. If not, then let people buy what they want to hear.

  3. Beats headphones are truly uncomfortable aural junk. Grado, Sony MDRV6 and others run rings past them at far cheaper prices. I prefer headphones that sound a little brighter than the audiophile flat response ones. That’s just me and my dwindling hearing quality.

  4. Recently I bought the PowerBeats 2 wireless earbuds. They were on sale and everyone I talked to said they were worth it. The earbuds are crap, the sound quality is lousy, and they feel cheap. For $70 less I returned them for the Jaybirds Bluebuds X which were fantastic in terms of sound and quality. Beats is a joke. Also if you’re going to spend that kind of cash on headphones, buy Bose – there is no comparison.

  5. “No highs, no lows, just Bose” exists for a reason. But I’ll agree that they are actually a legit audio company vs marketing companies like Beats and Monster. IMHO the Beats acquisition was to get a connected slimeball to negotiate with the other music industry slimeballs. I think that apple kept the beats brand distinct because it is such crap. and i agree that apple didn’t do its own brand any favors with the acquisition.

    1. I haven’t seen it mentioned yet, but I remember reading that most headphones are designed for flat unchanged sound which is great for audiophiles who want to tweak the levels depending on what they are listening to, while Beats are pre-tuned to deliver a richer (base heavy?) sound by default, which apparently appeals to the many people who like the sound. And from what I’ve read the second generation Beats improved the sound quality.

      I’m not an audiophile but thought it worth mentioning since this seems to get lost any time people start debating which sounds better.

  6. Funny thing is beats by far surpass all other manufacturers sales reports. Along with apple in there market. Wait, maybe beats and apple are one in the same. The apple watch and beats headphones are a perfect pairing after all

  7. My oldest daughter bought a pair of Beats wireless headphones, I’m not sure what model they are. Recently she was over at my house and when she came in I had my Bose AE2w wireless headphones on. I handed them to her to see what she thought of the sound quality when Bluetoothed to my iPhone playing SiriusXM’s Rock Party channel.

    She was somewhat surprised to find out how much better the Bose sounded compared to her Beats.

  8. I bought a Bose SoundLink when my trusty old valve amp finally gave up.

    Best purchase I’ve ever made, the sound out of it is beautiful. I also use a white noise App at night with it and it works wonderfully.

    Beats… meh. Tried a few out in the stores but they just didn’t sound good to me.

  9. The Beats 2 headphones are much improved. I really like mine and it works well with iPhone. Excellent design, ease of use. and package not unlike a apple product. I got for $130 with holiday deals found it worth.

    Granted my experience using Apple’s own earbuds makes it a great improvement. I bought many earbuds in the $30 to $70 price range over the years and most all of them broke. Apple’s paid offering was a big regret, so in that respect Beats offering improves what Apple could do. Blindly pro Apple as usual.

    1. I agree. I’m quite familiar with the entire Beats product line and I’ve listened to controlled samples from 128 Kbps to 4000 kbps on the entire product line. I personally own Audio Technica ATH-M50X headphones and the Solo 2 headphones are good in comparison. Not as good, but still good. The Solo 1 headphones were crappy.

      Most people who complain about Beats have probably only heard the Solo ones.

      Now I let my girlfriend listen to Solo 2s vs. My Audio Technicas and asked her which pair she wanted to work out at the gym. Agreeing that the Audio Technicas sounded better she chose the Solo 2s. She’s been loving them for almost a year now and uses them at least 6 hours per week at the gym.

      Wrangler makes a good pair of denim jeans at a good price, but not everyone wants to wear them.

  10. I remember when I was all hyped on Bose. I’ve since moved on to build myself a Martin Logan/REL Acoustics based sound system.

    Biggest difference I’ve noticed is that I listen to the sampler tracks for the Bose set ups in retail stores. Their Acoustimass Module never seems to stop… and I’m disappointed that I didn’t realize that till now because it makes me wonder what Bose is missing that that Acousitmass Module is trying to fill the gap left behind on.

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