It has been almost 5 years to the date, that the flagship Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones hit the streets. Back then they were simply called ‘Beats,’ without the Studio. Five years later, that single pair of headphones triggered the current frenetic headphone industry. This is an industry that licks their chops at the chance of possibly dethroning the king of the headphones.
Say what you will about the Beats by Dr. Dre brand – but they made headphones fashionable and accessible to everyone through their creative marketing strategies in pop-culture and beyond. So much so, nowadays, when people reference headphones, the word “Beats” is usually never too far away from their lips. What other brand has to worry about their headphones being counterfeited? Not many.
Now it’s August 2013, and the iconic Beats Studio on-ear headphones have been reborn. And with its rebirth, has come improvements and an even shinier polish has been applied to what was there before. Beats Studio has indeed been redesigned and refined – but this isn’t just a new paint job, the 2013 Beats Studio’s are a brand new pair of headphones from the inside and out.
The Beats Studio have taken the plasticky attributes down a notch – now the headphones feel much more solid and less flimsy than before. Their overall frame has also shrunken a bit. The hinges, which have always been my biggest bone of contention with the Beats headphones in general – have also been reinforced for the better. The design of the Beats Studio have overall been reshaped to be less bulky looking on your head – allowing for a more contoured fit that works well for both the guys and gals. That said, after hours of listening – they do start to get a bit top heavy, but that is to be expected.
Fortunately, the ear cups are very comfy and keep the sound sealed tight. It also helps to have the adaptive noise canceling feature included. Sound leakage is at a minimum and the snug fit helps you really “feel” the music.
So how do these new Studio Beats stack up in audio quality? A lot has changed in the headphone industry since the Studio’s came on the scene. Beats by Dr. Dre stays true to their original formula by delivering an unparalleled listening experience to your ears. Have I drunk the Beats cool aid? Hardly – this latest version of the Studio headphones truly exhibits that they have learned from their mistakes. Instead of thumping more bass into your ears, they have actually gone in the complete opposite direction by heightening the highs and lessening the bass a touch. This is a drastic change from its earlier form.
Beats Studio are specifically tuned to really take advantage of certain genres over others, but overall the sound is loud and features a really nice sound-stage that almost has a 3D effect. Are they balanced? Not really, like I said before, the highs and mids are really the powerhouse on these headphones, where the bass takes a backseat for the most part. However, it doesn’t harm the sound of the music in anyway and most folks purchasing these headphones won’t even notice and will still agree that they sound great. For those listening to some softer tunes – you might hear a slight hiss from the noise cancelling feature, but it won’t seep to much into the audio experience.
Beats loyalists will be thrilled with the changes, and even picky audiophiles should give the new Beats Studio’s a try. Beats has turned the volume down on the bass, but there is no denying how crisp the vocals are delivered, and even instrumentals. You have to give credit, where credits do. The Beats Studio looks have been refined and properly updated, and continue to be a fun pair of headphones that have grown-up in the last 5 years. Beats Studio retails for $299.95 and comes in white, red, and black.
The Good: New improved design and build quality. Snug fit with very comfy ear cushions. Adaptive noise canceling works well. Battery is rechargeable. Improved sound-stage almost sounds 3D in nature. Increased highs and mids sound great and audio is not as bass heavy as before.
The Bad: Audio could be a little more balanced. Hinges are stronger but still seem a bit weak. Once the battery goes dead, so does the music.