Joon’s Tech Corner: The Beats by Dre are garbage

Photo by Rohan Lewis

You see them everywhere. Walk into any large crowd of people and you will spot someone with Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, with their glossy black finish and that big red “B” on the sides.

Similar to how the iPhone is with smartphones, Beats headphones have become synonymous with headphones in popular culture. If you want to listen to rap music, the Beats are by far the best headphones to buy, right? Wrong.

There are many reasons people want to get Beats. They are among the best-looking headphones, provide a ton of bass and attract attention (come on, I know you like it when people ask about your stuff).

To be honest, all of the versions of the Beats are extremely weak and overpriced headphones, but they are brilliantly marketed.

They are not good headphones for the price (the price of over-ear Beats ranges from $180 to $500). In addition, there are even $100 headphones that sound better than Beats. If you are going to buy headphones to listen to music with, why not buy something that actually produces sound good enough to warrant your money?

Now, I know what you are thinking: But the Beats have such awesome bass! Yes, while the Beats are very bass-heavy, they are really bad at reproducing bass. The bass is over-emphasized and fake, and it overpowers all other aspects of the music you are listening to. If you want a pair of headphones with better sound and even better bass than the Beats, check out Sony’s MDR-XB500 or -XB700 headphones. They are sub-$100 headphones that produce excellent sound.

A quick comparison: Some cheap $30 Skullcandy headphones produce the same sound as the Beats, and Skullcandy is an awful brand.

The fact that all of the top artists are wearing Beats in their music videos does not make them good headphones. They are either paid to wear them or have been given them for free to use.

Noise-cancelling headphones are also a joke. If you get a good pair of headphones, they will seal off your ears and not let in any sound. Beats and Bose headphones both utilize this “feature,” adding an extra cost to your already expensive headphones.

Noise-cancelling headphones are not even necessary if you get a pair of headphones with a good seal around your ears. These seals are scientifically proven to hinder ambient noises. At this point, Beats and Bose headphones are the only major brands that still implement noise-cancelling technology in their products, and there is a reason that they are the only ones.

I have nothing against noise-cancelling headphones. Bose has perfected the noise-cancelling model. But if you listen to a pair of Beats, put them on without any music playing. Hear that hissing noise? That is the sign of awful noise-cancelling technology. Yes, it will cancel noise; but, with that hiss, the sound quality is actually getting diminished.

Ask anyone knowledgeable about acoustics and he or she will laugh off the Beats as a legitimately good pair of headphones.

So, you are probably asking, what are some good headphones that actually produce good sound? If you are someone who does not care about the looks of headphones very much, try Sennheiser, Audio-Technica or Beyerdynamic brand headphones. On the other hand, brands like SOL Republic, Fanny Wang, AKG, V-Moda and Subjekt sell headphones that not only look pretty awesome, but also produce very good sound.

Bottom line: Take that money you were going to buy Beats with and get a pair of headphones that warrant that cash you worked hard for. At the end of the day, headphones should be about listening to music, not about how cool they look or how much street rep they get you.

For more on headphones better than Beats by Dr. Dre:

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Follow Joon on Twitter at @junoyeopTV 

Joon Lee can be contacted at [email protected]