Time to Rethink Beats, the Solo2 is Excellent

A Fresh Look
With almost a quarter million views, a lot of people have experienced my opinion regarding the original Beats Solo in this video. I've been quoted in the New York Times, Huffington Post, and numerous places elsewhere expressing my distaste for their products. I now find myself with the unenviable task of reversing my opinion, at least in part, with the introduction of their new Beats by Dre Solo2—a very fine headphone indeed. Unfortunately praise doesn't seem to get the attention that negative criticism does, but I'm going to try. With the release of the Solo2, Beats deserves an open minded second look, and with this—and some subsequent reviews and opinion pieces—that's exactly what I'm going to do.

Beats by Dre Solo2 ($199.95)
It's fairly safe to say that the original Beats by Dre Solo is one of the most—if not the most—popular headphones in the world. I found its performance abysmal. This saddened me tremendously because I felt that a whole lot of people bought the Beats Solo on the basis of claims that you would be getting the music as the artist intended, but their experience would be fairly poor. This would leave a bad impression in Solo owners minds that really good sound on headphones (which is what they thought they were getting) was no big deal when, in fact, really good sound on headphone is a pretty terrific experience. Solo users just weren't getting it, and didn't know they weren't getting it. A sad state of affairs for headphone audio.

Well, I'm very pleased to report that the new Solo2 does, very much, deliver on the promise of great sound on headphones. And with it's introduction we will see many people in the general public having their first experience with very good sound on headphones. Beats has not only developed an excellent headphone at a very good price, but with it they will now likely become the most important source of terrific user experiences with headphone audio. Thank you, Beats by Dre, the new Solo2 is one of the best things to happen in the world of headphones this year...and maybe ever, in my opinion, due to the incredible market share that will be enjoyed by this model.

Beats_Solo2_Photo_Colors

Physical Description
The Beats by Dre Solo is a moderately larger than average, on-ear, sealed headphone, and is available in the six colors shown above. Materials are mostly synthetic, though there are some strategically placed metal parts (headband slider, hinge detents) but there is very little of it showing in the completed product. The synthetic materials seem to be very well chosen, however: ear pad cushions apear to be a high quality protein leather; the cushions themselves are memory foam with just the right degree of softness; the gray headband pad is a soft, grippy material that seems to work very well; and cable and connectors feel substantial and durable. The only minor niggle is that the gloss black plastic of my pair, while appearing to be a quality material, picks up fingerprints instantaneously. I suspect this will be less of a problem with the lighter colors, but it's pretty obvious with the black.

The quality of construction seems very good as well. Adjustment sliders are appropriately detented, and adjust fairly easily but stay in place securely when adjusted. The headband folding mechanism holds the arms open in place firmly with little if any creaking, the detent mechanism is positive and nicely adjusted. The earpads swivel at a central point, and range of movement, though relatively small, seems very well suited to the task. Some modest creaking exists when manually moving the ear cups, but I experienced no noise when worn.

The comfort of the Beats Solo2 is quite good. The headphones are light weight and the shape fairly ergonomic. The headband does touch in a relatively small patch on the top of your head, but the light weight and the nicely firm clamping force tend to have most of the support provided at the ear pads. The ear pads are fairly large (2.65" x 3") with a good size hole in the middle (1.4" x 1.6"). The top surface of the pad is quite flat and the softness of both the protein leather and underlying memory foam are seemingly ideal as the combination was very comfortable for me.

At 53" the included cable is, what I consider, just the right length for a portable headphone. The 3.5mm plug going into the left ear capsule does insert into a small recess, so aftermarket cables will need to have a plug housing diameter of 0.23" (5.85mm) or less. The 3.5mm plug at the player end of the cable has a 90 degree angle, which does provide for a small amount of "reach" through protective cases, but I would have liked a little more. Plugs on both ends of the cable are plastic, but nicely designed and executed. The three-button Apple-compatible remote is a bit unusual, but works quite well. The central button is indeed a button, but the outer button are actuated by squeezing the remote end. I had no problems correctly identifying and actuating the buttons accurately. Cable, plugs, and three-button remote are color coordinated with the chosen headphone color. The Solo2 folds to a compact size and can be stored and transported inside the included soft-sided case.

Styling
I've broken this part out separately because I find the styling of the Beats Solo2 rather...um...humorous. Not that they look funny, they don't. In fact, they look quite handsome in an understated way. The Solo2 says to me, "Hi. I'm a headphone." No flashy bling; no celebrity pretentions; it doesn't scream to be worn as a necklace. It's just a nice, conservative headphone.

"What's so funny about that", you might ask? Well, for the last five years or so, headphone manufacturers world-wide have been attempting to play catch-up with Beats. The rallying cry has been "We've got to make cool/fashionable/celebrity-endorsed headphones to do it!" Sennheiser stepped up their game with the Momentum—a very good looking headphone; B&W's offerings are sophisticated and sexy; Sony's MDR-1R is a terrifically good looking headphone. Headphones today look much different than they did ten years ago, and it's almost entirely due to the sense of having to compete with Beats, as I see it. Beats market dominance in the past has had very little to do with sound quality—the original line-up was pretty mediocre in that department—and has had everything to do with the coolness factor. What's so funny to me is that everybody has stepping up their game with stylish headphones and striking designs, and now Beats is producing what I can only see as a fairly ordinary, though tasteful, product. Beats, it seems to me, has just juked everyone out of their sneakers again.

And then, as if pouring gas on the fire, the Beats Solo2 sounds absolutely terrific! Which we'll talk about on the next page...

COMPANY INFO
Beats by Dre
1-800-442-4000
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
mark4197's picture

can u compare those headphones for me?

p.s : how much did dr.dre payed you for this review?

arnold8351's picture

The Solo 2 are very good headphone and are much improved from the horrible Solo hd, but i think the low end is still a bit too prominent. The mids are no longer as recessed and sound clear. But the highs, in my opinion, are not quite as good as Tyll thinks they are. Yes they are good but they start to roll off relatively early at around 18,800 - 19,000 hz, where as headphones such as the NTune hd reach all the way up to the 20k hz range. Now thats not saying much because that range is usually not prominent in many songs, but it's just something to think about. In comparison to the NTune hd i found the Solo 2 to be slightly inferior to the NTune hd, and more on par with the NTune (2013 model). The Solo 2 are by no means a bad headphone, nor are the NTune hd perfect, but I found the Solo 2 to have their issues that were not well addressed. Tyll obviously knows more than me and I respect that, but i feel that he over praises these headphones.

Seth195208's picture

.

funkmeister's picture

Last year I went to the store to listen to the Beats to finally hear what all the complaints were about. It wasn't 10 seconds into it and the Solo came back off my head. Yuck. Then I tried others. The only other one I actually liked was the MIXR. I really liked it and hoped the sound improvements they demonstrated would find themselves into newer models. Glad to hear they finally got a winner with the Solo2.

bronson's picture

I'm curious to which solo model you checked in Apple store as the previous model to the solo2 - the solo HD monochromatic, is actually superb (IMO)

Mixr Beats are so an amazing DJ headphone - I absolutely love that can - BIG time

http://cb3723.deviantart.com/art/Full-Mixr-beats-Flavour-401034447

But getting back to the beats solo2 - I honestly think that outside of classical music, these cans are good to go with most genres, however, they do soar with dubstep and glitch hop and even sound amazingly good with YouTube music videos like this:

http://youtu.be/rw27fCwhBJE

What Up Detroit ;)

From what I gather, the new beats mixr2 is due out shortly, so let's hope Tyll is hot to trot with a review?

Tyll Hertsens's picture
I actually think the Solo2 is superior, but the HD25 is a DJ headphone and has ergonomic features that cause it to be somewhat in a different class. Soundwise, I've always felt the HD 25 (Amperior, Aluminum, et al) have tended a bit toward the strident side. I like the Aluminum best as it seems least harsh of the family. They're also a bit more uneven sounding than the Solo2.

Dre nor Beats paid me nadda. The cans were sent by the PR department on loan with return shipping labels. I do have the entire line here at the moment, and will probably review a couple more of their cans...though I find none of the others as good as the Solo2. (I'll be reviewing other Beats product not because I'm particularly enthralled, but because they are very important headphones due to the popularity and I think my comments will be useful to consumers.

mark4197's picture

i really want to try them out now..
thanks for the review, as always you are the best =)

Mr.TAD91's picture

I'm not a "hater" but I'd like to say a few words...

All of your reviews to this point have been top notch and thorough. This one, however is totally inaccurate.

Like I said in a previous post on one of your other articles, I auditioned these headphones in the apple store. I was unimpressed to say the least. They're too warm sounding, the mids are artificial and the treble isn't articulated at all. I think that you may be misleading audiophiles, the general public, and aspiring audiophiles into believing these headphones are worth $200. And for you to say that they're better than the headphones mentioned above is something I wouldn't expect from you.

Next thing you know, you'd be calling the TAD CR1 "substantially coloured." And talking about how "smooth" a Cardas cable sounds. Cables shouldn't impart any character of their own on gear, period. They should be perfectly transparent. That's why you buy pure copper cables and now CCAW.I'm worried for you Tyll, and I really hope you get your hearing checked.

Cheers!

MR.TAD91

Tyll Hertsens's picture
You know, I would get my hearing tested again after finding the Solo2 to sound good except for one thing...the measurements. Measurements don't lie...they don't tell the whole truth, and things must be listened to to know what they sound like, but the measurements are not biased and do tell a significant part of the story. And the story those measurements tell is that these cans are competent performers.

"All of your reviews to this point have been top notch and thorough. This one, however is totally inaccurate."

Thank you for the complement, but why do you think my methods and results would be so erroneous in this case?

I suspect your experience with the Beats at the store is heavenly subject to expectation bias. I suggest you go have another listen with an open mind.

Mr.TAD91's picture

Measurements are nice but they're not always necessary. Here's an example: I go into a store and listen to some demo headphones. They sound articulate and are fairly neutral to my ears. Then I go home and read some reviews and look up measurements. The measurements and reviews indicate that the headphones I auditioned objectively are "terrible performers, with annoying colorations."

Would it be wise for me to purchase the headphones?

The same can be said for speakers.

I don't have a brand bias, or expectation bias. I just listen objectively and my conclusions are reached proceeding a cold and emotionless listening session. This said, my subjective side is calcified completely.

I actually don't know you reached your conclusions. I'm puzzled.

Magick Man's picture

10 minutes testing headphones in a store means nothing. FYI.

Of course you have bias, and the more you claim otherwise, the more it shows. We all do, whether we care to admit it or not.

Mr.TAD91's picture

I'm certain you don't know how long I actually spent listening to the solo 2s. FYI, I spent a little over a half an hour in the Apple store listening to them. The source was my smartphone – The Sony ZL.

I objectively auditioned them with Wav. and a few 320s. I went through quite a few tracks ranging from orchestra pieces, from pop to mainstream, and even some rap (to test the bass impact and quality of course)- such as biggie smalls "Get money." where the bass is inherently dense and air pocket tight.

I don’t have bias. I don’t know why you and Tyll suggest that I have bias. It’s strange because his previous reviews have all been astoundingly brilliant; stomping over all other headphone reviews on the net as far as quality and valuable info are concerned. And from them, I’d say even a novice audiophile/average joe could make an educated purchase.

I have nothing against Beats headphones. However, I do think they’re a terrible value for the money and I wouldn't drop cash on them myself, but I couldn’t care less what the general public does.

MR.TAD91

AsSiMiLaTeD's picture

You're obviously free to disagree with Tyl (I have several times), but your abrasive approach leaves a lot to be desired. It's one thing to disagree, it's another to insult and questions someone's skills or ability to do their job.

Tyl obviously spent quite a bit of time with these, listening and measuring. But hey, you spent a few minutes listening to them in a retail store so your opinion MUST be valid. Unbelievable...

Mr.TAD91's picture

Why wouldn't my opinion be valid? And how was I abrasive? I spent a little over a half hour listening to them objectively. Isn't that why they're there, out in the open?! So that people can hear them, and if they like them, they buy them. Umm.

I don't know why you guys are all coddling Tyll so much, it really isn't necessary. I've commended him a number of times already and I think he's stellar as a reviewer. That's the truth. I'm not attacking him and never was.

I am anticipating his next review...aren't you?

To ass (didn't want to type your whole username)

AsSiMiLaTeD's picture

You don't think telling someone whose job it is to review audio gear that they need to get their ears checked because their opinion is different than yours is abrasive?

You really think that your opinion, formed while listening for half an hour in a store full of noise and distractions, is as valid as a proper review with measurements?

If that's truly your stance then I guess there's not much else to discuss, those who don't get it generally don't know that they don't get it.

That's a BRILLIANT use of my screen name to call me an ass, I've NEVER seen that before! The ironic thing is that from your first post in this article, you're the one being an ass the rest of us are just calling you out on it.

Jay_WJ's picture

one with a personality disorder....

sszorin's picture

Understand that Tyll's brain auditory cells have personal preference for mildly 'dark' sounding headphones. The lack of well extended treble does not bother him as much as it does you. That's his thing and nothing can be done about it. You have to adjust his reviews in light of this fact. So for someone like you or me, who cannot stand dark muffled sound signature, the new Beats are still substandard. It all also depends what kind of music one listens to - with bass and beat music the screwed up tonality that is due to the lack of treble is not that annoying or important. The different thing would be classical music or music on acoustic instruments where the Beats would be exposed as second rate headphones. So remember, to each his own, remember that the Beats are not headphones to be used to listen to good music but to peculiar one and for those applications Beats may do their job rather well. Tyll was simply addressing certain audience, it just should have been mentioned in his review. There was no need for the unpleasant exchange you were involved with. Make peace.

shootermacg's picture

I was listening to them today and I must say the treble is noticeably rolled off.
They sounded warm, they lacked attack and ended up sounding a little dull / muffled, maybe it was the demo tune or something, but that's my opinion from today. Also the instruments sounded a little far away, which is weird considering the sound stage was not spacious at all.

drm870's picture

...because on-ear is my least preferred headphone type. (For me, it goes IEM>around-ear>on-ear.)

sifu's picture

i'm a bit suspicious as well, especially what Tyll said at the end here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcpIba9SSjE#t=596

Tyll and John are definitely the top people to listen when it comes to headphones/amps, but beats....cmon, a recommendation from Tyll could very well double their sales, thats why i'm bit suss. and we're well past april 1st.

bronson's picture

I don't know what you are implying, but Tyll has given a review of a good, solid performing headphone regardless of its brand.

In this case it just so happens to be beats.

Why does any of this seem suspicious, to any other brand Tyll has put on the WOF before?

Impulse's picture

You're highly deluded if you think a positive review from Tyll would double Beats sales. Again, no offense to Tyll as I find his work invaluable, but a vast majority of Beats' target market has never even heard of InnerFidelity...

So a positive or negative review is quite inconsequential, audiophiles are just as likely to turn their nose up at these regardless, and it's not like mid priced on ear portables are the most popular category amongst enthusiasts and audiophiles anyway.

If the veiled assumption was that he's being paid off, I can think of several more high profile blogs and sites that would have a higher ROI (and probably the lax standards to accept a payoff) for a market leader as large as Beats.

They've done quite alright (arguably better than anyone else, by a big margin) without his endorsement or audiophile community's approval... I'm glad they're at least investing on what counts the most at the end of the day.

bronson's picture

I don't know about behind deluded as if you check out sites like head-fi.org you will find many an "audiophile" who likes a little more on the low end now giving beats a credible chance that they would not have even considered outside of Tyll's review.

IMO a true audiophile will be open to any brand of audio gear if the SQ is up to par which the solo2 covers for a small closed back portable.

Just saying...

Mr.TAD91's picture

The general public is being mislead regardless. Tyll's review will not have much impact on their purchase even if his review were negative. Most average consumers despise audiophiles anyway.

Thr trouble is with novice audiophile's and wanna-bes who only know "Highs,mids,lows,and "base" lol. They'll read Tyll's review and make a silly impulse purchase.

lachlanlikesathing's picture

Great review Tyll! I just got my pair a week ago and I've been comparing against the XS, and I completely agree that the Solo2 is surprisingly good. I think this might cause an existential nightmare for some hobbyists.

Seth195208's picture

Where the hell you been?

donunus's picture

This is good news! I really hated it when people said that their beats was better than anything else even though it sucked balls. Finally the beats fans can say that their cans are better than many other cans and be right for a change :)

donunus's picture

Now I am intrigued at how much they improved their over the ear models.

bronson's picture

Thank you so much for making this awesome review of a worthy headphone that will hopefully significantly reduce beats from being the default whipping boy on audio forums such as head-fi - I really think this review will challenge even the most hardened of beats haters perceptions.
Also thank you for using my beats thread on head-fi as a resource - I'm honoured for you to find it somewhat useful in whatever capacity - just wow!
I've got the solo2's in every colour but white and pink and just love them by design and their sound which is beats most "neutral" sound signature from them to date, clearly they listen and react to constructive criticism to their benefit.

My lord! Who'd of thought a beats can could ever get such high praise and be entered into the wall of fame - just amazing.

Beats got me into this hobby, but I've always liked their fun sound and brand image and it's great to see their evolution of sound and form factor working to such great success.

Thanks for taking your time to make this review, maybe beats owners won't get treat like lepers as much or anymore off audio snob fellow site members on sites like head-fi?

This is a great day for beats owners, and more specifically solo2 owners and possibly the opening of ears and minds to beats as a credible headphone brand and not just a fashion accessory.

Thanks so much again - I wonder what Dre would say? LoL

Tyll Hertsens's picture
I enjoyed your thread, but to be truthful I linked to it because it was the only Beats Solo2 thread that was more than a couple of posts long, so it kinda had to be that one. However, it's a dandy thread and I'm glad it was there.

I too hope people will give Beats another look, but I wouldn't say that the turn-around is complete. These things take a lot of time, and ALL headphone manufacturers put up lemons...sometimes many. SO, you've got to take headphones one at a time regardless of the manufacturer. That said, that Beats has produced an honest to goodness solid performer is terrific, and indicates that they can do it again. Given the huge market share they have, they could probably pull it off pretty well if they developed the will to make more headphones with this level of sound quality (and better).

bronson's picture

One of the largest, if not the largest electrical device stores in the UK have there top four selling headphones listed as beats solo2!

1. solo2 in red
2. solo2 in pink
3. solo2 in black
4. solo2 in white

http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/audio/headphones/headphones-3919-m.html

Currys and beats owe you money!

Pretty slick marketing of beats to do the full colour range that they do so well - funny to see the likes of Bose also doing a range of colours, playing catch up.

burnspbesq's picture

I wonder if a judicious use of EQ could solve those FR issues. Worth a try.

I'm not getting rid of my UERMs or my Aedles, but I will listen to these carefully and with an open mind. The original Solo really sucked; if these are even decent that's a hugely important development.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Any given that the cans measure very will with only modest ringing, low distortion, and are so nicely smooth in response, I suspect that they'll EQ quite well.
Claritas's picture

How do you decide what's on ear and what's over ear? Solo2 looks more over ear than the Focals.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Generally, I use the manufacturer's definition. Like the Onkyo cans that seemed more over-ear to me, but they claimed it's on-ear, so I used that. I'd say the Focals are larger around the ear than the Solo2.
Claritas's picture

Thanks for the explanation. It would be a good idea of add that to the WOF info, so nobody blames you if the product doesn't match the company's description.

Claritas's picture

Solo2 vs. Zoro -- which sounds better?

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Good question, and one which I was curious about myself. The Solo2 bests the Zoro, but the Zoro HD is much closer. If you compare the plots of the Solo2 and ZoroHD you'll see that they are very similar. But the Solo2 to my ears was more refined sounding.

I also thing the Solo2 ergs and comfort are significantly better than the ZoroHD, but it's a good little headphone for sure. Quite competitive.

maricius's picture

Imagine all of those high end portable and transportable rigs, all those expensive DAPs and portable DAC/Amps, attached to a pair of Beats headphones… It would be a sight which we would previously have thought to be mad

dto4life's picture

I have the m-100 but find the bass to be a tad lacking at lower volumes but clarity awesome. will swapping the solo 2s solve this?. which headphone do you think is better? and which one is better at lower volumes?. also you stated the solo2s were better than any you heard in the beats line-up. does this include the the current gen beats pros as well?

DrForBin's picture

hello,

why is it impossible for a manufacturer to improve their product without folks attacking a reviewer for pointing out that it is improved?

Beats have had a bad rap from the head fi community with good reason. now it seems that with ONE model they have produced something that sounds pretty good. is this unexpected from their past record? yes. is it impossible, given their resource? no.

attacking Tyll for a positive review, especially when he looks rather uncomfortable with having to back off on his earlier (and accurate) negative comments concerning the Beats line is just wrong.

methinks that personal attacks on reviewers should carry no weight whatsoever.

the GYTW and my experience with the reviews on Inner Fidelity has been that what Tyll hears and what we hear have been pretty much spot on.

or you can discount a positive review simply based on the maker (or for that matter, discount all models of cans simply based on the maker}, and remain in ignorance.

bronson's picture

"beats have had a bad rap from the head-fi community with good reason"

Yeah, there's a shed load of beats haters on head-fi who are as ignorant audio snobs, still regurgitating the usual beats haters sound bites, "muddy bass" "plastic headphones for kids" etc.

I'd bet half these audio snob beats haters haven't even heard a pair of beats but enjoy the mob membership - wolves hunt in packs.

The solo2 IMO isn't alone in being an outstanding beats headphone - the mixr and Studio 2.0 wireless are excellent too, but make no mistake, I welcome Tyll's solo2 review wholeheartedly as he doesn't just throw up any old can onto the wall of fame, plus he's the only guy who can make this review that people will take seriously and pay attention to, especially the HF community.

Mr.TAD91's picture

If you've never eaten at a 5 star restaurant, than you don't quite know how good the food tastes there. Now people who dine at budget priced chain restaurants may complain about "snobs" who pick on the the mediocre quality of their entrées and then leave.

So are those fine diners snobs, or do they just appreciate quality food?

In audio, audiophiles who have heard excellent systems/own excellent rigs are beyond mediocrity. And so, they pinpoint the colorations in a headphone and are more conscious of materials used in their cans. I'm one of them.

A snob is be someone who disregards positives and amplifies negatives based entirely on bias and disregard for a manufacturer. (in this case) I've a friend who despises android phones and he's an apple fanboy. When I showed him the specs on my Sony phone, he came back with: ya but sony is cheaper. (my phone is a little under $700. He's a snob.

bronson's picture

I guess based on your comments that I must be a fine dining audiophile and am beyond mediocrity as I have eaten at Michelin star hotels and have a fine collection of headphones including AUDEZE LCD-X, Sennheiser HD800, HIFIMAN HE-6, AKG K812 etc - you can check my full headphone and amp inventory at head-fi.com, my username is cb3723.

Within my inventory is a number of beats by dre headphones including the subject of this thread, namely the beats solo2, which in regards to Tyll's review, agree with wholeheartedly ;)

Bon appetite!

Mr.TAD91's picture

If you've got beats in your collection, then you enjoy colored sound from time to time I suppose. And you enjoy the way the way they're colored.There's nothing wrong with that.

Happy listening!

thedrgs's picture

The leading edge of the 300 Hz wave looks to indicate the top octave roll-off or "thickness". I'd be interested to audition these in a more clinical setting (i.e. NOT Best Buy).


I suppose my problem with Beats Electronics is less its headphones and more the business itself. Regardless of their measurements, it's still a company started by a snake-oil cable salesman and a hip-hop "artist" with a knack for mastering tracks to be irritatingly loud.


The plastic headphones themselves are made in China (Source: South China Morning Post) by under-paid workers who most likely have no pride in their craftsmanship. The logo is a blatant knock-off of the 1971 Stadt Brühl logo by German designer Anton Stankowski and their marketing is disgustingly targeted toward uninformed consumers with superiority complexes.


My opinion of the company alone would prevent me from ever recommending a Beats product to anyone. There are companies with far better values and ethics that deserve the business.


That being said, business practices have no place in an objective headphone review. I'd like to commend you on an honest review of a controversial product. Cheers!

Impulse's picture

They cut ties with Monster, who now has their own headphone line, probably a big blow to Monster's potential growth. The Verge had an interesting article on the debacle surrounding that whole situation...

With Apple buying Beats in the midst of lawsuits from Bose, it's bind to get even more curious, in a train wreck kinda way. They're laughing all the way to the bank tho...

rullopat's picture

It's indeed a very unexpected and nice surprise to read this review about the new Beats Solo2.

How would you compare them to the latest Beats Studio model?
It's in a different category, how would you compare the audio quality of the Beats Solo2 vs the Audio Technica M50X?

Takato14's picture

Those measurements are not exactly what I'd call good, Tyll. Perhaps I'm reading it wrong but those square waves are awful and the IR suggests a slow driver with significant chamber resonations. The FR is smooth enough I suppose but the treble just falls off a damn cliff.

They're definitely better than the originals but with headphones like the K/Q701 available, how could you possibly say these are worth $200?

Magick Man's picture

"Awful"? No, you're right, you don't know how to read the charts.

You're comparing a small, lightweight portable to full-sized, over-ear cans? Really? That's an entirely different category of product. That's like saying a Mercedes C-Class has a smoother ride and more features than a Fiat 500. Again, really?

Mr.TAD91's picture

If it can be had at around the same price, then why not? Sure, you could compare a Fiat and a Mercedes. Suppose both are $35K But if the Mercedes includes a GPS, stylish leather interior, a more powerful engine, and a more desirable design - then wouldn't it be logical to choose the Mercedes over the Fiat?

Or, you could choose Fiat and say: "Well I guess they're doing better this year." - And yes, slowly but surely beats will improve their sound quality -incrementally. This way, they'll make chunks of profit over a period of time.

Magick Man's picture

They aren't the type, they aren't in the same class, they aren't even targeted at the same audience. No. Actually, hell no. As I said before, a person isn't going to be shopping a C-Class and a Fiat 500, they have entirely different markets. In an AKG, it's more apples-to-apples to compare these to the Q460, another highly portable on-ear.

Takato14's picture

...suddenly means we have to hold the headphone to lower standards? Seriously? Closed CAN match open if done right and I've heard two on-ears now that are significantly superior to over ears of the same price/caliber.

As for reading the sheets, here are my problems with the measurements:

1: Huge rounded overshoot on the 30Hz indicates an extremely thick and emphasized bass fart
2: Upwards slanting on the 300Hz indicates a hole in the midrange
3: Wiggling on 300Hz indicates either a lack of diaphragm control in the treble or resonation in the earcup (most likely both based off the IR)
4: Treble drops off after 10kHz
5: Bass distortion rises with volume
6: IR suggests a slight echo in the cups, slow decay, and low-level trampoline movement of the diaphragm typically indicative of treble hash and tizz

Takato14's picture

#5 should be rising even-order distortion. Forgot to make that discrepancy and I can't seem to find the edit button.

Magick Man's picture

Look at the measurements for one of the most beloved sets of headphones in all of Head-Fi: http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/SennheiserHD650.pdf

Yeah, they shouldn't sound as good as they do: 1. horribly peaked 30Hz square wave that isn't even square at all. 2. Rounded and loose 300Hz wave. 3. Approaching 3% THD in the sub bass region (meaning they should be rather muddy). However, the graphs don't tell the whole story, you have to listen to them, and with the right amplification they are rather extraordinary. The Solo2s measure fine for such a small, portable on-ear, within the almost strictly image-driven mainstream market, they're a breath of fresh air in that segment and deserve their accolades.

And you know, if Beats finally starts receiving a little critical acclaim, for a change, they may just decide to start putting even more cash into R&D, which could even benefit us. They can spend >20x more than any other headphone maker, and that kind of money could change the hobby forever.

Takato14's picture

"This highly regarded headphone measures poorly too so that makes it alright."

This is what you sound like.

Magick Man's picture

The point is, measurements aren't everything, never have been. I don't listen to charts, I listen to music. Also, it's a compact portable, there are going to be compromises.

Takato14's picture

Headphone performance is everything when it comes to immersion in music, and measurements are the most reliable metric available to gauge a headphone's performance. There are a few things they indeed cannot tell us (presentation/soundstage/imaging being the primary one) but they still give us a good 80-90% of the picture.

There don't have to be compromises. The ER-4PT is one of the most accurate sound reproduction tools on the planet and it's smaller than any of the gear we're talking about. Granted it's $500, but we're not talking about differing prices, we're talking about differing performance between headphones at the same price range.

Magick Man's picture

Again, you're off-base. An in-ear, seriously? That's another altogether different category, due to how the drivers are designed to react inside the ear canal, they're completely different in terms of dynamics.

Takato14's picture

There are different design rules for different types of headphones but that does NOT mean that one is inherently worse than the other.

Magick Man's picture

Yes, one form factor is harder to develop for than the other, with different challenges, get over it, already.

Takato14's picture

No, it is not, but believe what you want. Enjoy your overpriced headphones.

Magick Man's picture

You were the one who was recommending Q/K701s to start this off, which along with being much more bulky, also have a much higher MSRP, by nearly double. You're being terribly inconsistent with your arguments.

Magick Man's picture

What are you talking about? I was talking about their tiny size and portability. They aren't in the same class.

Takato14's picture

There is no god forsaken "class" system, headphones are headphones.

There are no inherent design flaws with using small enclosures over large ones, or closed enclosures over open, despite what headphone companies would like you to believe. They use it as an excuse to under-engineer their equipment and the people who allow that misconception to survive (you) are enabling them to do so.

Magick Man's picture

Horse-hockey. I've spent 100s of hours modding and testing Fostex T50RPs, there are many more challenges to a small, closed enclosure. You're grossly uninformed.

Takato14's picture

Cool, the T50RP is an inherently flawed headphone and no amount of mods can fix it. Modding an already existing headphone is not even anywhere near the same thing as engineering one from the ground up.

Magick Man's picture

Now I know you're trolling, because modded T50RPs are some of the best bang-for-buck purchases you can make. You're sounding more ignorant as this goes on, you know?

Takato14's picture

If you need closed then yes, they are. That's not my point. My point is you are not in full control of the headphone's design, and you cannot overcome certain problems when you're only modifying the enclosure.

Magick Man's picture

But you said there were no additional inherent problems. Which is it? Either they are more tricky to develop or they aren't, you can't have it both ways.

Stock T50RPs: http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/FostexT50RP2011A.pdf
MY modded T50RPs that I made myself (tested by Tyll): http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/FostexT50RPDIYModifiedMagicman.pdf

Takato14's picture

What you are talking about is not designing a headphone from scratch. This is modifying an existing design, using that design's flawed transducer in a better enclosure.

While there is an obviously significant improvement over the stock RP and a startling lack of closed headphones available that perform similarly (nice job on the bass control), the odd order THD is very high across the board and the high treble rolls off. There is nothing you can do about these things because they are borne from the driver. If you were able to tweak the driver itself, you could probably fix these issues as well with enough effort.

The issue here is that headphone companies don't bother trying to fix these sorts of problems, and just release it as-is. Usually, you can only get a truly well-thought-out, consistent, properly tweaked design when you shell out more than a grand.

When you factor in the cost of modding materials, a modded T50RP should come to about $135 -- maybe less if you catch a sale on B&H. The Qs are $200. Not much of a difference imo and the performance increase is quite disproportionate; you are getting a headphone that is 95% of the HD800 with a few differences here and there for under 1/5th of the cost.

Mr.TAD91's picture

Magick Man - I think it would be wise for you to just quit posting your responses. You aren't making any sense. Headphones are headphones, and that's why they don't track so well with price. That's why there's diminishing returns, and that's why you'll never understand what others are telling you.

I'd rather have a headphone that provides sound quality "just as it has been recorded"than to have a showpiece which promises accurate sound reproduction.

You can continue to support beats on their incremental sound quality boosts, and like I said in a previous post - they'll move at a turtles pace. Don't you understand how the hifi business works?

Big bucks homie slice!

Magick Man's picture

Yeah, you're an ass, and an elitist one at that. Go soak your head in ice for a while, maybe it'll take the swelling down. Nothing that's $200 will give a person "just as it has been recorded", but keep believing that you have the answers to all of the industry's woes, sport. You failed as soon as you started posting on this topic, because your type of person is what's wrong in head-fi.

So, yeah I WILL support Beats' SQ improvements, because it's the right direction, unlike effete snobs, like you.

Takato14's picture

"Nothing that's $200 will give a person "just as it has been recorded""

The Qs are very, very close. Just a tiny bit better bass extension and slightly faster decay, and they're the HD800.

Magick Man's picture

I own them, they aren't that great. Their detail retrieval is sub-average for their price point. However, you can't just throw them into a briefcase or purse (or even a jacket pocket) and go, and that's the whole point. With the Solo2, you can.

Magick Man's picture

and their bass below 30Hz is nonexistent.

sszorin's picture

There is no bass below 30Hz, all there is is a loose subbass rumble. And no electrodynamic driver can reproduce below 30 Hz in sufficient volume.

Magick Man's picture

Try the Fostex TH900, their 1.5T drivers are amazing.

http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/FostexTH900.pdf

Za Warudo's picture

No headphone will give you what is "just as it has been recorded" unless it's a binaural recording. And even then the Q701 doesn't achieve that goal considering its soundstage that is very wide but has very little depth. The Q701 is a bright, drying sounding HP with some unevenness in its treble, an emphasized upper-midrange that gives it an unrealistic glare. And you already mentioned the lack of bass extension and impact. And this is coming from someone who owns and likes the Q701 - an excellent sounding HP for $200. When you compare it more expensive HPs like the HE560 it becomes thoroughly outclassed in all technical performance as well as tonality.

sszorin's picture

"No headphone will give you what is "just as it has been recorded""

Are you calling 'Dr.Dre' a liar ?

bronson's picture

Dre can't lie, he's an employee of Apple now.

Would Apple lie?

sszorin's picture

Yes they would, for profit. Generally many marketing slogans contain truths that are so stretched that they become lies.

Mr.TAD91's picture

Indeed you understand headphones. I appreciate your comment and agree with your prior.

Mr.TAD91's picture

Comment was for takato

DrForBin's picture

Mrs ForBin here (aka GYTW). I must say, well done Tyll!! I really liked your review of the Solo 2s. I think that you gave an honest review and admitted a manufacture can evolve and grow and produce a product that the public (should) enjoy hearing.

Personally, I do appreciate Tyll's reviews because they give both the objective (measurements) and subjective ('I thought...') review that makes me feel that he is looking at all sides of the product for the listeners. Having studied music since I was 6, however, I am Very Picky as to what goes into my ears. If I can't see the music, then the headphones suck. Tyll does a good job in describing the headphones to help me decide what would be good for my ears, though the headphones may not be what others may like.

That being said, you did say a few things that lean me towards not getting these headphones. I appreciate that the treble sounds neutral, but you said that the upper ranges were 'muddy' and 'not very articulate' while the bass is a little heavy. Since my ears lean towards wanting more of an accentuated upper range to hear the upper tones, I don't think these would work well for me. I am all for rocking out sometimes, but I do like those classic tunes as well.

That being said, I think this is why Tyll does what he does so well. He presents the facts, along with his own subjective thoughts, and lets you, the listener decide. And let's admit it: Though we may want to hear what the performer is trying to convey, what we listen to is subjective and we should get the cans that meet our own desires.

Thanks again for the review Tyll. Keep up the great work!!

sszorin's picture

My two cents on the matter, in the Beats price range :
Closed headphones - Audio Technica A900X or a bit improved version A900XLTD. Buy from Japanese stores and not from Ebay as there are fakes being sold on Ebay. [if you need help to figure out how to buy email me - sszorin@gmail.com] Great overall headphones, will do classical; on some badly mastered tracks of popular or rock music the treble might need to be EQ down a bit
[Semi]Open ones - Philips Fidelio L2

Jazz Casual's picture

I've felt that you've been tilting at windmills with your anti-Beats campaign, but it's commendable that you're prepared to give credit it where it's due here and to acknowledge the limitations of headphone measurements.

drm870's picture

...you've got to hand it to them for one thing: their products have gotten consistently better-sounding with each release (especially the current Studio's and these Solo2's).

At least, that's what I've gathered from reviewers I trust. :)

paanii720's picture

Would you say that these are a better sounding headphone than the beyerdynamic dt 1350s??? Just wondering which is better by comparison...

Mr.TAD91's picture

I've heard both and the Beyers are better if you want more detail retrival and a flatter response overall. The beats arent worth it as far as sound/build quality goes.The Beyers are warm sounding though, and they hardly ever sound harsh. I think you'd enjoy them.

If you want a wooden headphone that outperforms both, check out the ZAGG ZR-LE. They're warm in the mids with crisp treble, and the bass quality is great too.

Magick Man's picture

For which style of music? For modern Pop, the Solo2 appears to be better. If you're into classical or Jazz, then you should probably choose the DT1350s.

Marcello's picture

I found the Solo 2s to be very competent headphones, but I have to say I am a little surprised that they made it to the hall of fame. I would place them behind the Beyerdynamic DT-1350 and the V-Moda XS. I would maybe put them on par with Momentum on-ears, but the Beats have inferior build quality - at least the model I had made an occasional squeaky sound when I moved my head. Still, Beats have made a lot of progress and offer good sound for a fair price (compared to the competition - I still feel headphones are overpriced in general).

Magick Man's picture

Brave of you to post that review Tyll, given the community's overall hatred for Beats. I thought the last gen Pros were acceptable, if overpriced. Anyway, I'm excited that the general public will be consuming better quality audio, for a change, maybe it'll herald the dawn of a brighter future for the industry as a whole.

Mr.TAD91's picture

Don't feel butt-hurt, it's nothing personal. There are superior options available for less dough; regardless of if they're on ear, over-ear or in ear options. Do you really believe most Head-Fiers "hate" beats headphones? Nah, they just know better.

The pro's were not acceptable for the money. Do you feel a strong sense of pride in defending beats headphones, or are you just excited for the general public?

Don't' forget! They still need a good source and quality source material. A good pair of headphones paired with an inferior rig is an uphill battle. Oh, and hardwood floors and great speakers! That's a reflective nightmare. The general public needs to be informed, and I don't think there's anyone who could enlighten them as well as Tyll.

Magick Man's picture

Your evangelism against Beats is noted (repeatedly). "Know better"? What does that even mean? Head-Fiers are already biased and good headphones from Beats won't sway their opinions? Geez, you're the one who sounds butt-hurt, and an audio snob, to boot.

If Tyll likes them, then he likes them, and no amount of you wandering around his site trying to disparage his opinion will change that. Do I feel a "strong sense of pride"? What's that about? My statement was self-explanatory: "I'm excited that the general public will be consuming better quality audio, for a change". The Solo2 is far better than its predecessor, and as a mainstream product that will sell millions upon millions of units (even more now that Apple owns them), it can't help but have a positive impact on all of personal audio. That's good for them and all audio fans.

bronson's picture

Thank you for your comment which I agree with to a point.

I believe that Tyll's review genuinely has the capacity to change minds and perception bias, largely because he is so well respected in the head-fi community and the audio world in general.

Of course, the most hardened beats hater would condemn even a beats rebranded Sennheiser Orpheus, but in the few days since Tyll's review broke, I have noticed many members showing genuine interest in the solo2 that they most likely would never have previously entered their minds as a good sounding credible on ear headphone.

DaveK1977's picture

I know in the Mission thread, sszorin was skeptical of the Solo2 to the point of saying that they contained a circuit to boost treble. Since this is certainly the offspring of the cans that made Dr. Dre a billionaire, they certainly deserve a thorough examination. Have you taken them apart and seen whether any circuits are present and to examine the construction?

sszorin's picture

Since generally for years the Beats were not getting good reviews in the more knowledgeable audio community, to the point of embarrassment, the Beats execs asked the Chinese designer of Beats line of headphones and its manufacturer to improve its sound. The Chinese tweaked the sound of these headphones by toning down the bass a little and by boosting the treble a bit, all this without having to redesign the Beats drivers. They used a circuitry within the earcups to tweak the electro-acoustic signal.
Here are some photos of this circuitry [just scroll down a bit]
http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2099578&page=2

weinerd's picture

Measurement charts look astoundingly similar to the Noontec Zoro HD measurement charts... coincidence??

boniceman's picture

Hi Tyll,

I currently own the noontec zoro hd as an exercise headphone, it is lightweight, comfortable and I like the sound quality a lot, however, I think it is time to upgrade. Would you recommend me the Solo's 2 or should I buy another pair of Zoros?

Thanks!

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Most people like in-ears for excursive. Have you thought about going in that direction? Another option is to go with the Koss Porta-Pro---their lifetime warranty will allow you to get a new one when they wear out. They're not sealed however. Another very light-weight on-ear that's sealed would be the Sennheiser PX200ii, good little headphone.
obsidyen's picture

Tyll hello, great review as always. I have negative feelings towards Beats headphones like most of the audiophile community. Maybe I should go to an Apple Store and try them.

Currently I have Onkyo ES-HF300 as portable headphones. It's a rather thin sounding (compared to Momentum) headphone with good detail retrieval and bass. How do you think compare to Beats Solo 2? Would buying Solo 2 be an upgrade or sidestep (or downgrade)? Onkyos are cheaper.

Also, is Beyerdynamic T51P better than both?

I mostly listen to modern genres (EDM, pop, alternative rock) but also some jazz and classical.

Magick Man's picture

BTW, I ordered a set of Solo 2s yesterday, just to see what the fuss is about. I'll post back when I've had a chance to listen to them.

bronson's picture

Cool beans bru - what colour did you choose?

Just noticed Apple UK also have the solo2 in matt white finish also, http://bit.ly/XyEc1S - it's so white that it makes the white gloss finish one look light grey.

I've had the solo2 from the day they were released in UK and really appreciate the sound and form factor of these headphones.

Such a big step in the right direction for beats and they deserve Tyll's accolade for this, IMO.

Looking forward to your impressions.

FWIW, here's link to my first impressions made at head-fi should you have an interest http://bit.ly/XyFwBN

:)

Jazz Casual's picture

Please do and I hope that Mr.TAD91 gets involved because I've found your exchange of posts hilarious.

Jazz Casual's picture

Replying here post site revamp is dodgier than it used to be. Restoring the edit function would be helpful.

zunehdrocks's picture

These vs onkyo es fc300?

Stefraki's picture

As I personally find the measurements with that curve to look more like the headphones sound, I like that you are doing this. Hope to see more Olive curve frequency responses in future reviews.

Inks's picture

I will say that the measurements are pretty good, though not outstanding as you mentioned and they portray the flaws mentioned. I find that when the measurements don't explain things well it's because they aren't interpreted well.

I'll start from the midrange and treble. The Solo2 is more refined than both. The Momentum here is the worst of the three with a hole in the 4k region and small peaks in the 2k and 8k regions. XS are very neutral in the midrange and treble, except a very apparent 3k peak, which I know Lachlan had complained about in his review, similar to what happens with some AKG headphones. Solo2s do have a small 5k bump but stay very controlled throughout the range like the XS. While the Solo2s treble response drops a bit more past 10k than the other two, it actually has better treble extension than both.

Solos have the lowest distortion, while the XS and Momentums have audible distortion in the bass, attributing to their mentioned looseness here. Matter of fact, I think Solo2s is among the lowest distortion I've seen on an on-ear portable headphone.

XS and Momentum have very similar bass characteristics, both jump below 300hz to about 5-7hz above neutral in the midbass region [subbass boost is debateably relatively neutral]. The Solo2 however starts jumping early in the 700hz region to about 10db above neutral in the midbass region. This becomes the caveat of this headphone as it darkens the whole sound even though there is refinement throughout the range.

I'll say, use the bass reduction EQ in iOS and this Solo2 should sound very nice for those that want a relatively easy way to make them sound better.

I'll look in into the Thinksound ON1 Tyll. It measures better than these 3 in purely frequency response, though I'll have to see if the distortion levels and tracking are good.

bronson's picture

I've got the thinksound On1, and I find it very, very good sounding, and if any on ear headphone could come along and knock the Momentum, xs and solo2 off the WOF, I'd wager that the On1 is the can that could very well do it....

The thinksound On1 has been released for a little time now - can't we give the solo2 a little time to soak up it's WOF status for a decent stretch of time? Lol :D

You know, I did recommend the On1 to Tyll for reviewing - I think I sent him a personal message through this site a while back last year and never thought about it again till when you mention it here now.

Oh well, guess we'll have to wait and see what Tyll makes of the On1 himself :)

Tyll Hertsens's picture
I'll get hold of them....quickly. :)

We'll see if it can knock a buncha stuff off the Wall.

bronson's picture

You may want to contact thinksound's CEO Aaron Fournier for info on some replacement part they were making from die cast metal to ensure a more durable headband.

The last email I got from Aaron was March this year where he stated that the part would be available from 3 weeks from date of email, and that I'd receive email around that time with details on how to proceed with fixing any issues I had with my pair of On1's, not that I found any issues with my pair, but it sounds as there has been issues with other On1 customers that has prompted this replacement part.

I've not had any further email correspondence from thinksound since, but I get strong impression that thinksound are a company that is small enough to care and resolve any issues quickly.

Amazing sounding wood ear cup on ear cans though for sure.

eugenius's picture

The Fidelio M1 is 80$ on Amazon. It's about the same thing as this headphone but better built. $200 is a ripoff.

bronson's picture

$80? Wow, that's a great price for the Fidelio M1 - Amazon UK has it listed around just £20 cheaper than the solo2, so not such a variance in price to Amazon USA I guess, but from what I gather the M1 is now discontinued by Philips.

I've not heard the M1 myself but have the Fidelio X1 and love it, though obviously totally different type of headphone to the M1 and solo2 for sure.

I personally don't think the price of the solo2 is a rip off, I think the refined sound signature, comfort, form and ease to use as a portable on the go type of headphone give it value that I appreciate.

Also the subtle svelte design of the solo2 really appeals to me especially on colours such as the black and dark blue models which don't attract attention unlike more bold colours such as the red and pink models.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Don't mind heated discussion, but I will trim comments without meaningful content.

Please help InnerFidelity remain an important source for quality information. I value your comments a great deal, please respect the importance of your contributions.

bronson's picture

Also very worth mentioning, Beats by Dr. Dre contributes a portion from the purchase price of every Beats by Dre (PRODUCT)RED Solo2 Headphones to the Global Fund to fight AIDS.

Now that's pretty noble and generous of beats & Dre to do this for such a worthy cause.

xylin6's picture

in one of your earlier responses Tyll You stated 'graphs don't lie' but i submit the graph below comparing the Grado PS500 vs Koss PortaPro as proof that fr graphs are not always to be trusted when it comes to headphone performance level or over all value.

anyone who looks at this graph would presume the $45 PortaPro would not only hold their own against the $595 Grado PS500 but in fact outperform them,and yet anyone who has heard both headphones knows that notion is laughable,it would be the same as saying a Honda Civic was faster or better built than a Bugatti Veyron,and this is not a knock against the PortaPro for the price they are fine headphones but they are not (despite these measurements) anywhere close to providing the incredible experience the PS500's offer.

http://cdn.head-fi.org/2/26/263102d9_portaprovsps500.png

cundare's picture

Pretty surprising review, Tyll, but not for the obvious reason. I'm surprised that you praise these phones so highly despite that broad hump in the lower midrange. I do a lot of live-concert restoration and have found the 125-250Hz range to be THE critical range to attenuate in order to reduce muddiness, tame excessive reverb, improve inner detail, or exact overall improvements in soundstage, imaging, & focus. It's hard to believe that this anomaly in the Solo2 isn't a dealbreaker. In fact, a similar (but admittedly subtle) hump in my Audeze LCD-3's response is the main reason I'm considering investing $600 in a stator upgrade). Given the huge range of possible EQ-based colorations, this one is to my ears, one of the worst.

Then again, I dunno -- I haven't heard these cans myself. Are you maybe talking about just a fractional decibel rise here?

Jim Tavegia's picture

Beats reign at my high school, but now I can tell them that if you want much better sound buy the Beats V2 if your parents are going to drop 2 bills on a set of can for your phone. At $200 it is time to expect much more and glad they deliver it. Me I'm sticking with the 2 pairs of Sony 7506's for my studio and my AKG 701s.

dumbo's picture

I bought the Solo 2 at the Apple store just for the hell of it and to have something small and decent that I could leave in the glovebox of my car. Compared to my Amperiors I found them more uncomfortable and less resolving so I returned them. It was only later, and in retrospect, that I realized how good of a job they did without doing anything offensive (the Amperiors have a bit of rough edge in the upper frequencies). Doing nothing glaringly wrong is a pretty big deal for me so I think I'm going to have to go back and repurchase them.
P.s. As good as the Momentums are the bass is so floppy and and lacking in definition I simply could not abide them. The fact that he Beats 2 don't seem to be in any way particularly offensive is a HUGE plus in a headphone of this type designed to be run out of a portable source.

HeadphoneAddict's picture

Great review Tyll. Unfortunately I missed hearing the Beats Solo2, because I had written off the Beats for so long.

In my case, I bought the V-MODA XS at RMAF last weekend because I felt that they had the fewest faults in a $200 portable closed headphone, with the smallest portable package when folded up. I'll use these until the XS Master series, aka "Hi-Res" balanced version is available.

I do like the more prominent highs in the Momentum on-ear, but not their looser base (which I posted about last year vs the M-80). The Momentum over-the-ear treble was a little too much at times, with even looser bass.

In contrast, I thought the XS highs are smooth although slightly recessed, and don't cause fatigue or sibilance, but a little more sparkle would be nice with some amps or sources. However, I consider the XS treble to be less offensive with highly compressed low bit-rate music.

The XS bass is still tight and punchy, although not as prominent as that of my V-MODA M-100 which are my favorite portable phones. While the M-100 treble is also softer and smoother than the Momentum, I believe that they don't feel as rolled off as the XS's treble because the M-100 mids are not as forward as the XS mids (or the M-80).

If there is anything I would change about the XS, it would be to make the mids slightly less forward and more balanced vs the bass and treble. I'm not sure how to do that because pulling out a few dB in the mids with EQ in iTunes kills some of the life from the XS.

I look forward to the chance to try the Beats Solo2 sometime, but with owning the V-MODA M-80, XS, and M-100 I'm not sure I'll be compelled to buy a pair. Heck, if my ATH-ESW10JPN had any isolation from outside noise at all then I'd be using them all the time instead.

misterspock1's picture

Just a note--on your "Wall of Fame" page the Beats 2 review link takes you to the Sennheiser review instead.

Gu1b0's picture

do you know if also solo 2 wireless is good?

voodoochildaro's picture

hi! I totally loved your point of view, I like when people are open mind enough to change their opinion. I am not a beats fan, I am not even an hater. My point of view is going a bit far than the simple discussion if those headphones are good enough or not. I own a recording studio, and, of course, I am not using beats to mix (actually, we all know that you CAN'T mix on headphone, unless you want a second listen or just fix few things) but I also can't ignore the fact that almost the whole world is listening to their favorite music with them, and our job is making music good to listen. I won't use those headphones to mix, they are not flat, and I can't use them as a reference to mix, but I am gonna have them just to realize how appealing the music will be once listened into them. I honestly had the chance to try them in a shop (I must say, not with the music I will work on, or my fav genre - basically rock, metal) they were almost appealing, the sound was not that bad, surely not "sincere", boosting bass freq enough but with a very good overall sound. I was curious in particular about your opinion regarding their construction, honestly I had the sensation that they are very delicate and weak, ready to be easily broken, they do not looks that solid, am I wrong? plastic looks pretty cheap to me, also lot of people complain about that.
It may be an off topic argument, but I also think that even if we don't like those headphones, we really can't ignore them just for the fact that they are almost everywhere. what do you think about?
btw, thank you so much for your review!

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