Beats Solo - full review

Discussion in 'Headphone Reviews' started by quadpatch, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. quadpatch

    quadpatch New Member

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    Here is my review of the 'Beats Solo'. If you're curious what I think of the most popular portable fashion headphone check this out:

    Noble Hi-Fi: Beats: Solo - review
     
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    An excellent review as always. I was also rather surprised that something as specialized as a high-priced headphone (and this is a specialized high-priced item to most consumers) could sound so bad. But there's a much darker side to this (no pun intended), in that when I questioned Apple employees as to "How do customers hear the details in their music with these?", and the several Apple people I asked over the course of a few months said the same thing: "We tell them to turn up the volume".

    And so I wrote the following in response:
    http://dalethorn.com/Headphone_Volume_Hearing_Damage.txt
     
  3. quadpatch

    quadpatch New Member

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    Thanks Dale! Oh yeah, the darker side to dark headphones :). Why do I feel like I'm doing some sort of public service by writing this :p.

    I keep thinking of the M-100 and something that Val said about 'protecting people's hearing'. I think what he was trying to say was that by having the lower frequencies loud and the higher frequencies quiet it's giving the 'kids' what they want, while not destroying their hearing with treble. Now I know the quality of the M-100 is much better and the mids aren't so problematic, but don't you think there are some similarities in the tonality between these two headphones?
     
  4. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Coincidence? Probably not. I'm not a big believer in the kind of coincidence where you find a Rolex in 50 million year old volcanic rock and assume that it's one of those rare events in nature where the molecules just happened to arrange that way. You know, the old theory of a group of monkeys with a near-infinite number of attempts just happen to strike the key sequences that type out the Oxford dictionary.

    No, I rather think that Val took a good long look at what Beats were doing, and said to himself "Self, I can do that". And nothing against Dre, but I think Val and his customers are way more hip than the kiddies who follow "The Beats" as they say it. But, to get a piece of that Beats pie, something had to give, and I don't think fidelity was the highest priority in the consequent business decisions. Still, where no Beats I've ever tried could be made even marginally listenable with the limited EQ selections on an iPhone, the M100 can be made not only listenable, but have sufficient quality to make several genres listenable as long as you're not expecting sound that's competitive with the hi-fi'est of headphones above $300 USD.

    Generally those kinds of compromises will result in a component that just doesn't make the rotation at all. I can name several. Harman/Kardon CL, B&W P3, Phiaton MS400 (in spite of good reviews), Martin Logan 90, Parrot Zik, ..... So Val either succeeded where nobody else did, or came a lot closer.
     
  5. quadpatch

    quadpatch New Member

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    If that's true I wonder how closely he will follow the Beats model. He seemed to be quite strongly against big name endorsements at one point. Of course the bigger thing is product placement. I did see some V-Modas in the latest Mission Impossible movie...

    I still want the M-80s bigger brother and I think a lot of other people did too.
     
  6. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Val is first and foremost a fashion and DJ guy, so I would tend to critique his designs from that perspective. The M80 sound was a genuine anomaly I thought, given his experience and intent. But the M80 is still a landmark or reference of sorts, and so my preference would not be to merely replicate it in a larger format for more money, but to create a useful re-tuning, adding more of what Sennheiser did for the Momentum, for one example. Val went to headfi because they have the numbers, but unless someone knows something I don't, I'd say he got the short end of the stick on that deal. Those guys, the "crowd-sourcing" sound guys, are neither fashion designers nor DJ's (they're allegedly audiophiles), and look what we got. But the M80 and M100 are no longer theories, they're a fact of life, right here in my hands. And I'd much rather use the M100, because the sound is adequate and the fit is much, much better. I heard that full stocks of the M100 were supposed to arrive this month, so theoretically(!) we are at the beginning of the M100 sales curve. Brace yourself. Or, just ignore it since the odds are way against it displacing much of the Beats' sales. Now the M80 and M100 were supposedly multi-year developments, so just imagine what designs are in their 2nd or 3rd year at v-moda now, and who is involved. The same "consultants" who helped with the M100? Scary, huh?

    Edit: This is still my focus, despite any wanderings into low-fi land: http://dalethorn.com/Headphone_Volume_Hearing_Damage.txt
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2013
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