What do Lady Gaga, and Kylie Jenner have in common? A liking for Beats by Dr. Dre headphones it seems. The popular audio brand came out in 2008 and has since made a name for themselves with their unique style. But are Beats by Dr. Dre worth the money?
Over the years, having the style of the headphone out trump the quality has been a characteristic of Beats headphones but has it always been like that? If that is the case, what else would someone be buying a pair for?
If you like the style of Beats and are buying its headphones for that reason then they’re worth it. However, if you’re looking for something that sounds good for the price then they’re not.
Beats Headphones are Ridiculously Overpriced
With wireless headphones starting from US$299.95, the most common criticism is its unwarranted hefty price tag.
In order to find out more about the prices, people from Bolt and Gizmodo have tried to tear down a set of headphones with similar findings. Avery Louie from Bolt, estimated its actual value at around US$20.18.
That puts the retail price of their headphones at least 10 times more than the production cost. Talk about a very good profit margin.
Too Much Bass
Now when talking about the bass portion, it’s a good idea to look at Dr. Dre’s background. As a hip-hop artist, heavy bass sounds are pretty characteristic of the genre.
Because what is rap and hip hop without some sick bass?
Beats, as the brainchild of Dr. Dre, has also inherited this trait of enjoying bass-heavy sound signature the most. This usually means while everything’s great when listening to songs with a lot of bass, but with songs without it, not so much.
Beats has a reputation for being flimsy. The design is such that two metal parts are attached using nothing but a cheap piece of plastic. Ultimately, the headphones are more fragile and susceptible to breaking due to the design.
The image they are trying to create is quite the opposite of the actual design.
The Real Reasons People Buy Beats
Beats is no stranger to celebrity endorsements. Ed Sheeran, check. Serena Williams, check. Cara Delevingne, check. You name it, and they would most probably have appeared in Beats massive list of celebrity ambassadors. The one thing that is connecting many prominent celebrities together is none other than a pair of Beats headphones, and now, that thread includes you when you purchase a set of your own.
These were huge in China when swimmer Sun Yang broke numerous world records that year. Especially because the swimmer was using the noise-canceling headphones as a way to prepare and focus for his competition, Sun Yang’s extremely successful run at the games was just a huge win for Beats as well.
The massive exposure, of course, contributed to a huge sales spike that reinforces how purchasing behavior is influenced by the association the buyer makes with the product.
Let’s be honest, Beats headphones are not cheap. In fact, the brand has positioned themselves as a premium brand with the price tag that matches that premium cost. At first glance, this might be a deterrent to many but premium prices mean high quality is expected.
Owning good quality and pricey products also sends signals for people that worry a lot about their status. It’s difficult to imagine Kim Kardashian getting caught dead in a store that’s not high fashion. The same principle applies here.
Sometimes it’s a false impression though! Comparing a set of $50 headphones to a $300 one, it is a logical expectation that the higher priced one will be of higher quality, well may not.
Moreover, Beats has been customizing some of the most expensive headphones for the extremely wealthy. Lil’ Wayne donned one a $1 Million Diamond Beats at a basketball game that brings up the premium to these headphones to another level unto its own.
Millennials have been shown to have a liking for more on self-expression and the concept of being uniquely yourself is constantly beaten into their heads at every turn. Beats headphones cater to this desire as their stylish designs and bright colors are able to infuse a splash of personality that sets one apart from others.
The collaboration between Beats and Balmain combines chic design characteristics of the fashion powerhouse with music and further reinforces the importance self-expression plays in the popularity of Beats headphones.
So Are Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones Worth the Money?
Fashion-conscious consumers will love the style of these headphones. Although Beats catches plenty of bad press for manufacturing bass-heavy atrocities, it opened the door for trendier audio products. So, if you like the statement that a pair of Beats headphones makes, that great! Just don’t expect them to reproduce anything like neutral frequency response.
iPhone users benefit from Beats headphones because they are compatible with Apple’s AAC codec and feature a W1 chip, providing iOS compatibility. This chip, in tandem with Class 1 Bluetooth, means that Beats can keep a stable 100-meter Bluetooth range with iOS devices; the convenience and reliability are hard to look past.
However, the rest of us are better off saving our money for a higher value product that provides aptX support, better durability, and a more comfortable fit.
Written by Aiden Marcoux