Monster many things, but subtle they are not. They are arguably the most successful "garage brand" in the consumer electronics industry and, while Monster may have started from humble beginnings, their presence in the AV business is anything but shy. You can't throw a rock or a Wii controller, for that matter, in a Best Buy or any other big box store without hitting something with a Monster label on it. From batteries to amplifiers, Monster is everywhere. So it should come as no surprise when Monster decided to stick their toes into the headphone business, as the iPod marketis brimming with consumer demand these days.
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• Monster Cable Partners with Basketball Star Yao Ming for Yao Monster products in China.
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• Read a review of the Bowers & Wilkins P5 headphones by Andrew Robinson here on HomeTheaterReview.com...
Typically, when Monster launches a product, they tend to do two things: partner up with a high-profile event and/or celebrity and proclaim the product's brilliance at every turn. To put this in perspective, allow me an analogy. Sony is to Peyton Manning what Terrell Owens is to Monster Cable. The question is, with so much brouhaha over everything, the Beats by Dr. Dre headphones being no different, where does the marketing end and the performance begin? Are they any good? The answer ... not really.
Retailing for $349, Beats by Dre headphones are among the more expensive electronic ear warmers money can buy. They are rather stylish, if you're into that look the runway attendants at LAX have, with a high gloss black finish, accented by spots of red and silver capped off by a large lower case "b," symbolizing the product's name. I must say, for headphones as large and bulky as the Beats by Dre are, they are very lightweight, weighing a spry 270 grams with batteries installed. Surprisingly and rather tastefully done, the Monster logo is small and silk-screened in silver along the headphone's arch. Monster claims that the Beats by Dre headphones will bring you closer to the recorded event, the way the artist intended, than any other headphone money can buy. However the "artists" Monster is using in their testimonials for the headphones do little make this seem like something you would want.
Beats by Dre are isolating headphones, using a powered system not unlike other brands that require two AAA batteries that install in the headphone cups themselves. Along with active isolation, the Beats by Dre phones feature a mute or "Push to Listen" button, which effectively cuts the music and isolation to let you hear what is going on in the outside world. Between you and me, this may be the product's greatest feature, but more on that later. The Beats by Dre feature Monster's own Advanced Driver Design (whatever that means) and use extra-large speaker drivers for superb bass response in a headphone design. The headphones themselves are wired entirely with Monster Cable, including the Quadripole cable that is terminated with a Micro Mini jack that, unlike other Monster Cable connectors, is said to put less strain on connected audio components. The Beats by Dre headphones come packaged with one-eighth-inch and one-quarter-inch adaptors to allow for a variety of connection options with other components beyond an iPod or iPhone. The Beats by Dre headphones are collapsible and can be easily stowed in their included Touring Case and come with a Anti-Microbial Cleaning cloth to help keep them shiny and new all the time.
Read the High Points, Low Points and Conclusion on the next page
Comparison and Competition
Compare the Beats by Dr. Dre against its competition by reading our reviews for the Bower & Wilkins P5 mobile hi-fi headphones and the Bang & Olufsen Form 2 headphones. You can read all of our headphones reviews by visiting our All Things Headphones section.