A little while back I reviewed Monster's initial foray into high-end headphones and came away less than impressed. It wasn't that the original Beats by Dr. Dre headphones were bad - they were atrocious. So it may come as a bit of a surprise to learn that I wanted to review another Beats by Dr. Dre product, specifically the Beats Pro, which sits atop the Beats by Dr. Dre product line like Dre himself.
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The Beats Pro are Monster and Dr. Dre's flagship effort and carry a price tag of $449.95 to match. At first glance they appear very similar to previous Beats by Dr. Dre designs, though upon closer inspection you soon discover that the Beats Pro are a different animal entirely, one that has traded its plastic for lightweight aluminum for starters. The Beats Pro come in either a white or black finish and feature large, over-the-ear cups branded with Monster and Dre's trademark "b." The ear cups are secured in aluminum with ample padding along the edges and across the top of the over-the-head band for added comfort. The ear cushions themselves can easily be removed and washed, a cool feature and one I wish more headphones had, for if you're one to share your cans (which many studio artists do), being able to keep them clean and sterile is paramount.
Another neat feature the Beats Pro has is its dual input/output cable port, which allows the Beats Pro to be daisy chained with another set of headphones, preferably Beats by Dr. Dre branded ones I'm sure, without having to add an additional source or portable device. Speaking of inputs - the included Beats Pro headphone cable can easily be detached from either of the ear cup-mounted inputs and changed to a third party cable for better sound if you like - something that can't always be said for the competition. Also, the included cable can stretch from 1.8 meters to 2.1 meters, thanks to its coiled design. The Beats Pro come with an eight inch to quarter inch adaptor which is tethered to the cable itself to ensure it never gets lost. Like earlier Dr. Dre branded headphones, the Beats Pro are sound isolating designs and feature collapsible ear cups to assist in greater portability; however because of its bulkier size and more robust build quality, the Beats Pro aren't exactly as portable as earlier designs.
Monster doesn't specify what type of drivers are used in the Beats Pro headphones suffice to say that they're "proprietary." They also discuss necessary figures such as the Beats Pro's frequency response or sensitivity. I powered my review pair using my iPhone, for despite being "pro" branded cans, I doubt the vast majority of Beats Pro owners will ever spend time in a studio. In terms of sound I must say I walked away rather impressed. Gone was the flat, harsh, hollow sound that I was treated to with earlier Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. In its place was a sound that was far more refined, firm, textural and composed. The Beats Pro's solid construction produced greater sense of weight both physically and aurally, which grounded everything and served as a rock solid foundation for the music to build upon. Bass was prodigious but now felt appropriate versus boomy or bloated. The Beats Pro bass had texture and nuance but more importantly it had the sense of air, which aided the midrange substantially, giving it a more palpable presence. The high frequencies were a touch rolled off but sounded, again, far more airy and organic than with previous offerings. Dynamics were solid, though at high volumes the Beats Pro headphones would compress, sometimes substantially, producing a thin, two-dimensional sound. I'm sure had I used a different source component or a dedicated headphone amp the Beats Pro's "butter zone" would have been a bit larger but like I said, I just don't see a lot of Beats Pro customers plugging them into anything other than a portable device or laptop.
Read about the high points and low points of the Beats Pro headphones on Page 2.