• The Beats Pro are still garish in terms of design, one that screams, "Look at me," but there's no denying their build quality which appears very solid and built for the long haul.
• The Beats Pro's ear cups are well padded and comfortable and able to be removed and even washed to ensure they remain so fresh and so clean.
• The Beats Pro's dual input/output option is a nice feature and one that is sure to come in handy with younger buyers.
• The Beats Pro's sound is now one of maturity, for everything about its performance is improved over previous incarnations. Bass is still the focus of these headphones but the midrange and high frequencies have not been left out of the upgrade equation.
• The Beats Pro headphones are not as travel friendly as earlier designs, thanks to their more robust padding and construction, though I'd take their improved build quality over portability any day.
• The Beats Pro headphones are heavy, really heavy and while comfortable they're not easily forgotten, making extended listening sessions a bit fatiguing.
• The Beats Pro headphones can be powered by portable devices such as an iPhone but I have to imagine their sonic performance as well as dynamic envelope would improve if connected to a proper headphone amp or device; however I just don't see teens and young adults going to such lengths.
• At high volumes the Beats Pro headphones do become a bit one dimensional and flat sounding, though they're not as aggressive as previous designs.
Competition and Comparison
At around $450 retail the Beats Pro face some stiff competition, for they're not what I would classify as "affordable" for many looking to replace a pair of free Apple ear buds. The Bowers & Wilkins P5 headphones are cheaper than the Beats Pro at $299.99, look decidedly more up-market and sound better in my opinion. Another possible and even cheaper option would be Klipsch's Image ONE headphones at $149.99 followed by Skullcandy's Roc Nation Aviator headphones at $149.99. The Image ONE headphones are far more compact and lightweight but produce a substantial punch, whereas the Roc Nations match and in some ways surpass the Beats Pro's garish appearance, which is partially what headphones such as the Beats Pros are all about.
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It's always nice to revisit a formerly dreadful product and come away the second time pleasantly surprised, which is precisely what has happened following my demo of the Beats Pro headphones. Across the board, everything about the Beats Pro's performance is improved and not only that, it feels as if its matured, for the Beats Pro's sound is decidedly more audiophile than its predecessors. Are they worth their asking price? For me, no, but I still don't believe I'm the target market, even though I spend time in studios. While everyone and their mother within and around the music and entertainment industry can be spotted sporting a pair of Beats by Dr. Dre, the core market for these and other Dre branded headphones is still consumers my brother's age, for which $450 is a lot of coin.