Are Beats the Best Bang for Your Buck?

Beats by Dr. Dre have become the preeminent headphone in the entertainment industry.

According to the retail analysts group NPD, Beats accounted for 64 percent of the headphones selling for over $100 in the U.S. in 2012. Beats electronics owned 51 percent of the entire headphone market in 2012, according to beatsbydre.com.

The latest headphone developed by Beats Electronics is the Beats Studio, which is currently priced at $299.95. With the value of Beats Electronics Company surpassing a billion dollars, there is some quality to their headphone but considering the steep price of nearly $300, does the Beats Studio have the best value on the headphone market?

“The problem with the Beats headphone is more about the durability and the pricing.” said Michael Clarke, a sales associate at Radio Shack. “If you compare Beats with other headphones like Skull Candy or Sol Republics, you can get pretty good headphones for at least $100 to $150 cheaper, whereas with the Beats, they are really good headphones, but they are really not worth 300 dollars,” said Clarke.

Stephen Nowack, a sales leader at Best Buy, offered a similar sentiment about Beats headphones. “In my opinion, Beats are a good quality headphone but I also think there are other headphones that are made with just as good of a build for less price,” said Nowack. “The problem with the Beats headphones is that it is a very high price point. It is like any other brand; they put a higher price point on it just because of the name of it.”

Beats electronics attempts to combat their competitor’s prices by continuing to add new features that they believe make their headphones worth $300. The new Beats Studio offers several new features that they believe increase the efficiency of the headphone. First and foremost, they addressed the overall feel of the headphone. According to beatsbydre.com, “They streamlined the New Beats Studio with fast curves, smooth surfaces, and no visible screws. They shaved 13 percent off the original weight and gave it a lighter, stronger, and more comfortable headband. They created softer ear cups and an ergonomic bellow to create a flexible, custom fit for every head shape.”

In addition to the enhanced structure of the headphone, the Studio includes an increased battery life. The Studio contains a 20-hour rechargeable battery and a “visible Battery Fuel Gauge” that enables the consumer to know exactly how much battery life is left.  Along with these expansions, the headphone now automatically turns off after the cord is unplugged from a device, which further saves battery life.

The final addition to the Beats Studio is Adaptive Noise Canceling. Adaptive Noise Canceling essentially eliminates extraneous noises and allows the consumer to better concentrate on the content being played. “When you’re listening to music, ANC (Adaptive Noise Canceling) automatically strikes a balance between your music and the world outside. If you only want to use the headphone to cancel external noise, ANC only mode automatically increases the level of noise cancellation, for a quieter world,” according to beatsbydre.com.

Although the additions to the Beats Studio have improved the headphones overall, there are other brands of headphones that offer more durability and similar features. “The way Beats are set up, if they are dropped, you will have small nicks and cracks that will make your headphone look awful,” said Clarke.

While the Adaptive Noise Canceling is an impressive new feature, there are cheaper headphones that offer the same luxury. “I personally have the $200 version of noise canceling for the Sol Republics,” said Clarke, “whereas with the Beats it has to be powered noise cancelation, you do not have to power up the Sol Republics, it is just active noise canceling.”

Despite agreeing that Beats headphones do not present the best value, Clarke and Nowack had differing opinions on which brand offers the best bargain. Clarke explained, “I would recommend either Sol Republics or Skull Candy because they are cheaper, more durable, and they offer better sound quality.”

“The best value for a headphone would be the Monster DNA,” said Nowack. “You are paying $100 less for the same quality.”

Even though they are one of the most expensive headphones on the market, some people prefer the brand name and the sound quality that Beats provide. Frank Trimarco, a health studies major, has owned a Beats headphone since its inception in 2008 and believes it is currently the best headphone on the market. “The Adaptive Noise Canceling is an effective feature that gives the headphone a new dimension. The brand and the quality of the sound are well worth the 300 dollars,” said Trimarco.

The choice of headphone is normally based on a consumer’s preference but for people that are searching for a quality headphone at a reasonable price, Beats might not fit the criteria. “When it comes to a mid-range market for most teenagers that are looking for a regular headphone, you can get other headphones that will sound just as good,” said Nowack.  While it is a high caliber headphone that includes several enticing features, the Beats Studio may not offer the best value on the headphone market.

IMAGE TAKEN from meltybuzz.fr