REVIEW: Beats By Dre Mixr DJ Headphones


Link: Beats By Dre — Price: $240/€249/£220

Beats By Dre Mixer Dj headphones review (9)

Introduction

Beats by Dre.

Still here? Thanks for making it this far — I suspect that some haven’t simply because of the brand name. But the consumer brand that permeates civilisation at a societal level is not the same Beats Pro brand that we’re looking at here. Yes I said Pro, for Beats has a separate line of headphones (the Beats PRO & Beats MIXR) for rather more demanding and discerning users who care more for function than being seen in the same cans as their favourite celebrity. So please stick around for the rest of the review, as I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Disclosure

In the past, I have tried and failed to obtain Beats headphones to squeeze through the stringent DJWORX review assault course. But we’re lucky enough to have an old friend working inside Beats, who was more than happy enough to provide us with what we needed. And my friend knows I’m more likely to be tougher because of the connection.

We must also factor in that I have nothing to lose by giving these a good or bad review. We don’t sell anything here, nor do Beats advertise on DJWORX. I care more about being true to the tens of thousands of loyal readers than I do for keeping a single manufacturer happy. So let’s get to it.

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In The Box

Starting off with my pet peeve — packaging. There is simply too much of it. Beats do like to make a statement, and while it lends to the feel good factor and air of opulence, it is nothing but an expensive piece of landfill and not the way to reduce carbon footprints or impact on natural resources. Rant over.

Inside the lavish box are the headphones (more detail later), a DJ friendly partially coiled cable, an Apple friendly TRRS equipped straight cable with volume controls and play/pause button, a push fit 1/4″ adaptor and a highly tactile clamshell case. The box also contains a heap of printed instructional, warranty and marketing gubbins, as well a rather large sticker for you to declare your allegiance to Beats upon your expensive laptop.

Beats By Dre Mixer Dj headphones review (10)

Looks

Given the consumer heritage, aesthetics are paramount for Beats. And the Mixrs are no slouch in the area either. The brand is strong, but not overpowering (well at least not on the Black ones I have here). But the looks are as important as the engineering, but thankfully functionality hasn’t been compromised by style choices.

The Mixrs are sleek, curved and free from sharp edges, and because of the 40mm driver on-ear design are quite discrete on your head. And while the flourishes are bold (Red cables for example), the overall aesthetic is minimalism. The vast majority of DJ headphones are generally understated, and it’s good that the Beats Mixrs continue down this route too. But if you want to make more of a statement, you can grab White or Red ones.

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Build Quality

The construction is minimal, eschewing the hinge-tastic designs of yesteryear that would ordinarily lead to near instant breakages. The combination of metal and dense plastic work well together to add weight, and the overall high precision finish lends itself to the overall feeling of quality. There are no creaks, rattles, or obvious weak spots either. You’ve all seen how harsh I am when I test, and the Beats Mixrs withstood every full on bend, stretch, and twist I threw at them. I think I would literally have to try to break them to actually break them. This doesn’t mean they won’t break, but it’ll be over a sustained period that weaknesses may show up.

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The cables are Beats specific — both are Red rubber with straight connectors at one end and right angles at the other. The DJ cable is more robust though, and because of the construction both are nearly impossible to tangle. I have an issue with the resistance of the headphone cable into the earpiece though — it doesn’t lock or screw, and is likely to come out if your cable gets caught up in your gear. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing yet though. I doesn’t fall out, but I just wished it had more resistance to coming out. And with the adaptor being a push fit, and the plugs being small, you may end up leaving the adaptor in the mixer if you leave in a hurry.

On a related note, each earpiece has a jack, giving you a choice of which side to plug into and also to daily chain to other headphone users. A nice touch.

As for spares — seems you can buy fresh cables should you break or lose them. Foam earpieces don’t seem to be available though. So unlike the Sennheiser HD25s that you would naturally compare these to, should they break, you’re probably looking for a new pair.

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Sound Quality

To preface this — I listened to a mixture of House, Hip Hop, Classical and Jazz though mixture of iOS devices, audio interfaces and straight from vinyl to get the best spread of sources and qualities to get an overall picture.

But I hate writing this part, because it’s an entirely subjective opinion, based on personal preference and individual hearing characteristics. One thing is a fact — they are loud. The 40mm drivers deliver a massive amount of volume, and even when driven don’t appear to distort. I did try to find the actual numerical specs to see how they compared to others, but bugger me if they’re just about impossible to find, neither in the box, on the Beats site or anywhere else for that matter. And while I know people make buying decisions based on scientific data, I don’t and especially in the case of headphones, I use my ears. So I was sort of happy that this info was tough to find.

If I were to describe the sound in meaningful words, it would most probably be “full” and “lively”. DJ headphones are typically bass driven to try and simulate what the dance floor is hearing, and the Beats Mixrs certain feature plenty of bottom end. But it’s as if all frequencies have been turned up as well, making the Mixrs great for monitoring the mix, but perhaps giving a different image of what’s happening on the floor. I certainly wouldn’t recommend them for production, but for DJing and casual listening to your collection, they’re pretty good, although I found that depending on what I was listening to, I needed a break from the often full on sound.

NOTE: I knew Drew would throw a bunch of science and numbers at me, so for those that care, it seems that the treble response on the MIxrs is fairly similar to the HD25, but because the bass response of the Mixrs is less than the HD25s, they appear flatter. But as Drew quite rightly points out, your ears hear what they want to hear.

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Isolation

If you read any of my previous headphone reviews, you’ll know that I prefer on-ear headphones. They tend to seal against my head that little bit better than over-ear headphones, and that is still the case with the Mixrs too.

Keeping noise out wasn’t a problem at all, either at low or high volumes. The soft memory foam ear pads did a great job of sealing my head off from the outside world. Sadly, they’re not great at keeping noise in. Turned up to a moderate public transport volume, it was quite clear what tracks were being played. So great for you and your own closed off world, but not so great for the people around you.

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Comfort and Stability

Again, this is another area where success depends on a number of factors, most of which is your physiology. I found that despite the limited swivel movement of the earpieces, the Beats Mixrs adjusted really well to my head, clamping themselves on like a Ridley Scott Alien. Even extreme head-nodding and banging wouldn’t shift these from my head. I also appreciate the 90° swivels that allow me to run with a single ear, with no loss of noggin traction. Much of this is down to the lightweight nature of the Mixrs too, which has been achieved with no loss of quality.

I’ve sat for 2 hours solid without needing to remove the Mixrs, but beyond that I’ve needed a break, if only for the headband beginning to make itself known to the top of my skull. As übersexy as the headband material is (touch it and you’ll know what I mean), it could do with a wee bit more padding in there. It’s only an inch wide after all.

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Compactness

Given the overall rigidity and lack of moving parts, I was pleasantly surprised by the way the Mixrs folded into the supplied case. The cups swivel a full 180° into the headband and sit very snugly and are well protected. I’d recommend taking the cable out first though. And even unfolded, they’re pretty diddy as well.

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Value for money

And here is where things usually fall apart for high end headphones, especially Beats. DJs prefer to spend less than they should and then moan about how their headphones keep breaking. Over the years, I’ve learned that generally you get what you pay for, so if you spend a little more on your cans, you’ll have them for proportionally longer, especially if you actually look after them rather than abuse them.

Beats Mixrs are pitched at the top end of the DJ market. So for £220, they’re some way above the Sennheiser HD 25-1 IIs by a good £90, but still a little below the Pioneer HDJ-2000. I use these examples because they’re probably the logical competitors. What you do get with the Mixrs is a hard case and spare cables, whereas Sennheiser and Pioneer offer neither of those things. I could throw the AIAIAI TMA-1 cans in there too, which also falls into this category, and again doesn’t have the hard case or spare cable. The V-MODA M-100 however are most probably the closest comparison — designer looks, compact size, spare cables and a hard case, and do come in a smidgeon under the Beats Mixr street price too.

So in an increasingly diverse market, it’s a mixed bag value wise. The overall Mixr package is extremely high quality, but doesn’t stack up well to the established and logical HD25 competitor. It beats the HDJ-2000 for price, but not necessarily in other areas. And head to head from a lifestyle perspective, the Beats Mixr and V-MODA M100s are neck and neck. BTW M100 review is in the worx.

INTERESTING SIDEBAR: I’m writing this from my own perspective i.e. being an English man. But to balance the issue of value for money, it seems that HD25s are more or less the same price as Mixrs in the US. Funny how things work out. So for my US readership, you have a tougher choice than we Brits.

Summary

When I started writing this review, I had no preconceptions that Drew had hyped up the Mixrs, simply because he repped them. He’s a bigger headphone whore than I am, and had bought himself a pair before even getting the chance of an interview at Beats. I took that as evidence enough to try them with an open mind. And you should too.

It’s easy to dismiss Beats By Dre as cheap (although not) plastic lifestyle cans for the masses, but the whole Beats range shouldn’t be viewed this way. I’m quite sure that they do the job from a consumer perspective, but there’s no way I’d recommend a regular pair of Solos or Studios to withstand the rigours of a playing out DJ.

The Beats By Dre Mixr DJ headphones however, for what it’s worth, get my seal of approval. The price is perhaps a little to rich for some, and made to look worse against the natural HD25 competitor. The sound subjectively is a tad lively for prolonged listening and not at all suitable for production, but great for DJing. But the build quality, construction, comfort and compactness are without question of the highest order.

So if you can look past your preconceptions of the Beats By Dre brand, you’ll find a pair of high quality DJ headphones well worthy of your consideration. I know I’ll be installing them in the worxlab and will see what other DJs passing through think.

Hype: Overall package, quality, comfort, and compactness.
Gripe: Value for money against the leading HD25 brand (outside of the US anyway), and the sound getting wearing when just listening.

Gallery

  • http://www.facebook.com/henri.abrahams Henri H-Bomb Abrahams

    Thanks for an awesome review. Definitely made me re-think my opinion of the Beats brand as a whole. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still jump at a pair of HD-25’s before thinking about the mixrs, but I’m keen to see how well the reviews read a few months from now.

  • http://twitter.com/DJxDario DeeJay Dario

    Finally a true review. Don’t know why most folks automatically discredit Beats? But that price is definitely up there

  • Daniel Morse

    Had a fiddle with these in your studio and was genuinely surprised and amazed by the quality and comfort. Can’t speak for the sound, though.

  • The_KLH

    Great review (as always). I want to revisit the “I certainly wouldn’t recommend them for production” comment. I use the Sony MDR-7506 for DJing – which _is_ a headphone made for production. Why would you not recommend the Mixr for production? Is the response curve inaccurate? Are they just not comfortable for long-term wearing? Would you recomment using ANY DJ headphones for production?

    • http://djworx.com/ Mark Settle

      Obviously this is personal preference, but for pure listening and editing, I prefer a sound that is smoother, flatter, even or whatever flowery audio language you want to use. I found the Mixr to have an exaggerated sound, as if the EQs were pushed up and more so than any other DJ headphones. I fear this may colour any audio I produce – I may compensate too far one way and make something sound too shrill or too muddy.

      One thing I’m learning as time goes on is that despite the science, ears are all different. What I hear is different to what Drew hears despite the numbers indicating otherwise. For future reviews of headphones and monitors, I’ll be ensuring that we have 2 opinions. And I’m pretty sure they’ll be different too.

  • http://twitter.com/serkankocak Serkan Kocak

    You keep saying Beats headphones do not get the attention they could. Here in Northern Germany I know some DJs wearing them. I’d guess they come second right after Sennheiser’s.
    I for myself tried a pair (don’t ask me for their name) but didn’t like them. I’ll stick with my Technics RP-DJ1210E-S which I really love.

  • Last Resort

    You’re testing Beats by Dr. Dre. Is this a joke. Belated April Fools’?

    • http://www.facebook.com/JohnnydirtbagIIIjr Drew Bach

      I sent him a pair. He tested them. It happens. Give them a try, you might actually like them.

    • http://djworx.com/ Mark Settle

      Yes. It’s no joke. The Mixrs are really good. Have you tried them for yourself?

      • Last Resort

        Gizmo,

        Admittedly, I haven’t tested them and, admittedly, I’m biased against them. However, there is some basis for that bias. Just from looking at the box and the cans themselves, it appears they spent a lot of money on design and pretty packaging. I also get the impression they spend a lot on advertising.

        All the money that goes into the shiny chassis might better be spent on better drivers or additional engineers.

        Your headphone reviews are very useful (I’ve referenced you big article on skratchworx several times before getting my latest headphones, the HD25-II). But this review is not enough to convince me that I need to check out and listen to Beats.

        • http://djworx.com/ Mark Settle

          If you have the HD25s, then you don’t really need to investigate any further. And if you bought them from reading my review, then I’m very happy. :)

          If you get a chance sometime, do check out the Mixrs, if only to understand that forming a strong opinion without experiencing the product itself means you might miss out on a good thing.

        • thatonedude1010

          Let’s see: haven’t tested, from looking at, appears, impression.
          So basically you have no acutal basis for your bias. Good job!
          Lord knows I’m no Beats fanboi, but come on, dude – open your mind/ears :)

  • http://www.candymonstr.com/ Candy Monstr

    DJTT actually made comparison test of 5 DJ headphones and Mixrs did better than others (sound quality and portability winner according to them):
    http://www.djtechtools.com/2012/12/05/dj-headphones-battle-royale-5-headphones-reviewed/

    I havent tried them but I might consider.

  • http://twitter.com/charginout steve brown

    love the ability to plug into either side. don’t like the plain round plug. perhaps a texture that mimics the coiled cable would have been a better choice. they should come with a wind-breaker jacket or something, so you can flaunt when you’re not wearing them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/martin.katrandzhiev Martin Katrandzhiev

    Really interesting review.It would’ve been nice if they were over-ear,because i prefer over-ear headphones,but also i have never tried on-ear ones,so maybe i will like it better.
    Would love to see a reivew of the V-Moda Crossfade M-100’s though..

  • http://www.facebook.com/DJCHILLB Ryan Gardner

    I had hands on with several cans when buying my last pair, leaders were hd25’s and the mixr’s agree totally that for personal and djing the beats are great, also agree with the artificial sound on the beats as if going through a cross over with an EQ curve added.

    I went for the he 25’s based on clean, studio quality, flat eq sound and the price, when mixing I like the bass to be a pop rather then a rumble so you can really fine tune the mix and get it perfect.

  • Pierre

    These are basically HD25 copy : same shape, same format, same features (clean sound, good isolation, robust construction, compact and lightweight).

    Those were made for David Guetta in the first place. All he was DJing with before was HD25s, like the majority of DJs. He asked Beats to make their own version, and that’s what the mixr are.

    Actually everyone is doing the same : AIAIAI, Urban ears. Everyone is coming up with their own HD25 iteration.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laz219 Daniel Lazarus

    You were definitely right on the opinions that people would bring into this review.

    How does the overall weight of these compare to HD-25s Mark? The design just gives me the impression they’d be heavy (and the lightness is one of the reasons I like my senn’s so much)

    • http://djworx.com/ Mark Settle

      HD25 – 175g
      Mixr – 225g
      HDJ-2000 – 350g

      I don’t have any others here to test against. But the Mixrs are light.

      • http://www.facebook.com/laz219 Daniel Lazarus

        Thanks for the response, they just look heavy I guess. I’m sure I couldn’t tell the difference of 50g in a blind test though.

        I just looked up the HDJ1000 which according to the pioneer site is 270g (without cable) which did feel slightly heavy last time I had them.
        Guess I’m just spoiled by the Sennheisers.

        Anyway, good review.

  • http://www.facebook.com/serjoka Sergio Pantaleo

    Talking about value for money. I own a pair of HDJ2000, bought them thinking about sound and build quality. Nothing to say about sound, but the build quality of the HDJ2000 is really below their value. Or maybe Pioneer just forgot how to make good Headphones. The most important part, the rotary part of the earpiece is made by poor Plastic. This part is the ones who gets more stressed while handling them. And it’s the first thing it got broken after less than two weeks of usage (not heavily). And I can continue to discuss about defects. Unfortunately, price is not a good indicator anymore, IMHO.

    • Tom Naime

      Are you sure you got a legit pair? I have mine sitting here right in front of me and they are metal though and through. I’ve seen one set of fake HDJ2000’s that has plastic hinges though.

      • http://www.facebook.com/serjoka Sergio Pantaleo

        Thet are originals. I’m sure about it. I bought them from pioneer authorized reseller and read almost all article regarding fake pioneer headaset with comparation. You’re right, most or the part are made by solid metal. But the critical parts are crappy. Have a look at pioneer forum and check how many people complain about the sane issue. Funny thing is that to repair this small piece they ask you half of the headphone value. Spare parts are impossible to find.

      • http://www.facebook.com/serjoka Sergio Pantaleo
  • sureshot

    “sorry, wrong beat”

    No way I’m gonna throw my hard earned jack at some of these. For this price point there are many better options. Self floss your name on a pair of headphones, mark the price point up to 5X’s the actual cost and then try to push em off to us. I don’t know why Beats by Dre are such a popular item when there are better options. But, I have to give it to him, his marketing team does a fine job selling a line of BS

    • http://djworx.com/ Mark Settle

      What’s your experience of Beats Mixrs? Physical hands on experience? Or are you lumping the plastic consumer Beats in with these pro grade Mixrs?

      • sureshot

        Giz, no hands on. I’ve lumped them together with over priced, over hyped consumer market version. Personally, I just don’t like Beats, I guess it’s more of a love or hate with his brand. I just think price wise there are much better options for working DJ’s.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Josh-Hashimoto/1219571799 Josh Hashimoto

        I work as an event promoter in Hawaii and we brought down Nicky Romero who uses these headphones. His manager was showing me the pair(which looked nearly brand new) at soundcheck several hours before the show and I was impressed with the sound and styling. However, later that evening when Nicky was performing the headband part broke on him and we had to fix it with duct tape just so that he could use it for the remainder of the set. It didn’t seem like he was rough with them but maybe the construction is not up to par. Im sure he gets paid to use them because he is David Guetta’s protege, so to speak.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrecato Andre Cato

    Another great review, obviously worth a listen and see what my ears say! Thanks for the info.

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  • Jimmy D

    Great review. But even though they sound great, it might be hard for people looking for the best deal to actually buy them. Sennheiser makes arguably the best “bang for your buck” cans out there, so why would I buy these instead? For style? Nope.

    Although, I’m a bit of a hypocrite, because I own Beats Tour in-ear phones for the gym and casual listening. Go figure, huh?

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  • b

    I just came from the store and tried them out, have to say they are really really nice, they sat great on my head and the sound was very good (did not quite expected that feel and sound) however i told the sales guy that my only gripe was that there are no user replaceable earpads, and he took a look and pulled a earpiece off, wich actually is user replaceable. It was a nice click system, that being said, i told him that beats did not sell the pads in the online store and he also did not know where to get them? So whats up with that?
    Now i want to try out the vmoda m80 if i can find them in store in the netherlands somewhere and make a choice between these two.
    All i can say now is: dont be scared off the B, it really is good!

  • Michael M

    As a DJ beats mixers are the best headphones I have used when used in a loud environment in a bar or a club they are great. I found that when they are plugged into a mixer like a DJM that they are in a league of their own. they have no distortion at all no matter how loud I turned the volume up even to the point of hurting my ear the sound was crystal clear this is why as a DJ with over ten years experience I would recommend these to anyone but what I will say is try and buy a set cheap on ebay to avoid the hefty price tag just make sure they aint fake

  • David Fincher

    i bought dr.dre beats studio,solo,pro and mixr. i don’t think they have the legendary so good, studio gave me the feeling is good, it can meet the demand of my music.

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  • Mohamed Afifi

    Well i don’t recommend “Beats – mixr” to anybody !

    i bought one like 9 months ago from “Virgin” in Cairo, and after handling very delicately all the time, putting it in it’s cover every time & all this bullish*t !

    a couple of days ago i was wearing it in the gym & without any reason it just snapped from one side ! just like that…

    offcourse i took it back to “Virgin” since its guaranteed for a year ! they we’re like sorry its broken because of your MIS-USE ??? Grrrrrr well i didnt think I’m gonna get anything from them anyways but i promise you i won’t make it that easy on them ! ;)

    Okay i’ll givem that “Beats” the sound is pretty good, the looks too “maybe” but no one should pay that amount of money for a headphone that won’t make it for at least a year !

    I’m pretty sure most ppl would treat it much worse than i did ! so BEWARE

    Cheers.

    • Dj hustla

      The absolutely same thing happened to me 9 months of use and snapped while on my head for no reason! The materials are cheap their price should not be more than 50 bucks!

  • Chris

    Funny… I went to walmart and the lady there accidentally sold these to me for 115.00$ lol…. So for that price I got the limited edition neon yellow mixr’s …. I’m happy

  • http://djlogic.es/ djlogic

    An entire article dedicated to headphones, a website specialized in the world of DJ, and still look the really important data, frequency range, sound pressure, driver size and type, etc…

    • http://djworx.com/ Mark Settle

      Aren’t those the kind of details that you can find on the manufacturer’s site when you’re making a buying decision? Are we really supposed to list the technical specifications for every product when it’s freely available information?

      • http://djlogic.es/ djlogic

        Effectively, but you can spend weeks on the Beats website and will be impossible to find technical information about their products, it is incomprehensible, especially with the professional range of products

        • http://djlogic.es/ djlogic

          I finally concluded that if the manufacturer does not provide me this information, does not deserve my confidence

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