REVIEW: Beats By Dre Pro Headphones

Link: Beats By Dre — Price: $399/€399/£349

Beats By Dre Pro Headphones DJ Review (15)

Introduction

Here we are again — a place I never thought I’d be because I’d become convinced that Beats were genuinely too scared to send us anything due to the notoriously tough industry standard reviews cycle that we put headphones through. But that was back in the Monster days, where they simply would have fallen at the first hurdle. We’re now in a new realm of Beats — Pro to be precise, and sitting on Duncan’s head in the worxlab are a pair of very heavy Beats By Dre Pro headphones. More production that DJ, but still worth checking out, if only because they’re over-ear and because they span 2 distinct areas (DJing and production) and are likely to find love in both. One headphone to rule them all as it where.

Disclosure

As discussed in the Beats By Dre Mixr review, 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.

Beats By Dre Pro Headphones DJ Review (14)

In The Box

As with the Mixrs, there’s too much packaging. It’s a swish but large box that will essentially never be touched again after delivery. Just stop it now. But once inside, you’ll find the headphones, a very meaty partially coiled rubber cable, a less meaty but still worthy straight and mobile friendly cable, a Beats specific 1/4″ adaptor, soft bag (in contrast to the shell case found with the Mixrs), plus a wealth of printed materials and a soft cloth.

Beats By Dre Pro Headphones DJ Review (13)

Looks

The obvious branding on the cups and headband make these decidedly Beats, as does the general construction, albeit chunkier than the rest of the beats range. And chunkier than a lot of other cans out there too, for the thick headband and generous ear pads do not sit subtly on your head, especially if you go for the White, Red or Black/Red variants. These make a very strong Beats based statement.

Beats By Dre Pro Headphones DJ Review (5)

Build Quality

This is the accepted preconception that dogs Beats as a brand. Generally thought to be weak plastic not worth of a DJ’s attention, the Beats By Dre Pros are the heaviest and most rigid headphones I have ever come across. Bar the earpieces and headband, everything else is metal, something that I hadn’t expected, but became clear once I’d picked them up.

Given the rigid metal structure, and distinct lack of moving parts bar a metal pivot, it would be fair to describe these colloquially a “built like a brick shit house”. I think I could possibly bludgeon someone to death with these. I could certainly slice them us afterwards as the edges are a wee bit too sharp for me. Granted, they add to the overall slick look and feel, but I kept thinking that I was going to hurt my fingers.

The cables are worthy of a mention too. These are the now trademark Red rubber variety, one lightweight one with mobile controls, and another part coiled Pro-specific one that is significantly beefier than the other and comes with a locking jack that fits into either cup. This also comes with a screw fit 1/4″ adaptor, that rather usefully can be attached to the cable with a rubber clip. No more losing that adaptor. Hopefully anyway.

Beats By Dre Pro Headphones DJ Review (9)

Sound Quality

This is a section that I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with. As my collection of high-end headphones grows, I’m constantly revising my opinion based on experience and the dawning realisation that graphs and charts tell us one thing, and our ears tell us another. And as driver profiles change, I’m beginning to adjust my baseline as to what is normal and what is exaggerated. So I’m sat here with a pair of Sennheiser HD25-1 IIs, Pioneer HDJ-2000s, and Beats Mixrs to make some highly subjective comparisons.

Drew set me a test of how to accurately prove this, so I sat with the Beats Pros for a couple of hours, and then tried the same music on the above headphones. Suddenly the established standards of Sennheiser and Pioneer sounded quiet and a bit thin. Over time, our ears adjust and set a new normal, and anything else will sound wrong. Go back the next day, start with say the Sennheisers, and then the Beats Pro will sound too full.

That said, most people have their own preferences and baselines to work from, and so that people can relate more my subjective observations, I’ll start with Sennheisers and Pioneers and then make comparisons accordingly. Like the Beats Mixrs, these Pros are loud, with a decidedly full sound across the entire range. If there were one characteristic I could pick out, it would be that the mids are pushed up a little more, leading to said fuller sound. The separation is perhaps better in the Beats Pros as well, which I’m putting down to the large drivers and bigger cup size.

Make no mistake though — these sound amazing. But when you’ve got the best part of £1k’s worth of headphones in front of you, all of which sound amazing, picking out the detail that makes the difference. It’s when I put on the Behringer HPX6000s that come in at 1/5th of the price that I noticed the real difference.

Beats By Dre Pro Headphones DJ Review (8)

Isolation

Normally, my head prefers on-ear headphones from an isolation perspective. There’s something about my head and ears that makes it work better. So I was very pleasantly surprised when the isolation on the Beats By Dre Pros proved to be excellent. Better than the Pioneers but still not quite up there with the Sennheisers though. What I was really pleased about was the external isolation. You can drive these up to ear bleeding volumes, and still not annoy people around you too much.

Beats By Dre Pro Headphones DJ Review (7)

Comfort and Stability

Given the incredibly solid build, with little in the way of actual movement, I did worry that the Beats By Dre Pros wouldn’t find a comfortable place to sit on my head. The cups are very generously padded with soft leatherette earpieces which sucker to your head quite well. The headband however could do with a tad more padding in my book. That said, it’s a common complaint of mine — it find most headbands feel like they’re working their way into my skull after a while, and this is even more the case because of the weight of the Pros.

This weight also impacts on the amount of time that I felt comfortable wearing them. Once I’d found a comfortable position, I found that after something like an hour of working and leaning forward a little, I was experiencing a little neck ache. They were still pretty comfortable on my head, but I really needed a break from them. This weight also makes them feel less stable if you’re an active performer too. Bizarrely, I found that they were more stable with one ear piece swiveled 90°.

Beats By Dre Pro Headphones DJ Review (3)

Compactness

In their open form, the Beats Pros are big. But like the Mixrs, the earpieces swivel a full 180° into the headband, allowing them to fold down into a deceptively compact space inside the soft suedish bag. including the chunky cable. Clearly this is something Beats have thought about, and have done a very good job in getting something so big to fold down so small.

Beats By Dre Pro Headphones DJ Review (2)

Value for money

Having established that the Beats By Dre Pros are extremely worthy headphones, we must now factor in the price, which more often than not is the deciding factor for potential buyers. The price is $399, just $50 above the Pioneer HDJ-2000s. In the UK, the price difference is a full £100 (or $152 at today’s exchange rate). So in the US, it’s a harder decision to make, but this side of the pond however, it’s incredibly hard to justify the price difference. I could only really pinpoint build quality as a definite plus in this respect. But stacked up against the Sennheisers, the Beats Pros really don’t stand a chance in most DJ’s minds and wallets.

Producers and audiophiles however are more likely to invest serious cash in a pair of high quality headphones, and this is where the Beats Pros might find a few more friends. They’ll certainly last a very long time, and depending on your own sound preferences may well be the best headphone you’ve every heard. Only you can decide that.

This is one of those moments where you really need to decide for yourself. You can try Beats Pros just about anywhere. Hell, you’re tripping over them in just about every retail electrical chain. But this is definitely an area that Beats need to have a long hard look at their range and price policies if they’re to win more friends outside of the US.

Beats By Dre Pro Headphones DJ Review (4)

Summary

With the second Beats review done, it’s clear to me that not all Beats headphones are created equal. Sure, pushing anything less than the Mixrs or Pros through the rigours of DJing is likely to be met with less than stellar performance, especially given the premium price. But have no doubt that Beats can and do make excellent headphones that are well worthy of your attention.

If you’ve read that above review first, you’ll know that bar some reservations about long-term comfort, I rate the Beats By Dre Pros highly. They’re very well specced, built to withstand a significant beating and sound amazing. The issue really is price, especially in European markets. If you try a pair, you’ll have no doubt that these are extremely high quality headphones in every respect. But only you can decide if the sound is compatible with your preferences, and then if you’re prepared to drop this kind of cash for a pair of headphones.

Hype: Build quality, audio quality, and overall package
Gripe: Value for money especially in Europe, and weight for long-term comfort

Gallery

  • DJ STU-C

    they look nice (apart from the gaudy logo on the earpiece) and look to be real quality, but i can buy and wreck 6 pairs of sony mdr-v700s before ive reached 350 quid. far too much money for a pair of headphones in my opinion. id rather spend the remaining money i have left from a cheaper pair on improving my dj equipment. ive been looking at a reloop terminal mix 2 recently and i could get one of those and a pair of sony’s for the price of that which is pretty much a full deck setup

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

    They looks much more solid than the HDJ2000. Mark correct me if I’m wrong. But overall build quality seems much better.

  • http://twitter.com/RcanFly Raphael

    Because of your reviews, I have a little better opinion on the Beats headphones, but I don’t like the design, especially from the Pro edition. For me it says:”Hey yo look at my beats, I’m stinking rich and theyre huge man!” rather than “Hello, I’m a DJ/Producer and I love music, and I love good headphones”

  • DJ BAM AZ

    I found that they were SUPER bass-y when it came to the live mixing. I couldn’t stand it. I returned them and got a pair of Pioneer HDJ 2000. Way better sound. more of a real sound where as the Pros produced a false sense of Bass.

  • jyanisko

    You say that if anything, you notice a rise in the mids that produce a more ‘full’ sound? That really surprises me, as an audio engineer, the low mids are the first thing that i need to deal with / reduce to make it not sound muddy….

    • http://djworx.com/ Mark Settle

      And here we hit my ever-growing frustration with sound. One man’s “full” is another man’s “muddy”. It’s a subject all on its own away from the actual hardware, that to me is just as much about the person as it is the science. Full article discussing this in progress.

  • Dj Sandstrom

    I’ve been using my Pros professionally since they dropped a couple of years ago and they’re still as new: The build quality and sound is better than any cans I’ve had, and I’ve been DJ’ing since the mid 80’s. I highly recommend them. And I don’t even know Drew…

    • http://djworx.com/ Mark Settle

      Probably safest. He’s an idiot. ;)

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

        I’m the worst. Totally awful. And I smell.

    • fxrsniper

      Which is probably why no one is never heard of him if I was making my music with these It sounded like garbage. Sennhiser all day they are the best at what the do.

  • s0nk

    It’s a bloody monitor Headphone! Who need’s brilliant sound when you play at a club with 100dB around you!? This is a lifestyle product just as those AiAiAi’s are. I think isolation and output are the most important points. Anybody seen a DJ mixing with “brilliant heights”?

    • s0nk

      Ah, Sorry Mark… I love you and your reviews… This was about the comments :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/flipsideclub Mark Stewart

    The only problem I can see with the Beat’s brand in entirety is that the fact the Chinese have copied every style of Beats ‘phones. So if you did buy the top end ‘phones there’s a strong chance the guy next to you has the fakes. This in itself is enough not to buy them for me regardless of how they sound. I had to buy new phones recently and went for White HDJ2000’s as even the silver of those have been faked.

    • mixfiend

      Why are you worrying about what the next man has on? I had HDJ 1000s & 2000s. Both broke. I replaced my HDJ 2000s with Beats Pro headphones & they are easily the strongest headphones I have ever owned. They’ve lasted 2 hard years & still going strong.

      • http://www.facebook.com/flipsideclub Mark Stewart

        because wearing something that’s been faked so much makes everyone around assume that you are also wearing fakes …. and I don’t wnat to be seen as the person who buys a label over quality. As for breaking HDJ’s … how the hell did you break the magnesium ?

        • mixfiend

          It wasn’t the magnesium. It was the plastic part(s) right above the rotating part. I have zero idea why Pioneer would use plastic for that area. As far as fakes go, I’ve seen fakes for almost all popular models. I buy what suits my needs best and I’m not worried about someone’s false assumptions.

          • fxrsniper

            Misuse abd abuse and if you want true sound when listening and making you don’t buy Beats because it’s 30% product and 70% name nothing more hell Bose sound better and truer. Sennhisers all day outperforms beats Ep. when making Music.

  • http://www.facebook.com/flipsideclub Mark Stewart

    Message for Drew … Can’t something be done about this sort of thing ? http://www.ioffer.com/search/items/beats%20pro

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

      We spend a lot of effort combatting fakes. It is a top priority. I know exactly what you mean-we have one of the brightest engineering teams I have ever had the pleasure of working with, and to see their efforts ripped off makes me kind of incredibly angry.

  • Last Resort

    Too heavy, too expensive (they spent ta lot of money on design and snake-oil cables), too bass-heavy (i.e., their frequency response is not neutral).

    Err, did I mention they’re overpriced?

    • http://djworx.com/ Mark Settle

      If you’re talking cables, you’re probably thinking about Monster, which is not Beats.

      • Last Resort

        gizmo, you’re right about that.

        the reason i brought it up is the following. all beats electronics products were manufactured exclusively by monster cable from 2009-2012. i wasn’t aware the cooperation between the two companies ended a few months ago.

  • Pingback: REVIEW: Beats By Dre Pro Headphones – DJWORX » Awesome Headphone Reviews

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

    nice looking headphones. whoever said the label is gawdy.. do what? it’s one lower-case b…still say for all that packaging, there could be a t-shirt or something in there

  • DJ Scooter Fresh

    I have had mine for about a year or more and they are by far the best headphones that I have ever owned. I got a refurbished pair direct from Monster at a great discount and they were in 100 % Brand New condition. Watch out the the fakes they are all over the place. When u hear a real pair of them and feel how well these are made you will see what the hype is about. I have a Rane Sixty Eight which lets you adjust the Bass and Treble in headphones so I have control to the them to sound perfect for me.

    • BOSS_SPEAKS_THE_TRUTH

      What other headphones have you owned? U shouldn’t have to adjust any eqs with a good pair of cans

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

        When you pump up the volume the equal loudness curve kicks in, which can make highs sound a bit brittle on any set of cans. I’m always appreciative of that feature.

      • DJ Scooter Fresh

        I have owned several pairs different pairs and what I said was “for me” I kinda like to shape the sound for my taste but even without the EQ adjustments they sound GREAT!!!!

    • fxrsniper

      You must not make much Quality music then.

  • Pingback: Beats By Dre Pro HeadphonesUniqueSquared Pro Audio Blog

  • Pingback: Beats By Dre Pro HeadphonesUniqueSquared Pro Audio Blog

  • The Saviour

    I have 3 pairs of Beats; Pro, Studio and Solo….sets, studio, road….and I enjoy all 3 pairs in their own ways. Like sheep, people just see what negative things are written about something and, usually mixed with jealousy at their inability to afford expensive things, slate them. Beats Headphones have never let me down and I’ll be buying them again when/if I need to buy more headphones in the immediate future.

    • fxrsniper

      These worst headphones I’ve ever in my life seen be advertised as good for making music. The funny thing is look at all the music schools none and I mean none reconmend these for Music.

      • crdnlryn

        Beats bashers are hilarious. Look dude, just because you can’t afford them or whatever doesn’t mean they are not good.

        • fxrsniper

          Look dude just because you are uneducated doesn’t mean you are right. I have 4 pairs of Sennhiser I am also a Electronic Musician and attending Berklee College of Music. Beat are Overpriced designer headphones nothing more my $140 380HD pros smoke that garbage. Its not about price Noob I have over 1,000 in my studio speaker setup

      • TONY VLAD

        its funny, who cares about fucking music schools recommending about headphones? a good music can do music whith 5 dollar headphones as they can do with 399 euro headphones, beethoven did not even hear the notes and composed a symphony so that none of you could dj’s, so fucking stop saying bullshit…

        • fxrsniper

          You pretty much summed up that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. How do you think music is mastered and what kind of headphones they use? Oh wait you have no clue so your opinion means nothing. The difference is I actually know what Im talking about you dont, so you stop with the BS. I’ve been working with Audio for over 20 years.How about you?

  • Pingback: DJ Headphones reviews — best and worst part of my job | Sunnylicious

  • Pingback: I Beats Headphones Review

  • maley

    you know these are the fakes right??

    • http://djworx.com/ Mark Settle

      Really? How can you tell?

  • fxrsniper

    People on here make me laugh you have 30% product and 70% name. Sure there great for listening to music but for making music they are not. They aren’t designed for it, which is why all the music schools none and I mean none reconmend these for Music. From Point Blank to Berklee Zero reconmendations

    • crdnlryn

      Translation: I cannot afford Beats, so I will bash them.

      • fxrsniper

        Translation I can buy any of them I want I have over a 1,000 in my Studio speakers setup you know what you use to make real music. Beats are a joke and a waste of money please enlighten me to why no music school that I have checked going to before Berklee recommends them or even has anything good to say but they are overpriced designer headphones nothing more. Translate that kid

    • Johnny

      I’d tried a few sennhiser headphones and it’s not out of this world and not really that good as you say. Beats are good headphones and they’re the reason why headphones is popular today and the reason why its gotten better qualities headphones for the consumers. More competition. You gotta admit before beats there was a very few good looking headphones. They set the standards for quality. So don’t hate, innovate!

      • fxrsniper

        There nothing innovating about Beats nothing but garbage for Frequency response. What are the specs for them? oh wait there aren’t any because they don’t care about that, all they care about is your money. there is no quality to them. Sennheiser headphones beats Beats headphones in so many ways. I make Electronic music and in school for it as well. Not one music school recommends beats nor do they have anything good to say about them. Beats is for image only. I have the Sennheiser 380HD pro $140 black friday sale, they beat any of the beats on the market as do my other set the PC330. If you want true music stay away from beats because it not.there

        • Elliot Hoad

          Money isn’t the reason why they haven’t leaked the specs for their products, the reason behind that is infact really clever marketing, they did it because they knew they couldn’t compare they’re products to the competition headphones which were being sold for around the same price…..

  • zoe

    look goof but still would go for the sony mdr-1 headphones at http://addnow.co.uk/brands/sony

  • Pingback: I Beats Headphones Review

  • 6Railz.com

    I’ve pored 80 hours of beat making on Ableton and mixing on my Pioneer DDJ-SX’s on these headphones. They are no good plain and simple, for the average user these overpriced headphones are a jewel. Mostly everyone on this site comes from a music
    background and this is not the product for us. My high’s started to die and I
    was able to notice it on my mixing and mastering. I thought it was maybe my
    mixer until I used 3 different venders. Let me be clear this is crap in a
    pretty wrapper, if anyone is dedicated to music and DJays or produces you’re in
    for a rude awakening. Plus 399.00 for this set, please not worth it your paying
    roughly a car note for this and it’s a letdown. I’m now looking into a set of
    UE custom in-ear phones the site is listed below good luck.

    http://pro.ultimateears.com/en-us/home/7-Pro

  • Pingback: WORXMAS DAY 3: Beats Mixr and Pro Headphones | Sunnylicious

  • Ben Berman

    The beats pictured above are fakes.

    • http://djworx.com/ Mark Settle

      You’re quite mistaken. These were sent to me directly from the desk of the global sales manager for MI and Pro markets at Beats HQ.

    • Ben Berman

      Where it says beats it should says pro I don’t know if they changed that but mine are beats by dre not monster straight from there website and they say pro above the can, not beats.

      • http://djworx.com/ Mark Settle

        It’s probably something that’s changed over time. But these are genuine.

        • Ben Berman

          I guess I jumped the gun sorry by the way I love mine well worth the money

          • Professorbx

            Trust me, they are real, unless we got into the game of sending out fake samples! There was a change to that portion of the headphone last year. It was a minor design decision that wasn’t worth talking about as it was just text.

    • Danny

      I have the exact same one as his. Bought straight from beats online. You got the older version of beats pro FYI. The one he has is the newer version made by beats. Some said it’s a little more clean on the highs, mids and bass. Slightly upgraded! That’s just a rumor tho.

  • Jayzzz

    If the fakes sounds that good to Mark, whose profession as a DJ then who cares if it’s fake! I’d tried a fake beats pro and trust me it sound like shit and no where near the sound quality of the real one.. Although it does look almost identical to the real ones. To me the only way to tell if it’s authentic or not is to listen to it. I am just a casual music lover.

    • fxrsniper

      The fakes probably sound just as bad as the real one. Fake or not they are garbage definitely not true sound

  • Facebook User

    Hmm, okay I guess. That’s about the best rating I can give for sound quality. Great review debating the cost and quality of beats here:

    http://blog.nuagelectronics.com/2014/01/28/are-beats-headphones-by-dr-dre-worth-the-price-for-its-performance/

  • Darioush E

    Beats are garbage. 1st off, my sound is reversed on these terrible headphones. As in, sound that is on left side is coming from right earphone and vise versa. Even then if I wear them backwards that shit hurts and they still sound terrible and not crystal clear at all. My $40 gaming headset sounds better than this trash. And yet no fix on this issue is to be found anywhere, only a complaint from a youtuber that has the same problem but no one answered.

  • James Pan

    Beats are great. Of course, that is my own opinion. But my whole family loves beats. I don’t have the pro, but my dad does, along with the studio. I got to say, the pro is a bit expensive, but a great headphone. The cushioning is great, and so is the sound and it’s durability.
    Another thing I must point out for beats is the style. They have by far the best style out of all the brands I have looked at. My only concern with the softness beats pro case. If has GREAT design and is very good to use, but a little soft. I am afraid it might break if I just put them in my bag. I have the limited edition neon blue beats mixr, and they are great. The case, I like a lot. And like the pro, the cups can be rotated 180 degrees, making these two outstanding in the compactness section. Overall, it both the pro and mixrs are awesome

  • Terdferg

    The world is using beats headphones , apple has bought into it . There’s nothing wrong with somebody making the music with these headphones .
    If that’s what the rest of the world is going to start listening to music with . Fuck what your music school uses . New technically won’t find it’s way into the hearts of die hards growing up
    Using what they used . Settle down school kid . Have an opinion of your own . Mids and highs are great . Bass is awkward. That’s the realism.