We all have to grow up at some point. Life’s lessons culminate to breed humility and hopefully wisdom and maturity. In some instances, it defies the notion, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” It’s true, the Beats by Dre signature Studio over-ear headphones have matured and learned more than a thing or two over the years. The result is the newly remastered Beats Studio over-ear headphones, though they may not be the best over ear headphones. Much has changed in the “remastering”. Design, comfort and performance have all been retooled. Lets see how much so, if its for the better and if that stiff price tag is warranted.
The new Beats Studio headies definitely seem more streamlined than the original offering. They appear a bit smaller and definitely do not make your head seem as huge as they did before when wearing the originals. They are sleeker for sure. The look is not a massive departure but significant enough with more contours and sporty lines. There are stylish chrome accents outlining around the earpieces where they meet the memory foam padding, as well as on the headband where the “Studio” logo/label rests. We have the red-on-white color scheme model here. They are dapper and elegant, for sure. But the padding lining the headband and the foam padding for the earpieces, will need regularly cleaning if you hope to maintain the unit’s good looks when out and about.
The Studio headies ship with the main headphone set, USB-to-mini USB charging cable, 3.5mm audio cable, a small carrying case, Quick Start guide, limited warranty, stick of company logo and anti-static cleaning cloth. The carrying case is nice and compact and the Studio over ear headphones collapse and fold in on themselves using hinges on the headband, which helps with their portability.
That USB charging cable is to power the batteries which support the active noise cancelling engine (ANC). Using an interesting design, the Studio headies automatically power on when you insert the 3.5mm audio cable. Alternatively, they auto-shutdown when the plug is removed. So while the unit boasts of a 20 hour battery life, it’s incessantly easy to waste a good charge because you forgot to remove the audio cable. There is a button below the logo on the outside of the left earpiece. Press this to to activate the LEDs which denote the level of battery life remaining for the noise cancelling. It is also used to initiate the active noise cancelling if pressed with or without the audio cable plugged. When held down, the logo above this button can also be pressed to mute sound. It’s a unique design but frustratingly so. I would have greatly appreciated a standby mode–after an allotted time in standby I feel the unit could easily power down or remain in standby in exchange for prolonged batt-life. Unfortunately, such is not the case.
Yet we can’t scoff at much in way of performance. The remastered Studio headphones are another formidable premium offering from Beats. It seem much more attention was paid to the overall soundstage. More intricate nuances and instrument sounds can be heard than ever before. Previous Beats solutions sacrificed a more pronounced soundstage or clarity around various sounds, for raw thumping lows. Sure Dr. Dre is known for his decade-long success in the “Rap Game” and yes Pop music is replete with thumping bass. But a audio company with such a robust line of products should not play favorites to a specific genre of music across all those product line.
Finally, the new remastered Studio headphones is a great representation of a product maturing. They sound fantastic across, Soca, Hip-Hop, Classical (Vivaldi), Latin drums, Soul and more. Percussion instrument sounds were not lost. Midrange tones are heard just as well as the thumping and lows. The Studio headphones have finally grown up to encompass the myriad tastes of music. Although treble went from being underepresented to overly attuned. We recommend using a device with a good equalizer, because in many cases the treble comes off as almost shrieking.
Bottom Line: Sadly the Studio headphones are still horribly over-priced. I love the sound–with a bit of tweaking–and the looks drips with cool. Yet I still feel the price belies the performance and engineering. V-Moda’s M100 over-ear headphones are still a superior sounding solution with better overal balance across low to high ranges. They are equally priced, but provide more durability and less odd technical hassle. Still these Studio headies are truly remastered for the better ultimately. But the 3rd times the charm I suppose.