As some of you may or may not know, I’m a bit of a music lover. I wouldn’t say “music snob” since that implies I have massive lossless file libraries, and I wouldn’t say “music aficionado” since that implies I have a huge home stereo DAC and amplifier system (and neither of these things are true) But I do love music, of all genres, and I have owned several pairs of in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear headphones in my day. I currently use the V-Moda M100s as my headphone of choice, and they are terrific. Built like a tank, and with a fun sound profile for modern bass heavy music, they are a joy to listen to. But that’s a review for another day…
While the M100s are great, they are a wired set. I was looking for something in the way of a bluetooth wireless pair, and armed with a bunch of Best Buy credit, off I went. I was trying to decide between the Bose set, and the Beats Studio Wireless. If you read the title of this article, you already knew which direction I went. Read on to find out why.
I could tell you the Titanium color (shown in the center above) sold me. But, considering it was the color I wanted AND it was the only color available at the time, that wouldn’t exactly be true. What is true, is that the sound again is tuned for today’s modern music. This makes a difference whether you’re bumping Zayn’s latest joint (don’t judge me) or if you are getting your grind on with some old school Dre and Snoop Dogg tracks (since Beats was created by Doctor Dre, that would make sense right?) The bass hits, and you don’t feel like its overwhelming you with its “boom boom boom” sound. It’s a good mix of highs, mids, and lows and for most of today’s tracks, you’re in the Goldilocks zone of being “just right.”
What I like:
Look, feel (over ear), sound, features
The style of these cans is what most people are looking for. I don’t particularly care, but they do look good. The titanium color is very pleasing while being different from the usual black or white color options. Its a blended soft grey with darker grey ear cushions and its well…just looks good. There are at least 12 total colors to choose from at last count, so you’ll be able to find one that suits you. The Beats logos are subdued as it shouldn’t be a billboard on my head – but lets be honest here; everyone is going to know who made your headphones just by looking at them. The materials used in the Studio Wireless make them sturdy-ish but light enough to wear for extended periods of time. The ear cups are soft and provide plenty of cushion. I prefer the over ear style which has the effect of isolating you from the rest of the world while you listen to your jams. But I’ve also watched a movie or TV show on my lunch and worn them for around an hour without any discomfort, and still been able to be interrupted (when absolutely necessary) by the real world around me.
The sound is tuned well and gives me what I’m looking for – your mileage may vary. But let me say this – it sounds good. You’ll like pretty much everything except classical that you pump through them on your head. There are so many other factors here, most notably the source of the music you’re using but for most iPod, iPhone, Android phone using people, these are plenty good for what you got. The features like a visible battery level indicator and the left side button that serves as play/pause/skip action are nice touches, and give you a more tactile way to interact with your music as you listen. These are very convenient as well which can’t be undersold.
What I don’t like:
Bluetooth connection can be spotty (which is annoying), build quality, price (as sold)
I’ve heard a few things about this on the old inter webs, and I tend to agree with their general feel – the bluetooth connection is sometimes great, sometimes spotty. I have the same issues on occasion with my Beats Pill (see that review here) but overall, I’d say this is mostly an annoyance, and not a deal breaker. Much as with the music comments I’d said above, there is a lot that goes into a wireless connection and the environment can impact you a great deal, as can your choice of phone. I use an Android device mostly (my Nexus 6P, its review here) and it “skips” after connecting every 3 or 4 times I use it for about 3-5 seconds and then it stabilizes. Annoying, sure. Makes me want to throw these things in the trash? Nope. The build quality is fine, but suffers overall when you compare them to something like the V-Moda M100. V-Moda advertises their cans as meeting military specs for crying out loud, so that’s not really a surprise.
Seen in a vacuum, the Studio Wireless headphones have a lot of plastic and while that makes them lighter, it could (note: could, not would) make them prone to breakages. More than something made of metal that might require you to live with a little more weight on your head for longer periods of time. Pricing is an issue…most people are going to balk at spending more than $100 for headphones, but when you get into this space, most will realize you can get as crazy as you want for reference or studio quality headsets. The $300ish range will get you plenty of options though, and as far as name recognition goes, Beats is probably up or at the top of the list. That doesn’t mean that they can or should charge you a premium for such things, but if you’re going to go there anyway, you have a bunch of choices and most people will go with a name they know. Its just human nature. And the good news is that you can do worse than the Studio Wireless at this price point.
What I love:
The end of this review is where we began – I wanted wireless headphones. I had store credit in a large amount at Best Buy. Of all my options, these are good ones. And to get them for around $30 bucks after tax when all is said an done makes them an exceptional value. The freedom of having a wireless headphone is great, just from the standpoint of not having any cords getting tangled while you walk about your house, the street, or on a school campus. When you factor in as well that new mobile phones like the new Moto Z and Z Force and potentially the new iPhone 7 won’t be coming with 3.5mm headphone jacks anyway, now is as good a time as any to look into your wireless options.
If you like over ear headphones (I do) and don’t mind forking over your most recent tax return to get them, and enjoy today’s bass heavy genres like hip-hop, rock, and alternative, the Beats Studio Wireless are a good place to start.