Headphone reviewers call Beats by Dre the worst headphones ever...
From The NY Times
To the surprise of almost everyone, except Dr. Dre and his partners, Beats by Dre have redefined the lowly headphone, as well as how much people are willing to pay for a pair of them. A typical pair of Beats sell for about $300 — nearly 10 times the price of ear buds that come with iPods. And, despite these lean economic times, they are selling surprisingly fast.
Whether Beats are worth the money is open to debate. Reviews are mixed, but many people love them. The headphones are sleekly Apple-esque, which is no surprise, since they were created by a former designer at Apple. Beats also offer a celebrity vibe and a lot of boom-a-chick-a-boom bass.
So much bass, in fact, that some audio experts say that Beats distort the sound of the music.
“In terms of sound performance, they are among the worst you can buy,” says Tyll Hertsens, editor in chief of InnerFidelity.com, a site for audiophiles. “They are absolutely, extraordinarily bad.”
Time was, manufacturers marketed high-priced audio equipment by emphasizing technical merits like frequency response, optimum impedance, ambient noise attenuation and so on. The audience was mostly a small cadre of audiophiles tuned to the finer points of sound quality.
But, three years ago, Beats by Dr. Dre set out to change all that by appealing to more primal desires: good looks, celebrity and bone-rattling bass. Annual sales are approaching $500 million, and Beats have transformed headphones into a fashion accessory.