Once Monster dipped its toes into the headphone market, there was no stopping the cable manufacturer from releasing a bevy of earphones on the unsuspecting masses. From in-ear to on-ear to over-the-ear, you shouldn't have trouble finding a pair of undeniably stylish Monster headphones to suit your needs. The latest offering is the Beats Solo by Dr. Dre, an on-ear model that features ControlTalk, which is essentially fancy terminology for an inline mic and integrated controls for the iPod. This $200 set offers all the bass we expected from the first two Dr. Dre headphones in a slick, compact package. Unfortunately, while the low end is satisfyingly ear-shaking, it also tends to muddy up the overall sound space.
The Beats Solo headphones follow in the tradition of Monster's other Dr. Dre-branded earphones, right down to the black and white color options. This set looks very similar to the original model with the full-size earcups, except the overall size of everything is noticeably smaller because of the on-ear design. The earpieces, which feature the customary red lowercase b logo stamped in a fashionable brushed-chrome circle, are circular and measure just 2.2 inches across. The earpads swivel a bit in the base for a more comfortable fit and are designed to rest on the outer ear. While we found the Solo headphones quite comfortable for an hour or two, some may experience uncomfortable pressure from this design, as we did after a couple hours.
From the earcups to the headband, the Beats Solo headphones have a nice, quality feel to them. The adjustable band is metal coated in a soft, matte plastic and features a bit of padding on the top as well as the Dr. Dre logo stamped on the outside. A single, removable cable in the Beats' signature thick, red coating attaches to the left earcup via a gold-plated straight plug. Following this 50 inches to the other end brings you to an uber-reinforced gold-plated L-plug that attaches to your audio source. The cable appears to be exceptionally durable and is not at all tangle-prone, a definite plus in our book.