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Beats Solo HD Headphones review: Beats Solo HD headphones

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The Good Beautiful design. Useful iPod etc inline control. Capable of high output level.

The Bad Sound biased towards bass. Tiring to wear due to pressure on ears.

The Bottom Line You don't get any more "street wear" than these Beats Audio cans, but great build and design don't mask a disappointing sound.

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6.7 Overall

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You really can't get any more "street style" in headphones than Beats by Dr Dre. This is a branding for Monster, originally an audiophile cable company, but which has been branching into additional areas. Dr Dre is apparently responsible for the sound characteristics of this range. The Solo HD is now the entry level of the range, the (non-HD) Solo having recently been retired.

These are great-looking units, beautifully finished with gloss in a wide range of colours and clean lines. When not extended to fit your ears, the band and headphones form one smooth sweep of plastic. Yet, they also fold up into a reasonably compact size to fit into the well-padded carry pouch.

On top of the head, they have a smooth pad that is quite comfortable. They sit on the face of your ears (they're an "on-ear" design) and apply quite a bit of pressure, holding them in place for all but the wildest shakes of the head. They sealed quite well, and the closed design of the acoustics meant that they reduced noise from the surroundings quite significantly.

But we also found that the pressure on the ears tended to be a little uncomfortable over time.

The headphones come with two cables, both finished in red and both somewhat weighty (the lighter of the two weighs 21 grams alone, compared to a more typical 8 grams). They don't seem likely to come apart any time soon. They plug into a standard 3.5mm socket on the left hand earpiece. One of them is just a normal cable, while the other has an Apple in-line remote/microphone about 10 centimetres from the headphone connection. This was designed well so that within moments, we found it possible to make it do what we wanted by touch and with complete reliability. The other end of both cables is of the right-angle kind, making for a compact connection with a portable player.

There is no 3.5mm to 6.5mm headphone adaptor for component equipment included.


There are virtually no specifications given with these headphones. Not even the obvious things like sensitivity (how loud it will go with a given amount of power) and impedance. It was clear that the former was quite high and the latter quite low. We measured the nominal impedance of these headphones at around 16ohm, which is about as low as headphones go. The advantage of the low impedance is that it draws the maximum amount of power from the low-voltage output (typically around one volt, maximum) of portable players.

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