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Beats Solo HD Headphones review: Beats Solo HD headphones

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The disadvantage is that these players more readily drive into heavy distortion at low output loads.

But these headphones produce so much output that there was no danger of this. We were able to listen to Eminem's early collaborative effort with Dr Dre (The Slim Shady LP) at ridiculous levels with no undue distortion. You'd do damage to your hearing fairly quickly at these levels, though.

Despite these virtues, we really did not like the sound of these headphones. For all their pretensions of allowing you "to hear what the artists hear", they coloured it quite noticeably by mucking around with the frequency balance. In short, it was as though a gentle filter had been applied to the music, lowering the output the higher the frequency. We were half expecting there to be a boost in the bass, but this was more an attenuation of the treble.

There was a surprising amount of detail despite this, but the results varied wildly, depending on what was playing. Eminem sounded excellent, but The Who's Who's Next, when played loud, lost the clarity that normally marks this remastered album, creating a sort of mushy confusion. Switched on Bach sounded great, with very well extended and clean bass. The male voice on podcasts, and even the female one, were harder to understand because of the reduced levels of the harmonics in their voices, so we found that we had to turn the volume up higher than usual, which resulted in a strange kind of dynamic compression in the fundamental register of the male voice. It was all very strange.

Overall

In the end, we were keen to stop using these headphones because we knew they'd be biasing our hearing, which would then perceive even the most accurate headphones as having a tizzy top end.

Which is a pity, because their build and practical nature was otherwise so very, very good.

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