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Are generic brand headphones just as good as Beats?


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You're not going to get Beats for close to thirty dollars, wireless or wired.

You can, however get Grados for eighty https://www.amazon.com/Grado-SR60e-Headphones/dp/B00KYTNU9U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1512565609&sr=8-1&keywords=grado+sr60e and have a comparable experience, if not exactly bass heavy. I sold a pair of Grados a few years ago and got complaints that the bass didn't ride.  

I've never driven a pair of Beats, really, don't know what they sound like, so don't know, but Grados are the Stereophile Budget Component of The Year for a lot of years running now.  

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8 minutes ago, eoMMan said:

Beats are very overrated and not worth the money, imo.

Beats are today what SONY was in the 1990s and early 2000s.  Paying for ok product and a big name. 

Not a fan of beats personally, but sound is very subjective. 

Of course, not much you can do for 30 bucks.

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love to listen to music so I tend to spend the $ on a better headphone....had a beats on the ear...it was good but felt it wasnt worth the price.....as expensive as the Beats but I absolutely love new Bose wireless over the ear....i put those on and I'm in my own world of tunes!  

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I would say no way generic headphones are as good as Beats, however, I think Beats are too expensive for what they are and you can find similar or better quality in less popular brands for a better price.  My personal preference for headphones is Sennheiser, think they have great sound quality and I'm pretty sure are priced less then beats, however, probably in the $30-$40 range.

Edited by The Tick
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8 minutes ago, The Tick said:

I would say no way generic headphones are as good as Beats, however, I think Beats are too expensive for what they are and you can find similar or better quality in less popular brands for a better price.  My personal preference for headphones is Sennheiser, think they have great sound quality and I'm pretty sure are priced less then beats, however, probably in the $30-$40 range.

It depends on what you want (BT, microphone, headphone controls), but a $30-40 pair isn't going to be much better than something out of a Wal-Mart bin, assuming you're not talking about in-ear.

Our flagship over-ear runs $249 at retail (though it's at $149 on Amazon now) and a lot of that is the tech that's required to get decent drivers small enough to fit inside a headphone and still sound true. Some of the higher-end Sennheiser models are very good. Bose still make high quality product. JBL higher end stuff is also good.

ETA: I should probably throw in a link if I'm currently in work. Call it sales development :)https://www.marshallheadphones.com/mh_us_en/monitor-bluetooth

Edited by Gawain
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6 minutes ago, Gawain said:

It depends on what you want (BT, microphone, headphone controls), but a $30-40 pair isn't going to be much better than something out of a Wal-Mart bin, assuming you're not talking about in-ear.

Our flagship over-ear runs $249 at retail (though it's at $149 on Amazon now) and a lot of that is the tech that's required to get decent drivers small enough to fit inside a headphone and still sound true. Some of the higher-end Sennheiser models are very good. Bose still make high quality product. JBL higher end stuff is also good.

ETA: I should probably throw in a link if I'm currently in work. Call it sales development :)https://www.marshallheadphones.com/mh_us_en/monitor-bluetooth

Oh, I agree with you I was saying the non-generic companies don't have stuff in the $30-$40 range that I think the OP mentioned, but you can still find stuff better priced then Beats, who make a good product, with those other companies like you list.

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I'm a Beats Honk - I've got the PillXL (which was recalled by Apple, so when it does break in 5 years, I get a $325 credit :winning:), Beats Studio Wireless (great sound, but the ear cushions get wrecked to easy), and the PowerBeats3 (decent sound for earbuds, can be found for like $90-$100).

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13 minutes ago, Gawain said:

It depends on what you want (BT, microphone, headphone controls), but a $30-40 pair isn't going to be much better than something out of a Wal-Mart bin, assuming you're not talking about in-ear.

Our flagship over-ear runs $249 at retail (though it's at $149 on Amazon now) and a lot of that is the tech that's required to get decent drivers small enough to fit inside a headphone and still sound true. Some of the higher-end Sennheiser models are very good. Bose still make high quality product. JBL higher end stuff is also good.

ETA: I should probably throw in a link if I'm currently in work. Call it sales development :)https://www.marshallheadphones.com/mh_us_en/monitor-Bluetooth

Those look nice, call me tempted...

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IMO, it's fashionable to bash Beats w/o giving them credit for the advances they've made since Apple purchased the company a few years ago.  If you use an iPhone, there is an advantage to using Beats wireless headphones, but in terms of pairing and battery use due to the Apple w chip in the headphones.

I'm no audiophile, but I've had UE, Bose, and Beats earbuds over the past 6-8 years, and they're all fairly similar sound wise.  :shrug:

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3 minutes ago, fantasycurse42 said:

I'm a Beats Honk - I've got the PillXL (which was recalled by Apple, so when it does break in 5 years, I get a $325 credit :winning:), Beats Studio Wireless (great sound, but the ear cushions get wrecked to easy), and the PowerBeats3 (decent sound for earbuds, can be found for like $90-$100).

One of the fun things on the horizon is the whole home integration of WiFi speakers through Alexa/Google Home. The speaker on these systems are generally lousy, but a lot of the folks with speaker knowledge are quickly integrating. We have WiFi speakers out now that have Google home compatibility and can be worked into an Alexa based system. Next year we should have true voice. We aren't first to market either. So, if you're an audiophile, by this time next year you'll likely have a system that sounds very good and can be controlled from a central station that's tuned into a whole host of home functions.

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I had been buying cheapo headphones for my 13 year old son, after he broke two or three of those, I stumbled upon Jabra wireless (they're BT) - they run about $50 on Amazon - he likes those a lot, I think they sound pretty good for $50 headphones. He uses them mostly with his iPad.  For myself, I've used Bose products for years and years because I had a buddy that worked there and every year around Christmas they would have some crazy good deals off their gear (50%) or $50 for a set of factory refurb headphones that were normally $250 or whatever.  I used to stock up every year, buy crap for family members, etc.  Sadly, he quit working there a few years ago.

So, recently, I read a thread (I believe on here) someone mentioned Grado SR series headphones.  I wanted to try those out so I purchased a set of Grado SR80e prestige over the ear headphones from Amazon for like $99 and I have to say those are very comfortable and I think they sound very, very good.  I use those for both music and television and I like those quite a bit, in fact, I think for the money those are hard to beat. . . no pun intended kinda sorta. :)

Edited by Sullie
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I find the guides at wirecutter.com to be useful - they have a bunch of headphone comparison guides there depending on the type you're looking for.  For noise cancelling, they have:

https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-noise-cancelling-headphones/

https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-noise-cancelling-in-ear-headphones/

Here's what they said about the 2017 Beats Studio 3s:

Quote

The 2017 Beats Studios are a big improvement over earlier models, but they still aren’t the best choice for your money. The noise cancelling is fairly pedestrian, with an average reduction of 12.5 dB over the Airplane Band. This puts them on the wrong side of the price/performance range. 

 

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13 hours ago, beer 30 said:

What’s a good pair of noise canceling Headphones?

Bose is the golden standard at noise cancelling.....my wife has cursed my pair of Bose so many times as I am completely tuned out of the real world when they are on!  

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5 minutes ago, hxperson said:

If we are talking widely available consumer brands I'd much prefer stuff from brands like sennheiser or beyerdynamic over beats if I am spending a bit of money.  Grados are awesome but open ear so you can't really take them everywhere.

No doubt.  And wired, too.  But I love me some Grados. Best headphones on the market, IMO.  

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1 minute ago, Jaysus said:

I have a pair of these that I got as a gift:  https://thestatusaudio.com/products/hd1?variant=11154543239

I think they sound great, but I am not an audiophile... does anyone with more experience know how they compare to some of the awesome ones being linked above?

I think headphones and hi-fi have gotten so personal that you can't really rate it, my friend. It's just personal preference at a point.  

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4 minutes ago, rockaction said:

I think headphones and hi-fi have gotten so personal that you can't really rate it, my friend. It's just personal preference at a point.  

Well...  I will certainly continue to enjoy my ignorance in that case!

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  • 1 year later...
44 minutes ago, Leroy Hoard said:

Anyone have these $49 ear buds?

https://thestatusaudio.com/products/iem2x

Status Audio rebrands Chinese headphones for the US market.  The OEM for Status' over-ear cans was Somic but a bit of snooping around for info on Head-Fi and Reddit didn't reveal the manufacturer of their new in-ear models. 

The Status Audio over-ears got pretty good reviews so I'm sure the buds will be fine.  My recommendation for $50 on in-ears are these TinAudio T2s.  They have excellent build quality and a detailed and balanced sound signature.  It also has a MMCX connectors so the cable can be replaced when it wears out or swapped for a Bluetooth cable.

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On 12/6/2017 at 4:40 AM, Fantasysports1 said:

           I found a similar headphone to Beats that costs around $30-$40. Seems like the financially smart move would be to get the generic no name brand if all you want is noise cancellation.

depends.  if you want to deaden the noise of a screaming kid on a plane, you can use a $75 pair of noise cancelling headphones and it will be tolerable. 

if you want to eliminate the sound of the screaming kid and have a good listening experience, you're going to pay $300+.

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On 12/6/2017 at 1:20 PM, fantasycurse42 said:

I'm a Beats Honk - I've got the PillXL (which was recalled by Apple, so when it does break in 5 years, I get a $325 credit :winning:), Beats Studio Wireless (great sound, but the ear cushions get wrecked to easy), and the PowerBeats3 (decent sound for earbuds, can be found for like $90-$100).

Update, Beats suck and fall apart.

 

Edited by fantasycurse42
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On 12/6/2017 at 10:40 AM, Sullie said:

I had been buying cheapo headphones for my 13 year old son, after he broke two or three of those, I stumbled upon Jabra wireless (they're BT) - they run about $50 on Amazon - he likes those a lot, I think they sound pretty good for $50 headphones. He uses them mostly with his iPad.  For myself, I've used Bose products for years and years because I had a buddy that worked there and every year around Christmas they would have some crazy good deals off their gear (50%) or $50 for a set of factory refurb headphones that were normally $250 or whatever.  I used to stock up every year, buy crap for family members, etc.  Sadly, he quit working there a few years ago.

So, recently, I read a thread (I believe on here) someone mentioned Grado SR series headphones.  I wanted to try those out so I purchased a set of Grado SR80e prestige over the ear headphones from Amazon for like $99 and I have to say those are very comfortable and I think they sound very, very good.  I use those for both music and television and I like those quite a bit, in fact, I think for the money those are hard to beat. . . no pun intended kinda sorta. :)

That was probably me. I'm currently driving SR-60es off of an Audioquest Dragonfly, and while I know they're a tender headphone as far as ruggedness, they sound great.  

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Just now, rockaction said:

That was probably me. I'm currently driving SR-60es off of an Audioquest Dragonfly, and while I know they're a tender headphone as far as ruggedness, they sound great.  

It's not like you're going to rock open-back Grados out and about.

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2 minutes ago, Eephus said:

It's not like you're going to rock open-back Grados out and about.

No. I used to when nobody cared. (It wasn't a city with public transportation.) But when they do care, I rock Sennheiser Momentum AEBTs. 

Grados are good lookin', IMO, if that's what you're talking about. If you're talking about weather, then yeah, bad news. They seize in the cold.  

Love me some good cans, even though I've never gone more than several hundred deep.  Diminishing returns on quality for price point, that's all.  

Best sound I ever heard was going to the hi-fi store and hearing a Grado amp and cans at the same time. Loved it.  

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Beats have historically gotten a lot of :nerd: hate because of their build quality, marketing and lack of accurate reproduction.  But when famed headphone enthusiast Tyll Hertsens from InnerFidelity retired recently, one of the four cans he took with him on his cross-country roadtrip were Beats Solo3. :shrug:

Apple's has much greater R&D capabilities than their competitors.  Other brands are cottage industries by comparison.  I'd expect Beats to excel in engineering-heavy areas such as wireless reception, battery life, noise cancellation and iPhone integration.

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9 minutes ago, rockaction said:

No. I used to when nobody cared. (It wasn't a city with public transportation.) But when they do care, I rock Sennheiser Momentum AEBTs. 

Grados are good lookin', IMO, if that's what you're talking about. If you're talking about weather, then yeah, bad news. They seize in the cold.  

Love me some good cans, even though I've never gone more than several hundred deep.  Diminishing returns on quality for price point, that's all.  

Best sound I ever heard was going to the hi-fi store and hearing a Grado amp and cans at the same time. Loved it.  

I'm old and have stood in front of the stage for a lot of shows.  I don't know if my ears are capable anymore of appreciating a true audiophile setup.  It may be academic when my source is Spotify 99.9% of the time.

I sprung for the LG V-series phone with the upgraded DAC but I'm not going down the rabbit hole of headphone amps.  This limits my selection of headphones a bit but my wallet does more.

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8 hours ago, Eephus said:

I'm old and have stood in front of the stage for a lot of shows.  I don't know if my ears are capable anymore of appreciating a true audiophile setup.  It may be academic when my source is Spotify 99.9% of the time.

I sprung for the LG V-series phone with the upgraded DAC but I'm not going down the rabbit hole of headphone amps.  This limits my selection of headphones a bit but my wallet does more.

Gotcha. It can be a total rabbit hole, and confusing, too.  

I'm not an audiophile at certain price points, either. With anything. Just...diminishing returns. I'm not spending $300-600 on a headphone amp. But for $99 you can have an Audioquest Dragonfly DAC/amp and a $29 phone adapter. Might be something to consider if you're investing even remotely in headphones and listen on one's phone. That's up to the listener, though, and where one places his or her budgetary priorities. I will say it has made a huge difference in my listening, and I'm no snob.  

Edited by rockaction
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1 hour ago, Eephus said:

 

I sprung for the LG V-series phone with the upgraded DAC but I'm not going down the rabbit hole of headphone amps.  This limits my selection of headphones a bit but my wallet does more.

I have the V30. What earbuds do you use with yours?

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5 hours ago, Nathan R. Jessep said:

Nice. Amazon?

No, it was Newegg

Here's a review from there...

Pros: Without NC engaged: excellent balance and resolution from bass thru treble; very fast transients with long decay; excellent imaging and fine soundstage for closed backed cans - really, no negatives at all. With NC engaged: a few db of level boost, with an additional few db in a fairly narrow band in the bass region - this does not extend to nor interfere with the superb midrange, but the phones are definitely a bit more bass heavy, though not in a way that is annoying nor artificial ; NC is subtle but effective, and the bass boost itself serves to help block external noise: however, while this isn't the finest NC I have ever heard, it is the least destructive of the integrity of the music. However, there is in addition some collapse of the soundstage (although it is still very good for a closed back headphone) - imaging remains precise. Note that the isolation provided by the large ear pads is itself sufficient to block out enough noise that the NC does not need to be engaged in many circumstances. . Truly an impressive set of headphones in either mode.
FYI: additional headphones that I own include Audeze LCD2 (Fazor), Sennheiser 650 & 600, Audeze iSine X earbuds, and the Sennheiser Momentum 2 bluetooth NC headphones In comparison to these headphones, the SPACE ONEs do not have the midrange magic of the Sennheiser 6xx (driven by a proper tube headphone amp), but then nothing really does, and the SPACE ONEs still have an excellent midrange with superior transparency to the Senns from top to bottom. Surprisingly, they sound as fast as the Audeze even though they lack planar drivers. While the Momentum 2 are a superior bluetooth headphone that I quite enjoy, they do suffer from the same limitations that every bluetooth headphone must cope with and do not compare to the KEFs, even when used in wired mode. The KEFs are nearly the equal of all of the non-bluetooth headphones listed here in soundstage and imaging when the NC is not engaged, which is amazing for a closed back headphone.
Ear cups are not as large as the Senns nor the Audeze, and some care has to be taken to place them properly even if you don't have large ears. However, comfort when they are placed right is above average and the memory foam pads not only mold themselves to your head in a way that provides excellent isolation, but they do so without causing overheating even in extended listening sessions. No complaints about the headband at all. Overall size compared to both the Senns and Audeze makes them truly portable, and this is how I have used them since purchasing them.

Cons: Seriously, none of enough importance to discourage me from strongly recommending these. It would be nice if there were no effect at all on the superb sound of these headphones when the NC was engaged, but I have yet to hear any headphone where this is true, and the SPACE ONEs are still by far the best NC headphones I have heard when the NC is engaged, - and I've auditioned just about everything. TL;dr version: these are the finest portable headphones I have ever encountered.

Other Thoughts: Highly recommended. All listening has been done using the terrific Apogee Groove DAC / headphone amp with a MacBook pro using all lossless audio files.; I expect these headphones to sound even better used at home when paired with my Schiit DAC / headphone amp stack - but I'm enjoying them too much in the current configuration to take the time to test them in a home set up. EDIT: after having finally tested them with even better headphone amp / DAC combinations, I can say that the KEFs scale nicely with whatever electronics you have available; with a variety of higher end home amp / DAC combos (including the Schiit stack) they sounded even better, with tighter and deeper bass (which was already quite good) and a remarkable retrieval of treble detail such as room echoes and cymbal decay

Edited by Franknbeans
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