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Beats Headphones - An opportunity for the audiophile industry?


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It's all bad news. For Innerfidelity (a business) it's good news of course, but for the rest of us it's bad. We have one small hope - a person who posted here, the president of the Audio Engineering Society, who seems to be intent on repairing the damage done by Beats, by creating a new standard of fidelity that tracks closer to proper reproduction of sound than the older standards such as free-field measurement.

 

I'm not suggesting that I know the mind of any of these players, but where Beats got a big leg up (besides fashion) was creating a sound that served their customers better than the headphones that followed the old standards. Perhaps the new standard and the products that grow out of it won't win over many Beats customers, but by creating an alternative to Beats that a wide swath of audiophiles and manufacturers can subscribe to, we may eventually have a lot of choices in decent headphones with real fidelity for affordable prices.

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This article seems a little off mark on its representation of Beats. Skullcandy and other headphone manufactures figured out that headphones were a fashion accessories long before Beats did.

 

Also, I think the price of portable music players going down has significantly contributed to the rise of expensive headphones for the masses. When the economy was bad and iPods were expensive these headphone companies figured out they could sell fashionable headphone upgrades to kids who could not afford a new iPod. Now that every smart phone has a music player in it, and people are hooked on fashion headphones, people can invest in more expsive ones.

 

In the end, I don't like it when these things are compared, because to me they are totally different. One is a fashion statement where the other is a precision instrument. Just because they can perform the same functions, does not mean the should be judged the same.

Main / Office: Home built computer -> Roon Core (Tidal & FLAC) -> Wireless -> Matrix Audio Mini-i Pro 3 -> Dan Clark Audio AEON 2 Noire (On order)

Portable / Travel: iPhone 12 Pro Max -> ALAC or Tidal -> iFi Hip Dac -> Meze 99 Classics or Meze Rai Solo

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In the end, I don't like it when these things are compared, because to me they are totally different. One is a fashion statement where the other is a precision instrument. Just because they can perform the same functions, does not mean the should be judged the same.

+1

 

Exactly. They have incredible brand recognition and are a fashion statement. In a lot of ways it's no different than women's handbags where a badge/logo/print can mean the difference between a $50 purse and a $1000 purse.

 

That said, the headphone community openly talks about different headphones sounding better for certain types of music. If Beats is geared towards one style and it is perfect for that style then I am not going to knock it. When a car goes rolling down the street with an obnoxious amount of bass rattling the windows of houses I think it sounds like garbage, but I won't deny that car audio system does exactly what it was intended to do. Beats is certainly not that level of audio perversion, but I put it in the same category of pop-culture showiness.

Roon ->UltraRendu + CI Audio 7v LPS-> Kii Control -> Kii Three

Roon->BMC UltraDAC->Mr Speakers Aeon Flow Open

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The question this article raises is will the higher price point of the Beats headphones be a potential gateway for listeners to at least inquire about or sample the product of our hobby (Beyerdynamic, Sennheiser, etc.)?

 

Or is the audiophile industry simply too removed (at least for now) to be relevant to the Beats audience?

 

I want to be optimistic, but I believe the vast majority of listeners have not only not heard our product they've not even heard of the names of our product. Headphone amplifiers, DACs and the like? I suspect most of this audience is not even aware of this kind of product.

 

That doesn't mean that all is lost of course, it just gives me a sense of how very far we have to go to before we enter the consciousness of a Beats customer.

 

Joel

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That said, the headphone community openly talks about different headphones sounding better for certain types of music. If Beats is geared towards one style and it is perfect for that style then I am not going to knock it. When a car goes rolling down the street with an obnoxious amount of bass rattling the windows of houses I think it sounds like garbage, but I won't deny that car audio system does exactly what it was intended to do. Beats is certainly not that level of audio perversion, but I put it in the same category of pop-culture showiness.

 

Agree. And when I was shopping for noise canceling headphones for plane trips I auditioned Beats. Sound wise I thought they were better than the Bose I went with. Ultimately the Bose had better noise canceling to me and that was my primary goal.

Main / Office: Home built computer -> Roon Core (Tidal & FLAC) -> Wireless -> Matrix Audio Mini-i Pro 3 -> Dan Clark Audio AEON 2 Noire (On order)

Portable / Travel: iPhone 12 Pro Max -> ALAC or Tidal -> iFi Hip Dac -> Meze 99 Classics or Meze Rai Solo

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There are different judgements people make, as individuals and as groups, and there is often confusion between these. For example, a person may try Beats and say "I like or don't like them, based on my experience". Another person (in group-think) may buy a Beats out of the need to present an appearance for acceptance.

 

A third entity, i.e. the Beats manufacturer, may say to themselves "We don't really care how they sound as long as group-think works and the income keeps rolling in."

 

In other words, much of what I read is like a defense of Coca-Cola for feeding people tonsof sugar and high fructose corn syrup. I can't prove that it's going to kill anyone, but I'm pretty certain it isn't good for them.

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