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June 6th 2010 1:12 pm

hi there,

what's the best choice: dr. dre solo or bose on-ear headphones?

i don't know what to buy?

thanks a lot

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16 replies

Both Bose and Monster overcharge for their audio products. i have no experience with bose headphones but i know their speakers and ipod docks sound great. for headphones that sound great and cost reasonably i suggest sennheiser
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Hmmm. Well, I'm stronger on Bose so I'll offer up my opinions on them.

The On-Ears are actually very well built, and unless you're stretching them like some sort of bodybuilder they're unlikely to break. Plus, Bose offers excellent aftercare. Having said that, the On-ears have an overabundance of bass which IMHO just overrides *any* music. Yes, even rap. Yes, even if you like bass. It may be suitable for Michael Bay movie watching and even gaming, but I just think they got the sound balance wrong on this one and I can't really recommend them, although I like the way they fit with the squidgy pads and exert just the right amount of ear pressure to be isolating without clamping like a vice.

I've never tried the Solos, but I found the original Beats pretty decent phones, if however to be found on the heads of a particularly hipster variety of brand victims. So unfortunately I can't offer much advice on the Beats, but generally speaking they seem to actually be a better bet for most people wanting an entertaining, decent quality sound combined with good usability than the wading thorough multiple snobophile-approved phones.

What I use at the moment as my main portable headphones is the Triport Around-Ears, although they're not exactly fashion forwards these days. They don't look supremely dorky, they're lightweight, comfortable, offer useful isolation and sound acceptable. They are lightweight and are all-plastic, and therefore don't put up with a great deal of rough handling, and they're definitely not the best sounding closed phone out there but I've yet to come across a pair of phones that meets my own needs better.

The B&W phones (www.bowers­-wilkins.co.uk­/display.aspx­?infid­=4571) are next on my list to try. I see it as kind of Beats for old farts like me.
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I have to disagree on the well built portion with the On-Ears. My friend used them just as any normal person would, keeping them in a case when not using them, never stuffed them in a bag. He went to put them on and the ear cup just cracked off (yes, I actually witnessed it). He didn't stress them in a weird way (or at all, for that matter) so I just would never recommend them.

I agree about the sound though: bad.
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I personally don't think you can actually comment on whether something is well built or not unless you actually use it yourself. I do notice with some Hi-Fi'er-than-thou types that its always 'a friend' or 'they hear', without perhaps considering that snobophile-approved phones may be even more fragile.
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Haha hi-fi'er than thou. That's a keeper.

Either way, I used his headphones many times myself for hours. Also I have used other Bose headphones (my family's) for hours and hours in my own home. Same result, they came off feeling flimsy and just had an overly bassy sound. I had to do a lot of EQ adjustment to get them to the point where they were usable. I didn't have any on-ear or over-ear headphones at the time so using those of others was the best option.
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Just from looking at what you've chosen here, I see your price range is $150 - 200.

Luckily for you, that price range is ideal for getting yourself a pair of truly great earpad headphones before climbing into hardcore audiophile territory ($1,000s).

First, a quick bit of knowledge: The two models you've listed are what's known as closed-back earpad headphones, that is, they are sealed headphones that don't let sound though the earpieces. This is not to say they're sound-isolating; rather it's that the headphones contain the sound within the confines within the earphones.

The other end of the headphone category is the open-back style, like the full-size Sennheiser HD 555s I own. [gdgt.com­/sennheiser­/hd­-555­/] The key difference between the two as is you would expect: the open-back headphones leak sound out through the sides of the headphone. This is not a bad thing; the open-back serves a unique purpose and that is to provide additional space for the sounds and air moved by the speakers and drivers inside the speaker. As a result of the space, people around you can also hear your music; it's not exactly the most private of headphones, but the sound experience is very different and most times better than that of closed-backs. It's why you see a lot more open-back style headphones at the higher ends of the audiophile spectrum.

I'm going to assume from your selection that you'd like a pair of closed-back earpad headphones. For the amount you want to spend, there are many options that are better that you should look into that may save you some money.

AKG's K 81 (518) DJ [gdgt.com­/akg­/k­-518­-dj­/]
:: $70 - www.headphone.com­/headphones­/akg­-k­-81­-dj.php

Shure's SRH440 Pro [gdgt.com­/shure­/srh440­/] (yes, these are full-size, not earbuds)
:: $100 - www.headphone.com­/headphones­/shure­-srh440.php

Sennheiser's HD448 [gdgt.com­/sennheiser­/hd­-448­/]
:: $100 - www.headphone.com­/selection­-guide­/top­-picks­/sennhe...

Denon's AH-D1001 [gdgt.com­/denon­/ah­-d1001­/]
:: $110 - www.headphone.com­/selection­-guide­/top­-picks­/denon­-...

Original price range:

Audio Technica's ATH-M50 [gdgt.com­/audio­-technica­/ath­-m50­/]
:: $150 - www.headphone.com­/selection­-guide­/top­-picks­/audio­-...

AKG K271 MkII [gdgt.com­/akg­/k­-271­/mk­-ii­/]
:: Normally $300, on sale for $200 - www.headphone.com­/headphones­/akg­-k­-271­-mk­-ii.php

Lastly, make sure your music is at a nice, high bitrate be if it's digital for the best results. Google is your friend here.

Certainly hope this helps and you find something you like in the selection above. Headphone.com is a great resource and they have TONS of amazing headphones, including all the ones listed here at great prices. Feel free to ask any other questions you might have.
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Have you walked around with a pair of K271's? Seriously?

I also wonder why the K518DJ's get recommended so often, apart from their snobophile-approved status as AKG's. They actually sound significantly worse value than the Triports and are less comfortable to boot.

I do like the Shures though.

Anyhoo, the Dre's are on their way to me, (albeit the 'HD' version) so we'll see how they pan out.
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Write up a review for us because I haven't seen too many well-written reviews of those headphones.
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I was thinking about doing one for the T1, but maybe a Solo review is more useful for the site. I'll consider it.
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First impressions are that I don't like the sound - but the way the earpads behave, and the way they need time for the airtight seal to settle down actually makes it nearly impossible to do a 'switch-the-phone' test. I think I'll just have to stick to independent written notes. I'm heading off into the London Tube with a variety of phones I want to test during the next couple of weeks.
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Yeah, I'm going to have to give them a miss. The sound I don't like as I said - technical aspects of the sound are rather murky - but the real problem is the fit. They really mash down on my ears and give me a headache after literally minutes. I've tried stretching the set out a little, but no joy.

If you're going to torture your ear cartilage in this manner then I'd definitely suggest getting the Sennheiser HD25-1 which has about the same level of discomfort but isolates more and sounds better, unless you feel the ControlTalk (which is actually pretty good) feature or the looks (which is actually pretty cool, I really like my colour - white) is worth it.

My Bose Triport Around-Ears are still the overall winners thus far. Sure they don't sound as good as the HD25-1 and neither does it isolate as well, but the Bose has the Sennheiser's completely whipped on comfort, and they don't look weird.
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To be honest, neither. I have never really enjoyed the sound of Bose products. Their marketing is great but the actual quality of sound is well below par for the price they charge. Also, I personally know 3 people whose ear cup has broken off of the Bose On-Ear headphones and I have heard stories of many times that number.

I haven't seen to many glowing reviews of the Beats by Dr. Dre either but I have less experience with them, only having been able to listen to them once.

What makes you set on these headphones as opposed to other brands? If you had to choose from those two, I'd go with the Beats by Dr. Dre but I would really suggest something more like the AKG K 601's.
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I use the Bose In-Ears every day at work and they sound great...
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Do you use the In-Ear or On-Ear? I've never tried the in-ear ones before.
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I said I used the In-Ears every day speaking to the sound and build quality of Bose products....

I'm using them right now to stream the Microsoft Conference at E3!!!
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Nice! I just wasn't sure because the original post was about on-ear. I wish I could afford a nice set of in-ears but, alas, student expenses trump everything else.
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