6 Reasons Why Audiophiles HATE Beats

Bet you'll never see an audiophile wearing Beats.
Bet you’ll never see an audiophile wearing Beats.

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Buying Beats headphones is like buying a book just for its cover.

Just next to Apple’s AirPods, Beats headphones remain the second-most used headphones by brand in the U.S. by December 2023.

However, despite their immense popularity, audiophiles have a deep-seated disdain for these cans. From their high prices to their overpowering bass sound, Beats stands for everything these HiFi enthusiasts can’t stand.

Let’s look at the top six reasons why audiophiles just can’t stand Beats headphones.

1. The Price Ain’t Right

While most pairs go from $200-$400, the Super Bowl XLVIII Graff Beats Pro cost up to $750K! (From: Beats)
While most pairs go from $200-$400, the Super Bowl XLVIII Graff Beats Pro cost up to $750K! (From: Beats)

One of the main reasons audiophiles hate Beats is that you won’t get a good bang for your buck.

These headphones come with eye-watering price tags, often costing hundreds of dollars. In fact, the most expensive headphones in the world are from Beats!

Yet, they let you down when it comes to sound quality and features compared to other options that cost the same.

At around $300, Beats headphones are competing with high-quality options like the Sennheiser HD650 or the HiFiMan Sundara, which offer superior sound quality at similar price points. If you’re looking for wireless options, the Sony WH-1000XM5 and Sennheiser Momentum 4 headphones are also closely priced.

When you buy Beats, you’re paying more for the brand name rather than the actual performance of the product.

Engineer Ben Einstein took apart a pair of Beats headphones worth around $199 in 2015. He identified each part and determined what they were worth. This revealed that the actual cost of materials to create one pair was only $16.19!

2. Bass-ically Unbalanced

Frequency response graph of the Beats Studio Buds Plus. Measurements conducted on an IEC-711 compliant coupler.
Frequency response graph of the Beats Studio Buds Plus. Measurements conducted on an IEC-711 compliant coupler.

Beats’ signature sound is all about the bass, but this emphasis comes at a huge cost.

The headphones are infamous for their overpowering low frequencies, which often drown out other important parts of the music. This leads to a loss of clarity and detail in the midrange and treble frequencies.

Instead of this, audiophiles prefer headphones that give a balanced and neutral sound to hear the music as the artist intended. Beats’ focus on bass gets rid of the small details and subtleties that make music really engaging and emotionally powerful.

Worse, this bass-heavy tuning isn’t just a matter of preference — it can actually be dangerous for your hearing.

Our ears are less sensitive to lower frequencies, but they can still cause damage when played at high volumes. By cranking up the bass to such extreme levels, Beats headphones might tempt users to turn up the volume to hear the vocals and higher frequencies better.

This can expose their ears to dangerous levels of low-frequency sound without them realizing it, which can lead to irreversible hearing loss over time.

3. Built to Break

Beats Studio 3 cracked at the headband. (From: Reddit/C0dy2266)
Beats Studio 3 cracked at the headband. (From: Reddit/C0dy2266)

Even though they cost a lot, Beats headphones can be very fragile compared to their competitors.

There are a lot of cases where Beats headphones break or fall apart after not much use.

The cheap plastic materials used in their construction are prone to cracking and splitting, while the hinges and cables are known to be flimsy and easily damaged. The ear cushions on Beats headphones are also prone to peeling and cracking over time due to moisture-induced degradation.

One worrying thing about Beats’ build quality is that it’s hard to tell the difference between real Beats and fake ones. This suggests that the overall construction isn’t great, and they’re just as flimsy as fakes.

There have also been reports of Beats adding metal parts to their headphones to make them feel heavier and more solid. But this just creates the illusion of quality without actually making them better.

This lack of durability is not okay for a product that costs so much, especially when compared to high-quality headphones made for audiophiles.

4. All Hype, No Substance

Kylie Jenner wearing the $600 Beats x Balmain headphones. (From: Beats)
Kylie Jenner wearing the $600 Beats x Balmain headphones. (From: Beats)

Beats’ success comes more from being great at marketing than being great at audio.

The company has mastered the art of celebrity endorsements and flashy advertising. They make people feel like they just have to have a pair of Beats to be cool and stylish. This powerful brand image convinces consumers that owning Beats is a status symbol and a must-have accessory.

But audiophiles argue that putting so much focus on style instead of substance shows that Beats has its priorities all wrong. Instead of putting money into research and development to make genuinely amazing headphones, Beats spends most of its resources on marketing campaigns.

The actual product quality is left as an afterthought.

5. Fashion Over Function

Beats headphones inspired from eight MLS teams in 2024. (From: Beats)
Beats headphones inspired from eight MLS teams in 2024. (From: Beats)

Also related to marketing, Beats headphones have done a great job of making themselves into a lifestyle accessory. The brand’s sleek designs and bold colors appeal to the masses, especially younger people who see Beats as modern and trendy.

Beats also partners with different companies and designers to come up with limited-edition designs.

However, this puts Beats products as fashion statements rather than audio gear.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to look stylish, but for audiophiles, sound quality is the top priority.

They see Beats as a superficial choice for people who care more about looks than performance. The fact that Beats focuses on aesthetics rather than audio performance clearly shows that they’re not meant for the discerning listener.

Real audiophile gear is designed with one main goal: to reproduce music as accurately and faithfully as possible. But there are great-looking audiophile gears as well!

The idea of Beats as a fashion accessory was further reinforced when Apple bought the company in 2014. Apple is known for focusing on design and branding, so acquiring Beats cemented its position as a lifestyle brand rather than a true audio company.

6. Too Mainstream to Be Cool

Beats headphones lost their exclusive appeal as they became too common.
Beats headphones lost their “exclusive” appeal as they became too common.

As Beats headphones became more popular, they were no longer seen as a luxury or unique product. This made them less attractive to people who like rare or specialized audio gear.

At first, big events like the 2012 Olympics and endorsements from A-list celebrities made Beats more famous and respected.

However, as the brand became more mainstream, this special status went away.

According to some users, their widespread popularity transformed Beats into a regular consumer item rather than a symbol of exclusivity.

They weren’t considered a status symbol anymore by people who value rare and unique audio equipment. They’re now more like generic products for everyone rather than premium audio items.

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