Review: Beats By Dr. Dre Solo HD Red

We all love buying new gear.  That’s why we’re here right?  But when is the last time you bought an amazing gadget and made a donation to a worthy charity at the same time?

The Beats By Dr. Dre Solo HD Red headphones not only look and sound great (we’ll get to that in the review), but a portion of the profits from every pair of headphones sold goes directly to the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa.

These headphones are made from a proprietary titanium coated driver technology ensures they preserve every “bit of the lush bass and vital details of your music.”

They fold easily for storage and portability and feature Monster’s ControlTalk for iPod which allows you playback control and iPhone hands free calling.

Monster was kind enough to send me a pair of these beauties for review.

These headphones ooze luxury from the moment you slip the cardboard sleeve off and revel the red box.  The box itself is one of the heaviest, thickest I’ve seen.  It’s also minimalistic, which I like.  No fumbling around, opening multiple boxes inside boxes.  Everything is laid out and presented in a straight forward, easy to follow manner.

Once you open the flap you’ll notice the included items have been divided into two sides.  One side of the box contains the headphones themselves which come folded inside a neoprene travel case …

… while the other side contains the additional accessory items and paperwork hidden under flap.

This second side  includes the cable you’ll need to connect to the headphones, a cleaning cloth and the manual.  You don’t get the large adapter needed to use headphones with a home audio receiver, so if you plan to use these with one you’ll need to pick up an adapter on your own.

The cord, which is about 3 ft. long, is made from a heavy-duty, tangle free material. It contains a microphone and the mechanism for controlling either the audio playback on your Mp3 device or the telephone features of your iPhone.

When you’re ready to use the headphones you simply unravel the cord and plug it into the bottom of the left ear piece.  The other end plugs into your audio device.

The case Monster includes fits the headphones and cord perfectly.  Not much room for anything else though, and it’s a soft case so you’ll want to be mindful when you carry it in your gear bag along with other items.

The headphones fold neatly and are easily stored in their included case.  They are small enough and light weight enough to be transported virtually anywhere.  Their smaller size also makes them very versatile.  I wore them while working out, for Skype conversations, and with my iPhone and iPod Touch.

The Solo HD model is smaller than their larger, big brother the Beats Studio version.  I’ve tried on the larger Studio model and the Solos feel about half the size.  The Studio model is great but they are large; that’s where the Solo model steps in and offers a fit that’s more versatile and allows you to use them in more places while doing more things.

The leather ear cushions are super soft and when placed over your ear work to create a seal which blocks out noise from interfering with your listening experience.  There’s no powered noise cancellation, but the fit you get with the Solos does a superb job at stopping noises from getting in the way of your music.

The thickness of the ear cushions really helps to block out the outside world.

The top of the headphones feature the Beats By Dr. Dre tag line.

The underside of the top frame is also cushioned, which makes for an even more comfortable fit.  I wore the headphones all day while computing and found them to be some of the most comfortable I’ve tried.

The headphones are fully adjustable and should accommodate any sized head.  I have a very large head (7-5/8), and I found that I didn’t even have to fully extend the headphones in order to achieve a good fit.

The headphone’s exterior is made from an ultra glossy finish that’s sure to garner some attention.  It’s also scratch resistant so they should maintain their “out-of-the-box” look for some time.

Let’s get this part out of the way: these headphones are not inexpensive, but really good things seldom are.  And from the moment you start pumping your music through the Solos you know you’re dealing with a high-end pair of headphones.  There’s no denying the difference one hears when listening to music via a low-end pair of headphones versus a pair like the Solos.

Listening to tracks with high amounts of bass is actually a pleasure with the Solos.  I found little to no distortion when doing so.  On the flip side songs with higher notes and tones also sounded equally as smooth.

Monster says the Beats series of headphones allows you to hear music the way the artist intended you to do so, and I fully see where they get this from.  While listening to various tracks through the Solos I was able to pick up subtle sounds that I normally don’t hear through my lessor quality set of headphones.  There’s simply nothing better than quality like that.

I also tested the Solos with my iPhone and made several calls.  In all cases the recipients could not tell me whether I was calling them on a hands free unit or not, and this is something I appreciate.  Using my iPhone 3Gs, I was able to answer and initial calls via the button located on the microphone as well as start my iPod playing. I also could raise and lower the volume on both calls and music, which is pretty much everything you’d want in a hands free unit.

The Beats By Dr. Dre Solo HD Red edition are available directly from the Monster web site here, or at Apple Retail Stores nationwide.

M.S.R.P. – $229

What I like – crisp sounds, great on high and lows, comfortable fit, portable, part of sale goes to charity.

What I don’t like – no included adapters.

You can learn more about the Global Fund to Fight AIDS in Africa here.

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