beatsX In-ear Headphones Impressions Thread

HiFiGuy528

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 24, 2008
1,850
39
I'm a fan of beats headphones. With the release of beatsX this Friday, I want to start a thread on how you guys are liking the new wireless in-ear with Apple W1 chip.

 

anson42

macrumors 6502a
Mar 13, 2014
523
421
Oakland, CA
How can you be "HiFiGuy528" and like Beats headphones? Beats headphones are not "hifi".........
Don't knock it 'til you try it. While earlier Beats models were essentially overpriced garbage from the audiophile/headphile sense, some models are no longer. Around the time Apple took over, there was some decent sound with more neutral sound signatures to be had. Ok, so the prices may still be elevated but so is the sound quality. I definitely consider the BeatsX a serious wireless contender and will read the reviews with an open mind.
 

anson42

macrumors 6502a
Mar 13, 2014
523
421
Oakland, CA
I picked up a grey model of the BeatsX. I got to try them out this morning on my morning commute. Some observations:

Pros:
- These are the easiest pairing BT device I've ever had. The W1 interaction with my iPhone 7Plus is so simple it makes you wonder why pairing other BT devices works the way it does.
- I paired the BeatsX to my 2016 MBP with similar ease for a Skype call. The remote party had no issues with the sound of my voice. I have yet to actually use them for a phone call.
- Unlike with my car, there is little to no lag when I make adjustments on the phone or using the earphone controller; e.g. skipping tracks, pausing, changing volume, etc.
- Magnetic ear buds. What a great idea! I've been wearing the BeatsX around my neck all day with the earbuds locked together.
- The supplied tips are good for my ears. They are pretty much the same as those I use with my current wired earphones.
- Sound quality. I'm coming from a pair of wired Westone 3s that have a somewhat V shaped frequency response. For mobile use I rather enjoy that type of response but for seriously listening I lean towards a more neutral presentation. To my ears, the BeatsX are closer to a neutral presentation than the Westones. The bass is definitely present but not boomy at all like early Beats products, the mids are more forward than my W3s but not overly so, and the treble is somewhat rolled off. I should look at some measurements others have taken for education. I like the sound quality so far.

NOTE: You must have a tight seal with your ear canal for optimal sound quality. If you can't get a good seal with any of the supplied tips or using 3rd party tips, in-ear earphones are not for you.

Cons:
- Sound quality. The highs are somewhat rolled off. I'd like a greater extension on the treble like I'm used to with my W3s and other high quality in-ears. While this is a con, I do like the sound quality so far and could live with this.
- The cable is too long. If the overall length of the cable were 4 to 6 inches shorter, that would work better for me.
- When I lock the earbuds together, that should signal the phone to pause the music. [Aside: Is there an auto turn-off when no music is playing?]
- The supplied pouch sucks. First, it doesn't actually seal and second it's too small. That's why I've been wearing the BeatsX around my neck all day because I hate trying to get them into the crappy pouch. The box has a picture that suggest how they can be folded into the pouch and that barely works. The zippered case that Westone supplies is so much better.
- The price. I'm not sure this is worth $150. $100 seems more appropriate, at which price this could fly off the shelves because it is a decent set of wireless earphones. I think I'm paying the Apple/Beats tax on these.

I have not yet tried to watch a video on my phone with these to gauge issues with lag or audio sync.

So far, the BeatsX are a keeper but let's see how it goes over the next week or two with more consistent use. If I don't like them I can always give them to my wife who could probably use a pair of wireless earphones. I do have a pair of Phantom Airs arriving soon via Kickstarter and will definitely do some comparisons with the BeatsX.

UPDATE: Sound quality revisited. Clearly, I wasn't listening to the right music (mostly electronic) in the morning. In the evening I played some rock/indie tunes with some very pronounced high-hat and cymbal energy. With my W3s such tunes are quite listenable but with the BeatsX the same treble energy translates into very tinny, metallic loudness that gets rather fatiguing after a short while. Cymbals are well defined but have a sharp sibilance to the finish. What I thought was treble rolloff with music without this treble energy is more like a dip in the upper mid/low treble area because the treble I'm hearing from rock style tunes is certainly not rolled off, rather it is emphasized. There's got to be a spike in the frequency response here that wasn't obvious in the morning.

I'll keep listening to various types of music for a few weeks to see if this behavior changes over time. Listening to my over ear headphones at home will keep my ears honest.
 
Last edited:

freddiecable

macrumors 6502a
May 16, 2003
637
158
Sweden
Hej guys,

My impressions (my hifi reference headphones being Beyerdynamic T70p):

Pros:
1. Surprisingly good sound quality. They are balanced, neutral with a bit of push in the bottom end. Been mostly listening to popular music and electronic music (hip-hop, dubstep, electro). I have also listened to some acoustic music with good result. No classical or complex music yet.

2. Easy to set up on iPhone. I've never used any bluetooth before so I don't have any experience to talk about really. But it works effortlessly with my iPhone.

3. I think it rests well towards my neck but as anson42 says above the cord could be less long, I guess. No biggie however.

4. Magnetic clip is a smart move. Makes the buds swing less when not using them.

5. Tips - works for me with the standard. I think I have quite normal ear canals - lucky me. EarPods/airpods works great for me as well.

Negative:
1. I have serious problems pairing it with my new MBP 13" touch-bar. It discovers it but does not want to connect.

2. Pouch - hard to fold effortlessly. I use it without. They are so small anyhow.

Guys in this thread. Pleas need help with pairing - am I doing something wrong? I may be needing to book a meeting with the Genius Bar :)

Why I chose BeatsX over AirPods? The most important reason is the passive noice cancelling. AirPods leaks too much. I'm traveling a lot.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Weaselboy

anson42

macrumors 6502a
Mar 13, 2014
523
421
Oakland, CA
1. I have serious problems pairing it with my new MBP 13" touch-bar. It discovers it but does not want to connect.
I did not have this problem with my 15" with TB. The BeatsX appear in the sound menu and I simply select the menu entry and I am immediately connected. Before I first listened to music using iTunes I held a Skype call that worked well. Switched over to iTunes and and it was fine. The BeatsX continue to pair between my phone and MBP well.
 

freddiecable

macrumors 6502a
May 16, 2003
637
158
Sweden
I think I'll have to head out to a genius bar :)

I did not have this problem with my 15" with TB. The BeatsX appear in the sound menu and I simply select the menu entry and I am immediately connected. Before I first listened to music using iTunes I held a Skype call that worked well. Switched over to iTunes and and it was fine. The BeatsX continue to pair between my phone and MBP well.
 

anson42

macrumors 6502a
Mar 13, 2014
523
421
Oakland, CA
So it's been a few weeks now with the BeatsX. Some thoughts:
  • They definitely don't have auto power off. More than once I've accidentally left them turned on after stopping music on the phone and run them down during the day leaving next to no power for the commute home. This is a feature that should be present, IMO. I can't be the only one forgetting to turn them off.
  • To reiterate, the magnets on the buds are an excellent feature. I just leave the BeatsX around my neck most of the day at the office. I can conveniently listen to some music from my phone or my MBP or jump on a voip call on either device. So while an excellent feature, I wouldn't mind if the magnets were stronger.
  • No change in sound quality. The bright, tinny highs are still there. I've tried the other tips but the midsize pair fit best. I've tried seating the buds in different ways for best seal. I have tried using software EQ to tune down 10KHz+ to good effect. Some rock music is quite fatiguing without that. My wired Westone 3's plumb the depths of sub-bass way better than the BeatsX for electronic music but the BeatsX are more neutral overall with elevated treble.
  • The pouch still sucks. I don't bother placing the entire BeatsX into it any more, just the buds as that is what I want to keep clean. Haven't had time to look for a better storage pouch.
  • I've gotten used to the length of these. But as I've mentioned before 4" shorter overall would be so much better.
  • I didn't mention this earlier, but I don't experience microphonics when pounding the pavement to/from the office. The Westone 3s had mild microphonics and my older pair of Etymotic ER4Ps had high microphonics. Chalk this up as a win for wireless earphones, even with the tethered style like the BeatsX.
So far the pros outweigh the cons...
 

recoil80

macrumors 68030
Jul 16, 2014
2,951
2,556
So it's been a few weeks now with the BeatsX. Some thoughts:
  • They definitely don't have auto power off. More than once I've accidentally left them turned on after stopping music on the phone and run them down during the day leaving next to no power for the commute home. This is a feature that should be present, IMO. I can't be the only one forgetting to turn them off.
Spot on.
Mine don't wast too much battery during the day, but they ought to drain less better when idle.
And we don't have the auto pause when pulling them out of the ears, but I guess a sensor is needed

  • The pouch still sucks. I don't bother placing the entire BeatsX into it any more, just the buds as that is what I want to keep clean. Haven't had time to look for a better storage pouch.
  • I've gotten used to the length of these. But as I've mentioned before 4" shorter overall would be so much better.
I love the magnets and keep them all day on my neck as a necklace. No problems with the length of the cable, but it looks weird on the mirror
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.