Bose or Beats!? (or neither?)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jimmyco2008, Jan 22, 2015.

  1. jimmyco2008 macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2014
    I went to the Apple store today, and I was kind of disappointed by the Beats line. I tried the Mixr, Solo2, Studio2, and Pro2, the only one I thought was decent was the Studio2, but even then, it wasn't really any better than my $30 EarPods.

    So I went to the Bose store, tried out their headphones. The SoundTrues were just as lousy as the Beats, but the QC25s were the best out of the Beats and Bose headphones. I also really dislike that Beats Executives or Studio2s will NOT work at all without the battery (Bose does). It's a tough call...

    The consensus on various forum sites seems to be that both "suck" and I'd be better off with a brand I've never heard of before. I like to try out headphones before buying them (via Amazon or what have you to save 20%), so I'm limited to Beats and Bose, more or less.

    Not really a budget, but cheaper is better. Also would prefer over-ear with ANC.

    I feel like for the price range of $200-300, I should be getting auto-off (something the Studio2s have, but I'm not sure I want to worry about charging another device's battery) and high build quality (I think the Bose QC25s take this home).

    The Beats Studio2s can be had for $240, and the Bose QC25s for $270. I also found new Beats Executives for $140, but I can't try them in person (although I remember trying them on a year or two ago and really digging them).

  2. goblinguide, Jan 22, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015

    goblinguide macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2015

    Do some research, read some reviews - you will learn about Audio-Technica ATH-M50

    Best sub $200 headphones. The only addition with the newer (x) models are the swappable cables. I got the older coiled cable model for $100

    They produce the sound as it is intended. No excess bass. Just flat, accurate sound
  3. casperes1996 macrumors 68040


    Jan 26, 2014
    Horsens, Denmark
    Care about audio? I'd say try Shure. They make products for almost all price ranges, although specialise in the expensive market. They also have a rather big hand in custom made headphones, where they shape the cups to fit your ears specifically.


    Haven't heard these, but from reading about them, they sound fairly impressive from a purely technical specifications angle. I suggest following this advice and at least looking into them as well.
  4. boast macrumors 65816


    Nov 12, 2007
    Phoenix, USA
    I would say both the AKG Q701 or DT770 Pro (although a bit over 200) are better than the m50
  5. Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Neither. There are a great many other excellent products currently available, and it would be a shame to succumb to the siren lure of expensive marketing instead of availing of one of the other excellent headphones which can be found easily enough.

    I have had Bowers & Wilkins for a number of years; they are excellent, superbly made, portable, deliver great audio sound, and are extremely comfortable. Moreover, the company prides itself on its excellent customer service. I cannot recommend them highly enough. For myself, I love the P5s.

    Audio Technica, Shure and AKG also make excellent headphones, as do Sennheiser.

    Whatever about Bose - which is, whatever about the disputed quality of its headphones, a company with very good customer service, as I can attest from last autumn when they showed themselves to be exceedingly helpful over acquiring accessories and peripherals for a portable Bose speaker - please, do, stay away from Beats, a company which proves itself to be a triumph of marketing over substance.
  6. jimmyco2008, Jan 22, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015

    jimmyco2008 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2014
    Thanks for the replies, everyone.

    Bowers & Wilkins are really expensive, and I don't care much for the look. First world problems? Definitely.

    What about the Marshall Monitors?
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    A "brand you have never heard of" like Sony or AKG or Sennheiser? Those have to be the biggest brands in headphones. Stick with the big names

    The home audio people are happy to spend $700 but audio professionals like to stay with well known "standards" that sell for about $100. If you don't own a pair of headphones the first ones to get are the Sony MDR7506 These are THE industry standard for audio professionals
    The "other" 30 year old "standard" is the AKG K240. I like these better bt they are OPEN headphones and leak sound in both directions. You can't use them for recording because sound spills into to any open microphone and yu can't use them in noisy environments. But they are nearlydead-on perfect flat and accurate. The Sony MDR is too and works for in noisier environments

    Yes you can spend more but you don't get more. At first I thought is was odd that pro audio gear in general costs less than home audio. Then I figured that professional audio engineers don't get fooled and know that once you get to a certain quality level the headphones are no the weak link in the chain.

    There are other good headphones but over time you pick up several, Get the Sony first then the K240 is better when you can use it. I have others for different purposes, like some cheap ones with good sound isolation for electric guitar and keyboard practice. and earbuds for use outdoors. Figure you are buying your FIRST set, not your last.
  8. Freqsound, Jan 22, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015

    Freqsound macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2013
    I currently use the Audio-Technica MTH-50 for two very good reasons that matter to me. They sound accurate and for a closed ear set I can wear them for hours without them hurting the flesh of my ears. I felt the same way about an AKG set I had for 20 years, they just didn't make that model when I had to replace mine after they were stolen. The suggestions for the Sony being standard (I found them a little bright for my taste) as well as Sennheiser and Shure being all accepted studio models is very accurate. I would suggest you go to a music store and try any/all of these with some material you are familiar with. Many models from all of these companies fall in the $100-200 range. Happy listening.
  9. tobefirst macrumors 68040


    Jan 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    For what it is worth, I've read several positive reviews of the latest Beats headphones, like the Solo 2s. They say they have leveled out the sound so it isn't so bass heavy anymore and that while it used to be true that Beats headphones sucked, it just isn't the case anymore.
  10. iDento macrumors 6502


    Sep 8, 2011
    iCloud Servers

    Bose or Beats? Definitely Bose, I'd go with the Bose SoundLink.

    But why should I choose between Bose or Beats when a much better options exists?

    I was in the market for a new headphones recently and I recommend the Sennheiser Momentum Over Ear, ok, they come in 2 models, a wired one you can find on Amazon for less than 130$, or a Wireless, foldable, noise canceling one for much more!

    Again, Panasonic Fidelio, Shure, AKG, Sony MDR series all sounds better than Beats and even Bose.
  11. Q-Dog macrumors 6502a


    Sep 9, 2007
    If it's for work - recording on set or in a studio - I use a closed headphone. I have used the "industry standard" Sony 7506 for 25 years. They are a bit bright which is good for recording dialog. I decided to try the Sennheiser 280 Pro, and really like them ... very natural sounding.

    For open back phones take a look at Grado.
  12. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    Bowers & Wilkins P5 Series 2.

    Amazing headphones.
  13. PinkyMacGodess macrumors 601


    Mar 7, 2007
    Midwest America.
    Some of the best 'old world' headphones I've had were from AKG and Sennheiser.

    The Sony cans are highly regarded. I have an older set from decades ago, and they fit like a dream. The only issue is that the cable is like 10' long!:eek:

    I have an old pair of QC15's, at least I think that's the model. They were discontinued years ago because apparently they break very easily at the pivoting joint with the headband.

    These do not pass sound if there is no battery installed. I like them because they have a carry case, and cover my ears, rather than sit on them, making them harder to dislocate during turbulence, and providing a (perceived) better amount of background isolation.


    That was the one thing that I heard about the Beats products. 'More bass'... 'A LOT of bass'...

    I'd prefer a little high end to 'monster bass'. Well, and a nice midrange too.

    The Bose that I have (older discontinued over the ear model) that is somewhat muddled, but do an awesome job of isolating background sound.

    I'm surprised that Bose hasn't come up with a Bluetooth attachment that could plug in to their headphone attachment port. It would be a popular attachment I'd wager.

    For the cost, Beats seem drastically overpriced, and more of a cult item, than one that actually works...

    Given the 'more bass', it has the potential to deliver a muddled mess of bass, and the potential for also delivering a headache...:(
  14. absolut_mac macrumors 6502a


    Oct 30, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    I've had the ATH-M50 for a few years now. Without question these are THE best sounding for the money. Rugged, flexible positioning of the cups and easy to find replacement earpads.

    I now have the V-Moda XS, I bought the Sony MDR V6 for my son and I also have the KEF M500 and Beyer T51i on hand.

    The ATH is much smoother sounding, more neutral and has better bass than the Sony. While the KEF has slightly more bass than the V-Moda, the latter has the tightest and most realistic sounding bass of all of the above.

    The Beyer easily plays the loudest with virtually zero distortion, but IMHO the KEF is the most fun to listen to due to its realistic sounding subtle nuances of dynamics, vocal inflections etc.

    The perfect headphone for me would be the KEF M500 with the bass accuracy and definition of the V-Moda. Both are outstanding and I'd be hard pressed to pick which I prefer. While the Beyer is excellent, other than its ability to play loudly effortlessly, for my tastes it doesn't offer any other advantages over the KEF or the V-Moda.

    Hopefully the above info together with the reviews of the headphones on Amazon will help you pick one that right for you.
  15. CausticSoda macrumors 6502


    Feb 14, 2014
    Abu Dhabi
    Neither. My advice would be to buy a magazine dedicated to high fidelity equipment and have a browse. It may suggest to you brands that are not well known which are superior to the likes of "Beats" if sound quality is very important to you.
  16. Command macrumors regular


    Jan 23, 2015
    I wish I could say "just buy these" but, alas, I cannot. I own Bose (AE), I've had Beats (studio) and I have my trusty Sennheiser HD380 monitors. As you may tell, I like around ear models. If you told me I was going away and needed to grab just one set, I can't tell you which I would grab and why. That's just it, though. It's really up to you and your tastes and preferences overall. Many offer quality sound that others will surely tell you is not quality. Audio is subjective and you might find that you're content with a $50 set and you'll be doubly happy since you saved some cash, too.
    Bottom line, do what feels right to you and don't worry about what the name is on them. Sharpies can fix all of that ;-)
  17. klogg macrumors member

    Oct 17, 2012
    My vote goes to Grado Labs, please at listen listen to them if you have time. Listen to sr325e
  18. Yvan256 macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2004
    The main reason for buying the Bose QC25 is for the active noise cancellation.

    Otherwise, the best headphones I ever had were made by Sennheiser.
  19. Irishman macrumors 68030

    Nov 2, 2006
    I have and love the wired Senn Momentum on-ears you mentioned. I recommend them wholeheartedly if the OP likes a V-shaped EQ curve.

    The V just means that the treble and bass are boosted which can leave vocals sounding lost if you are used to a flat EQ curve in speakers.
  20. Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Have you actually tried them out, for size, comfort, audio?

    Yes, they are expensive, but the build quality is second to none. They - the B&W P5s are the most comfortable - and portable - headphones I have ever had; beautifully built, and with a great audio sound. My favourite headphones ever, by far.

    Now, not so long ago, I spotted the Marshalls at an airport shop and tried them out; as would be expected from that company, they are actually extremely good, very well made, and well worth further investigation.

    My thoughts, as well. The best I have ever had, most comfortable, exceedingly portable, great looking, and terrific audio.

    Senmheiser, Grado, Audio Technica are all well worth looking at, as they are all very good.
  21. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Listen to scepticalscribe!
    For the price range you mentioned, you can get the b&w p5s and those are among the best headphones in the world.
    You'd have to be crazy to get beats or bose instead.


    If you are buying headphones as a mere fashion ascessory, I am sure you can go much, much cheaper than $250.
  22. Kevclark1985 macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2013
    Had a set of Marshall Majors for about 3 years. Great set of headphones, I find they have a good sound across a range of music genres.

    For me they are the most rounded set of headphones for a reasonable price (there are obviously better but I personally did not want to spend more than £100 on headphones...). Points I liked:

    1) Design - 1st world problem? Yes. But some great sounding headphones look awful...
    2) They fit snug - this is personal preference, but important to me.
    3) Recoil cable - not important, but has saved my headphones from damage a few times!
    4) Great sound (albeit not quite at the top end of headphones)
    5) Noise isolation - can hardly hear the outside world and hardly leak sound
  23. Supertaff macrumors member

    May 20, 2014
    Don't listen to anyone, go out to as many shops as you can and try the headphones that are in your budget.

    Then choose the ones that you like the sound of and the ones that sit in or on your ears the best. Not that is one of the most underrated parts of headphones, people buy based on sound then can't stand to have them on their heads.

    There will be people here who like Bose, there will be people who like Shure etc.

    For me audio is like finding a partner where beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but in an audio sense.

    Myself I have a set of Bose QC20's are they the best sound, not they are not, I bought them because I can put up with the sound (they are good), but as I fly a lot with work, the noise cancelling is more important as an overall factor. Also I prefer in-ear to over ear hence why I didn't but the QC25's

    Awaits, how can you be so stupid with those comments comments :)

  24. aerok macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2011
    Buy Bose if you want the best noise cancelling but don't mind the less-than-average sound quality.

    Buy Beats if you want to look like a teenage dbag that cares more about look than sound quality.

    Buy Shure/Senmheiser/Audio Technica for best budget sound quality.

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35 January 22, 2015