Why People Love Beats By Dre Headphones

Illustration for article titled Why People Love Beats By Dre Headphones

Part of it is branding, to be sure. But in Pitchfork's Resonant Frequency column, Mark Richardson rails not against the quality of the Beats line of headphones and its signature, overloaded bass, but rather argues that they're a viable alternative for a new era of music.


Richardson's main issue with audiophile logic—and something that I whole-heartedly agree with—is that they don't take into consideration modern music production (synthesizers, edits, overdubs, etc.) when evaluating headphones, but mostly rely on classical audio as the reference audio source for speakers and headphones. Reading between the lines, it seems Richardson also argues that audiophiles aren't as concerned with the music as they are in accurately reproducing sound for the sake of accurately reproducing sound.

We live in a time when everything can be tuned to individual preference. The entire concept of subjectivity is arguably embraced more now than in any other era. This platonic ideal of ideal forms, whether it be audio, visual or otherwise, is not a concern for many people today. (Hell, look at Instagram)


But to drive his point home about someone who disliked a pair of Sennheisers for their lack of bass, he drops this particularly well-put paragraph.

Beats by Dr. Dre are popular because they don't reproduce music as much as they transform it. They are the right headphones for the current era, because their design "customizes" the sound for the listener who wants bass. Music is never finished; we can chop and screw, add bass, slow it down 100x, mash it up with something else. And people will buy headphones that finish the music in the way they like.

It may not be your sound, but it's not necessarily a wrong sound. [Pitchfork]

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Via the same logic, the Mona Lisa is much better with some hdr processing. And a bit of sharpening. Maybe adjust the white balance a touch warmer.

OR, perhaps the finished product is part of the artists vision and you should respect that. A loudspeaker or headphone is a reproduction instrument, not part of the artistic vision of an artist and therefore should (ideally) have no part in manipulating the recording.

I'm getting sick of this railing on audiophiles who like to listen to their music as the artist intended it to sound like. Always the same tired argument that they care only about flat frequency responses and shiny amplifiers. Most audiophiles despise the term and just want to enjoy music and be emotionally stirred by it. A lot of audio equipment just can't do that. Jimi Hendrix' Band of Gypsys on vinyl played realistically loud can really take my breath away on my stereo while the mp3 version just can't. And sure, it's probably just emotion, but in the end, thats what music is all about.

Also, it is patently untrue that audiophiles only listen to classical. Amongst audiophiles, michael jacksons thriller is something of a benchmark for quality mastering. As are Hotel California and Love over Gold. This entire article reeks of ignorance and is an insult to everyone that has an interest in truthfull music reproduction.