Beats By Dre is arguably one of the most famous headphone brand in the world. It's endorsed by a huge number of celebrities, sportsmen and other personalities. However, they are often criticized by audiophiles because of their not so good price to sound quality ratio with their models previous offerings. Fortunately, this 2014 they released the Beats Solo 2 that seems to be a super improved version of the muddy sounding Beats Solo 1!


Beats By Dre Solo 2 Review, A Huge Upgrade Over The Bad Sounding Solo 1!
A sweet redemption?
Unboxing / Packaging / Accessories

Beats By Dre Solo 2 Review, A Huge Upgrade Over The Bad Sounding Solo 1!
The gorgeous box
The Beats Solo 2 has most of the accessories you will need. There's a soft pouch to protect your headphones from scratch and dust, cables with mic, the warranty card, the user manual and a Carabiner. I just wished that the case the included is a hard shell one to protect the Solo 2 from accidental drops and an adapter for computer (to make the microphone work for pc). Checkout the solid Soundmagic es18s for example.


Beats By Dre Solo 2 Review, A Huge Upgrade Over The Bad Sounding Solo 1!
Inside the box!
Build / Design

Beats By Dre Solo 2 Review, A Huge Upgrade Over The Bad Sounding Solo 1!
The female 3.5mm jack
The design of Beats Solo 2 is iconic! It retains that fashionable look with a minimal design change from the original Beats Solo. The cables are fairly thick and seems to be durable enough even with moderate abuse. The removable cable design too is an excellent idea which adds longevity to the life of the headphone as you don't have to buy the entire headphone when your cable breaks. I tried using OFC cables of Ekotek Firmlink and FiiO's OFC 3.5 to 3.5 mm and they both work perfectly fine. The fold-able design appears to be decently built as well. Overall, the only thing I wished they improved is the plasticky feel of the headphone and the inclusion of a self adjusting headband.


Beats By Dre Solo 2 Review, A Huge Upgrade Over The Bad Sounding Solo 1!
The adjustable headband
Beats By Dre Solo 2 Review, A Huge Upgrade Over The Bad Sounding Solo 1!
The gold plated 3.5mm L jack
Beats By Dre Solo 2 Review, A Huge Upgrade Over The Bad Sounding Solo 1!
There's the right marking
Beats By Dre Solo 2 Review, A Huge Upgrade Over The Bad Sounding Solo 1!
The control talk
Note 1: Surprisingly the plastic used here is not prone to hairline scratches
Note 2: It sounded better with aftermarket cables from FiiO, Ekotek's Firmlink and our DIY cables.

Comfort / Isolation

Beats By Dre Solo 2 Review, A Huge Upgrade Over The Bad Sounding Solo 1!
It's good that they included a soft cushion for added head comfort.
One of the most comfortable sets I've tried that could make me wear it for several hours as the clamp is not too strong. The cushion is so soft and seems to be made out of good materials. However there is a little itchiness when your ears sweat due to heat, so avoid using it on hot places and there are times that it pulls some strands in my hair.


Beats By Dre Solo 2 Review, A Huge Upgrade Over The Bad Sounding Solo 1!
The soft high quality pads
When it comes to the isolation part, it isolates better than the hard clamping good old Superlux HD661, Urbanears plattan, Aiaiai Capital and the Sennheiser Momentum. I could barely hear anything from the person talking next to me even at just 40% volume on my computer and phone.

Note 1: There's a minimal sound leakage which is good!
Note 2: Not good to wear for people who has glasses.
Note 3: Wearing it for more than 3 hours could be uncomfortable for some.
Note 4: It's a lightweight headphone.

It exceeded my expectations, the  Beats Solo 2 is a surprisingly a good sounding can!

Compared to the old Beats Solo, the Solo 2 sounds miles away better than it! Gone are the days when Beats Solo 2 is known for uncontrolled boomy overpowering bass, muffled mids and muddy overall sound reproduction.


Beats By Dre Solo 2 Review, A Huge Upgrade Over The Bad Sounding Solo 1!
Sound test time! (I used a FiiO Smart Adapter to test it with the ZTE Blade Vec 4G)
Solo 2 is still a bassy headphone, but not to the extent that it will overpower the vocals. Even there is still a little bass boost, but the bass control now is pretty good! It has that thick luscious well extended lows that's tight and has decent speed. (not boomy anymore.) The mids has decent clarity too! There's nothing too special about it, but the news here is you can now clearly hear almost everything in that part of the spectrum that's not present with Beats Solo 1. The highs however is not the strong point of this can. It can still be decent for most people, but might not satisfy those who crave for a good treble sparkle and extension as it lacks a little texture in it. The soundstage is somewhat average unlike the super congested Solo 1. Overall sound has more balance in it now compared to the old beats solo.

Compared to other headphones. It sounded on par with the similarly priced Sennheiser Momentum On Ear for me. The Beats Solo 2 wins on the lows then Momentum was ahead via highs and soundstage. It blew away the much cheaper Aiaiai Capital in terms of overall sq. The bargain bin HD 661 from Superlux still sounds a little better overall if you can resist the clamp of death and bad hard earpads. I would have liked to pit it against the TMA-1 but I wasn't able to do so.

Overall, I'm happy to report that for the first time in history, the best part of a Beats headphone is its sound quality. I guess the team of Beats By Dre have had enough from its audio quality bashers that's why they came up with a good sounding product this time around. I hope the trend continues with their future releases. This is a good fresh new start from them, its not yet too late to turn their reputation into a respectable one.

Note 1: All audio files used in testing this are in lossless format
Note 2: Beats Solo 2 responds well to tuning, I've reduced the bass by 3-4 dB in the bassy part of the and added 2-4 dB in the highs section.
Note 3: There's also no need to amp as this is very easy to drive.
Note 4: Beats Solo 2 sounds to be an acceptable all rounder.

Sample Mic Recording



Specifications

  • Frequency Response: ?????
  • Driver Size: ?????
  • Weight (kg): 0.205
  • Height (mm): 198
  • Length of Cable (m): 1.361
  • Type of Jack: 3.5mm
  • Price: PHP 12,500.00

Pros - A steroid improved overall sound quality, soft ear cushions, fairly thick and durable cables, iconic fashionable compact design, not super overpriced anymore, very easy to drive, detachable cables

Cons - Lacks in treble sparkle, soundstage might be narrow for some, a little pricey, plasticky build and feel, not that good to wear with glasses, the headband pulls some strands of my hair sometimes, the carrying case isn't a hard shell type, doesn't work will all types of smartphones

Verdict

Beats Solo 2.0 is a perfect example on how a bad product can turn turn into a good one! The main story here is the HUGE improvement in its sound quality. It now sounded more competitive and can even give other mainstream audio brands a fight. This would perfect for those who wanted a fashionable headphone that doesn't sound bad. Some studio cans are still better sounding at this price point, but they aren't as portable or trendy as this. Overall, I would have liked it better if it's priced a thousand or two lower than its retail price, but in general this has the best sound quality and value over any other 2013 and below beats product I've tried.

To get this call MSI-ECS Philippines at 688-3180, email marketing@msi-ecs.com.ph. It's also available at Landmark Makati.

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